It’s a big word — phytoremediation — with an important meaning. Phytoremediation is when green plants remove, degrade, or stabilize undesirable substances found in things like soil or groundwater. In layman’s terms, it’s when plants clean the soil simply by growing.
And, guess what, hemp is a key player.
Not only is hemp the only legal product of the cannabis plant in all 50 states, it’s an eco-friendly power house. By growing it, you can potentially help the environment and harvest a lucrative crop.
This added dimension of phytoremediation to our little green friend makes it quite an impressive plant indeed.
Taking out the contaminants
Studies have already concluded that hemp is a great plant for pulling, and trapping carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. This gives us cleaner air. Trees have historically been the big CO2 trappers, and they still do a great job, but they grow slowly. You can get two hemp crops all grown and harvested within a single year, that’s a double shot of air purifiers working hard.
Looking to the soil, hemp may also play a vital role in extracting a variety of harmful chemicals from the soil, all while still growing big and tall.
The plant shows promise in pulling everything from heavy metals to perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) from the soil. Heavy metals are more common, but PFOS, a global pollutant, is sadly out in our environment in high quantities thanks to its popularity as an ingredient in Scotchgard and other stain repellents.
PFOS is only one type of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These are all man-made chemicals used in a variety of industries. If hemp works on PFOS, it could take on the rest of the chemicals in this category with positive results.
Hemp could even go to work pulling things out of the soil, like:
- Radioactive elements
What a busy plant hemp could be.
Giving hemp the power
Hemp seems to work so well pulling contaminates out of the soil for two reasons. The plant grows quickly, and has a high water content.
By pulling in large amounts of water, hemp also takes in a lot of nutrients, so it grows fast. This process also means it sucks up larger amounts of contaminants. Its two best traits work together to make a bigger, better crop to harvest, all while cleaning out the soil.
Harmful chemicals, that are bad for the soil but don’t seem to harm the hemp, get taken in with the water absorbed through the roots.
Using these top performers right
The soil-cleansing hemp crops are doing good, but it does come at a cost. If too many contaminates get absorbed, the plant itself can become contaminated. This means extra testing and careful attention to ensure any extracts pulled from these specific plants are safe for consumer use.
If there’s concern, an alternative use for the plant is industrialized hemp. Instead of transforming the plants into products like tinctures or edibles, plants that aren’t safe to ingest could become hempcrete or a fuel alternative. As long as their contaminants aren’t a danger, in any way, you can explore alternative uses to keep your crop functioning as a money-making, earth-saving plant.
The wide word of hemp
It seems like the potential of hemp grows bigger each day. You get snippets of what this powerful plant can do, and then…BAM…you realize it can help save the planet. As a phytoremediation star and carbon dioxide-sequestering hero, hemp can do a lot for our environment. All of this is on top of what it does to help consumers.
If you’re interested in learning more about hemp’s potential, check out Arbor Vita8’s comprehensive collection of resources. If you’re in need of expert hemp services, from genetic selection to processing to manufacturing, we’ve got you covered as well. Even if you just want to buy some of the best, most affordable hemp-derived products, we can help. At Arbor Vita8, we’re all about hemp. Contact us today to learn more.