Hemp Printer Paper

Hemp has been grown across the world for more than ten thousand years and is hands down, the most versatile crop on the planet. Most notably, Benjamin Franklin started one of the United State’s first paper mills using cannabis which allowed the new country to have a free press without the dependency of sourcing books and paper from the old country in England.

Until 1883, ninety percent of all the paper in the world back then was made directly with hemp fibers. It included everything from paper to money, news, print, maps, stocks, bonds, and books. A little-known fact is that the first draft of the Declaration of Independence was solely written on Dutch hemp paper.

Can you print on hemp paper?

Of course, you can! However, with the majority of commercial printers being set for tree paper, it isn’t easy to find, but the technology is improving and expanding. But, not there, just yet. 

Is hemp paper cheaper than wood paper?

Is hemp paper more expensive? Well, compared to wood pulp, hemp pulp offers four to five times longer fiber, a significantly lower lignin fraction,  giving it a higher tear resistance and tensile strength, thus resulting in a much more of a longer life.  So yes, if you weigh out the costs versus the benefits (much like what we have seen how LED lights have become in comparison to filament), you get your money’s worth. 

Since the switch in 1883, the paper industry’s processes have been optimized for wood as the feedstock, so today, production costs are much higher for hemp than for paper from wood, unfortunately.  Basically, the production costs are around four times higher since the infrastructure for using hemp is currently underdeveloped. For the most part though, hemp paper in the current market is used far more for specialty applications. Mass applications such as printing, writing and packaging paper are not yet in the mix. Should the paper industry switch from wood to hemp for sourcing its cellulose fibers, the following benefits could be utilized to offset the costs.

  • Hemp plants yield 3 to 4 times more usable fiber than forests, and hemp does not need any nasty pesticides or herbicides
  • Hemp has a much faster crop yield. It takes about 3 to 4 months for hemp stalks to reach maturity, while trees can take between 20 to 80 years! Not only does hemp grow at a much faster rate, but it also contains a very high level of cellulose.  Quicker returns mean that hemp paper can be produced at a faster rate than paper made from wood.
  • Hemp paper does not require the use of toxic bleaching or as many chemicals as wood pulp because it can be whitened with hydrogen peroxide. This means that using hemp instead of wood for paper would provide significant environmental benefits by ending the creation of chlorine or dioxin runoff.
  • Hemp paper can also be recycled up to eight times! In comparison to only three times for paper made from wood pulp
  • Contributes to preserving biodiversity. Hemp’s use as a wood substitute has several factors in favor of its increased use. Especially for agricultural fibers such as hemp, the deforestation and destruction of old growth forests (a major cause of the world’s decreasing supply of wild timber resources) would cease, eliminating one of today’s major ecological concerns.

Does Hemp make good paper?

So far, we have learned that hemp paper lasts up to 100 times longer than most other papers, it grows much faster than trees, and it is so much stronger and more flexible than weak paper made from wood pulp.

Its ability to produce thousands of different products across many industries, to be grown in a variety of climates and, the fact that it is an excellent source for food, textiles, paper, fuel, building materials, plastics, health, and nutritional products, demonstrates its necessity to be a go-to source as we move forward as a more conscientious society.

Additionally, compared to its wood pulp counterpart, paper from hemp fibers more effectively resists decomposition and does not yellow or brown as it ages. Hemp is also known to be one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, of course being one of the main reasons for its longevity and durability.

Quality products?

As society has changed and demanded more chemical-free products, hemp offers a sustainable solution.  The process of making the paper, by bleaching the hemp paper with environmentally friendly and non-toxic methods like oxygen delignification and autohydrolysis, or by using a more natural compounding using high pressure, high temperatures, and steam using sodium carbonate, and non-chemical processes. 

The large part of why the chemical processing is needed in paper production is ideally to keep the cellulose ( which provides structure) and remove the lignin (this creates the unwanted brown color) found in the plant fibers.

When comparing hemp paper vs. tree paper, the hemp contains fifty-five to seventy-seven percent or more cellulose while trees have forty to forty-five percent cellulose. Hemp contains from five to twenty-five percent lignin, while trees contain eighteen to thirty-five percent lignin.

Since trees have less cellulose and more lignin, removing the lignin requires more hazardous chemical processes that can harm the environment, workers, and people who live near paper mills.

It is soft on your bum too!

Hemp’s high tear and moisture strength, water absorption ability, and antibacterial properties make hemp a perfect replacement for tree paper hygiene products! It can be used to make toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, tampons, diapers, underwear, and much more. This contributes directly to reducing so much waste in our water system as well as at the garbage dump.  Because hemp hygiene products are made with soft bast fibers, they are still gentle on your skin even though they are strong and durable.


To reiterate and to make sure the point is obvious, here is a shortlist of benefits and uses of hemp paper

  1. Hemp produces more yield and grows faster than trees
  2. Hemp paper can be recycled more than tree paper
  3. Hemp paper required minimal to no chemical processing
  4. Hemp paper lasts longer than tree paper
  5. Hemp paper helps stop deforestation and save the planet
  6. Hemp paper makes great sustainable hygiene products

And no, hemp paper will not get you “high”.

Categories: Business


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