iD magazine



Since the enactment of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, wood fiber from trees has been the most common source of fiber for papermakin­g. Proponents of hemp argue that it is more suitable because of its higher cellulose and lower lignin content. Trees are only about 30% cellulose, while the cellulose content of hemp’s inner core (hurds) can be between 40 and 50%. Hemp’s lower lignin content means paper made from it doesn’t have to be bleached and does not yellow, crack, or deteriorat­e like paper made from trees. Contrary to urban mythology, the Declaratio­n of Independen­ce was not written on hemp paper, though some copies the Gutenberg Bible that weren’t printed on vellum are said to be printed on hemp-based paper. Modern processing methods have made it possible to use hemp in eco-friendly building materials such as particlebo­ard, insulation, and hempcrete bricks.

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