Rasta Plant Medicines
Food Medicine Clothing Rope Paper Building
Hemp for the Healing of the Nations
Botanical names – Cannabis sativus Cannabis indica
Common names – Herb, Weed, Pot, Mary-Jane, Dope, Hooch, Marijuana, Hemp, CBD
The benefits to our planet of choosing hemp products cannot be ignored given its environmental benefits. Industrial Hemp is bred to maximize fibre seed and or oil production, while marijuana varieties seek to maximize THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient in Marijuana that makes you high. Medicinal Cannabis is bred to maximise cannabinoids. It is estimated that there are as many as 25,000 different uses for Industrial Hemp. Here are some very important ones.
The seeds are drug-free and extremely nutritious. They can be eaten whole, pressed into edible seed oil like soybeans, or ground into flour for baking. They are one of the best sources of vegetable protein. They contain a full complement of essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids (EFA’S). At a volume level of 81%, this seed oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (the “good” fats). It’s quite high in some essential amino acids, including gamma linoleic acid (GLA), a very rare nutrient also found in mother’s milk. The hardiness of this plant means it can grow easily and abundantly almost anywhere and can provide nutrition where other edible crops just won’t grow. It can even be cultivated in arid regions with poor soil like Saharan Africa or in places with a very short growing season like Scandinavia.
Hemp Seed Oil for Skin Health
Hemp seed oil is perfectly suited for hair and skin care. Its nutritional value, combined with its moisturizing and replenishing EFAs, make it one of the best vegetable body care foundations. Hemp seed oil’s EFA complement includes polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3, omega-6, omega-9, linoleic acid, and gamma linoleic acids (GLA). Although they are very effective in skin care maintenance, GLAs are rarely found in natural oils. Hemp is an excellent source of GLA.
Hemp paper is naturally acid-free. The oldest printed paper in existence is a 100 per cent hemp Chinese text dated to 770 AD. Thomas Jefferson drafted both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution on hemp paper. Historically, it was an important source of paper fibre until the early 1900’s when chemicals were developed to advance the wood paper pulp industry. Wood pulp paper rode the chemical revolution to its apex before the public health hazards of toxic chemicals were an issue and before the environmental consequences of clear-cutting forests were appreciated.
Hemp as Fuel
Hemp seed can be used for ethanol fuel production which is the cleanest burning liquid bio-alternative to fuel production.
Hemp as Textile Fibre
Hemp is the longest and strongest plant fibre. It is extremely abrasion and rot resistant and was the primary source of canvas, sail, rope, twine, and webbing fibre for hundreds of years before nylon was patented by DuPont in 1937. It was used for clothing, military uniforms, ship’s rigging, shoes, parachute webbing, baggage, and much more. Christopher Columbus’ ships were fully rigged in hemp. Because of its length and strength, hemp fibre can be woven into natural advanced composites, which can then be fashioned into anything from fast food containers to skateboard decks to the body of a stealth fighter.
Chipboard and Concrete
Mixing hemp hurds (the inner fibre) with limestone and water causes it to harden into a substance stronger than cement and only one-sixth the weight. It is also flexible. The wood products division of the Washington State University has developed a method of fabricating tree-free pressboard out of hemp. It is superior in strength and quality to the product produced by using trees. Ecologically it makes an ideal rotation crop. Its twelve-inch taproot prevents erosion of topsoil. Water requirements negligible. Matures from seed in one hundred and twenty days. Preserves soil nutrients in roots and leaves that go back to soil after harvest. It is easy on the land, no chemical herbicides or pesticides required. It actually improves the soil.
Hemp is our future
So you may be wondering: Why don’t we use this plant for everything we can? We would certainly be better off environmentally. Well yes, it’s about money again. A long trail of greed, injustice and ultimately stupidity. So how can we change it all? What can we do to show the multi mega-corporations that we care about the environment even if they don’t?
Remember it’s all about money. If we continue to buy the same old products from the same old companies that got us into this mess in the first place then we can expect more destruction of our last remaining forests. Of all the sustainable sources for consumer products, it is uniquely suited to provide the widest variety of life’s necessities and comforts.
Please note that many varieties of this plant that were grown in North America have been lost. Seed Banks weren’t maintained. New genetic breeding will be necessary using both foreign and domestic ‘ditchweed’ strains that went feral after cultivation ended. Various state national guard units often spend their weekend trying to eradicate it in the mistaken belief they are helping stop drug abuse.