Hemp and the Environment

The Cannabis College attempts to inform the public on all aspects of Cannabis and hemp, especially those with which you may not be familiar. One of the most important properties of the hemp plant is the role it can play in the realm of environmental protection. Read more below.

Hemp roots

The roots of the Cannabis plant can be used to clean soil, effectively removing several forms of contamination. In a process called Phytoremidiation, plants are used to clean areas polluted with metals, pesticides, radiation and even crude oil. Industrial cannabis plants have deep tap roots which spread quickly, efficiently covering the affected area. The contaminants are then absorbed through the roots and into the plant itself, which can still be used for certain products associated with construction and plastic. This leaves the ground soil with fewer heavy metals, pesticides or solvents than before, thus cleaning the ground itself of pollution. Its elongated tap root also helps prevent erosion and mudslides, and grow with little or no pesticides.

Unlike most crops, rather than depleting the earth, hemp actually helps to prepare the soil for the following year’s harvest (crop rotation). Hemp building materials and plastic products are environmentally-friendly and for the most part recyclable, and are also known to be mould-resistant.

Hemp vs. cotton

Compared to common resources (such as cotton), the hemp industry not only results in eco-friendly fibres, fuels, cosmetics, medicines, and so on, it also protects the earth and makes the land more viable for other crops.

The cotton manufacturing process is responsible for the utilisation of over 20% of the world’s chemical pesticides and processing chemicals; hemp can be grown and processed with minimal or no chemical use. There are very few by-products from hemp processing, and the small amounts of vegetable matter that are not used are easy to either re-use or dispose of.

Hemp is renewable

With regards to the eco industry, it appears that even modern approaches in environmental protection sometimes accidentally lead to the over-consumption of resources, often non-renewable. Hemp plants help to produce oxygen, prevent deforestation and process greenhouse gases while offering materials for food, fuel, cosmetics, plastic, building materials, medicine, textiles and more.

Many large companies producing the aforementioned goods are now considering, or have already implemented, the switch to hemp due to the current worldwide concern towards global warming, climate change and CO2 emissions.

This is just a short overview of the role hemp can play in dealing with our environmental issues. You can read more about the plant’s industrial applications in our industrial hemp article.

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Rather than depleting the earth, hemp actually helps to prepare the soil for the following year’s harvest.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Cannabis and Hemp?

Both are part of the Cannabis Sativa L. genus. The difference lies in the presence of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).  Industrial cannabis, otherwise known as hemp, includes plants containing up to 0.3% THC in the leaves and flowering heads.

Can I get high from smoking hemp?

No. Industry regulations prevent any industrial hemp variety from containing more than 0.3% of THC, the psychoactive compound in Cannabis. This means that hemp does not contain enough THC to get you high.

What can Hemp be used for?

Industrial applications of hemp are endless. Current application span from construction materials, clothing, foods, nutraceuticals and animal care to name a few.