As the world’s focus increasingly shifts towards more sustainable practices, the cannabis plant can play a crucial role for agriculture and further afield. With it also being World Environment Day (05/06/22), we see there is no better time to spread the good word and celebrate this magnificent crop.
The Soil Doctor
Hemp, as you may or may not be aware, is a regenerative crop. These kinds of crops restore health in topsoil, they take toxins out of the ground, replace nutrients and in some cases sequester Co2 from the atmosphere. This has led to a revolution of ‘carbon farming‘, as a way of stemming the effects of global warming and climate change.
You may have already guessed but, hemp performs exceptionally well in this field (all puns intentional).
As a regenerative crop, hemp not only takes more Co2 out of the atmosphere than trees, but needs very little to make that happen. Requiring much less water, no pesticides or herbicides and offering a turn around of 3-4 months, the hemp plant is also highly sustainable.
A Good Neighbour
Many farmers use cover crops in between or alongside their regular crop rotation. This could be after every crop, or after every few, dependent on what their usual crop may be. Cover crops are regenerative, they make topsoil rich in nutrients such as nitrogen which is depleted during the growth cycle of their regular cash crop.
As one of the best regenerative crops, hemp is a popular choice for many farmers. For the wisest of farmers, this cover crop can yield almost as much potential as their usual cash crop. Hemp is incredibly versatile and can be used in many different products.
The Side Hustle
A cover crop can work as a great side hustle, grain and legumes (peas, soybeans etc), obviously have their place at the dinner table. Some cover crops are left to decompose back into the ground, adding further goodness to the soil.
For farmers using hemp, there are any number of uses for their secondary crop. As well as producing compounds such as the CBD we use in our products, the hemp plant can be made into all sorts of products used in day-to-day life.
Textiles and Fabrics – The tall stalks of the hemp plant provide long fibres which can be turned into textiles or fabric. From rope to nets and clothes to shoes, hemp is both more durable and more absorbent than cotton.
Lasting longer, holding better shape and being much more susceptible to dying, hemp fabric is once again growing in popularity. Popular American outdoor clothing brand Patagonia have championed the use of hemp fabrics and are a driving force behind raising awareness of the plant’s sustainable qualities.
Building Materials – Hemp can also be used in construction. Hempcrete is made using a mixture of shiv and lime. This bio composite material is mainly used for insulation. As a plant-based material, hempcrete can regulate moisture as well as acting as an insulator.
Food Source – High in both fibre and protein, hemp is also a fantastic food source. The plant can be eaten as grain, pressed into oils or milled into flour. Full of micronutrients and phytochemicals, hemp is full of health-giving, life essentials and can form part of a hearty, sustainable diet. You can find bread, dairy alternatives, dips, spreads, biscuits and much more made with hemp. The kernels can also be used as a non-allergenic, healthy alternative to nuts.
Paper – Growing in just 3-4 months and easily upward of 2-3 metres, hemp is also a more sustainable alternative in paper manufacture. Trees can take over 20 years to grow before being pulped into paper and can only be recycled around 3 times. Hemp paper, on the other hand can be recycled up to 8 times. Using hemp produces paper that lasts longer and reduces deforestation.
Plastics – Hemp polymers can be combined with cellulose polymers from other plants to create plastics. These plastics have been used everywhere from car interiors and boats to musical instruments and cellophane. Plastics made from hemp are up to 3.5 times stronger than petroleum-based plastics and up to 5 times more rigid.
Biofuels – A sustainable alternative to fossil fuels, biofuels are made using the flower, grain and fibres of the plant. The oils produced can make both bioethanol and biodiesel which are renewable and biodegradable.
Our favourite benefit, and excuse us for being a little biased, is of course CBD. Extracted from the hemp plant’s flower, this incredible compound can be used to treat illnesses, drive focus and attention as well as aid recovery from injury or exercise.
CBD has anti-inflammatory properties which work wonders within the human body. Reacting with the body’s Endocannabinoid system (ECS), the compound reduces swelling in the brain, leading to better production of serotonin and dopamine.
These two hormones are responsible for your mood and stress. By reducing stress you are more likely to finish each day with a good night’s sleep. This then aids production of serotonin and dopamine and the benefits feed back into themselves, creating a positive feedback loop.
The anti-inflammatory aspect also helps reduce swelling around the body. For the regular gym goer, this means quicker recovery from workout and less chance of suffering DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).
What’s the Verdict?
Adopting the cannabis plant in efforts to bring around a greener future for the planet seems to be one simple step we could take. Long used by civilisations to relax, socialise and find peace, the plant’s benefits stretch much further than our ancestors could have imagined.
For modern societies, these benefits are becoming essential. In a fast paced world, with carbon emissions through the roof, the plant and its components offer solutions to human conditions, as well as global emergencies.
At Goodrays, we have outlined goals aimed at bringing the benefits of the plant into public consciousness. Through our products, education and promotion of the plant’s benefits, we hope to bring change to the narrative surrounding the cannabis plant, allowing it to be enjoyed freely, widely and to its full potential.
So far, we’re on track to do just that!
To read more about our origins, you can follow this link.