If I told you I’m writing this while high on hemp, you’d most likely think of Bob Marley, stare in disbelief, and tell my mum.
But what if I then told you hemp is not marijuana, and I’m talking about being thrilled with the great hemp knickers I have on.
The stigma and utter confusion around hemp versus marijuana has meant we’ve been starved of the incredible qualities of hemp for far too long. Turns out, hemp is not a psychoactive drug, is astoundingly sustainable, and can be used in approximately 25,000 ways.
Image via Adobe Stock
Hemp is not just for hippies and stoners.
To begin with, hemp and marijuana are entirely different plants. Yes, they are both versions of the same cannabis plant, but the way they grow, and the effects on the human body, are opposite.
Proliferates, without the aid of pesticides, requires little water to grow, and no specific environment requirements
Thrives in a controlled environment, requiring lots of attention and care
Contains 3-35% THC: Can get you high
Contains very little CBD
With these two cousin plants defined, it’s time to reveal why it’s so frustrating that hemp is still illegal in many parts of the world, and why hemp has very little to do with stoners and hippies.
Hemp is the only fibre that can house, dress, feed, and heal you. Say what?!
Image via Hempme Skin
Building with hemp
Building a home is usually a costly experience, for both you and the planet. But what if there was a way to build a home with a neutral carbon footprint, that improves the energy efficiency and durability of your home in the process? That’s right; you can build your home with hemp.
Hempcrete is rapidly becoming a popular resource. It’s made from woody hemp fiber, limestone, and water, and used to construct a solid wall around a timber base frame. If grown locally, hemp is carbon neutral, not to mention the energy savings made over its lifetime. The high thermal resistance of hemp means you can put away your heaters and fans, reducing your power bill dramatically.
Hemp grows stronger with time, is mould proof and breathable, fire and pest-resistant, lasts up to six times longer than a standard home and can be built in any type of climate. Need I say more?
Dressing in hemp
Take it from someone wearing hemp undies: hemp clothing is dreamy.
Hemp not only feels great on the skin but is arguably the most sustainable fabric on the planet. Unlike cotton, hemp takes no pesticides, and little water to grow and reaches maturity in just 14 weeks. Even organic cotton uses vast amounts of water to thrive and does not nourish the soil as hemp does.
Instead of taking from the earth, hemp is the plant that keeps on giving. The hemp plant absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees. Hemp nourishes the soil as it grows, making it a joy for farmers to continuing using the land once hemp is harvested.
Just like hempcrete, hemp fabric is antibacterial and mould resistant, making it excellent for outdoor wear, and garments that hug the body. It’s stronger than cotton and can be composted at the end of its lifespan.
Image via I-stock
If I haven’t convinced you of hemp’s incredible qualities yet, hemp is also a superfood. It has high amounts of omega 3, protein, vitamin E, and is proven to be a mood regulator and excellent at balancing blood sugar levels. Hemp is the superfood that sounds wrong to be illegalised; why would we ignore such a beneficial grain?
Surely we can get over the ‘druggie’ stigma and move on?
Healing with hemp
Instead of containing THC, the psychoactive drug everyone fears, hemp is high in CBD: cannabidiol. CBD is known to effectively treat anxiety, depression, epilepsy, inflammation, and chronic pain. It has been used to stop seizures instantly, and cure Alzheimer’s.
Hemp is a super drug; why the heck do we still see it as a demon?
Hippies, stoners, pot-heads, whatever you want to call them, can keep their marijuana to themselves; we want hemp.
How can we ignore a plant that clothes us, feeds us, shelters us, and heals us, all while nourishing the earth it grows upon, absorbing carbon dioxide, and reducing energy consumption?
I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.