The Environmental Benefits of Hemp, CBD, and Other Cannabis Products
As members of the global community, it's essential to consider how the products we use affect our environment. And while any farmed crop will have issues like pesticide and fertilizer use, hemp and cannabis plants that produce CBD are some of the most eco-friendly crops around. Indeed, the environmental benefits of hemp are significant and far-reaching!
In this blog post, we'll delve into these issues and discuss what consumers can do to make more informed and sustainable choices when it comes to CBD and other cannabis products. Whether you're a CBD enthusiast or just looking to learn more about the topic, this post is for you.
What Is Industrial Hemp?
The CBD you use comes from hemp, an extraordinarily versatile crop that's one of two species in the cannabis family. Unlike marijuana, the other cannabis species, hemp is entirely non-intoxicating, but humans have used it for centuries to make textiles, papers, and medicinal supplements for whole-body wellness support.
But because of its association with marijuana, hemp was outlawed in the US, which cut American industry off from this versatile, sustainable, and ecologically-friendly cash crop. When the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 was passed, it illegalized all forms of cannabis without differentiating hemp from marijuana.
As Americans’ views of marijuana evolved, interest renewed in industrial this renewable cash crop and the environmental benefits of hemp, alongside its industrial and wellness uses. As a result, under a pilot program in the 2014 Farm Bill, which was then expanded and made permanent in the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp was officially recognized as a separate plant and lifted the legal prohibition on hemp.
That's excellent news for eco-friendly manufacturing, as it re-opens the door for sustainable production of a startling number of consumable goods.
Why is Hemp Good for the Environment
Why is hemp farming good for the environment? In short, it supports good soil health, is easily recyclable and biodegradable, traps carbon from escaping into the atmosphere, offers a sustainable alternative to logging, and can be made into a potent biofuel that is a more eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels.
1. The Root of the Issue
The hemp plant is tall and straight, with thin fans of leaves located mainly at the top of the plant. To anchor these stalky giants, hemp grows a large taproot that runs deep into the soil. This taproot is the basis for several of the environmental benefits of hemp.
First, well-rooted crops help control erosion. They help “fix” the ground, keeping dirt from being blown off by high winds or carried away by heavier rainfall. These deep taproots help make hemp more resistant to drought as well. This creates hardier crops that help preserve the land through dry, rough conditions.
Secondly, as these taproots bring up water, they also bring up nutrients that are often trapped under layers of soil. This can be vital for land maintenance because large agricultural operations can leach the nutrients from an area, leaving it dry and dead if not carefully planned and monitored. Hemp not only improves its soil, but it can also be planted in rotation with other crops to keep the soil fertile and healthy.
2. Waste Not, Want Not
Hemp’s biomass is readily recyclable. One of the most significant environmental benefits of hemp is its ability to avoid needless waste. Hemp fibers can be easily composted into a nutrient-filled natural fertilizer. This means that even the parts of the plant not utilized in production can still be purposed to help grow the next crop of hemp or other plants, lowering the demand on our landfills and returning much-needed vitamins and minerals to the soil.
3. Carbon-Greedy, for Reduced Greenhouse Emissions
Carbon is a hot-button issue for those concerned about the environment, and rightly so! Carbon emissions cause devastating amounts of environmental damage. But hemp consumes large amounts of carbon, making it a potential tool for reducing the amount and effects of carbon emissions!
While we want to keep more carbon from entering the environment, especially through greenhouse gasses, Hemp biomass is made of up to 40% carbon. Hemp crops sequester carbon, keeping it trapped where it can’t do damage. When hemp is harvested for fiber products, this creates a durable good with the high-carbon fibers that can keep the carbon out of circulation for an extended period.
4. Fast-Growing, Sustainable Alternative to Logging
Compared to other fiber crops, such as trees, hemp is fast-growing and provides a greater yield on a per-acre basis. These environmental benefits of hemp mean that timber and logging, which clear-cut entire swathes of forests, aren’t needed. Instead, sustainable paper and textile manufacturing can turn to hemp fibers.
Commercial logging operations create an enormous amount of greenhouse gasses due to the machinery they require. Worse, they wipe out the old-growth forests that have provided oxygen and diverse wildlife habitats for centuries. Once these forests are gone, it could take centuries to adequately replace them. With the accelerated rate of climate change, that is time the environment doesn’t have, so sustainable alternatives like hemp farms could be an ecologically sustainable alternative.
5. Ending the Reliance on Fossil Fuels
The potential for hemp oil as a biofuel has long been known. Hemp oil can be processed into biodiesel that could be burned for electricity generation or power motor vehicles with a diesel engine. While still in the early stages, as this alternative fuel technology matures, it could help ease humans away from their reliance on dirtier fossil fuels.
The end goal is to adopt more environmentally friendly practices, making them as easy as going about your daily routine. Pulling into a greener gas station powered by hemp biodiesel is one ecologically-friendly alternative.
How You Can Help
While hemp's environmental benefits are plain, mass adoption needs your help. When you shop from reputable CBD suppliers and manufacturers, choose sustainable hemp clothing, or use hemp paper, you’re supporting an industry dedicated to providing you the highest quality products possible while giving our environment the help it needs.
At CBD Choice, we’re proud to offer you a curated selection of the finest hemp CBD products on the market. By choosing manufacturers dedicated to protecting the environment and delivering hemp that is naturally grown to support your health and wellness, we can make supporting hemp’s environmental benefits easier on you, the consumer.