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Cannabis Hemp Cleans Radiation & Toxins in Soil

Removing toxins from soil can be made easier via using hemp for phytoremediation.

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The uses of cannabis go far beyond medical, with the notion it could replace paper and reduce forest destruction on an immense scale leading the list of possible environmental benefits. However, for areas affected by radiation and pollution as well as farmers that must remove toxins from their soil, cannabis hemp can provide a solution that's far cheaper and safer than if removing them with acids, mechanical, or other means.

 

Phytoremediation at a Glance

 

Phytoremediation is when we use live plants to clean up and remove unwanted toxins from soil, sediments, surface water, and ground water. It can be an essential step in farming, ensuring the food we eventually eat grows properly without facing crop failure while possessing no contaminants that could be harmful to our health. There are other methods of cleaning toxins from the environment, but many pose their own threats to the environment, or only clean out specific metals meaning more than one method must be used increasing costs and labor. 

 

Cannabis Hemp as a Phytoremediator

 

It begins with the root system. The roots of plants spread quickly and over a large surface area, especially those of hemp - a rapidly and easily grown plant that only takes 180 days to mature. The roots absorb substances from the soil and water, then concentrating it into its own biomass that forms above ground. Hemp roots can grow up to eight feet below the ground, providing fairly deep soil remediation. The plant then breaks down or degrades pollutants and stabilizes metal contaminants by acting as a filter.

In fact, hemp was planted in and around Chernobyl - a city in Ukraine that wielded the worst nuclear disaster to date in April of 1986. It wasn't until 1998 that Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP), PHYTOTECH, and Ukraine's Institute of Bast Crops began an historic project aimed at cleaning the agricultural fields of radiation surrounding Chernobyl by planting hemp in toxic areas. 

"Hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find." - Slavik Dushenkov, research scientist @ PHYTOTECH

Hemp grown from contaminated soils can be used for industrial purposes such as biodiesel fuels, industrial lubricants/varnishes, construction materials, paper, rope, and plasticized/composited materials. Therefore, not only can we clean soil with hemp, but we can profit from the hemp that's grown as well.

 Learn More: The Dawn of Hemp & Cannabis Use

 

Contaminants Found in Soil

The places that bode the most threat of being contaminated are urban areas due to pollution and the land surrounding industrial zones (or former industrial sites). Wherever man-made chemicals and trash threaten the environment, the soil is eventually where the contamination ends up, with rain eventually washing it into bodies of water (and sometimes our own water supply). Common contaminants we should be testing for include: 

  • Nickel 
  • Zinc
  • Cadmium
  • Mercury
  • Chromium IV
  • Arsenic 
  • Aluminum
  • High sodic levels
  • Lead
  • Hydrocarbons (petroleum)
  • Oil
  • Acids caused by air pollution
  • Agrochemicals (pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers) 

 

You May Need to 'Detox' Your Soil If: 

 

  • There are visible specs, such as paint chips, throughout your soil.
  • Patches of discoloration are present.
  • Some spots seemingly look "slimy" or "oily".
  • There's a distinct odor emitting from the soil that isn't "earthy". 
  • Insects aren't present in it and wildlife keeps away from it. 
  • There's minimal plant life already taking root; weeds won't grow in it.
  • Your plants refuse to take root or grow weak/small/discolored. 

It's always a good idea to buy a soil testing kit before planting anything in the ground, just to be safe, even if there are no visible signs the soil is contaminated. Most contaminants can't be seen or even smelt, but a testing kit bought at your local home improvement store can clear up any questions you might have about the safety of your soil. If there happens to be any, even at small levels, growing hemp in the ground before planting your garden or crops could offer you a cheap, solar-powered solution to your soil.

However, check with your state's laws about cannabis hemp before taking that step! While hemp is an incredible phytomediator, it's one of the reasons we must push for legalization throughout the nation so farmers have safer, more natural options in finding solutions for soil contamination.

 Discover More: How to Cultivate Using the Screen of Green Method

 

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