I’m going to admit, I was and still am a little nervous about talking about hemp clothing on my blog because of the controversy surrounded by the plant. Let’s get one thing right, hemp and marijuana are chemically two different things. Marijuana contains THC (the stuff that makes you high) whereas hemp contains a very tiny amount of THC. Hemp can be used for a variety of different things like beauty products, rope, furniture, paper, and even clothes. But is hemp clothing sustainable to the environment? Read on to find out more.
Environmental Pros and Cons of Hemp Clothing
Pros. There is no doubt about the fact that cotton is a great fabric to wear. It’s soft, durable, and can be used again and again. But, as I talked about in this post and in this post, cotton can be a huge environmental problem. It uses too much water, needs tons of chemicals, and is often the leading cause of human rights violations. Hemp, on the other hand, requires 50% less water to produce than cotton. It can also grow in very tight spaces, in a variety of different climates, and is naturally resistant to most pests. This allows farmers to use fewer pesticides and chemicals when growing hemp.
Cons. Like any textile, when the fabric is being dyed it can be dyed with tons of toxic chemicals. Hemp has a natural brightness that does not need to be bleached with chlorine, unlike most fabrics.
Pro and Cons of Wearing Hemp Clothing
Pro. When taken care of, hemp clothes can last for years. The fabric is so durable it was even used as sails on Christopher Columbus’s boats. The fabric is breathable, like cotton, and absorbent. Since the plant is easier to grow than cotton, it requires fewer chemicals during production. Lastly, if you grow tired of the item, it is easily decomposable unlike synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester.
Cons. When you first get a hemp garment, the garment can be rough to the touch and easily wrinkled. Although the garment can be rough, after you wash it a few times it will get softer and easier to wear.
How is Hemp Imported Into the United States if it is Illegal in Some States?
In 1970, all forms of cannabis, including hemp, were listed as a Schedule I drug. This made it illegal to grow hemp in the United States. Companies such as Ford Motors, Patagonia, The Body Shop and many more have to import hemp seed, oil, and fiber from growers in Canada, Europe, and China. As long as the hemp contains less than 0.3% of THC it can be imported into the United States and legally used for distribution. (Source)
What Does This Mean for You?
My purpose of writing this post was because I don’t want hemp to seem like a big scary thing to wear. In reality, it doesn’t matter if you wear hemp because it isn’t a drug. Hemp gets a bad rap because its brother, marijuana, is a hooligan. Just like you’re not supposed to compare siblings, there is no need to compare these two different plants. They are two completely different things. Hemp can be a great sustainable fabric and a great alternative to uncompostable fabrics.
Hemp Clothes, Shoes, and Lotions:
Would you wear something made out of hemp? Did you know that you can buy clothes made out of hemp? Let me know in the comments down below.