Cannabis Sativa is a plant that has become very popular in Canada lately since marijuana has been legalized.
It is mostly sought-after for its psychoactive properties.
But did you know that hemp is a different variety of Cannabis Sativa, with very low amounts of THC?
Used for thousands of years in Asia and China, imported to Canada during the 17th century, hemp was first cultivated here to produce the extremely solid ropes needed for the boats sailing back and forth between Europe and the new land.
In 1970, hemp was prohibited in Canada, in great part because of its affiliation to its cousin, marijuana.
The failure to make the distinction between the two is, to this day, the main reason why hemp still has a bad reputation in the public eye, even though it only contains 0,3% or less of THC!
But hemp is a plant that is well worth discovering, as it offers a renewable alternative which could very well revolutionize the textile industry and set it on an eco-friendly, sustainable trajectory.
Here are 5 reasons why hemp is one the best fibers for a green future:
1- Hemp textile is 3 times stronger than cotton:
As hemp is a very strong fiber, clothes made from hemp tend to last much longer than those made of other natural or synthetic fibers.
It does not tear easily, and it keeps its shape and colors even after years of wearing and washing (in cold water, and no dryer, of course!).
Washing it actually only make the fibers more soft to the touch and more comfortable!
2- Hemp has a negative carbon footprint:
This means that hemp actually absorbs more carbon than it produces.
Also, there is a good reason behind its nickname weed, as it grows in such density that it litterally chokes any competing plants. It also naturally reduces pests, so growing hemp requires little to no pesticides or herbicides.
And when you are done with your hemp tshirt... it will compost in about a month!
3- Hemp textile is not only hyper durable, it has many other aces up its sleeve:
Protection from UV rays, protection against heat... Hemp has similarites with linen in its capacity to keep us cool during our long hot summer days, and sun exposition does not make the fabric fade.
Also, for people with sensitive skin, hemp is an amazing choice as it is actually hypo-allergenic and non-irritating to the skin!
Moreover, it has antibacterial properties, which help control odors.
4- Hemp production costs are less than cotton:
Cotton actually requires twice as much space to produce the same amout of textile, and 50% more water per season.
During the transformation process, cotton requires 4 times more water than hemp.
Hemp also grows at a faster pace than cotton, and does not require much fertilizer.
5- Hemp offers a great range of possibilities outside the realm of textile industry:
From edible products (hemp oil, hemp seeds, hemp milk, protein powder, etc.) to beauty products, hemp paper and even eco-friendly and energetically efficient construction materials, hemp offers us a rarely matched versatility.
All these qualities are but the tip of the iceberg of hemp's known capacities, as it has only been slowly coming back in our lives for about two decades...
Nowadays, hemp is processed into a bio-material composite similar to fiber glass and used to build cars!
It it also being used to build electric car batteries, which are 8 times more efficient than those made of lithium.
As this amazing plant grows in many types of climate, it is possible to grow it here in Quebec, which would make it a local resource!
To make our future sustainable, what we need most is to stop depending on finite and polluting resources to build our world, and start creating ways to make what we need out of renewable and sustainable resources.
Is hemp a fiber of the future? Without the shadow of a doubt!
Not sure where to start to have more hemp in your life? Find beautiful hemp clothing here.