After 77 years of prohibition on industrial hemp, American farmers have begun to grow the crop again! Although we’ve been in a restricted time regarding hemp, awareness is growing and many are beginning to see the light that has always been there.
“Tin Lizzie” Automobile by Henry Ford
In 1941, Henry Ford was looking for a solution to the metal crisis that the US was experiencing during the war. As an avid agriculturist, he grew hemp and soybeans on his property and used the crop to create something more sustainable during the metal shortage. The bioplastic paneled car prototype was made from soybeans, wheat, and corn, and was designed to run on hemp fuel. As the war weakened, the project was pushed aside when steel was no longer in high demand. Many Ford records were destroyed in a fire a few years later, and the exact descriptions of the car vary between stories. Some report that the car was 25% lighter in weight and vastly more durable, not to mention, made with highly renewable resources.
Ropes & Sails
Even longer ago, early ships and covered wagons used canvas or hemp to travel far and wide. Early ropes were made from industrial hemp due to its incredibly strong fibers and a naturally higher resistance to mold and bugs. Many things we know were made from canvas, could have easily been made with hemp, as “Canvas” is also said to come from the word “cannabis”.
The American Flag
Some historians claim that the first American flag made by Betsy Ross was made out of industrial hemp. While there is not much research that explicitly states what the first flag was made of, many speculate that it was made from canvas or hemp, due to the resources available at the time.
Although hemp and paper were once both used as parchment, due to production costs, paper took the lead for newspapers, packaging paper, and other short-term use paper goods. Hemp was most commonly found in higher end paper goods like banknotes and cigar papers. Even though hemp offers up to 5x longer fibers, stronger, and has a greater pulp retention when recycled, paper from wood pulp beat out hemp.
Edible Hemp & CBD
Hemp can be eaten as seeds, oil, milk, butter, and in a number of dishes. Seeds can be eaten raw, hulled, ground, or soaked in water and blended to make hemp milk. Hemp seeds are high in fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, as well as, very high in essential fatty acids. It also provides an amino acid profile much like milk, eggs, and meat. This is likely why you will find hemp proteins emerging in the health food market! CBD products like tinctures and capsules can fall into this category, too. Read more about CBD here.
While hemp bracelets, bags, and dresses have been seen as “hippie clothes” in somewhat recent culture, hemp as a textile has been used for years to create uniforms and bedding. In the last year or two, hemp has become the cloth for sustainable fashion, and it’s not just for those who live in a commune. Companies like Adidas and New Balance have launched hemp tennis shoes, and companies like Patagonia and Nordstrom are selling partial hemp clothing in their stores.
Hempcrete is an alternative construction material has recently come on the scene that is both an insulator and a moisture regulator. While it’s more lightweight and renewable than traditional lime concrete, it cannot withstand the pressure as a building foundation, so it’s typically found used in building walls. Since it it a low-density material and does not crack with movement, it could be a useful material in earthquake zones. In the US, special permits are needed to build with hempcrete but other countries have been using it for years.
At Fully Activated, we're big believers in this plant for many reasons and we're excited to see where the future of hemp leads us! For more information on our Colorado-grown hemp, Read Our Story Here!