You Should Know

You Should Know

The Many Uses of Hemp Part 2 – Textiles and Building

hemp

Last week we took a look at just a couple of the benefits of hemp – Hemp for fuel and Hemp for paper.  In this article we will delve into more uses for this wonderful plant – Hemp for Textiles and Hemp for Building Materials.

Now I know you’re thinking: “Just how can this one plant have any more uses?!” – Well it does, and a multitude more at that.  These articles are really just scratching the surface on what hemp can be used for.  Jack Herer stated that “From more than 1,000 years before the time of Christ until 1883 AD, cannabis hemp–indeed, marijuana–was our planet’s largest agricultural crop and most important industry, involving thousands of products and enterprises; producing the overall majority of Earth’s fibre, fabric, lighting oil, paper, incense, and medicines. In addition, it was a primary source of essential food, oil, and protein for humans and animals.”  Hemp is a very important part of our history, and for good reasons.

“Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known, producing up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year. A normal average yield in large-scale modern agriculture is about 2.5–3.5t/ac (air dry stem yields of dry stalks per acre at 12% moisture). Approximately, one tonne of bast fibre and 2–3 tonnes of core material can be decorticated from 3–4 tonnes of good quality, dry retted straw.”

What variety of cannabis is grown for hemp can also be an important factor.  The tall thin Sativa varieties are most suitable for industrial hemp. Sativa will produce more hemp fibres than Indica or Ruderalis.

Hemp for Textiles

The UKCIA states that “Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) could be an important crop enabling the production of environmentally-friendly, locally produced, high-quality textiles.” Hemp textiles were once part of a booming industry which saw our ancestors using hemp for textiles, paper, rope and oil.  This history dates back a long time, with hemp being a big part of British culture.

In fact, according to The Emperor Wears No Clothes, “The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, which began to be worked in the eighth millennium (8,000-7,000 BC).”  Just to put things in perspective, at between 8,000 and 7,000BC, the world population was stable at five million and pottery was beginning to become widespread.  This means that hemp has been a part of human culture for a very, very long time.

Henry VIII, one of the most famous British monarchs, gives testament to just how important hemp was half a millennium ago.  World Mysteries states that: “Hemp was so important in England in the 16th century that King Henry VIII passed a law in 1553 which fined farmers who failed to grow at least one quarter acre of hemp for every 60 acres of arable land they owned.”  The UKCIA elaborates on hemp’s use in Britain around that time, stating that hemp was mainly used for ropes, sailcloth and sacking, no doubt due to its great durability.  This also made it great for working clothes, meaning a high number of our ancestors throughout this period were wearing hemp clothing.

There are many advantages when considering hemp for the textile industry.  Hemp, like linen, contains “bast fibres” in its stem.  The machines used to process these bast fibres happen to be very similar, meaning, in theory they could be used to process hemp (although the long hemp stalks may need to be broken in half beforehand).

There are many uses for hemp within the modern textiles industry.  The long “bast fibres” are used for twine, geotextiles and paper.  The Shorter “tow fibres” can also be used for paper, and the wood-like core/hurds are also high in cellulose, and can be used for things like animal bedding. (UKCIA)  Hemp is also used to make non-allergenic items like horse bedding and carpet backing, providing safe alternatives to synthetic and potentially allergenic products.

There are also significant problems resulting from our ever-growing consumption of cotton and other synthetics.  Cotton production is very intensive, and requires a lot of pesticides to keep the crop in good shape.  OrganicConsumers.org explains that “Cotton uses more than twenty-five percent of all the insecticides in the world and 12% of all the pesticides. Cotton growers use 25% of all the pesticides used in the US. Yet cotton is farmed on only 3% of the world¹s farmland.” – From these statistics, you can get an idea of the amount of chemicals needed for cotton production.  A sad fact I just found about cotton on the same website was that “InIndia, low prices for cotton and high prices for chemicals have caused tens of thousands of farmers to go bankrupt. As a result, there have been more than 20,000 cotton farmer suicides since 1995.”

The hemp plant does not require pesticides, due to it being highly resistant to insects.  It also doesn’t require herbicides or fertilisers, growing extremely well under organic conditions.  There are studies from the late 60s that found that organically grown hemp has the highest yields and improved fibre fitness – it would certainly be more economically viable, to say the least.  An interesting fact from the UKCIA article worth highlighting was that hemp grows so fast that it smothers weeds.

