Hemp is an incredible plant! All sorts of different hemp products can be made using nearly every single part. Items made from hemp are also much more sustainable than alternatives made from cotton or synthetic fibres.
So what products can be made from hemp? Hundreds – maybe even thousands! The sheer variety of hemp products might even just blow your mind.
Everything from insulation and clothing to cosmetics and biofuels can be made from hemp. Someone even made an entire vehicle shell using around 100 pounds of woven hemp along with other hemp-derived industrial products.
The diverse uses of hemp is why the current U.S. hemp retail market makes approximately $600 million a year. Other researchers estimate that the value of industrial hemp products could easily climb into the billions.
Learn more about what products can be made from hemp and all of its diverse uses by reading about the most important hemp products below.
Hemp Rope and Fibre
Scientists discovered pottery containing hemp cord as reinforcement dating back over 8,000 years. Thicker hemp rope first appeared in southern Russia around 600 BCE, and it quickly became one of the most important products in human industry. Paper made from hemp was the preferred type for centuries.
Hemp still remains the strongest available plant material to make sailing rope with, “possessing in a remarkable degree the essential qualities of flexibility and tenacity,” says the Historical Naval Ships Association. When trade ships first allowed Europeans to explore other continents, hemp ropes and sails helped them get there.
These days, hemp is seen as an incredibly useful textile replacement for cotton and synthetic fiber. Cotton requires about 1400 gallons per pound of usable material, while hemp needs just half that. Hemp also grows more quickly and produces up to 250% more fibre per acre.
Fashion designers have begun adopting items made from hemp to create shirts, pants, shoes, hats and even ultra-soft undergarments. It’s affordable, lightweight, biodegradable, is easily dyed, and requires much less energy to produce while outputting less carbon dioxide compared to both cotton and synthetic fibres.
Hemp seed oil is incredibly nutritious. It is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which help with brain functioning, your metabolism, and your immune response.
Taking hemp seed oil as a supplement – or using it like regular cooking oil in the foods you eat – can provide several health benefits. These benefits can include lowering your risk for depression, regulating your metabolism to reduce symptoms of cardiovascular disease, reducing inflammation, helping manage arthritis pain and more. Some nutritionists even think it can lower your risk of cancer. On top of all that, hemp seed oil is high in protein and contains 20 essential amino acids.
Flour made from hemp seed is another excellent nutritional use for the plant. It is naturally gluten free, high in protein, and contains more nutrients compared to bleached white flour.
Skincare, Health, and Beauty Products
Hemp oil has several essential omega fatty acids, including omega 3 acids and GLA (gamma-linolenic acid), a type of omega 6 oil. These oils help moisturize your skin and repair damage while fighting inflammation. Hemp oil is also rich in vitamins A and E, giving your skin the nutrition it needs to stay healthy.
According to natural beauty experts, hemp oil has zero chance of clogging your pores. It also contains antioxidants that can fight the effects of aging while reducing your risk of certain skin cancers.
As another benefit, hemp seed oil can lock in moisture while providing natural astringency. These properties together make it beneficial to both very oily and very dry skin types.
Because of all these benefits, you may be surprised at what products can be made from hemp to keep you healthy and handsome. Shampoos, conditioners, lip balms, lotions, moisturizers, cleansers, sunscreens, soaps, serums, hand repair products, and even cosmetics can all contain hemp seed oil as a main ingredient or an added ingredient to boost their effectiveness.
Plastics and Building Materials
A mixture of lime, water and the inner portion of the hemp stalk known as hurd can produce an insulating concrete-like material known as hempcrete. This material is mold-proof, can’t be invaded by pests, and contains none of the toxic materials used in many modern building materials. It’s also extremely fire resistant, preventing any building lined with it from going “up in smoke” like a Cheech and Chong skit.
Similarly, hemp hurd can be used to make fiberboard, insulation, and concrete.
Most surprisingly, hemp can be used to make strong, lightweight, and mostly biodegradable plastics. By mixing in hemp fibres with other oil-based plastic and composite materials, plastic hemp products can be made that are easily recyclable and more sustainable to produce.
Some plastic items made from hemp are even superior to conventional plastics! They can be five times stiffer and 2.5 times stronger than polypropylene (PP) plastic. This allows them to be lightweight yet dense, making them perfect for a broad range of applications.
In fact, many companies are experimenting with substituting regular plastics for hemp-derived ones. One Canadian company even made an electric vehicle using hemp plastic body components.
There’s No End to What Products Can Be Made From Hemp
In addition to everything listed above, there are also countless other items made from hemp currently available or being developed, including:
- Hemp biofuel
- Paper products
- Fiber filters
- Animal bedding
- Chemical absorbing materials for environmental cleanup
- Hemp ink
- Milk substitutes
- Protein supplements
So, while hemp may not be able to get you high, the possibilities for using it industrially are sky high! Hopefully we can begin thinking of more creative uses for the miracle plant in order to reduce our carbon footprint and make the world a happier place.