The Future of Hemp is More Than Just CBD

Lazarus Naturals News, CBD News
The Future of Hemp is More Than Just CBD

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Hemp, with its versatile applications and sustainable qualities, has gained significant attention in recent years. While CBD products have often taken the spotlight, a whole world of alternative hemp products beyond CBD offer support for a more sustainable future. In this blog, we will explore the expanding range of commercially used hemp products, including clothing, packaging, insulation, building materials, and more. By understanding the diverse potential of hemp products, we may be able to look into a brighter future beyond CBD alone.

Industrial Hemp at Lazarus Naturals

Lazarus Naturals is proud to partner with the OSU Global Hemp Innovation Center, to work on developing processes for developing industrial hemp fiber that has uses beyond just CBD. We’re working to develop an in-house processing line so that we’re able to run material from start to finished product. Currently - the result is hemp fibers used for animal bedding. Hemp hurd is softer than traditional animal bedding, antimicrobial in nature, and incredibly absorbent. This bedding can be used for horses, chickens, pigs, etc. to help with sanitation and warmth through cold winter months.

In partnership with the OSU Hemp Innovation center the team at Lazarus Naturals is working to develop hemp fiber products beyond CBD products.

Amongst our many sustainability goals is the hope of producing insulation fibers for commercial building. Hemp fibers offer far more environmentally friendly insulation than the fiberglass insulation that dominates the market today. Our partnership with Oregon State is allowing us to work alongside some of the top researchers and hemp scientists in the U.S. towards our collective goal of a more sustainable and energy efficient construction model.

Hemp in History 

Hemp has been used for centuries for everything from medicine to animal feed. In ancient civilizations, hemp fibers were spun into textiles for clothing, creating durable and comfortable garments. From the rugged sails of ancient ships to the sturdy canvas used by renowned artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, hemp fabric was prized for its strength and versatility. Because of its strength and durability, hemp was often used in shipbuilding, fishing, and sailing. In fact, the phrase hemp rope became synonymous with quality and reliability.² 

Before we began using trees to produce paper, hemp pulp was the dominant resource for quickly and sustainably creating paper. Some believe that it was even used for the first drafts of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Gutenberg Bible before being printed on parchment paper and vellum, respectively.¹ 

However, the prohibition era in the early 20th century curtailed the widespread use of hemp. With the criminalization of hemp, production, and usage faced severe restrictions. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 in the United States classified hemp as a controlled substance, hindering its industrial potential. This prohibition limited the development of hemp as a sustainable alternative to paper made from trees and textiles, clothes, and rope. As a result, many industries relied heavily on wood pulp, leading to deforestation and environmental concerns.³

The misconceptions and legal restrictions surrounding hemp during the prohibition era overshadowed its versatile and sustainable qualities. However, recent shifts in legislation and growing recognition of hemp's potential have allowed for its resurgence in various industries, offering renewed opportunities for hemp as an eco-friendly alternative.

Hemp into the Future 

We're building out our hemp fibers processing line with the hope of a more sustainable future and by-product from hemp.

Since the lifting of the hemp prohibition, industrial hemp has experienced a remarkable comeback driven by the growing demand for sustainable, natural, and organic solutions to our scaling environmental and sustainability concerns. 

After the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp, many industries began exploring its potential for its inherent eco-friendly qualities.⁴ As a rapidly renewable resource, hemp requires minimal water and pesticides to grow, making it an environmentally responsible choice compared to much slower renewable resources like trees.⁵  More importantly, hemp cultivation helps to reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making it a potential green choice for mitigating climate change. 

Hemp is also incredibly versatile, offering sustainable alternatives across many different industries. From textiles to construction materials and packaging, hemp provides a natural and biodegradable option that might help reduce our reliance on synthetic and environmentally damaging materials. The resurgence of hemp signifies a shift towards a more sustainable future, where nature's offerings are embraced to address our pressing environmental challenges.

How industries use hemp

Much like the pre-prohibition era, hemp use is finding its place across industries. From textiles to construction materials, hemp offers sustainable and natural alternatives that promote environmental consciousness and address sustainability concerns.⁶ Below, we're breaking down a few ways different industries are harnessing the power of hemp to create a greener future. 

Hemp Clothing

Hemp clothing is becoming increasingly popular as a sustainable alternative to synthetic fibers, which rose in popularity for their durability. Hemp fibers are durable, naturally anti-bacterial, and resistant to mold and UV rays, making hemp garments much longer-lasting than other materials.⁷ Unlike synthetic fabrics, hemp fibers are derived from a renewable plant source, making them biodegradable and reducing the accumulation of textile waste in landfills.

Hemp cultivation requires fewer pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers than conventional cotton. This aspect makes hemp an environmentally friendly choice, as it minimizes water pollution, soil degradation, and chemical exposure to farmers and surrounding communities. Additionally, hemp has a remarkable ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during its rapid growth cycle, acting as a carbon sink and helping mitigate the impacts of climate change.

As the demand for sustainable fashion continues to rise, hemp clothing holds excellent growth potential. By embracing hemp as a clothing material, we might shift away from the wasteful practices of the fast fashion industry and contribute to a more sustainable and ethical fashion ecosystem.⁸ Choosing hemp garments supports environmental preservation and promotes the well-being of the workers and communities involved in its cultivation and production.