Another advantage of hemp over cotton is that it doesn’t deplete the soil that it is grown on of nutrients.  This makes it much more cost-effective to produce as well as eliminating lots of nasty underground pollution caused by pesticides.  viridisluxe.com states that “If hemp replaced cotton globally, the increased fibre yield would free up an area of farmland the size of Florida. The reduction in toxic pesticides would be 94,080 tons.”  So from this we can gather that the more hemp and the less cotton we farm, the better it is for our environment.

I read on Hempcar.org that “Hemp is softer, warmer, more water absorbent, has three times the tensile strength, and is many times more durable than cotton.”  In fact, hemp is the most durable natural fibre.  As well as being UV resistant, it is four times as durable than cotton, meaning that hemp garments will last four times as long as similar cotton garments.

Hemp for Building Materials

Hemp can be used to make a wide variety of building materials which are much more eco-friendly than popular methods used today.  Its many uses as building materials are pointed out by Hemp-Guide: “Hemp is a very versatile fibre that can be manufactured into a variety of products that resemble wood including fibreboard, wallboard, roofing tiles, insulation, panelling and bricks can even be made from the compressed hurds. The fibres then can also be used like straw in a bale construction paired with mud for an old-style cob building.”

In other words, hemp is extremely useful to the building industry.  Tow fibres from hemp can be used to make one product – particle board which may be up to twice as strong as wood particleboard and will hold nails better.  The late Jack Herer also stated that “Because one acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fibre pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, hemp is the perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particle board and for concrete construction moulds.”

Another product, Hempcrete is “half as heavy, seven times stronger and three times more pliable” than concrete”. (Hemp-Guide).  Hempcrete is also considered carbon negative.  This is because hemp absorbs carbon dioxide as it grows, retaining the carbon and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.  Wikipedia states that “165kg of carbon can be theoretically absorbed and locked up by 1m3 of Hempcrete wall over many decades.” Hempcrete’s superiority both in strength and flexibility makes it the perfect building material in places on Earth where there is the possibility of earthquakes.  Hemp-Guide also states that “Hempcrete is resistant to rot and pesky animals like rodents and insects, fireproof, waterproof, weather resistant and self-insulating.”

Read our feature – Hempcrete is a Great Building Material on ISMOKE Magazine

In fact, Hemp is so fit for this purpose that Archaeologists found a bridge in the south of France from the Merovingian period (c.450-751AD) built using similar methods.  Rawganique states that: “Iso-chanvre (chanvre is French for hemp), a rediscovered French building material made from hemp hurds mixed with lime, actually petrifies into a mineral state and lasts for many centuries.”

It is possible to make a house out of nearly 100% hemp-based materials.  You can make incredibly strong pipes out of Hempcrete.  Hemp can also be mixed with lime to create a long-lasting plaster.  Hemp paints have also been created, and according to Hemp-Guide they are “proven to be superior over other paint brands in their effective coating ability as well as durability.”

Of course at the present time building your home out of hemp is going to cost a bit more than building it out of traditional materials.  But from the facts above it is clear that hemp products are a viable source of building materials, without damaging the environment.

So there you have it – Hemp is great for textiles, and great for building materials.  There are so many things that this wonderful plant can be used for, and is indeed in some cases the best candidate for, and I just hope we can spread the message so that as many people as possible realise the benefits of hemp.

Sources:

The Many Uses of Hemp (Part 1) Fuel & Paper

Hemp is quite probably the most useful raw material on the planet. In this four part series, we are going to be taking a look at all the wonderful benefits of the cannabis plant and the many uses of hemp in particular.

Hemp’s uses are well documented; for example as fuel, fibre and paper amongst many other things.  Its use dates back thousands of years, and UKCIA explains that: “Cannabis hemp was widely grown across Britain in the Middle Ages, from at least 800 to 1800 AD, though the amount grown varied widely through the centuries. It was mainly grown for fibre which was used to make sails, ropes, fishing nets and clothes. Old clothes were recycled into paper. Oil was produced from the seeds and was burned in lamps. It may also have been used as a folk medicine and for food, but it’s a mystery whether or not it was taken as a drug.”

