THE HEMP REVOLUTION PART 3 OF 4
Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes, including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, clothing, and nutritional products. The bast fibers are commonly used in 100% hemp products, but are also blended with fabrics such as linen, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings. The inner two fibers of hemp are more woody, and are more often used in non-woven items and other industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter.
The oil from the fruits ("seeds") dries on exposure to air (similar to linseed oil) and is sometimes used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturising agent, for cooking, and in plastics. Hemp seeds are often added to wild bird seed mix.
In Europe and China, hemp fibers are increasingly used to strengthen cement, and in other composite materials for many construction and manufacturing applications. Mercedes-Benz uses a "biocomposite" composed principally of hemp fiber for the manufacture of interior panels in some of its automobiles.
Hemp cultivation in the United States is suppressed by laws supported by drug enforcement agencies, for fear that high THC plants will be grown amidst the low THC plants used for hemp production. Efforts are underway to change these laws, allowing American farmers to compete in the growing markets for this crop.
As of 2006, China produces roughly 40% of the world's hemp fiber and has been producing much of the world's Cannabis crop throughout much of history.