Cannabis sativa, or Hemp, has several industrial as well as environmental benefits. The plant species can be used to make products as an alternative to the components whose use are harming our life and the planet.
Shailesh Ganeriwala has come up with a wide range of products made from Hemp under the banner of OG Hemp. He wants people to understand that the plant, which is carbon free, can ensure a sustainable future for the planet.
“We entered the Hemp industry in 2018. Thereon, we started OG Hemp Company,” said Shailesh.
Though Cannabis is used as a drug (bhang) as it contains a psychoactive component, industrial hemp is a distinct strain with unique phytochemical compositions and uses.
Used as a cover crop, hemp enhances soil health. It helps in shading out weeds thus reducing the need for synthetic herbicides. Hemp thus adds diversity to crop rotations, improving soil health.
Sitting in his office – which also serves as his laboratory-cum-workshop – in Kolkata, Shailesh says, “Hemp is a wonderful crop that can absorb carbon four times more than any other crop. The fibre obtained from the stalk of the plant is the strongest natural fibre ever found on earth. We at OG Hemp Company are manufacturing ‘sustainable paper with no added chemicals’ from that fibre. Thus, no tree needs to be felled to make paper.”
He added, “The cellulose quantity found in the Hemp plant is much higher (70-80%) as compared to trees (25-30%). Manufacturing paper from plants which can grow in three months is much more sustainable and environmentally friendly than that obtained after cutting down trees, which takes time to grow – not less than 20 years – thus checking deforestation and climate change.”
Hemp can be refined into a variety of products with industrial importance like paper, biodegradable plastics, textiles, clothing, paint, insulation, biofuel and many more.
The seeds have considerable medical contributions because of the presence of Vitamin A, C, E, and amino acids. Besides, Hemp seeds are used in manufacturing fuel, body care products, food, and oil.
Hemp stalk is used for producing paper, manufacturing building materials, auto manufacturing composite materials and bulletproof vests.
Its leaves are used in manufacturing pain relief medicines and are good for animal breeding as well.
Hemp roots are used as organic compost and nutrients. The roots have remedial properties for bone ailments and eczema as well.
Shailesh is also working on incorporating the plant into policy level, as he says, “We are working with various government organizations like CPPRI, ICRA and others regarding its farming and for development of this crop. Hemp fibre is a great source for use in many products.”
Hemp and Cannabis have undergone a huge market lift across the world over the years. Now, the Indian government has responded positively since this industry can create jobs given the state of the economy in the Pandemic.
The industrial use of Hemp in India can also act as an active agent in eliminating its illegal trade.
Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh have actively participated as frontline volunteers to allow commercial production of Hemp.
(This article appeared in News Sense, as a Solution Journalism Initiative. It is reproduced here with special arrangements, after some editing)