Hemp is the most disruptive plant on the planet. But why? For thousands of years the cannabis plant has been growing alongside humanity. However, for the last century this plant has gone from our best friend to something illegal, grouped into the same category as heroin and subject to excessive and stifling control measures.
Naturally, this leads to a lot of important questions. What changed that led to the hemp plant being so restricted? And what about the hemp's resurgence makes it so 'disruptive' today?
Disrupt (verb) : to interrupt the normal course.
Hemp has the capacity to "interrupt the normal course" of many different industries. Food, fiber, fuel, materials science, healthcare... no industry is safe from hemp's myriad uses. There are billions of dollars on the line in these industries, providing a strong incentive to maintain the norm and prevent any disruptors from reaching their full potential. Here's a glance at some of the industries that hemp has the ability to 'disrupt'.
1) Oil and Gas
Hemp can be used as fuel, plain and simple. We've known this for a long time. In fact, the original Model T car designed by Henry Ford was built with a hemp body and designed to run on hemp fuel!
It's pretty obvious why the fossil fuel industry would consider a blossoming hemp-based biofuel industry as a major disruptor to their business model... these goliath oil companies have more money than most nations and are not excited about a plant that can be grown anywhere being turned into fuel, allowing people to get off their addiction to petroleum fuels.
These massive companies have so much power and influence over our government, there's no doubt that they're strongly anti-hemp and view it as a threat to their bottom line and business model. Anybody can grow a field of hemp... but very few people can extract oil from the earth.
Hemp can be used to make plastic products - non-toxic and biodegradable. At UnCanny we actually use 3D printed hemp plastic scoopers in every jar of the Barista Blend!
Similar to the oil and gas industry, the plastic industry is almost entirely chemical / petroleum based and having a quick and easy-to-grow alternative that can't be patented or controlled is counter to their business model. Again, with so much money on the line there's a great incentive to keep hemp at bay, preventing it from disrupting the status quo.
3) Tree Products
When hemp was initially made illegal in the early 1900s, a big reason was because it was seen as a direct threat to the timber industry. Now nearly 100 years later we've cut down almost all of our old growth forests and have seen habitat destruction everywhere on this beautiful planet.
Hemp can be used to make anything that a tree makes. We at UnCanny use hemp paper for all of our marketing materials and for the box of the Barista Blend single serve packets.
Paper, toilet paper, construction material... anything is made from trees can and should be made from hemp. Trees take decades to grow, provide valuable ecosystem services and habitat for dozens of species on any given piece of earth. On the other hand, hemp grows to maturity in a couple months and grows with minimal inputs.
Hemp has one of the most nutrition packed seeds on the planet. It's an incredible source of plant-based protein and has the perfect balance of essential fatty acids that the human body needs, even better than fish oil. As amazing as the hemp seed is nutritionally, it still faces huge regulatory hurdles coming to market and feeding the world because after all, it is a product derived from the cannabis plant.
The mighty hemp seed can commonly be found as hemp hearts, hemp flour, or hemp seed oil - all of which have different culinary applications and are incredibly healthy. Hemp can be grown all over the world and act as a blanket of much needed food security. Eat more hemp seeds.
Hemp can be used in high-technology applications like computer chips and battery technology. The carbon-derived from hemp has even surprised scientists as a great source of carbon for creating graphene - a major disruptor in the realm of materials science.
The computer that I'm typing this on and the phone that you're likely reading this on is filled with components that can be replaced by more natural materials. Right now, rare earth metals are mined to support the needs of technological advancement, but hemp can allow us to grow some of the base resources needed for these technologies.
The cannabis plant, which encompasses both marijuana and hemp, is rich in a complex array of highly beneficial plant compounds. In particular, it's rich in Cannabinoids, which play a critical role in the healthy and full functioning of our nervous and immune system and so many other pathways in our body. This is one of the most disruptive qualities of the cannabis plant.
Just like fossil fuel industry, the pharmaceutical industry has billions of dollars on the line, huge lobbying power and influence over the government, and a direct incentive to squash any potential natural remedies. Despite the fact that the cannabis plant has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and the fact that the US government has a patent on the therapeutic potential for cannabis, marijuana remains a schedule 1 drug in the same category as heroin, and hemp continues to be treated unfairly by the FDA, DEA and USDA.
I can't write more about the how hemp can disrupt the healthcare industry in this article without bordering on dangerous 'health claims' that could get us in trouble... so I'll let you fill in the gaps. Just follow the money. With billions of dollars of chemical-based, patented pharmaceuticals on the line some people would rather not have you grow a potentially therapeutic plant in your backyard.
This should only serve as an introduction, a launching point for you to do more of your own research into whichever of the many applications of the hemp plant that piques your interest. One thing is for sure - hemp is a plant for the people. It is supportive of healthy humans and a healthy planet, and disruptive to legacy industries that are largely responsible for so much of the destruction we've seen on this planet.
Do you want to see more hemp in the world? Do you want hemp to return to its rightful place as a plant ally for all of humanity and the earth itself? Do you want to help hemp disrupt these industries so that we can move towards more natural solutions?
The best thing you can do is to support hemp companies - like us at UnCanny Wellness :) But we're definitely not the only ones. We and the other brands with integrity working with this powerful plant rely on people like you to keep our business growing. Voting with your dollar is one of the best ways to help get this plant back in the ground so we can disrupt the status quo and move towards a sustainable and regenerative future!