Hemp Uses

You might have heard about hemp fiber, which has various industrial and commercial uses. Go through this article to know more about hemp.
Even though, hemp denotes the soft, durable fiber derived from the plants belonging to the genus Cannabis, it may also refer to the plants itself, especially, Cannabis sativa. These plants have many different uses, the most important being the production of fiber. Years of selective breeding resulted in various varieties, that can yield, good quality fibers. When the plants are grown exclusively for fiber, they are planted so close, that the stems become taller and thinner with long fibers. Such plants are harvested before flowering, because the quality of the fibers in the plant declines, with flowering. The stems of these plants are cut about two to three centimeters above the ground level. They are left on the ground, for a few days, for drying. Dried stems are processed to separate fibers. The fibers grow outside the woody core of the stem and can have a length of around 3 to 15 feet. Nowadays, special machines are employed for this task and this process is called thermo-mechanical pulping. The fiber produced from this plant is also known as hemp and is used for various purposes.

Hemp Fiber Uses

As mentioned above, the most important among the many uses of hemp plant is fiber production. Archaeological evidences suggest that this fiber has been used by humans from the Stone Age itself. It is believed that hemp fiber has been used by ancient people for making various products. Today, it is one of those most valued plant products, that is used for various purposes. The following is a list of hemp uses.
  • Hemp fiber has long been used to make ropes, which are known for both strength and durability.
  • This fiber is also used to make fabric. Initially, Levi Strauss jeans were made of hemp canvas.
  • Even paper can be made with this fiber. It is believed that paper made of hemp has been used by humans from very early stages, probably, before the invention of today's paper by the Chinese.
  • Hemp fiber is also used as building materials. This fiber is used in making plywood, plaster, insulation, caulking, roofing, cement, reinforced caulking, etc. Concrete, which is strengthened with hemp fiber is known as hempcrete.
  • Hemp fiber is also used in the production of composite panels for automobiles. Along with hemp fiber, flax, fiberglass, etc. are used for making this product.
Hemp Plant Uses
  • Hemp seeds are widely used for extraction of oil, which is used in cosmetics, oil-based paints, etc. This oil is also used for cooking, and it is said to be rich in essential amino acids.
  • Hemp seed is also used as a fishing bait and are included in bird seed mix. Apart from that, milk and tofu are also produced from these seeds.
  • Hemp seeds can also be used to produce biofuel. For this purpose, the oil in the seeds and stems are used along with the products formed through fermentation of the whole plant.
  • The core of the stems are used as animal bedding or for horticultural mulching. These plants are also used for weed control and for purifying soil and water.
The above said are some of the common and popular hemp uses. With so many industrial, agricultural and other uses, this plant is widely cultivated in various regions across the globe.
By Sonia Nair
Published: 5/19/2010
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