HEMP FOOD, FIBER, FUEL & MEDICINE
Other non-food uses for hemp seed oil are: lamp lighting, printing, lubrication, and household detergents, stain removers, varnishes, resins and paints. In this area, hemp seed oil is similar to linseed oil.
FIBER One of the most valuable parts of the hemp plant is the fiber, commonly referred to as "bast," meaning that it grows as a stalk from the ground. Other fibers such as sisal, manila hemp and jute are mistakenly referred to as hemp, yet only Cannabis sativa is considered "true hemp." Among the characteristics of hemp fiber are its superior strength and durability, and its stunning resistance to rot, attributes that made hemp integral to the shipping industry. The strong, long bast fiber is extracted from the stalk by a process known as decortication. Hemp fiber contains a low amount of lignin, the organic glue that binds plant cells, which allows for environmentally friendly bleaching without the use of chlorine. In composite form, hemp is twice as strong as wood. All products made with hemp fiber are biodegradable.
Extracted from the bark of the stalk, this type of fiber is called "long" because it stretches the entire length of the plant. The length of the fiber enhances the strength and durability of the finished goods. Hemp can grow to 15 feet or more, making it excellent for textile production. Hemp is most similar to flax, the fiber of linen products. By contrast, cotton fibers are approximately 1-2 mm in length and are prone to faster wear. Hemp fiber also has insulative qualities that allow clothing wearers to stay cool in summer and warm in the winter. Long hemp fiber is used in twine, cordage, textiles, paper, webbing and household goods.
The short fibers, or "tow," are the secondary hemp fibers. While not as strong as the long fibers, the tow is still superior to many other fibers. Tow is extracted from the long fibers during a process called "hackling," a method of combing and separating the fiber from hurd. Short fibers are used to make textiles, non-woven matting, paper, caulking, auto bodies, building materials and household goods.
The hurd is the woody material found in the center of the hemp stalk. The hurd is rich in cellulose, a carbohydrate that can be made into paper, packaging and building materials, as well as plastic composites for making skate boards and auto bodies.
As long ago a 450 BC the Scythians and Thracians made hemp linens. The Chinese first used hemp for paper making in 100 AD. Hempen sails, caulking and rigging launched a thousand ships during the Age of discovery in the 15th Century. The American Declaration of Independence was first printed on rag papers that undoubtedly contain hemp.
Hemp biomass as a source of fuel is the most under exploited, yet potentially the biggest industrial use of the plant.
Hemp stalk are rich in fiber and cellulose with potential for use in the generation of energy. The hemp stalk can be converted to a charcoal-like substance through a process called pyrolysis, and used for power generation and to produce industrial feed stocks. Auto giant Henry Ford was a pioneer in the pyrolysis process, and operated a biomass pyrolytic plant at Iron Mountain in Northern Michigan.
Hemp as an auto fuel is another potential use. Almost any biomass material can be converted to create methanol or ethanol, and these fuels burn cleanly with less carbon monoxide and higher octane. In fact, the diesel engine was invented to burn fuel from agricultural waste yet ended up burning unrefined petroleum. Hemp seed oil can be refined to produce a type of hemp gasoline.
The medicinal use of cannabis hemp is only now being understood and applied in spite of the fact that the herb has been a folk remedy for thousands of years.
The consumption of cannabis flowers, or buds, through smoking or eating is used to treat a number of ailments: Nausea- for cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and AIDS patients, smoking cannabis is preferred over taking THC in pill form because it acts faster and patients are able to dose themselves more accurately.
Intraocular pressure- for glaucoma suffers, cannabis relieves the pressure in their eyes that leads to blindness. Seizures- the cannabidiol in cannabis improves the condition of grand mal and partial seizure sufferers and allows them to reduce or dispense with conventional medications.
Pain- for sufferers of migraine headaches, post-menstrual cramps, labor pains, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy, cannabis reduces muscle spasms and tremors and allows them to avoid conventional medications with serious side-effects. Depression- for patients who do not respond to or who want to avoid the side-effects of other medications.Asthma- cannabis smoke dilates the bronchial passages.
Historically, Indian doctors have used bhang (a preparation of cannabis, honey and milk) for the treatment of all kinds of ailments. In the mid-19th century, Dr. William O'Shaughnessy helped introduce cannabis, or bhang, to western culture. This spawned a whole slew of over-the-counter cannabis medications marketed by Squibb, Parke-Davis, and Eli Lilly. Queen Victoria herself used cannabis medicine for menstrual cramps.
One of the most enduring characteristics of cannabis as medicine is its inherent lack of toxicity. There has never been a recorded case of death from cannabis overdose in the thousands of years it has been used by mankind.
Seed and seed oil
Hemp has been a part of the Chinese pharmacopoeia for the past 4,000 years. Ancient Chinese folk remedies call for hemp seed use to improve the "chi" or stamina of the body; to cure neurologic impairment due to stroke, urinary disorders, and blood deficiency.
Externally, hemp seed preparations promote the healing of sores and dry skin. Traditional hemp oil formulas were applied topically to treat abscesses, boils, pimples and swellings. Currently marketed products include lip balm, moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, salves, perfumes, liniments. These hemp seed oil mixtures do the same for the skin and hair that the oil does for the diet.Written by: The International Hemp Journal
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