Cannabis agriculture has so many potential benefits that, considered as an integrated whole, the combined attributes of Cannabis make it a proximate, functional necessity for addressing climate change while establishing sustainable energy economics. Specific to both global warming and global broiling (increasing solar UV-B radiation), Cannabis is potentially the best choice for biofuels production/climate change mitigation for several reasons.
An essential rotational crop, Cannabis sequesters a ton of carbon per acre, per year, that the plant converts into a cellulose- and fiber-rich stalk. The stalk can be made into high grade building materials, cloth, paper and biodegradable plastics that serve as effective carbon sinks. The growth characteristics of Cannabis make it a useful crop for the production of oxygen, for expanding the world's arable base, soil re-mineralization, stopping soil erosion, breaking up soil compaction, and for the detoxification of contaminated soils.
Hemp also produces an abundance of "monoterpenes" which rise into the atmosphere, where they reflect solar radiation and seed cloud formation. The clouds that form around monoterpenes are brighter and last longer than other clouds, protecting the surface of the Earth from increasing UV-B radiation, while producing rain.
The fuel production potential of Cannabis includes methane, methanol, diesel seed oil, pyrolytic charcoal, and hydrogen.
"BIOMASS CONVERSION to fuel has proven economically feasible, first in laboratory tests and by continuous operation of pilot plants in field tests since 1973. When the energy crop is growing it takes in C02 from the air, so when it is burned the C02 is released, creating a balanced system."
In addition, Cannabis produces an abundance of protein-rich seed that contains three essential fatty acids, nutritionally significant amounts of all nine of the essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.
The essential oils steam-distilled from hemp are being shown to have therapeutic effect for treating many illnesses including cancer, diabetes, viruses, infection, and much more. The essential oils also have pesticideal effect, which can be useful for protecting other crops and food stores.
Finally, because Cannabis adapts well to a wide variety of soil and climate conditions, hemp is potentially a globally distributed, sustainable organic feedstock, allowing for efficient, regionally-based economies.
HEMP FOR FUEL
Excerpted from "Energy Farming in America," by Lynn Osburn
Monoterpenes in Cancer Prevention and Therapy
Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, August, 2001 by Mark A. Brudnak