If Mother Earth had a choice, she would choose hemp paper over wood paper. Hemp paper is far more environmentally-friendly than tree paper. Deforestation is a case in point. The world lost 502,000 square miles or 1.3 million square kilometers of forest cover between 1990 and 2016.

The National Geographic published this data quoting a World Bank report. The effects of deforestation are grim and far-reaching. It is one of the primary causes of global warming and climate change. To destroy a forest is also to release the carbon dioxide sequestered there into the atmosphere.

In addition, fewer trees imply a reduced capacity for carbon dioxide absorption. Forests are also critical for the natural water cycle to be maintained. Further, there is the loss of natural habitats for a wide range of flora and fauna. That endangers their existence and threatens the planet’s natural biodiversity.

Using hemp instead of trees for papermaking is one eco-friendly response to the problem of deforestation. In addition to reducing the need to fell trees, hemp also regenerates the soil. Paper companies planting eucalyptus after felling all the trees in an area does not compare with hemp.
Another environment-friendly aspect of hemp paper is that it needs no bleaching. The production of hemp paper thus eliminates the chances of contaminating water with dioxin or chlorine, as paper mills do. The chemicals used in separating hemp fibers from the lignin are far less toxic.

Not many people realize that trees are only comprised of 30% cellulose. Toxic chemicals are used to remove the other 70% of the tree during the papermaking process. The more cellulose a plant contains, the fewer chemicals we need to make paper. The vast majority of plants with strong stalks are better candidates to make paper than trees. As far as hemp is concerned, it is 85% cellulose.

Chemicals such as bleach and chlorine are used in the wood pulping process, and they are both notorious for poisoning our waterways. In contrast, hemp can be whitened by hydrogen peroxide, which doesn’t ruin our water.

Speaking of pollution, replacing trees with hemp is environmentally friendly for another reason. Forests need enormous tracts of land, which are hard to find at the best of times. The logging process speeds up the erosion of topsoil, which pollutes rivers, streams, and lakes. In contrast, hemp can be grown on smaller amounts of land, removing the need for logging and dramatically reducing erosion and its ensuing pollution.

The only plant better suited for papermaking than hemp is kenaf. However, kenaf does not grow as fast as hemp and does not produce as much fiber as hemp does. Hemp has the potential to meet all our paper needs, but kenaf does not.


Hemp Life Cycle

Life cycle of Cannabis

Cannabis plants, like all living things, go through a series of stages as they grow and mature. If you’re interested in cultivating cannabis, it’s especially important to understand the changes a plant undergoes during its life cycle, as each stage of growth requires different care.

Different stages call for different amounts of light, nutrients, and water. They also help us decide when to prune and train the plants. Determining a plant’s sex and overall health rely on stages of growth as well.

How long does it take to grow a marijuana plant?

Generally speaking, it takes anywhere from 14-32 weeks, or about 4-8 months, to grow a weed plant.

The biggest variability in how long a marijuana plant takes to grow will happen in the vegetative cycle—if you’re growing indoors, you can force it to flower after only a few weeks when it is small, or after several weeks when it is big. If you’re growing outdoors, you’re at the whim of the seasons and will have to wait until fall to harvest. The plant will develop buds in the last 8-11 weeks.

The life cycle of cannabis can be broken down into four primary stages from seed to harvest:

  • Germination (5-10 days)
  • Seedling (2-3 weeks)
  • Vegetative (3-16 weeks)
  • Flowering (8-11 weeks)

Looking more into Industrial Hemp Harvest, please click on the following PDF:

Prevent deforestation: Hemp can replace timber

Hemp could potentially replace pretty much anything that is made from timber. Hemp is an incredibly valuable natural resource that is very underutilized. As one of the strongest fibers on the planet, using hemp for construction purposes will result in lighter and stronger wood products. Hemp is also able to hold nails better, and particle boards that are made of hemp are typically twice as strong as wood. Furthermore, just 1 acre of hemp will produce cellulose fiber pulp that is equal to 4 acres of trees, which means that hemp could quite easily and efficiently replace the majority of items that are made of wood.

