The Benefits of Industrial Hemp
review by Jule Klotter
Hemp, Hemp, Hooray! (a video)
by L.B. Johnson, RO. Box 757, Aptos, California 95001 USA
831-688-0162; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
58 minutes; $25 (includes shipping)
First, let's get one thing clear: industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) is not the same
plant known for its psychoactive properties. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains little
of the hallucinogenic chemical THC. As the informative and wellproduced documentary
video Hemp, Hemp, Hooray! explains, industrial hemp is a remarkably versatile crop
with many environmental benefits for our chemically-inundated society. Producers
L.B. Johnson and Paul Gaylon used the lst Annual Santa Cruz Industrial Hemp Expo,
which had more than 85 vendors and 40 speakers from 15 states and 6 countries, as
a backdrop for introducing the many uses and long history of this remarkable plant.
Historically, hemp was the first plant to be cultivated for its fiber. The fiber
makes a very durable cloth that is naturally mold and mildew resistant. Eastern European
countries, China, and Canada all produce hemp cloth. Because few agricultural pests
bother hemp, it can be easily grown without using pesticides. Hemp has the added
advantage of building soil and can be grown in rotation with other crops. The plant,
which grows up to 20 feet high, makes a wonderful transitional crop for land that
is recovering from conventional farming practices.
In addition to its use by the textile industry, hemp fiber from the plant's stalk
can be used to make paper. Seventy percent of the hemp plant consists of cellulose,
the material used to make paper. Trees are only 30% cellulose, yet half of all the
trees that are cut down today are used to make paper. The Emperor Wears No Clothes
by Jack Herer documents the timber industry's campaign to link industrial hemp with
the hemp represents considerable competition to US timber companies. Hemp stalks
can also be used for building material such as particle board. In France, hemp hurds
are mixed with lime, sand, and a little water to make a 'cement' called 'Isochauvre,'
used to make walls. The Romans used a similar mixture to build their aqueducts, which
still exist today. The strength of hemp fiber allows it to be used as a fiberglass
or thermoplastic replacement to make skateboards, surfboards, and bicycles.
Hemp's seeds also have many uses. Dehulled hemp seed is a food that contains 30%
protein and a wide spectrum of essential fatty acids. The first pressed oil from
the seeds is used in food and in soaps, cosmetics, creams, and other beauty products.
The second press of the seeds delivers oil for paints, dyes, fuels, and lubrication.
The United States is the only 'first world' country that is not planting hemp. During
the 2000 pre-primary campaigning, Presidential candidate John McCain was asked about
his stand on hemp. He had no opinion until an aide told him that hemp was marijuana.
This misrepresentation of industrial hemp does a terrible disservice to farmers who
are deprived of a beneficial crop, to businesses that must now import hemp from foreign
companies, and to our environment. Hemp, Hemp, Hooray! is a very entertaining, up-beat,
and informative video. It spreads awareness of the many benefits of growing industrial
hemp and encourages consumers to support this industry with their dollars.