Hemp Packaging

Conventional packaging materials such as plastics and styrofoam, aren't biodegradable and create long-lasting environmental impacts. ⁹⁻¹⁰ The pervasive use of these materials has led to a surge in plastic waste, ocean pollution, and harmful greenhouse gas emissions.  Hemp-based packaging, on the other hand, offers a potentially greener alternative that may address these pressing sustainability issues.

Hemp fibers can be processed into biodegradable and compostable packaging materials like hemp-pulp packaging or hemp-based bioplastics, which might significantly reduce waste and pollution. ¹¹⁻¹² Unlike traditional plastics, hemp-based materials break down naturally over time, minimizing the accumulation of non-biodegradable materials in landfills and the environment. When discarded or composted, hemp packaging decomposes into organic matter, enriching the soil and completing a sustainable cycle.

The potential of hemp-based packaging to revolutionize industries heavily reliant on packaging, such as food and cosmetics, is immense. Hemp packaging could significantly reduce environmental footprints by adopting hemp packaging solutions. For instance, food packaging made from hemp might help mitigate the adverse effects of single-use plastics and contribute to a circular economy where resources are efficiently utilized and returned to the earth in a regenerative manner. ¹³⁻¹⁴

Hemp Insulation and Building Materials 

A backyard shed and hemp insulation pilot project from our own QC Plant Technician Chris Sullivan.

Insulation and building materials are crucial in constructing sustainable and energy-efficient buildings, but the conventional materials used often contribute to significant environmental challenges.¹⁵ From high carbon footprints to reliance on non-renewable resources, unsustainable practices have fueled the need for greener alternatives, that's where hemp comes in. 

Hemp insulation is a renewable and natural material with excellent thermal and acoustic insulation characteristics that may help regulate temperature and reduce energy consumption— potentially curbing greenhouse gas emissions and combating climate change.¹⁶ Furthermore, hemp insulation is breathable and may prevent moisture buildup and mold growth, leading to healthier indoor environments.

A backyard shed and hemp insulation pilot project from our own QC Plant Technician Chris Sullivan.A backyard shed and hemp insulation pilot project from our own QC Plant Technician Chris Sullivan.

Beyond insulation, hemp may also be an excellent building material. Hempcrete, a bio-composite made by combining the inner woody core of hemp plants with limestone and water, offers outstanding insulation properties, lightweight construction, and good thermal mass. ¹⁷ Additionally, hemp fiber can be woven into mats for wall construction, which may provide strength, durability, and insulation. Hemp fiberboard, another application, offers a sustainable alternative to wood-based fiberboards, promoting responsible forestry practices.¹⁸

The benefits of hemp extend further as it might be used as reinforcement in composite materials, such as hemp fiber-reinforced polymers.¹⁹ These composites might provide lightweight and strong structural components, potentially replacing conventional materials like steel and concrete with a more sustainable option.

We might address the unsustainable issues associated with conventional practices by using more hemp as insulation and building materials. Hemp's renewable nature, excellent insulation properties, and strength make it a good potential choice for eco-conscious builders. With its renewable sourcing, superior insulation properties, and low environmental impact, hemp is a potentially valuable solution in combating the unsustainable challenges of the construction industry.

CBD Products

While CBD products are the most familiar product for their potential wellness benefits, CBD is used to support industries outside that realm. For example, CBD-infused skincare products have emerged as natural alternatives to conventional cosmetics, offering potential benefits for the skin.²⁰ CBD's potential anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties may help soothe and nourish the skin, potentially reducing redness and inflammation and promoting a clearer complexion.

CBD may promote pain relief and reduce inflammation, positioning it as a potential ingredient in future pharmaceuticals.²¹ Ongoing research is uncovering its potential in mental health, epilepsy, neuroprotection, and more. While more studies are needed to fully understand its effects, CBD's non-intoxicating nature and potential therapeutic properties make it an intriguing area of scientific inquiry.

As the world becomes more receptive to natural and plant-based alternatives, CBD's versatility allows for its integration into various products beyond wellness. From skin care to pain management, the potential applications of CBD are continuously expanding. 

Final Thoughts 

Historically, hemp was widely used for clothing, paper, rope, and building materials. In pre and post-prohibition eras, hemp has demonstrated its remarkable versatility and potential to contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly future. Unfortunately, the misguided association with cannabis during prohibition hindered its progress. 

With the lifting of restrictions, hemp has made a comeback. From hemp clothing to packaging, insulation, and more, hemp may offer sustainable alternatives that combat environmental and sustainability challenges. Only time will tell how many sustainable hemp alternative products will be fully embraced by society moving forward. Still, things are looking promising. 

Lazarus Naturals hopes to be at the forefront of the sustainable future that industrial hemp can provide. As technology, research, and understanding of the plant improves, hemp will certainly offer far more use than its oil alone.

Lazarus Naturals is proud to be a trusted and reliable source for CBD, offering people an alternative way to take control of their wellness. By embracing hemp and CBD, we can tap into their vast potential and pave the way toward a greener, more sustainable, and wellness-oriented future.