How Hemp Can Clean Up Radiation From Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Hemp plants were shown to be effective in cleaning the soil around the site of Russia’s Chernobyl nuclear disaster and were even considered for use near Fukushima.
The cannabis plant has myriad uses, from paper, fabric and even fuel that can be created from industrial hemp, to the many health conditions which benefit from medical marijuana. Here’s one more benefit to add to the list: removing toxic metals and even radiation from soil.
The process of using plants to clean polluted soil is called phytoremediation. According to a 2014 report from Nation of Change’s Christina Sarich, two members of the mustard family are more frequently used in phytoremediation, but cannabis has shown some promise because of its hardiness to toxins and quick growth rates. Some have even considered using it near Fukushima.
A group of representatives of Consolidated Growers and Processors, PHYTOTECH, and Ukraine’s Institute of Bast Crops experimented in the late 1990s with using industrial hemp, a form of the plant that’s high in fiber but low in psychoactive or medical benefits, near the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, where a great deal of agricultural land is still unusable because of the presence of radiation and heavy metals still lingering from the 1986 meltdown. “Hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find,” said Slavik Dushenkov, a research scientist with PHYTOTECH.
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“Of all the freedom-crushing laws and regulations issued from Washington, one of the most ridiculous is the decades-long federal ban on industrial hemp.” -U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie
For far too long, farmers and manufacturers in Kentucky and across the United States have been blocked from growing hemp or producing products from this versatile and useful plant. My colleagues and I in both the House and Senate hope to end this illogical ban. Therefore, in January of this year, I reintroduced H.R. 525, the “Industrial Hemp Farming Act,” which would stop the federal government’s hemp blockade.
First, however, it is important to remember that the fight for hemp freedom is entirely unrelated to the issue of marijuana legalization. The scare tactics and false rhetoric used by those who want to keep industrial hemp out of Kentucky are not based on facts. As the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, hemp and marijuana plants are distinct from one another. Although they both descend from the same species of plant, their chemical makeup is different, as is their physical appearance. Importantly, hemp has too low a THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana’s primary psychoactive chemical) content to have any intoxicating effect... (continue)