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How is hemp better than trees for producing oxygen?

Let’s start from the position of the skeptics. Until the last day, hemp was classified as an illegal drug plant, a close relative of the narcotic cannabis or marijuana. Now all of a sudden, the whole world is claiming that hemp is the most miraculous plant of the planet Earth. Does it sound like a hoax, right?

Decoding the cannabis puzzle

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It is a legitimate doubt to have unless one knows the whole story of cannabis. Let’s clear this thing up first. It is true that cannabis cultivation was prohibited in most countries around the world for most of the 20th century. Still, in many countries.

Only recently have some countries begun to take cautious steps to decriminalize cannabis cultivation. This is the reason for this seemingly sudden rise in interest in cannabis. The plant itself and its miraculous qualities are not “surprising” by any long shot.

chopsticks It happens to be one of the oldest plants that humans first started using and then cultivating. History tells us that the first use of hemp can be traced back to the Neolithic period. Humans started using hemp about 8000 to 10,000 years ago, that is.

The earliest history of cannabis cultivation goes back about 5,000 years, according to records available in China. This easy to grow plant is a wonderful plant, really, with an incredibly wide range of benefits to offer. The entire plant is beneficial to humans, with solid environmental benefits as a bonus.

Cannabis is not a medicine

From nutrition to building materials, from clothing to biofuels, from ship sails to bioplastics – you name it and part of the cannabis plant can be made out of that. But yes, this is not an omnipotent divine plant. It can’t give you high.

Why was the factory banned then? by human negligence, commission, or both. The only crime of cannabis is that it belongs to the same plant species as cannabis or marijuana: Cannabis Sativa L, this relationship between the species has led to its criminalization.

Cannabis contains high levels of a chemical called tetrahydrocannabinol, more simply known as THC. This is the psychoactive chemical that gives marijuana its mind-altering ability. The presence of THC in cannabis varies from 7.5 to 10 percent, or even higher.

On the other hand, the presence of THC in cannabis is limited to 0.3 percent or less. This is why cannabis lacks the psychotropic effects of cannabis relatives. Not noticing this vital difference led to cannabis being declared contraband.

A plant in human use since ancient times has seeped out of human initiatives, and may have caused a lot of damage to the environment in the process. With the recent revival of its legitimacy, the multifaceted benefits of hemp seeds Shame resurfaces in human discourse.

Hemp and oxygen production

One of the many claims made about hemp relate to the plant’s ability to produce oxygen. There are claims that one acre of hemp can produce as much oxygen as 25 acres of forest. How true this claim?

The answer to this seemingly simple question is more complex than it appears. It has to do with many different factors that we need to systematically understand. A quick fetch of the oxygen production process will be helpful in this.

How do plants produce oxygen?

The simple answer is: Through the process of photosynthesis, plants use the process to produce their own food. The term photosynthesis simply means “making things with light”. Plant roots absorb water and nutrients from the ground. Some plants can absorb water from the atmosphere as well.

The energy for photosynthesis comes from sunlight. The chlorophyll and carotenoids found in the green leaves of plants can absorb energy from the sun. Plants also absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through invisible holes called stomata.

Then, through a series of chemical reactions, carbon dioxide is broken down and recombined to form glucose, using the energy collected from sunlight. Oxygen is produced as a byproduct of this process. Plants do not need the oxygen contained in carbon dioxide during photosynthesis.

Therefore, plants store little oxygen for respiration at night when there is no sunlight. They release the rest. Therefore, the important factors in the production of oxygen are the leaves containing chlorophyll and carotenoids, and the ability to absorb carbon dioxide.

More leaves, more oxygen?

It sure looks like that. Since oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis, leaves containing chlorophyll and carotenoids must be the most important plant part in this process. Large plants with more leaf area and more leaves should produce more oxygen than any smaller plant.

Hemp is definitely a much smaller plant with a smaller leaf area and much fewer leaves. Therefore, it is hard to believe that hemp can produce more oxygen than trees.

Not so simple

In this simple assumption above, we forget about the other important factor in the oxygen production process: carbon dioxide. It is the oxygen molecules in this gas that combine with the excess water inside the plant’s body to produce oxygen. So increasing the carbon dioxide absorption capacity is also a critical factor.

There is enough evidence to show that cannabis plants have an exceptionally high carbon dioxide capacity. According to several scientific articles, one hectare of hemp planted densely for fiber use can absorb 22 tons of carbon dioxide.

Combined with the possibility of growing two crops per year, this means that a cannabis plant grown on one hectare can absorb 44 tons of carbon dioxide per year. This high ability to absorb carbon greatly contributes to cannabis’s modest ability to produce oxygen.

From another perspective, botanists tell us that plants with C4 photosynthesize are more efficient at absorbing carbon dioxide than their C3 counterparts. This difference is due to a process called photorespiration in C3 plants that causes them to breathe even while sunlight is available.

Light breathing is different from the natural pattern, and plants emit carbon dioxide when they breathe, not oxygen. Cannabis is C4, without photorespiration. This also makes it more efficient at emitting oxygen.

Other important variables

The rate of photosynthesis of plants decreases with age. Large trees with a large leaf area and rich in the number of leaves also live much longer than the cannabis plant. However, its ability to produce oxygen decreases with age as photosynthesis slows down.

Hemp, on the other hand, is a fast-growing plant that can grow up to four meters in about 100 days. Then it is harvested before it gets old. capacity Hemp to produce oxygen It does not deteriorate, therefore. This is another critical factor that makes hemp cultivation more efficient than agroforestry at producing oxygen.

What does it all add up to?

According to scientific publications, a tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year and can trap up to one ton of gas by the time it is 40 years old. So a direct comparison cannot be made.

There are also other complications because the exact variables are not clearly defined. No study known to date has actually measured the oxygen produced by a hectare of trees, to compare it to the capacity of a cannabis plant. However, evidence suggests that the scale is tilting toward cannabis.

One acre of hemp produces more oxygen than one acre of apple trees, and all other variables remain the same. This alone could make cannabis the winner in this debate.

Resources:

https://sciencing.com/plants-make-oxygen-4923607.html

https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/6/4/58/htm

https://hemp-copenhagen.com/images/Hemp-cph-Carbon-sink.pdf

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