Also a mystery is why the hemp industry isn’t bigger in the UK, when there are numerous benefits to its use.  In this series, I will outline hemp’s primary uses and the advantages over currently more popular options for fuel, paper, textiles and other things such as building materials.

THC Lean Cannabis Syrup

Have You ever tried Cannabis Syrup? Did you know you can consume your cannabis in liquid form?

Cannabis Syrup

Today we want to talk about THC Lean, the drink everybody is talking about.

New Cannabis Terpene Hashishene Discovered

Hashishene
The world of cannabis has just expanded slightly, with the discovery of a new terpene Hashishene, which gives high-grade Moroccan Hash that distinct taste and aroma.

5 Cannabis Facts You May Not Know 02

We have just uploaded a new Cannabis facts video on the ISMOKE Media Youtube channel

ISMOKE Youtube Channel: Your Source for Cannabis Facts and More!

Today we want to let you know about the ISMOKE Youtube Channel, your new source of cannabis videos and info.

What are Cannabis Terpenes?

You are probably familiar with cannabinoids like THC and CBD – but do you know about Cannabis Terpenes?

Terpenes are chemicals found in cannabis that not only give the plant its taste and aroma, and also deliver some therapeutic effects.

There are over 20,000 terpenes in nature, with more than 200 identified as cannabis terpenes (not found exclusively within cannabis, but found in the cannabis plants). It is worth noting that the terpenes in cannabis vary from strain to strain.

A Guide To Cannabis Concentrates

“Concentrates” is a catchall term for any form of concentrated marijuana/cannabis product. There are many types of cannabis concentrates and therefore, many methods to create them.

What is Rosin Oil and How is It Made?

We’d like to introduce you to the wonderful world of Rosin Oil, a form of Cannabis extract. This oil is growing massively in popularity, and for good reason. Rosin is a solid form of resin that is obtained by adding pressure & heat to vapourise volatile liquid terpenes – somebody figured out the using this method on your bud is a good thing!

The History of Cannabis

When was the first recorded use of cannabis?

Whilst ancient artefacts found in the far east point towards humans cultivating and using hemp (to produce textiles and as a food source) from as early as 8000 BCE, the first recorded use of cannabis as a pharmacologically active agent wouldn’t come until a good few thousand years later…

industryhealthiermed135_02Emperor Shennong was a significant figure in ancient China, revered for being a heroic leader who would end up gifting numerous ground-breaking discoveries to his people.

This legendary ruler would later become known as the ‘Divine Farmer’, as well as the ‘Emperor of the 5 Grains’: monikers that were not given lightly…

7 Cannabis Terms and Their Meanings

 Cannabis is a remarkably diverse plant which comes in many specific strains, each with their own special characteristics: Over the centuries, and particularly over the course of the past few decades, mankind has helped to cultivate a mind boggling array of cannabis strains.

In order to help categorise different types of cannabis, breeders will typically lump a plant into one of two main varieties: ‘Sativa’, or ‘Indica’.

Why Do People Smoke Cannabis Resin?

resin

Why Do People Smoke Cannabis Resin?

If you’re new to medical cannabis, you’re probably learning quite a few things that you didn’t know about. The first time your bowl gets clogged, you may notice a lot of resin left behind when you burn it. Some people actually do smoke resin, though it’s probably not as common as it once was, given the fact that marijuana laws have very much relaxed and medical cannabis is widely available.

If you have access to medical marijuana, there is no reason that you should have to smoke resin. If you want to know why people smoked it and what it does, here’s some information that may abate your curiosity.

The Truth About Cannabis Smoke: A Study

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With recreational and medical marijuana being decriminalized in many areas in the US, more users than ever are toking up in the comfort of their own homes.  But even in places where there are no legal issues with using marijuana, users typically prefer to keep their activities private, and courteously try to confine the smell of their marijuana use to their homes or apartments.

At AirFilters.com, we are concerned about the air quality of those around marijuana smokers, as well as the smokers themselves, so we commissioned a study to find the best methods for smokers to use to prevent particulate and odors from being released into the air. What follows are the results of our experiment (conducted in Colorado) measuring the scent of marijuana smoke in a typical apartment.

