by Sheri Lupoli representing Team Trella
For The Love of Hemp
Lately, I can’t stop thinking about the amazing gift that is hemp. I have met so many wonderful hemp producers over the past few years who have all shared some amazing knowledge with me and given me a lesson in appreciating and respecting this non-psychoactive member of the Cannabis family.
In the last blog post, I tried to give hemp the spotlight a bit, noting its versatility and value in producing fabrics, cosmetics, food, and medicines. While hemp-based products are quite popular at the moment, the truly impressive thing about hemp is its usage as a hyperaccumulator. Hemp has been used as a phytoremediator across the globe, planted specifically to absorb radiation and heavy metals from contaminated soils.
As if that weren’t enough reason to send your local hemp farmers a thank you note, it turns out that hemp can be used in even more ways for even more benefit to the environment. Here are three more reasons to love hemp.
Hemp Can Be Made Into Biodiesel
Our reliance on fossil fuels is contributing to the climate crisis, so it is becoming imperative that we explore cleaner, alternative fuel solutions that are renewable. Biodiesel is derived from biomass (organic materials like plant and animal matter) instead of from petroleum, and it is extracted with algae oil or even hemp oil rather than distilling it into ethanol. When hemp is converted into biodiesel, some forms have been found to reduce carbon emissions by up to 20%.
Image Credit: Cannabis Tech
Hemp Sequesters Carbon
The research is still ongoing when it comes to hemp biodiesel, and although the US as a nation does seem to be more conscientious about carbon emissions in general, we’re not yet at the point where we are regularly using biofuels as a mainstream substitute for petrol.
But don’t worry! If you can’t run your car on hemp yet, then you can clean the air with it instead. A UK study was documented by energy consultants in Australia who reported on the amount of carbon found to be contained in the hemp plants that were cultivated specifically to sequester it. When each part of the plant was measured, (roots,stems, leaves) hemp was demonstrated to sequester carbon even more efficiently than trees:
One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb 22 tonnes of CO2 per hectare...Hemp's rapid growth (grows to 4 metres in 100 days) makes it one of the fastest CO2-to-biomass conversion tools available, more efficient than agro-forestry
Imagine entire fields of hemp cleaning the air of carbon pollution and releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. This is a particularly strong example of the symbiosis between hemp and the environment, with unprocessed hemp plants having value simply by existing in the ground.
Of course, farming large fields of hemp requires a lot of propagation. Propagation requires a lot of time and space and is not without its own environmental challenges. One way to reduce the quantity of chemicals, natural resources, and time that must be invested in this system of succession planting is to practice controlled environment agriculture.
Utilizing automation and robotics, farming indoors using technology like TrellaGro LST™ can yield greater quantities of clones to be transplanted, reduces labor, and supports organic farming practices by eliminating the need for pesticides.
Hemp Can Be Used in Regenerative Agriculture
When it isn’t cleaning the air and soil, hemp is busy making sure that other crops don’t deplete the farmable earth of all nutrients. Any soil that is worked will eventually become depleted of the nutrients that plants need to thrive. Even if we add nutrients to the soil manually, plants will absorb them quickly, leaving little for future crops. It is quite the costly and exhausting task trying to keep large farming fields from becoming barren.
Have no fear! Hemp has been discovered to have regenerative properties that enrich soils naturally and encourage successful crop rotations. How? The carbon and nitrogen it sequesters from the air is returned to the soil!
In fact, the potential impact that this method of soil regeneration has on the agricultural industry has spurred some excitement among organic farmers. There are organizations like the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania which currently researches the healing and protective properties that hemp has for soil, including its usage as a cover crop to eliminate weeds.
Image Credit: Rolling Stone Magazine
So the next time you use a little CBD for that headache that won’t go away, remember that hemp is here to heal not just our bodies and minds, but the very planet that sustains us. Pretty cool. Thanks Earth. Thanks Cannabis.
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