25,000 utilizes for hemp, such as a replacement for concrete and plastic? Hold up


Hemp has been utilised inside a BMW electric vehicle, as fiber in jeans and in the walls of a Tarpon Springs residence.

Now Florida’s lone statewide elected Democrat, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, will oversee a new state industrial hemp system. Fried, a former lobbyist for the marijuana sector, says that hemp has a enormous quantity of utilizes and will replace some widespread components.

“What most persons do not have an understanding of is that hemp has 25,000-35,000 identified usages,” she mentioned at a Florida Democratic Celebration conference in Orlando. “That signifies it is going to be one thing that is going to replace plastics, and styrofoam and concrete.”

That is a giant heap of hemp. But is Fried’s claim correct?

In this June 13, 2019, photo, Lloyd Nackley, a plant ecologist with the Oregon State University Extension Service, holds freshly picked tops of hemp plants from one particular of Oregon State’s hemp investigation stations in Aurora, Ore. A unit of wheat is a known as a bushel, and a normal weight of potatoes is known as a century. But hemp as a completely legal U.S. agricultural commodity is so new that a unit of hemp seed does not but have a universal name or an agreed-upon quantity. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus) [GILLIAN FLACCUS | AP]

Whilst hemp and marijuana are from the exact same species of plant, hemp is nonpsychoactive and is utilised for a selection of items. Market-friendly legislation has helped to develop the hemp marketplace in current years.

But do not count on it to replace plastics or concrete anytime quickly. Vast investigation and improvement — and income — is necessary prior to widespread utilization.

“Industrial hemp items give an option to components like plastic and concrete in particular applications, but will by no means be capable to completely replace them due to variations in the physical and chemical traits of the components,” mentioned Tai Olson, who functions for US Heritage Group, which functions with suppliers for hempcrete projects.

Claim about 25,000 utilizes from 1938

Fried’s claim about the quantity of utilizes for hemp comes from a magazine story published 80 years ago.

In 1938, Well known Mechanics magazine declared hemp the new “billion dollar crop.”

“Hemp is the normal fiber of the planet. It has fantastic tensile strength and durability. It is utilised to generate extra than five,000 textile items, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the wood ‘hurdes’ remaining soon after the fiber has been removed includes extra than 77% cellulose, and can be utilised to generate extra than 25,000 items, ranging from dynamite to cellophane.”

The magazine story, nevertheless, did not account for government regulation that stymied hemp improvement. In 1937, Congress passed a law, which needed hemp farmers to register and spend a tax.

But the 25,000-utilizes statistic lived on, even earning a mention in a 2018 Congressional Analysis Service report.

Fried’s spokesman noted that report as nicely as other citations by news outlets such as the Tampa Bay Occasions, Florida government and academic functions. (PolitiFact Missouri also cited the figure, we discovered.)

We sent Fried’s citations to 4 academic professionals on hemp, and none was swayed.

“Just since a quantity is repeated more than and more than does not make it accurate,” agriculture scientist Jennifer Gilbert Jenkins told us. Gilbert Jenkins is a professor at the State University of New York at Morrisville.

Hemp has several utilizes inside agriculture, textiles, recycling, automotive, furnishings, meals and beverages, paper, building components and private care.

A handful of professionals in hemp told us the math behind 25,000 utilizes (and specifically 35,000) is empty.

“Of course it is misleading, given that defining what a ‘use’ is is arbitrary, and most utilizes would be economically insignificant,” mentioned Ernest Compact, a investigation scientist in Canada. “But the exact same could be mentioned about quite a few issues, so it is not precisely untruthful. With some imagination, I feel you could come across 25,000 utilizes for a vehicle, or for several widespread issues.”

Back to the supply, Well known Mechanics. Jared W. Nelson, a mechanical engineer at SUNY New Paltz, told us he thinks the reported quantity of utilizes does not especially refer to hemp, but rather refers to cellulose. Dynamite and cellophane are derived from cellulose.

Whilst hemp could supply sugars via the enzymatic breakdown of cellulose, it is a lot simpler and less expensive to get these sugars from corn starch or sugar cane, mentioned Cornell professor Lawrence B. Intelligent.

“The 25,000 items is a fantastic quantity, but please place it in context,” Intelligent mentioned. “Given that we get most of our paper items from eucalyptus and lumber items from pine, how several items can you make from eucalyptus and pine?”

Hemp’s on the rise, but future difficult to predict

What matters most, mentioned Gilbert Jenkins, is “for the initially time in a generation we are capable to innovate about this versatile crop.”

The 2018 farm bill legalized industrial use of hemp and removed it from the federal list of controlled substances, opening up the marketplace to new items. According to Vote Hemp, the quantity of acres of grown hemp tripled involving 2017 and 2018, and hemp-primarily based item sales have also climbed.

Fried spokesman Franco Ripple pointed to examples of hemp getting utilised in hempcrete to construct properties, composites to construct items like automobiles, and hemp-primarily based packaging and plastic options. Hemp-primarily based items need to increasingly replace particular utilizes of Styrofoam, plastic, and concrete, he added.

“Her forward-hunting statements on the future of hemp and prospective utilizes are intended to inspire the industry’s improvement,” he mentioned, citing predictions about the future development of hemp.

But there are challenges to making use of hemp in the United States.

For instance, Gilbert Jenkins is partnering with the Style Institute of Technologies in New York to make hemp jeans.

“We are in the course of action of sending a bale of hemp fiber to Poland to be processed into yarn since that capability does not exist in the United States at present,” she mentioned. “Our textile sector is set up to perform with cotton quick fibers, not extended hemp fibers.”

As for Ripple’s examples, they do not represent the majority of present hemp use.

About 80 % of hemp grown in the United States is for hemp extracts such as cannabidiol, or CBD, mentioned Eric Steenstra, Vote Hemp’s president.

Specialists also told us that hempcrete is intended to replace other elements inside a wall, such as sheetrock, and not the concrete itself.

Also, hemp will not replace plastics. Hemp fibers can be utilised to strengthen plastics and other composite components. Hemp oil can replace the petroleum oil raw material for the plastic, which “is nonetheless plastic with all of its downsides,” mentioned Gilbert Jenkins.

Hemp has scarcely penetrated the constructing and plastic replacement markets, Compact mentioned. “The future appears restricted, albeit not not possible.”

Our ruling

Fried mentioned, “Hemp has 25,000-35,000 identified usages. That signifies it is going to be one thing that is going to replace plastics, and styrofoam and concrete.”

The quantity comes from a Well known Mechanics short article in 1938 about the quantity of prospective items that creates an overly optimistic image of the quantity of utilizes. Just since a use exists does not imply that it is typically offered. Most hemp grown now is for CBD.

Fried mentioned that hemp items will “replace” such widespread components as plastics and concrete, but we discovered no proof that hemp has the physical properties to really replace these components.

The statement includes an element of truth but ignores vital details that would give a diverse impression. We price this statement Mainly False.


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