Long before pulp and paper mills, 75–90% of all paper in the world was made with hemp fibre. If you are lucky enough to own papers or books that predate 1883, the paper is most likely made of hemp.
Mark Twain’s novels, the US Constitution, The US Declaration of Independence and the UK’s Magna Carta were all printed on hemp paper.
What’s more, tree paper is inferior to hemp in almost every way. Hemp paper will not discolour with age or deteriorate. It’s environmentally friendly as well. It doesn’t require any bleaching, so has none of the chemical discharge tree paper produces.
It would take four to 10 acres of trees to make the same amount of paper that a single acre of hemp can produce. Whereas trees take 20 to 80 years to grow from seedling to harvestable size, hemp takes a mere four months!
The fall of hemp from favour is largely to blame on the misconception that hemp held the psychoactive properties of Cannabis. The two are not the same. Hemp will not get you high. Nonetheless, the growing of hemp was deemed illegal in many parts of the world.
In 2018 a US Farm Bill was finally passed, legalizing the growing of hemp, finally laying a century of ignorance to rest.
Hemp has a myriad of uses beyond paper. It can also be used to make building materials, clothing, biofuel and compostable plastic. And yes, you can eat it too.
The best time to be utilizing hemp for all its benefits was a hundred years ago.
The second best time is now.