Humans have used cannabis for thousands of years for different reasons. From making clothes to creating medicine, cannabis has benefited society in many ways.
When you first think about cannabis, your mind probably goes straight to its medicinal purposes, but did you know that this plant, particularly hemp, can help the planet?
Just as cannabis use can help individuals with various medical conditions, its growth and use can also help keep our planet healthy. Keep reading to learn precisely how cannabis can positively impact the planet.
Cannabis Reduces Carbon Dioxide
Carbon dioxide is the primary greenhouse gas. As of 2019, it made up 80% of all greenhouse gases produced by human activity. As a significant contributor to global warming, we must develop ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Traditionally, we have relied on extensive forests, like the Amazon Rainforest, to absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, deforestation means we are using up trees faster than we can replace them. This means there is less greenery to counterbalance carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
This is where cannabis comes in. Cannabis can absorb more carbon dioxide per hectare than any forest or commercial crop. We call this process of taking carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil carbon sequestration.
Hemp is known to grow quickly in a wide range of nutrient-poor soils while only needing small amounts of water and little to no fertilizers. These properties make hemp one of the most efficient carbon dioxide converters.
It takes trees longer to grow to maturity than it does cannabis. It’s estimated that over a 20-year cycle, one acre of hemp can produce as much paper as four to ten acres of trees.
Hemp paper can also be recycled eight times in its lifetime, compared to the three times for wood-pulp paper. Hemp also uses much less water and chemicals than wood-pulp paper.
Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for about 10% of the global carbon dioxide emissions each year? “It also accounts for about a fifth of the 300 million tons of plastic produced globally each year,” according to Rachael Dottle and Jackie Gu.
When you think about how much textiles are wasted each year (about 11.3 tons), it’s frightening to think about their effect on the environment.
While cotton production and manufacturing are not exactly eco-friendly, it’s better than the alternative the fashion industry seems so keen on using, polyester.
In 2015, polyester production for clothing emitted 282 billion tons of carbon dioxide, triple that of cotton.
The danger of polyester is that it’s a plastic that creates microplastics that pollute the oceans, freshwater, and land and endangers the animals that consume them. Unfortunately, Australian scientists estimate that there are between 9.25 to 15.86 million tons of microplastics sitting at the bottom of the ocean alone.
Hemp may just be our answer to these problems. One acre of hemp can produce as much material as two to three acres of cotton and is four times warmer.
Hemp fabric is also:
- Fire resistant
Hemp is also biodegradable, meaning that all the clothing that ends up in landfills will cause less damage to the planet if we make it with hemp.
Most of the plastic we use is created with fossil fuels and takes over 400 years to decompose. This fact is more than a little scary, considering we have about 9.2 billion tons of it to deal with.
You may be surprised to know that some of the earliest plastics we created used hemp cellulose fibers. While making a 100% hemp-based plastic alternative is hard, companies can use plastic made from hemp and other plant fibers. Coca-Cola and Lego are already doing such a thing.
Like in fashion, by switching to hemp, we can reduce the number of toxins we are exposed to and how much plastic ends up in our landfills.
Cannabis As Renewable Biofuel
Just as with plastics, we want to reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. At the University of Connecticut, researchers have discovered that industrial hemp contains properties that make it an attractive raw material for making sustainable biofuel.
The study showed that hemp biodiesel has high conversion efficiency, as the researchers were able to convert 97% of the hemp oil into biodiesel. People can also use it at lower temperatures than any other biodiesel currently available.
We make hemp into biodiesel by pressing the hemp seeds into oil. The fermented stalk can also be used to make ethanol and methanol.
In any diesel engine, you can use hemp biodiesel fuel, completely unmodified.
The benefits of biodiesel are that it is:
- Produces fewer greenhouse gases
How Can You Help Protect the Planet?
As you can see, there are many benefits to using cannabis as an alternative for many things, from clothing to paper, fuel, plastic, and paper. However, that’s just all that cannabis can do.
Proper cannabis production can also stabilize and replenish damaged soil. Hemp can clear contaminated soil of metals, pesticides, solvents, oil, and other harmful materials.
To help our planet, you can help support bills and laws that promote the growth of cannabis for the reasons we pointed out in this blog.
This Earth Day, we can all take a moment to think about what we can do to help our planet last for billions of more years. Perhaps, adopting hemp as a part of our everyday life would be the next step in ensuring a bright future for planet Earth.
Shop North Today!
Are you looking for a reliable medicinal cannabis dispensary? Well, you’ve found two in North dispensaries. Visit one of our locations, either in Hillsboro or Pevely.
We care about our customers and their experience. That’s why we always have knowledgeable staff members to help guide you through the decision process. We also offer delivery!
Do you have questions about our services? Contact us today, and we’ll help you in any way we can.