As the Hemp Industry expands, new uses for the plant are being explored as potential remedies for many of the problems facing the world. Unsustainable clothing materials, food chain disturbances, and housing shortages all impact humans around the globe. By digging through our collective past, we are able to resurrect hemp’s many uses and revitalize them to help solve some of the problems we face.
The modern day hemp industry has expanded beyond the well known cannabinoid extraction niche. Hemp strains bred for fiber and food have gained in popularity with farmers as consumer demand grows. As a result, the rise in these niches has been appearing in headlines and expanding the industry as a whole.
According to World Counts, “By 2028, cotton production is projected to reach 29 million tons”. This global commodity is one of the most valuable agricultural products outside of food. However, this prized commodity can wreak havoc on our environment if left unchecked.
Trvst, a group dedicated to creating “a world where shared passion for a better future connects people and enables positive collective change”, highlights the concern that modern cotton products impact our water supply and carbon emissions, as well as using synthetic fertilizers.
For thousands of years, hemp has been used to create textiles. There has been a resurgence in the demand for hemp-based clothing and textiles in recent years, revitalizing the hemp fiber market as a whole. This niche sector of the market has been growing in popularity in recent years, also opening new alternatives to cotton.
According to Data Bridge Market Research, “Global Hemp Clothing Market was valued at USD 6840.0 million in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 63044.55 million by 2029, registering a CAGR of 32.0% during the forecast period of 2022-2029.”
Hempcrete has been a rapidly growing niche within the hemp community. This material is made with the hurd found in the core of the hemp stalk. First utilized in France as a means of stabilizing existing buildings, hempcrete usage has grown leaps and bounds in recent years.
Building projects across the globe have explored using hempcrete as a building material for both residential and commercial buildings. In France, these kinds of projects have been the focus of architectural firms for years. For instance, Barrault Pressacco, a France based firm built 15 units of social housing in 2015 using wood in hempcrete. Similarly, Paris based studio Lemoal Lemoal used hempcrete to build the Pierre Chevet Sports Center.
However, France is not the only country interested in investing time and money into hempcrete. In June 2022, Texas A&M announced their reception of $3.74M to explore the long term usage of 3D printed designs using hempcrete. Their goal is to successfully determine if the material can be used while still meeting all required building codes.
Make no mistake, Hempcrete has an exciting future ahead of it. As the strain on building material supply chains remains tense, alternatives are required to help amend the housing shortage.
A New Way To Look At Food
Hemp is not just a material used for clothing production and building material. It can also be eaten. As more and more individuals look for alternative protein products as meat prices skyrocket, hemp has emerged as an interesting substitute.
There are several ways hemp can be consumed, from a milk alternative to oil to cheese substitutes and just the hemp hearts themselves. According to Medical News Today, hemp has a lot to offer by way of Nutrition.
- 30g of protein per 100g
- Roughly 3TBSP of hemp seeds contain the recommended daily serving of healthy fat for most adults.
- Hemp contains minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium
- 30g of Hemp seeds contain 1.2g of Fiber
Hemp food products can be found in retail stores around the country. Various health conscious brands have invested in this diverse plant, creating a range of food products. However, Medical News Today cautions people to consult their physicians before starting to use CBD products.
As land becomes a more scarcely available resource, properly feeding livestock becomes a focused point of conversation. Industrial hemp used as livestock feed is not a new invention, but a revitalized one.
At the time of this writing, hemp is not approved as livestock feed or pet food. According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials, “The 2018 Farm Bill did not grant the right to use hemp and hemp products in food for humans or animals. The FDA has regulatory authority over food products.”
However, research has been exploring the use of hemp feed in hopes of changing that. In March 2022, K-State University published its findings surrounding the use of hemp feed in cattle. While the results were proclaimed preliminary, it was a step towards using hemp feed in modern agriculture.
Hemp can be used to make more than just clothing. For thousands of years, humans have used hemp to make materials such as rope and paper. As popularity surrounding the hemp plant expands, products bearing the words “hemp infused”, “hemp based”, and “contains hemp” have appeared on store shelves nationwide.
Consumers can find everything from toilet paper to straws and more made from hemp in place of less sustainable materials. The drive to explore how hemp can be used in place of everyday items that are harmful to the environment, such as plastic.
According to Bioplastics News, hemp plastic is “non-toxic, pesticide-free, recyclable and biodegradable within six months, not to mention both lighter and 3.5 times stronger than common polypropylene.”
An Exciting Road Ahead
According to Allied Market Research, the industrial hemp market received an estimated value of $4.9B in 2019 and is expected to reach an estimated $18.6B by 2027. As more individuals explore and invest in this versatile plant and the niche sectors of the industry, new and exciting products are emerging. The hemp plant is poised to be an integral part of our future, and watching it evolve into its full potential is guaranteed to be a fascinating journey.