One use of cannabis that you may not be aware of is its incredible ability to cleanse toxic soil.
That’s right, cannabis can be used to help revitalise areas that have been contaminated by radioactive metals such as lead, cadmium or nickel.
Believe it or not, it’s simply a case of planting some cannabis (usually in its low-cannabinoid form of hemp) on the affected land and letting it go to work. The fast-growing weed sucks up the toxic material, removing it from the soil!
Cannabis Cleanses The Earth In Italy
The technique is currently being used in Italy, where a toxic chemical known as Dioxin had been identified in the soil in the Taranto region.
The pollutant was found in significant quantities in an area where a local family had been raising large flocks of sheep for many years.
It was discovered that the chemical pollutant originated from a 15-million-square-metre steel plant which is situated just a mile away from the contaminated fields. The plant happens to be the largest steel plant in Europe.
The discovery of the contamination has made it impossible for the Fornaro family to continue grazing animals on the land without presenting a serious health risk to both the animals and the public.
Solution to soil contamination?
Cleaning up soil that has been contaminated in such a fashion using traditional methods can be very expensive indeed. Some estimates from 2002 put the overall cost of cleaning up all of the currently contaminated EU sites at well over 109 billion euros.
However, just planting completely legal ‘industrial’ hemp and letting it grow in the affected areas can totally cleanse the problem. Though it can take several years for the soil to be completely cleaned.
The process is known as ‘phytoremediation’ (from Latin, literally meaning to ‘restore balance with plants’) and was used at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site to remove strontium and other dangerous radioactive metals from the soil.
Some plants, such as Cannabis, have the ability to concentrate environmental compounds and elements and then metabolize these molecules in their plant tissues, rendering them totally harmless.
Plants that have this incredibly useful ability are known as ‘‘hyperaccumulators’.
It is the inherent fast-growing nature of cannabis that helps it to quickly extract nutrients, or pollutants, from the soil.
The contaminated hemp plants can also be directly used for some purposes (after testing) as the dangerous chemicals that have been withdrawn from the soil have been neutralised and consumed by the plant.
These plants could be used to build hempcrete houses, as one example.
The whole process can take several
Other plants such as Sunflowers, Indian Mustard and White Willow can also be used for this purpose, although fibre-rich, low-THC cannabis (or hemp) is a favourite contender thanks to its speed and ease of growth.
George Washington perhaps knew of the remarkable cleansing properties of the hemp plant when he declared:
“Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, . . . and sow it everywhere!”