Hemp vs. Cotton – when will we change?

Clothes make a person, fairy tales say so. Every day we see hundreds of different items of clothing on the people we meet or in shopping malls. Most of us have a few new items of clothing in our closets every year. Whether it’s in size S or XXL, long or wide cut, multicolored or white, they are all different, but have one thing in common: the vast majority are made from cotton, not hemp.

But why really? And what role can cannabis play here?


Hemp is a fiber par excellence.

We’ll find the answer to these questions if we go back a few decades and look at the role of hemp as an industrial commodity in the 20th century. Prior to the discovery and global processing of cotton, hemp was used for casual wear. Until the 19th century, hemp was grown for fibers, from which fabrics were woven by hand for many hours, from which clothes could then be made. The reason hemp was already used for these purposes was because Cannabis Sativa L, a plant that also includes regular industrial hemp, was very easy to grow and provided the necessary fiber in almost all areas. So we see that there is nothing new or innovative in hemp clothing, it is just a return to the basics.


Cotton is not sustainable.

Unfortunately, the cotton boom went hand in hand with the slave trade, and without this practice, cotton probably never would have been as widespread as it is today. Unfortunately, cotton production also has its drawbacks besides slavery, because the production of cotton in the amount we need fabrics for our clothes is more than dangerous for our planet from an environmental point of view. To illustrate, over 250 cubic kilometers of water is used for global cotton production each year. If you translate this into liters, you get 2.56 + 14 liters of water. The number is too large to write. Cotton is also sometimes very sensitive to drought, heat, and weather fluctuations, resulting in millions of crop losses each year.

Pests such as insects can also seriously clog cotton and destroy entire fields, so, unfortunately, pesticides are often impossible to avoid in traditional cotton production. There are dozens of photos on the Internet of workers spraying these pesticides, some of which are toxic to humans, onto plants with ridiculously low protective measures. So you can say with confidence that the production of our T-shirts and trousers is dangerous to the world, people and animals and will hopefully be minimized in the future. There are already many markets that rely on “organic cotton,” meaning organic cotton that does not use pesticides, but hemp is and remains the best alternative.


The benefits of hemp clothing.

Now that we know how bad this is for cotton, it’s time to take a closer look at the benefits of hemp fabrics. Above all, the feeling of being outdoors in a climate-neutral fabric is invaluable and you know that it is truly sustainable. Since the main product is more sustainable than any other, you can truly travel the world with a clear conscience. But this is just the humble opinion of the author, and now let’s move on to the facts:

  1.  Hemp fabrics are very pleasant on the skin, hypoallergenic and very durable, because the fibers are very stable. They can be used on textiles that have to withstand heavy loads, such as bags, backpacks or work clothes.
  2. Clothes made of hemp fibers absorb and dry very quickly. This is very pleasant, especially for people who sweat quickly or a lot, as in summer cotton usually cannot avoid sweat stains.
  3. Hemp clothing absorbs unpleasant odors because the oxygen content of the hemp fibers prevents bacteria from forming. This ensures that sweat odor only occurs after extended use, and hemp clothing such as a hemp shirt can be worn longer without stinking.
  4. Hemp clothing saves sunscreen! Well, not really, hemp is actually very effective at protecting against UV rays and blocks up to 90% of the rays contained in sunlight.
  5. Hemp grows fast and high – in a few months, plants can grow up to 4 meters. If the crops are harvested on time, fibers up to 4 meters long can be obtained from plants, which can then be processed without the need for painstaking processing of the threads, as is the case with cotton.


Possible future of hemp fabric.


We are by no means the first to report on hemp fabric and its benefits. Many small companies all over have dedicated themselves to the production and marketing of hemp garments and hemp textiles and are trying with their resources to help this eco-friendly fabric return. But they are not alone, other, larger companies are now also involved in hemp tissue research. Just recently in the media there was news about the brand of denim trousers “Levi”. The company announced that it had found a way to process hemp fibers to resemble cotton. If this news is correct, the hemp fabric revolution could start soon.

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