7 Surprising Uses of Hemp Leaves
Hemp leaves have many benefits—all the way from helping with skin conditions to replacing cotton.
Hemp is one of the many variations of the ever-controversial Cannabis Sativa plant and a cousin of some sort to marijuana. But unlike the latter, it does not have high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) doses, which gives marijuana users that distinct high. Instead, it is rich in another kind of cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), the secret to cannabis’ infamous health benefits.
Despite the limited studies surrounding the benefits of cannabis, there are many anecdotal testimonies that it does help improve specific health and mental conditions. Not to mention, there is no denying that the cannabis plant is not only good for its leaves. So, legislators in the United States figured out a way to exploit the exotic plant without the risks of inducing its euphoric after effects.
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp became legal, removing it “from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA),” and giving complete jurisdiction to the experts back in the Food and Drugs Administration to guarantee that all hemp products are safe and meet the qualifications for mass consumption.
Now, you can literally find all kinds of hemp products in 11 states across the US. Here are the top uses of hemp you never thought about:
- Automotive composites
- Hemp boat canvas
- Organic raw paper
- Hemp plastic
- Skin balms
- Bio leather
- Surfing gear
Natural fibers are used as automotive composites to promote sustainability.
Did you know that hemp is one of the raw natural materials that many automotive manufacturers use? Motor giant Henry Ford introduced, in 1941, the first-ever hemp plastic car, which contains mostly plant fibers and is believed to be ten times stronger than steel. Who knew, right?
Meanwhile, in the latter half of the 1990s, a German research institute experimented with plant fibers, like hemp leaves and stalks, for automotive composites. It soon propelled the automotive composites using natural fibers into a highly in-demand industry, paving the way for lighter and more eco-friendly vehicles. In turn, there may be a glimpse of hope in lessening the carbon footprint and environmental costs of the automotive industry.
Hemp boat canvas
Boats use a lot of canvas as a sail. That is why it is important to look for alternative materials that are friendly to the environment, like hemp.
Boats often sport sails from synthetic fibers and cotton. But there is a better and more eco-friendly alternative that many boat manufacturers often overlook—hemp. Those who are making their boat gear towards using hemp fibers instead of cotton for their sails. It looks more quintessential to the traditional design.
Aside from the rugged aesthetics, hemp canvas is excellent for boats because it is breathable, well-woven, and lighter than cotton. But most importantly, hemp canvas tends to keep its shape much longer because it does not stretch much. Partner that with modern technology, and indeed, soon enough, the boating industry will have to replace the plastics.
Organic raw paper
Paper is an essential used by a vast majority of the population, and making it with eco-friendly materials would probably make a significant impact in saving our planet.
When we talk about being more eco-friendly, many of us revert to using paper-made materials: paper cups, paper bags, paper plates, and the like. But lo and behold, it is not as mighty as everyone thinks. Producing paper is one of the leading causes of deforestation. What is worse is it takes more than 20 years for a tree to grow so it can be eligible to become paper.
Here is a great and more sustainable alternative: hemp paper. According to the Way Of Leaf, “an acre of hemp produces as much paper as 4-10 acres of trees across a 20-year period.” Not only that, but producing organic raw paper from hemp includes less harmful chemicals like chlorine, bleach, and other toxic chemicals that companies use to get the cellulose of a tree. Plus, hemp paper does not change colors or turn yellowish-brown after a long time, unlike ordinary paper, and its fibers are significantly stronger.
This is a plastic sack made of hemp, which manufacturers use in packing their products.
Plastics are the top pollutants on Earth. It kills the soil in landfills and affects marine life under the sea. Not only that, but its production also uses a lot of harmful chemicals, toluene, benzene, hydrocarbons, and the like. Even biodegradable plastics are not all that good. Yes, they decompose fast, but, more often than not, they also leave toxic residue—leave them in landfills, and they emit as much greenhouse gasses as standard plastic.
Meanwhile, hemp bioplastics, with robust natural fibers, are much better at helping the environment, according to this research. Manufacturers solely use cellulose, instead of petroleum, during production, hence the less toxicity. It is also more durable than ordinary plastic. Why else would the automotive industry hype it up? But most importantly, the production is overall more eco-friendly, despite the costs, because hemp absorbs more carbon dioxide and grows faster than trees.
When hemp was finally legalized in several states in the United States, CBD stores appeared like mushrooms. After all, the cannabinoid is the star of the plant’s health benefits. Among the many ways to get the benefits of CBD is by getting pure organic hemp oil. You can either press it from hemp seeds or get it by steaming hemp leaves.
Hemp essential oil is excellent for skincare essentials. Although there have been debates over its effectiveness as a toner, you cannot deny its value once it becomes part of skin balms. The plant has excellent antioxidant and antibacterial properties and is rich in vitamins A, C, and E. All of which are great to soothe skin problems. Wave Tribe's After-Sun Cream All-Purpose Balm with Hemp helps heal, soothe, and refresh any discomfort your skin feels after being under the sun for too long.
You can also find hemp-based creams and topicals from Nurtrium—using hemp’s entourage effect to treat everything from skin ailments to muscle and joint pains. Nurtrium offers novel topical creams and skin balms containing compounds known to provide relief for dry skin associated with eczema, psoriasis, and general dryness. Their mission is to help people improve their personal and collective relationship with nature by using products that minimize our impact on the environment. You can learn more about them by tuning into the latest episodes of Saltwater High.
Bio leather is also called vegan leather since it is made from natural fibers.
The leather industry kills billions of animals every year. That is why many people are ditching this unethical textile. Notable fashion brands continue to find vegan alternatives to making leather, and some make synthetic leathers from plastics. And one natural alternative that is slowly getting into the limelight is hemp fiber.
For example, Hemp Bio Leather creates innovative organic leather from wastes or residues of industrial hemp from Denmark. It is a restorative and more efficient way to produce leather, creating a customizable and versatile material for all kinds of industries, especially in fashion. And given hemp’s significantly strong fibers, you can guarantee that this bio leather will be durable.
A lot of surfboard bags in the market are made of plastic. Shifting to one made from hemp is not only good for you because of its durability but also good for our marine bros, the ocean, and the planet.
Every part of the hemp plant is valuable, even byproducts from industrial productions. Reefer Wax creates hemp-based surf wax that helps regenerate lost coral reef populations by putting essential nutrients back in the ocean to reverse coral bleaching and degeneration. In this episode of the Saltwater High podcast, CEO and Founder of Reefer Wax, Marissa Gochar, gives you a first-hand understanding of their products and some helpful tips for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Here at Wave Tribe, we believe in having a symbiotic relationship with our environment. Hence, we do our part by creating and offering eco-friendly surf gears from sustainable materials like recycled plastics and hemp.
For those who are always on the lookout for fresh waves across the globe, using a surfboard travel bag is only necessary. Check out our hemp surfboard travel bags, with breathable fabric, and which is more than durable enough to protect your board while traveling, guaranteeing it will arrive safe and sound with you on your next surf trip destination. Add to Cart below.
More Wave Tribe Reads:
How to Make your Surfing Travel Plans Eco-Friendly
What Impact Does Ozone Depletion Have On Plant And Animal Life?
Why Surf Travel Makes You Happy
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