About the Author
From an early age, Nathan was always obsessed with the inner-workings of justice and held others to an extremely strict moral code, many times neglecting the essence of childhood. As the years passed, his parents pointed him in the direction of law, intertwining it with philosophy, and inspired, Nathan sought political experience. He currently holds an internship for Delegate Nick Freitas and is an active Dostoevsky enthusiast.
Hemp, the Heavy-Lifter of the Future
Following a decades-long absence, hemp, a cousin to marijuana, has been recently legalized to grow on an industrial scale. For over 40 years, the plant had been banned for being a part of the cannabis genus; along with other plants that contain THC: the psychoactive drug that causes hallucinations. Although these concerns are well-warranted, hemp contains very small, very negligible traces of THC, and at Virginia Tech, its uses and capabilities have been studied extensively during its industrial ban. The results have proved remarkable: hemp has the heavy-lifting ability and potential to change the production landscape as we know it today.
According to Jabari Byrd, a Masters student at Virginia Tech, hemp is commonly known as the plant of 50,000 uses. The post-production of hemp products range from lip balm, concrete, and even to apparel such as shirts, backpacks, and sacks commonly containing cotton. This greater scope of future implication could not be without the technology of today, however, and as Byrd compounded, cross-breeding and genetically modifying hemp to maximize fiber count and durability have proved monumental in broadening the horizon. For example, hemp will eventually be able to compete with or even replace cotton farms as hemp is more convenient to harvest and has a better moisture-wicking ability. This appeals to both producers and consumers: producers are spending less on irrigation techniques and herbicides, and consumers are benefiting from the cooling capabilities of hemp clothing.
Additionally, even though hemp has just been legalized a few months prior, the plant has already made a stamp on the protein market. Hemp seed, when grounded, has an exceptional protein and fiber count. These attributions make for a great supplement to vegan or vegetarian diets and also in protein powders and as an everyday cooking additive.
The medical field, too, can benefit from the use of hemp. As recounted by Byrd, there was a miracle story in which a young girl suffered from epilepsy and witnessed abnormally frequent seizures. The doctors prescribed hemp, and the seizures tempered drastically, soon numbering 1 or 2 each year. For the average consumer, hemp has a vast array of everyday benefits. As mentioned earlier: in contrast to marijuana, hemp has a much lower concentration of the psychoactive drug THC and can, therefore, be consumed with little caution. According to healthline.com, some major benefits of hemp include: lowering the risk of heart disease, improving skin disorders (such as itchiness), and aiding in digestion.
As hemp continues to broaden its horizons, scientists, such as Jabari Byrd at Virginia Tech, will continue to research and ensure the full health implication of hemp. However, as of now, hemp appears to be a heavy-lifter for future product landscapes.
To learn more about hemp’s health benefits visit: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-health-benefits-of-hemp-seeds
To learn more about what Virginia Tech’s involvement visit: https://www.wsls.com/news/virginia/new-river-valley/virginia-tech-researchers-hoping-to-expand-hemp-industry