Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration lifted the ban on growing industrial hemp in 2018, companies developing sustainable products can look forward to a future supply of hemp fiber and oil. The plant material works in numerous industrial applications, including paper making, textiles, bioplastic packaging, flooring, and even a form of concrete.

Long History Of Usefulness

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Hemp is the non-intoxicating variety of the cannabis or marijuana plant. For thousands of years, human civilizations have cultivated hemp for fiber. Historians have evidence that people grew hemp in 8,000 B.C. It was also a common crop in Colonial America. As recently as the 1930s, the state of Kansas was one of the biggest hemp producers in the world.

Environmental Benefits Of Hemp

Hemp agriculture can decontaminate soil. Its broad leaves protect soil from the sun and reduce soil exposure to the effects of erosion. In three to four months, a farmer can bring in a hemp crop. This is shorter than other fiber crops like cotton. Additionally, hemp requires less water than other crops, like corn, and heavy pesticide use is unnecessary. As hemp grows, it pulls large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Cultivation of industrial hemp for fiber and for grain in France. Credit: Aleks

How Hemp Promotes Sustainable Products

The return of legal hemp agriculture has allowed companies to develop new products. For example, flooring made from the fiber can replace flooring made by cutting down trees. A new concrete hemp product offers builders an alternative to regular concrete. Normal concrete production has a significant environmental impact with heavy CO2 releases.

At the third annual Kansas Hemp Consortium, participants got to preview grocery bags and bottles made from hemp. The bags decompose within a month in a landfill, and the bottles break down in the landfill within six months. Hemp as a base material for bioplastic could mitigate the global plastic pollution problem.

Acoustic & thermal insulation in hemp manufacturing. Credit: Sauvageot

Do you expect manufacturers to embrace hemp as a replacement for other raw materials that have a more negative impact on the environment?

ABOUT The Food And Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices; and by ensuring the safety of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.

FDA also has responsibility for regulating the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of tobacco products to protect the public health and to reduce tobacco use by minors.

FDA is responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medical products more effective, safer, and more affordable and by helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medical products and foods to maintain and improve their health.

FDA also plays a significant role in the Nation’s counterterrorism capability. FDA fulfills this responsibility by ensuring the security of the food supply and by fostering development of medical products to respond to deliberate and naturally emerging public health threats.

ABOUT Kansas Hemp Consortium

KHC is dedicated to smart farming with seed-up testing systems. Providing solutions for farmers, agriculture companies, institutional investors and industry analysts, KHC provides fact-based feedback.

Among KS Hemp Consortium’s strategic partners are licensed hemp producers, processors, dryers, chemists, soil and water scientists, farmers, ranchers and business development experts. Working thoughtfully together, collectively producing in-depth studies of industry trends critical in evaluating investments.

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