Often, when people think about cannabis they think of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), two natural compounds found in the plant that can have desirable effects when consumed. However, the cannabis plant has much more to offer.
Hemp is a subvariety of the cannabis plant that is grown primarily for its fiber. It typically has a THC content of less than .3% and can be grown to produce high or low levels of CBD. It is arguably one of the most versatile crops, and some of the products that can be created with it may surprise you. Here is a look at three of the most unexpected products that can be made with hemp.
Most plastic products we use today are still being made with petroleum, but more sustainable options are becoming more readily available. Hemp plastics can be used to make cellophane, rayon fabric, 3-D printing filament and even car parts.
Although some of these hemp-based products may be surprising, the technology for hemp plastics is not exactly new. Some of the earliest plastics were reportedly made from the cellulose fibers of non-petroleum-based sources. In the case of hemp plastics, it is the cellulose from cannabis plants that is extracted and made into plastic. Sometimes hemp cellulose is combined with the cellulose from other plants to create composite bioplastics.
You read that right. Although hemp does not contain enough THC to get someone high, its seeds can be used to help create a product that could get someone drunk.
The process of creating vodka begins with the mash, which is a combination of starch and water. Typically, a mash for vodka is made from wheat, rye or potatoes. However, some distilleries across the United States have recently begun experimenting with hemp seed mash. Ben Williams, the co-founder of a business that creates hemp-based vodka, told Hemp Industry Daily that adding hemp seeds to a vodka recipe increased yields because the amino acids in the seeds helped fuel the yeast.
Batteries are the most common household object used for storing energy. We use batteries to power nearly everything, including smoke detectors, cars, laptops, phones, children’s toys and other objects. However, batteries are not the only option for storing power, and as technology continues to progress, they could become the less common option.
Supercapacitors offer an alternative to traditional electrical energy storage that provides a longer charge after a much shorter charging time. Today’s supercapacitors can be very expensive because graphene, a carbon nanomaterial used to create these supercapacitors, is very expensive. However, hemp could change this.
In 2013, Canadian researchers discovered how to process the woody core of hemp plants into a product that provides better energy capacity for a cheaper price than graphene. This option is made even better because it uses a part of the hemp plant that might otherwise be discarded during other types of hemp processing.
In the short time since it became legal to grow hemp, there has been significant exploration into its potential. Researchers, artisans, and cannabis enthusiasts seem to be making new discoveries every day and continue to prove how beneficial this plant can be. With all of the advancements in the world of cannabis, it might be more surprising if someone discovered something cannabis can’t do.