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More on hemp
Hemp is one of the world's foremost renewable resources and has a long and impressive list of attributes. It grows successfully without the use of chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Where other crops rob the soil of nutrients, hemp actually replaces them, making it an excellent rotation crop. It is the strongest vegetable fiber grown and the most versatile - used for thousands of years to produce fabrics, paper, ropes and food.

EcoDragon's Original Hemp Sandal has been the inspiration for everything that has followed. A revolution in footwear with natural hemp comfort. In 1997, we added a knitwear line, introducing the first ever 100% hemp sweater as well as exotic blends with hemp, Tibetan yak's fleece and Mongolian camel hair.

The Real Hemp Facts
HISTORICAL FACTS

*Hemp has been grown for at least the last 12,000 years for fiber (textiles and paper) and food. It has been effectively prohibited in the United States since the 1950s.

*George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper.

*When US sources of "Manila hemp" (not true hemp) were cut off by the Japanese in WWII, the US Army and US Department of Agriculture promoted the "Hemp for Victory" campaign to grow hemp in the US.

*Because of its importance for sails (the word "canvas" is rooted in "cannabis") and rope for ships, hemp was a required crop in the American colonies.

INDUSTRIAL FACTS

*Henry Ford experimented with hemp to build car bodies. He wanted to build and fuel cars from farm products.

*BMW is experimenting with hemp materials in automobiles as part of an effort to make cars more recyclable.

*Much of the bird seed sold in the US has hemp seed (it's sterilized before importation), the hulls of which contain about 25% protein.

*Hemp oil once greased machines. Most paints, resins, shellacs, and varnishes used to be made out of linseed (from flax) and hemp oils.

*Rudolph Diesel designed his engine to run on hemp oil.

*Kimberly Clark (on the Fortune 500) has a mill in France which produces hemp paper preferred for bibles because it lasts a very long time and doesn't yellow.

*Construction products such as medium density fiber board, oriented strand board, and even beams, studs and posts could be made out of hemp. Because of hemp's long fibers, the products will be stronger and/or lighter than those made from wood.

*Over 25,000 different products can be made from hemp.

SCIENTIFIC FACTS

*Industrial hemp and marijuana are both classified by taxonomists as Cannabis sativa, a species with hundreds of varieties. The plant is a member of the mulberry family. Industrial hemp is bred to maximize fiber, seed and/or oil, while marijuana varieties seek to maximize THC (delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana).

*While industrial hemp and marijuana may look somewhat alike to an untrained eye, a well trained eye can easily distinguish the difference.

*Industrial hemp has a THC content of 0.05% to 1%, while marijuana has a THC content of 3% to 20%. To receive a standard psychoactive dose would require a person to power-smoke 10-12 hemp cigarettes over an extremely short period of time. The large volume and high temperature of vapor, gas and smoke would be almost impossible for a person to withstand.

*If hemp does pollinate any nearby marijuana, genetically, the result will always be lower-THC marijuana, not higher-THC hemp. If hemp is grown outdoors, marijuana will not be grown close by to avoid producing lower-grade marijuana.

*Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent and more mildew-resistant than cotton fibers.

*Fabrics made of at least one-half hemp block the sun's UV rays more effectively than other fabrics.

*Many of the varieties of hemp that were grown in North America have been lost. Seed banks weren't maintained. New genetic breeding will be necessary using both foreign and domestic "ditchweed," strains of hemp that went feral after cultivation ended. Various state national guard units often spend their weekends trying to eradicate this hemp, in the mistaken belief they are helping stop drug use.

*A 1938 Popular Mechanics article described hemp as a "New Billion Dollar Crop." That's back when a billion was real money.

*Hemp can be made into a variety of fabrics, including fabric of linen quality.
 

LEGAL FACTS

*The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies all C. sativa varieties as "marijuana." While it is theoretically possible to get permission from the government to grow hemp, the DEA would require that the field be secured by fence, razor wire, dogs, guards and lights, making it cost-prohibitive and impractical.

*The US State Department must certify each year that a foreign nation is cooperating in the war on drugs. The European Union subsidizes its farmers to grow industrial hemp. Those nations are not on the "uncooperative" list, because the State Department can tell the difference between hemp and marijuana.

*Hemp was grown commercially (with increasing governmental interference) in the United States until the 1950s. It was doomed by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which placed an extremely high tax on marijuana and made it effectively impossible to grow industrial hemp. While Congress expressly expected the continued production of industrial hemp, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics lumped industrial hemp in with marijuana, as its successor, the DEA, does to this day.

*Over 30 industrialized democracies do distinguish hemp from marijuana and allow its production. International treaties regarding marijuana make an exception for industrial hemp.

*Canada now again allows the growing of hemp.

ECOLOGICAL FACTS

*Hemp growers can not hide marijuana plants in their fields. Marijuana is grown widely-spaced to maximize flowers. Hemp is grown in tightly-spaced rows to maximize stalk and fiber-producing varieties are harvested before going to seed.

*Hemp can be made into fine quality paper. The long fibers in hemp allow such paper to be recycled several times more than wood-based paper.

*Because of its low lignin content, hemp can be pulped using less chemicals than wood. Its natural brightness can obviate the need to use chlorine bleach, which means no extremely toxic dioxin being dumped into streams. A kinder and gentler chemistry using hydrogen peroxide rather than chlorine dioxide is possible with hemp fibers.

*Hemp grows well in a variety of climates and soil types. It is naturally resistant to most pests, precluding the need for pesticides. It grows tightly-spaced, out-competing any weeds, so herbicides are not necessary. It also leaves a weed-free field for the following crop.

*Hemp can displace cotton which is usually grown with massive amounts of chemicals harmful to people and the environment. 50% of all the world's pesticides are sprayed on cotton.

*Hemp can displace wood fiber and save forests for watershed, wildlife habitat, recreation and oxygen production, carbon sequestration (reduces global warming) and other values.

*Hemp can yield 3-8 dry tons of fiber per acre. This is four times what an average forest can yield.

HEALTH FACTS

*If one tried to ingest enough industrial hemp to get a 'buzz,' it would be the equivalent of taking 2-3 doses of a high-fiber laxative.

*At a volume level of 81%, hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (the "good" fats). It's quite high in some essential amino acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient also found in mother's milk.

*While the original "gruel" was made of hemp seed meal, hemp oil and seed can be made into many tasty and nutritional products.

Prepared by the North American Industrial Hemp Council



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