Climate change is one of the most pressing and relevant challenges of our time, with significant impacts on a global scale that require an immediate response. Increasing greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity, rising sea levels and extreme weather events are just some of the manifestations of this growing threat. This environmental crisis not only affects the health of our planet, but has profound consequences for human communities, threatening food security, water supply and economic stability.
Addressing climate change is no longer a choice, but an urgent necessity, and awareness of the importance of adopting sustainable practices, reducing emissions and protecting ecosystems becomes critical for our future and that of the next generations. In this article we will examine how hemp, with its many applications, can be a significant contributor to a more sustainable future, offering innovative solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change. You may be wondering what is the role of CBD and Hemp in combating climate change? Read on to find out!
Hemp in the fight against climate change
Hemp, with all its components-stem, seeds, leaves and flowers-is presented as a versatile resource with a variety of uses in different productive sectors. Characterized by rapid growth, comparable only to crops such as bamboo and Pawlonia, this plant offers maximum yield with low production costs, independent of volatile nitrogen fertilizer and agrochemical price lists. Its cultivation requires little water, little tillage and produces a significant amount of biomass. This biomass is mainly used for:
- Fuel and building materials: Activities related to the construction of buildings and roads are a considerable source of CO2 emissions, as is the maintenance of housing and offices. Hemp plays a significant role as an alternative fuel source and building material of the future. Not only is hemp cultivated and processed regionally, but it can also be easily disposed of. This feature solves one of the main problems with many other construction materials, which are often classified as hazardous waste. In addition, hemp mats are used as insulation for walls, roofs and floors, or as a component of hemp-based concrete. For the most part, the plant residues derived from hemp are processed into building materials, allowing the plant to be fully utilized.
- Environmentally friendly alternative to paper: Hemp is presented as an environmentally friendly alternative to paper, commonly used for newspapers, books, toilet paper and more. This is extremely relevant, considering that paper production currently requires half of the wood felled globally. According to the WWF, about 405 million tonnes of paper and cardboard are produced, which is about 15% of the total wood consumption. The use of hemp for paper production is a solution to preserving forests, as hemp grows significantly faster than trees and the soil can be replanted immediately after harvest. In addition, hemp paper is more durable and can be recycled more frequently.
- Cosmetics: Hemp is widely used in body care products, especially in face and skin creams. The V-linoleic acids, tocopherols and vitamins present in Cannabis Sativa L. are associated with anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties. CBG, a hemp derivative contained in these products, is a sebum-regulating substance that promotes cell renewal and turnover, helps soothe skin irritation and redness, and lightens blemishes.
- Food: Hemp seeds, when hulled and processed into flour or oil, provide vegetable protein of high biological value due to the rich presence of essential amino acids. In addition to offering polyunsaturated fatty acids with an optimal ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 (3:1), higher even than olive oil (9:1), hemp also offers a rich source of fibre and vitamins such as B1, B2, B6 and E. Unlike foods such as avocado or chia seeds, hemp does not require long transport routes by air, thus helping to reduce the environmental footprint. In addition, hemp is gluten-free and suitable for various special diets. If you are interested in how to cook with CBD, read our article ‘CBD in Food: A Journey to Wellness with CBD Products’.
The CBD industry is not only on the road to promoting human health, but is also emerging as an ecological ally in the fight against climate change. The cultivation of hemp, from which CBD is derived, offers a range of environmental benefits from CO2 capture to improving soil quality, from promoting biodiversity to saving water.
“One hectare of hemp is as efficient as one hectare of rainforest.”
Hemp is distinguished by its ability to capture large amounts of atmospheric carbon. Through photosynthesis, this plant is able to store significant amounts of carbon in both stems and roots. Considering the conversion of carbon to CO2, each ton of hemp absorbs about 1.6 tons of CO2. With an average yield of 5.5 to 8 tons per hectare, hemp cultivation can absorb 9 to 13 tons of CO2 per harvested hectare.
Hemp, due to its rapid growth and high frequency of leaf change, can completely cover the soil only three weeks after germination. Dense leaves quickly form a natural soil cover material, reducing water loss and soil erosion. The fallen leaves also provide vital nutrients for the soil. The phytodepuration ability of hemp makes it ideal for removing heavy metals from the soil through its roots. Effective examples were carried out in Chernobyl and Taranto. The fertilizing action of hemp, used as a renewal crop, adds additional environmental benefits by helping to maintain soil fertility without the intensive use of chemical fertilizers.
Promotion of Biodiversity
Hemp is a source of pollen for bees and other pollinators during periods of floral scarcity. Its flowering cycle, from July to September, coincides with the lack of pollen production by other agricultural crops. This wind-pollinated plant produces abundant pollen, becoming an essential nutritional resource for bees during periods of floral scarcity.
Hemp cultivation requires little or no chemical inputs because the plant is susceptible to few serious pests. Its processing generates zero waste because all parts of hemp, from roots to flowers, can be used or processed further. This multifunctionality makes hemp a sustainable option that can produce food, cosmetics, biomaterials and energy with a single rotational crop.
Studies show that hemp is more environmentally neutral than other fibers, especially with regard to water use. For example, cotton requires 9,758 kilograms of water per kilogram, while hemp requires between 2,401 and 3,401 kilograms, representing a water saving of 75 percent.
Reduction of Deforestation
Hemp is presented as a sustainable source of pulp for paper production, potentially contributing to the reduction of deforestation. With a cellulose content of 65-70%, hemp outweighs wood (40%) and develops in just 5 months, providing up to 4 times more pulp production than mature tree plantations on a hectare basis. Hemp paper can also be recycled 7-8 times, compared to 3-5 times for wood pulp paper.
Cultivating the future
Hemp emerges as a key resource for implementing innovative solutions capable of accelerating the transition to a regenerative growth model that gives back to the planet more than it takes. The hemp industry represents a socially responsible model that can contribute significantly to climate change mitigation, representing a shift away from our current system and toward a circular economy.
With increasing consumer interest in natural and sustainably sourced fibers and products, demand is expected to increase significantly and grow considerably in the coming years. This will give hemp the visibility it deserves as a ally in restoring environmental balance and achieving decarbonization goals for a sustainable, resiliently future-oriented economy.The time has come to think about alternative, sustainable raw materials! Learn more about this plant through the different products on our website! What do you think? Let us know in the comments!