Hemp is a plant with diverse properties. In today's society, the crop is mainly known for producing and growing psychoactive substances such as THC. In recent years, the popularity of another cannabinoid, CBD, has been added. In fact, only a few varieties can produce a significant amount of these substances, but hemp itself can do much more.
Much further than most people would think actually. It is believed that hemp was one of the first crops that humans planted for agriculture. Finds from the former Mesopotamia were able to detect fabrics that were produced from the hemp plant around 8000 years ago. Other works even point to cultivation more than 10,000 years ago.
The hemp plant is one of the few species that are able to grow on soils that are contaminated with heavy metals and other pollutants. But not only that, hemp can also bind these substances and thus clean the soil so that other useful plants can grow on them later. This principle is called phytoremediation and is currently being researched very intensively in order to reduce and reverse environmental pollution in many places.
In the United States, hemp was banned by the government in 1937 in an attempt to curb the production of marijuana. During the Second World War, the law was overturned by the United States Department of Agriculture due to a shortage of materials made from hemp that had previously been imported from Japan and Indonesia. We are talking about ropes, tents, bags, sails and other fabrics. The government realised how efficient hemp is in the production of the necessary fibers and even produced an eleven-minute advertising film that was supposed to encourage farmers to grow hemp.
... and that's not news. As early as 1941, Henry Ford constructed a vehicle made from soybeans, hemp and plastic, which was lighter and less susceptible to dents than previous steel cars. Hemp can also be used today for the production of organic fuel and thus provides an alternative for diesel from fossil raw materials.
Modern paper is made from cellulose, which is mostly obtained from wood. But even before we knew this process, hemp fibers were used for the production of paper. Even in modern times, white paper can be made from hemp cellulose, which is also supposed to be more tear-resistant and more durable. Because hemp grows much faster than trees, the plant could help protect forests.