Historically speaking, hemp was used to create many different products. In fact, the word “canvas” was derived from a Dutch word that means cannabis, which effectively means that real canvas was derived from hemp. Thousands of years ago, this magic plant was used to make all different kinds of commercial products such as textiles, rope, canvas, and paper.

There is a lot of potential for using hemp to prevent deforestation, promote sustainability, and save the lives of animals, and humans. The use of hemp gives us the opportunity to save natural resources, ensuring that we leave something behind for future generations. While it takes only around four months for hemp to be ready for commercial harvest, it takes trees between 20 to 50 years. Deforestation is increasing globally at a frightening rate. Researchers believe that the rate of deforestation is equal to the loss of 48 football fields every minute. It’s estimated that within a hundred years there will be no rainforests. This is one of the reasons that hemp is so valuable – it can replace trees as a source of raw material for paper and wood.

Hemp as a soil decontaminant

One of the most impressive qualities of hemp is that it clean up pollution. So while our modern industries pollute, hemp has the opposite effect. Hemp has the potential to remove radioactive toxins and heavy metals from polluted soil. This is done through a process known as phytoremediation, whereby contaminants are absorbed through the fast-growing roots of the hemp plant that stores or sometimes even transforms toxins into other harmless substances.

An Italian study that was published in Plant and Soil in 2003 found that hemp had the ability to absorb nickel, chromium, and cadmium from soil, and also that high concentrations of the heavy metals had a very little effect on plant morphology. Hemp can grow in a variety of soil types and terrains. It forms deep roots which help to hold the soil together, which also helps to prevent soil erosion.

Hemp also increases the microbial contents of the soil, and its leaves and stems are rich in nutrients. After harvesting has taken place, these can be returned to the soil which will rejuvenate it for a richer yield the following year.

It’s time that hemp regained its place as of the most sustainable and versatile crops on the planet. As Jack Herer is famously quoted, “I’m not sure that hemp will save the planet… but I know it’s the only thing that can.” It’s time we let the hemp revolution take place if we really want to change the world that we currently live in.

Growing hemp prevents pesticide pollution

Unlike flax or cotton – which have been estimated to consume 50% of all pesticides – hemp is naturally resistant to pests. This means that growing hemp doesn’t require any herbicides or pesticides.

When pesticides are sprayed onto the land, they can easily make their way into water sources such as oceans, rivers, or ponds. If pesticides contaminate the water, they could easily harm the living creatures in that water or anyone who ingests it. Even scarier, pesticides have been linked to birth defects, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few diseases. So pesticides aren’t only dangerous to the environment, but are also hazardous to our health.



Sources

Singh, J. (2019). Explained – How Hemp Paper is Produced. Hemp Foundation. Retrieved November 4th, 2020 from: https://hempfoundation.net/explained-how-hemp-paper-is-produced/#:~:text=Hemp%20paper%20like%20traditional%20paper,to%20get%20a%20pulp%20slurry.

Hennings, T. (January 17th, 2020). Stages of the marijuana plant growth cycle. Leafly. Retrieved November 4th, 2020 from: https://www.leafly.ca/news/growing/marijuana-plant-growth-stages#:~:text=The%20life%20cycle%20of%20cannabis,Vegetative%20(3%2D16%20weeks)

Richter, N. (June 18th, 2020). Hemp vs. Trees: Here is Why We Should Adopt Hemp. Way of the leaf. Retrieved November 4h, 2020 from: https://wayofleaf.com/blog/hemp-vs-trees-why-we-should-switch-to-hemp

Industrial Hemp Harvest and Storage Best Management Practices. (n,d). Retrieved December 8th, 2020 from https://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/crop15539/$file/HempHarvestStorage.pdf?OpenElement

Way of Leaf. (October 12th, 2020). How Hemp Can Save the Planet. Retrieved December 8th, 2020 from https://wayofleaf.com/hemp/how-hemp-can-save-the-planet-like-seriously