Hemp fibre or industrial hemp is obtained from the outer layer or the bast has some incredible properties: it conducts heat, dyes well, resists mildew, blocks ultraviolet light and has natural anti-bacterial properties. It is used in many industries including paper, biodegradable plastic, construction, health food, chemical clean-ups and fuel. Automobile companies like BMW use hemp fibre to reinforce their door panels for better safety standards. There’s even an urban legend that claims the first pair of Levis jeans were made from hemp! Hemp isn’t a new discovery at all. It was one of the earliest domesticated plants by mankind with roots dating back to the Neolithic age in China. Hemp has had numerous applications in ancient Indian, Chinese and Egyptian civilisations such a food, fibre and medicine. European explorers made sails and ropes out of hemp while Rembrandt and Van Gogh painted on hemp canvases. In fact, the American declaration of independence was drafted on hemp paper. However, during the industrial revolution, the mechanical cotton gin made it more efficient to produce cotton and thus hemp production decreased tremendously, albeit at the cost of the environment.
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