 Goals of the study

In our study, we aimed to determine which forms of smoking create the largest amount of marijuana odor around or outside an apartment.  For this experiment, we used a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment. Smoking was done in the bathroom, as is typical of those trying to hide the smell, with one room (the kitchen) between the bathroom and the front door.

Analyzing the data

According to research done prior to testing, we found that the typical sizes of marijuana smoke particles fell in the .3 to .5 micron range – as small as 1/300th of the width of a human hair.  To measure how common each type of particle was, our testing utilized the Fluke 985 Particle Counter, which counts the total number of particles of different sizes over a given period of time. In our experiment, the smoke was tested over a span of 70 seconds – the time necessary to test one liter of air.  Measurements were taken at the following times and locations:

  • The bathroom, 60 seconds after smoking

  • The kitchen, 3 minutes after smoking

  • Directly inside the front door, 5 minutes after smoking

  • Directly outside the front door, 7 minutes after smoking

Between each test, the entire apartment was thoroughly aired out to bring all levels back to their baseline.

 Average baseline particle measurements

                      Bathroom                    Kitchen                Inside door                       Outside door

.3 microns:  95,654.33                108,232.33                112,301.67                          157,482.33

.5 microns:    17,271.00                 21,686.00                  22,349.67                          21,908.33

1 micron:       3,179.33                    2,533.67                      4,996.00                            4,017.00

 Our tests focused on two principal areas:

1. How smoke spread throughout the apartment when using different smoking methods, including:

  • A puff from a joint

  • A single hit from a bong

  • A single hit from a bowl

  • A single hit from a vaporizer, the Magic-Flight Launch Box

2. How effectively five different designs of “sploofs” eliminated the smell and particles from the air when a single bowl hit was fully breathed out through the sploof.

The results

  1. As predicted, the particles in marijuana smoke fell into the .3 to 1 micron range. These were the only particle sizes whose levels had changed after smoking.

  2. Smoking from a bowl created the least smoke, followed closely by smoking from a bong, and then a puff from a joint. However,  all three of these methods were very similar in the amount of smoke they created:

    1. 5-10x the typical .3,.5 and 1 micron particle counts in the bathroom.

    2. 2-4x the typical .3, .5, and 1 micron particle counts in the kitchen.

    3. 2-4x the typical .3, .5, and 1 micron particle counts just inside the door.

    4. No elevated particulate counts were found outside the door of the apartment in any tests.

  1. The vaporizer showed only a 2-3x increase in the particle count for .3, .5 and 1 micron ranges in the bathroom only. No increase was found in the kitchen, inside the door, or outside the door.

  2. All of the  sploofs were somewhat effective in reducing particle concentrations.  They nearly eliminated any elevated particle counts in the kitchen, and no elevated particle counts were found inside the door or outside the door.

  3. Sploofs 1 and 3, incorporating activated carbon, worked best and were about 2x more effective at reducing particulate counts. This reduced the overall smoke levels to those created by a vaporizer.

Final conclusions:

  1. Smoking in a room with the door closed, at least one room away from the front door, should be enough to keep the smell from escaping the front door –  provided that you don’t smoke more than a few large hits.

  2. There isn’t a significant difference between the smoke and odor created by joints, bowls, and bongs.

  3. Vaporizing can be done safely anywhere within an apartment, without risk of the smell escaping.

  4. Sploofs work very well when used in a separate room away from the front door, and sploofs with activated carbon are more than twice as effective as sploofs without activated carbon.

Cannabis: The Infographic

 

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*This is a US-study. Perhaps we should conduct a UK one?

Stoner Stuff You Didn’t Know: Why Do We Get The Munchies?

Impress your buddies with some stoner science…

It’s a scenario we know all too well: You suck up the last toke of a fine doobie, sit back to mong like a pro, and you’re soon propelled by the urge to forage around the kitchen like a Neanderthal hunting his meal. Suddenly, that out-of-date wafer ham at the back of the fridge looks more like a succulent Sunday roast. You crouch on one knee, too baked to venture the seemingly infinite distance to the cupboard to get a plate, and begin forcing the watery slices down your throat in pure bliss.

It raises the question, how do we get the munchies and why does a good bit of cannabis make everything taste so god damn fine?