Several realities limit the production of goods, such as the condition of the global marketplace, agricultural growing periods, and the number of available resources. Luckily, cannabis industrial applications can address these issues through its ability to be grown indoors anywhere in the world, outdoors in many places, and its short growing cycle.
Cannabis Industrial Applications: Why Rely on Trees? Hemp is Faster
One of the leading environmental issues across the globe is deforestation. A significant amount of deforestation occurs to make room for animal farms, but still, farmers clear trees for paper, furniture, housing, and other purposes. While much of this process can be done ethically through tree farms, it still takes years, if not decades, for trees to grow to a harvestable point.
On the other hand, cannabis grows in a matter of months. Most farms have 2-3 harvests per year. Thanks to this cycle, cannabis offers an easier-to-produce alternative to traditional materials. After processing, cannabis can be turned into a wood alternative, as already occurs by HempWood in Kentucky.
There HempWood produces wood ready for interior walls and flooring and is capable of crafting furniture as well. Throughout the compression necessary to make hemp usable in this way, a hefty amount of sawdust is produced, which becomes bioplastic after bacteria eats it. The same strategies work to create exterior walls as well. However, the producers need to see the demand for such products, and the processing facilities need to become available.
Of course, hempcrete is another option for building materials. Essentially, no matter what building material is required, there is a hemp alternative capable of filling the niche. Beyond building, producing alternatives such as hemp paper is much simpler than hempcrete but still something of great importance.
Through sourcing hemp materials, industries can insulate themselves from global markets by supporting local farmers. Additionally, hemp materials take 120 days from seed to finished product, according to HempWood. In contrast to the 30-40 years, it takes the typical oak tree to mature. By working with farmers and manufacturers, industries can improve their production time by working with a crop that grows like a weed.
Cannabis Industrial Applications to Replace Steel and Cotton?
Since the industrial revolution, steel and fashion have infiltrated the life of every living person. Most people own cars, and everyone has a litany of outfits they cycle through. Yet, finding the materials to support this lifestyle has never been easy. Steel is an expensive material to produce, and cotton is incredibly thirsty.
As America and much of the world face droughts that go on for years at a time, water use is increasingly becoming a hot-button topic. An under-discussed, although well-known, solution to this issue is to shift cotton production to cannabis production. Compared to cotton, cannabis requires half the space to produce the same amount of fiber and 50% less water. Remember that officials are warning Colorado’s water reserves could run dry within three years.
While cotton and cannabis are not precisely the same, cannabis clothing offers the same functionality as cotton clothing. Patagonia and other leading brands already offer hemp products. Thus, there is proof that cannabis works as an alternative material. Cannabis clothing merely requires better design and marketing for mainstream adoption. If more leading brands adopt cannabis as a fiber material, consumers would undoubtedly begin to accept this material as commonplace.
As for steel, the difficulties begin with mining. Gathering the material to produce such metals is expensive, or if inexpensive, incredibly dangerous. Additionally, there is an extensive amount of energy required to extract and refine the materials into steel.
Meanwhile, using compression again, cannabis becomes stronger than steel when processed correctly. There are already airplanes made using cannabis processed in this way. The industrial use of cannabis is proven. Adoption is the last step before it becomes a standardly used material, as it has been throughout most of human history.
Reducing Waste Reinforces Domestic Production
Here, the potential for hemp to replace industrial materials such as steel and wood was discussed. Earlier in this series, hemp batteries were touched upon alongside the potential of cannabis fuels. As cannabis can provide alternatives for the most basic to the most complex materials, countries that intelligently invest in the future of cannabis as an industrial crop rather than only as a consumable will be well poised for the future.
The instability of the global marketplace has been made clear over the last few years alone. It is unwise to rely on goods that can only be sourced overseas. Cannabis offers the gift of domestic independence through being able to handle a wide variety of production demands.
Past independence, cannabis industrial applications also a much more sustainable source of many materials. Rather than wasting water – as cotton does – or requiring fracking that puts water supplies at risk – as oil does – cannabis represents a solution that improves soils and can be grown throughout the year. Through diversifying industrial investments to include cannabis, any country will see a massive return in terms of security, stability, sustainability, and eventually, even profitability.