It takes years for trees to grow until they can be harvested for paper or wood, but hemp is ready for harvesting in only 120 days after it is planted
On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much fiber as 2 to 3 acres of cotton. Hemp fiber is stronger and softer than cotton, lasts twice as long as cotton, and will not mildew. Cotton grows only in moderate climates and requires more water than hemp, but hemp is frost tolerant, requires an only a moderate amount of water, and grows in all provinces. Hemp requires no pesticides, no herbicides, and only moderate amounts of fertilizer.
On an annual basis, 1 acre of hemp will produce as much paper as 2 to 4 acres of trees. All types of paper products can be produced from hemp. The quality of hemp paper is superior to tree-based paper. Hemp paper will last hundreds of years without degrading, can be recycled, and requires less toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process than the paper made from trees. Hemp can be used to produce fiberboard that is stronger and lighter than wood. Substituting hemp fiberboard from timber would further reduce the need to cut down our forests.
It takes years for trees to grow until they can be harvested for paper or wood, but hemp is ready for harvesting in only 120 days after it is planted. Hemp can grow on most land suitable for farming. Harvesting hemp rather than trees would also eliminate erosion due to logging, thereby reducing topsoil loss and water pollution caused by soil runoff.
- Hemp is thought to be the first domestically-cultivated plant, with evidence of hemp fabric dating to 8,000 years ago found in Turkey (former-day Mesopotamia). Other evidence suggests cultivation further back by two or more thousands of years.
- The word hemp has been used in the past to Europe to describe other fiber plants, including sisal and jute.
- Beer hops (Humulus genus) are a close cousin of genus Cannabis, both of which fall under family Cannabaceae.
- Hemp products are now legal in the United States, although ingredients or end products are currently imported from other countries – particularly Canada.
- Hemp was not always treated as the same as marijuana by the U.S. government.
- According to the documentary “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High” (available at YouTube), the first marijuana law in the United States was enacted in 1619, in Jamestown Colony, Virginia, and actually required farmers to grow hemp. Benjamin Franklin used hemp in his paper mill – one of the country’s first – and the first two copies of the Declaration of Independence were supposedly written on hemp paper.
- In parts of the Americas, hemp was legal tender and could be used to pay taxes.
- Hemp paper is stronger than wood-based paper, and can withstand more folding. In general, hemp has strongest natural fiber of any source.
- Hemp paper hundreds of years old (found in museums) has not yellowed, and is thus a high quality paper of archival quality.
- Marijuana plants cannot be hidden amongst hemp plants. The former grows wide and less tall (5-10 feet), whereas the latter is grown more densely and taller (10-15 feet), to produce maximum stalk fiber lengths.
- Hemp can grow nearly anywhere in the world, in many types of soil — even in short growing seasons or in dry regions — and helps purify soil as well as kills some types of weeds
- Hemp can grow without pesticides. The crop is also kills some weeds, purifies soil, and is suitable for rotation use, due not only to its short harvest cycle (120 days).
- Hemp is a high-yield crop. One acre of hemp produces twice as much oil as one acre of peanuts, and nearly four times as much fiber pulp (for paper) as an acre of trees.
- Hemp paper is naturally acid-free and does not yellow as quickly as tree pulp-based paper.
- Hemp has the strongest (and longest) plant fiber in the world, resistant to rot and abrasion, and was in long use before DuPont patented nylon in 1937. It was used for ship rigging, military uniforms, parachute webbing, baggage and more.
- Because of its strength, hemp fiber can be used for composite materials that could be used to make anything from skateboard decks to car and stealth fighter bodies.
- A hemp composite material (with limestone and water) forms a type of concrete (hempcrete) that can be used for home building, at 1/9th the weight. It also acts as insulation and repels some vermin.
- Levi jeans were originally made from hemp sailcloth (and rivets), for goldminers in California, who would fill their pockets with gold.