The rise in popularity of CBD has made a major impact in the lives of millions of Americans. Its impact has also affected the economy at large, with the growth of the CBD industry expected to skyrocket. According to one study, CBD is expected to generate $22 billion by 2022.
In addition to its many potential benefits for humans, it’s very important to note that CBD has the potential to be very beneficial for the environment. This is because of how CBD is manufactured: In the United States, if produced legally, CBD is manufactured from industrial hemp. Hemp is a type of cannabis that can be used in a wide array of substances, including paper, plastics and more. Hemp has been used for these purposes for millennia, but faced a huge degree of opposition in the 19th and 20th century from paper and plastics manufacturers. At that point, laws were changed and hemp became harder to produce.
Thankfully, hemp has experienced a resurgence of late, and a variety of state and federal laws have helped to legalize hemp and provide a variety of incentives for its growth. This is good news, not only for CBD users but for the environment in general, as hemp is environmentally beneficial for a variety of reasons. Remember, as CBD rises in popularity, so does the demand for hemp use.
Want to learn more? Here’s a look at four ways in which the popularity of CBD – and its source, hemp – can help the environment.
One of hemp’s many benefits is that it has long taproots. The taproot is essentially the root of the plant. Hemp roots extend deeper into the ground, and they are stronger than the roots typically found on other, similar plants. Because of this, hemp can go well into the soil in order to obtain various nutrients and water which it needs for survival. This is good news, as it makes hemp a less labor-intensive crop, as it needs less water and fewer nutrients in order to survive and thrive.
This is even better news for farmers, as growing hemp will not drain the land and the soil of vital nutrients and water. Since it requires fewer nutrients, it is also less expensive for farmers, at it requires less intervention from outside resources in order to grow. Indeed, some information shows that the hemp plant can actually bring nutrients up in the soil, making it possible that hemp can be used as part of a crop’s normal rotation cycle.
One of hemp’s biggest benefits is just how useful the entire plant can be. The plant itself is easily biodegradable, meaning there is no need to incur heavy environmental or financial costs to dispose of parts that aren’t ultimately used. Hemp products, such as plastics, paper or clothing, are also biodegradable. They don’t need to be landfilled; they can just be turned into compost. Indeed, some have gone as far as to claim that hemp could replace plastics. While additional work is needed, this can certainly be the case one day.
One of the more interesting parts about hemp is that approximately 40% of hemp’s biomass is made of carbon. This means that it needs carbon in order to grow, and as a result, hemp absorbs carbon in the atmosphere. This is important because excess carbon is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gases which are responsible for much of the climate change problems we have.
Already, some have begun to discuss using hemp as a “carbon sink.” This means that hemp can be planted in a strategic, industrial way in order to absorb carbon which is already in the atmosphere. Of course, hemp cannot live or grow indefinitely, and this means that we will ultimately have to farm hemp in order to continue its growth. As such, the demand will need to be created in order to do this in a financially sustainable way, and that means that products like CBD can help to encourage the growth and use of hemp.
A more thorough examination of hemp reveals that it can replace other, more environmentally damaging products.
For example, as noted above, hemp has been touted as a potential replacement for plastics, which could be tremendously beneficial, as single-use plastics are one of the leading causes of ocean pollution and litter. Furthermore, hemp is biodegradable, meaning it will disappear easily; the same cannot be said about plastics, which remain for hundreds of years.
Hemp is also a viable paper source and was used for centuries. Of late, it has begun to show signs of a comeback. This is due, in no small part, to the increasing pressure on industrial companies and consumers to rely less on products that rely on trees. Paper production is a major source of deforestation, and while trees can be replanted, their growth takes time and many paper industries simply don’t bother doing so. As such, the expansion of hemp paper has the potential to help save forests. Furthermore, hemp can be recycled more times than traditional paper.
It is also worth noting that hemp can be used as a biomass fuel. Again, more work and research is needed, but it does appear that hemp can, in the long run, further phase out fossil fuels. This may be the greatest environmental benefit of hemp.
As you can see from all of the above, the growth of CBD’s popularity creates the opportunity for hemp’s popularity to grow in popularity as well. Hemp is environmentally friendlier than many other agricultural products, more versatile and requires less environmental resources than other products. This presents a tremendous opportunity for the hemp and CBD industries to expand, particularly at a time when more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious about the types of materials that they are using.