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What is Hemp and Is It Sustainable?

Posted by Jessica Swanson on
What is Hemp? | Alare
When you think of hemp, you probably get visions of hippies wearing tunics and smoking marijuana. And that’s the problem. 

The confusion and stigma surrounding hemp have led to a campaign of misinformation that stands in stark contrast to scientific evidence. 

First of all, hemp and marijuana are completely different plants. Although they're both versions of the cannabis plant, the way they grow and the effect they have on the body are entirely opposite.

What is Hemp?

  • Hemp can be grown in any environment.
  • It requires little water or pesticides.
  • It contains <0.3% THC (no, you can’t get high from it).
  • It contains more CBD than marijuana.

What is Marijuana?

  • Marijuana thrives in a controlled environment.
  • It requires a great deal of attention and care.
  • It contains 3-35% THC (yes, you can get high from it).
  • It contains very little CBD.

Words to the Wise

So, as it turns out, you can’t smoke hemp to help you sleep. But you can utilize it in approximately 25,000 other ways. 

The cellulose fiber from hemp is what is used to make thousands of products including bags, ropes, skincare products, building materials, paper, and many food products.

In 1941, Henry Ford made a car from hemp that was also fueled using either hemp or vegetable oil.

And until the 1920s, 80% of clothing was made from hemp textiles. A step away from cotton, the drape and hang of hemp can be compared to linen. Like that beloved baseball glove you've had for years, hemp fabric becomes softer with use.

5 Reasons We Love Hemp

1. Hemp is Strong

Hemp is one of the most durable fibers on earth. And although clothing made from hemp is lightweight, hemp has three times the strength of cotton and will outlast its competition by years. Not only is hemp strong, but it also holds its shape, stretching less than any other natural fiber. On top of that, the more hemp is used, the softer it gets. 

2. Hemp is Absorbent

Because hemp is more water-absorbent than cotton, it retains dye better than other fabric and keeps colors from that dreaded fading. Hemp also has a porous personality that allows it to breathe, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the weather. What's more, Hemp is UV and mold-resistant which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor wear. 

3. Hemp is Versatile

Hemp is extremely versatile and can be used for countless products such as apparel, accessories, shoes, furniture, and home furnishings. Apparel made from hemp has countless beneficial qualities and will likely last longer and withstand harsh conditions better than other fabrics. 

4. Hemp is Cost-Effective

Hemp is less expensive to farm because of its minimal growth requirements. Hemp plants grow quickly, producing 5-10 tons of cellulose fiber pulp per acre in four months. 

5. Hemp is Easy on the Environment

Hemp is also a very eco-friendly crop. It requires no pesticides and needs little water, yet it renews the soil with each growth cycle. Furthermore, nothing is wasted in the hemp production process: seeds are used to make oil and food supplements, while the stalks are used for fiber. Hemp also produces more fiber per acre than trees and can be renewed two to three times per year. Not only that, but industrial hemp plants absorb more carbon dioxide than trees.

How is Hemp Processed?

Hemp fabric is made from the long strands of fiber that are found on the stalk of the cannabis plant. These fibers are separated from the bark through a process called “retting.” Once processed, the fibers are spun together to produce a thread that can be woven into a fabric. 

Like organic cotton, hemp is harvested and processed by hand, keeping people employed around the globe.

The Last Word

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly wardrobe, look no further than hemp. It’s an amazing plant that should be a part of your sustainable wardrobe. 


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