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Hemp is a very durable substance that can be used in many products. Unfortunately, it is often confused with marijuana, making it more controversial than is warranted. There are many pros and cons at the heart of the debate over producing hemp clothing, and both sides present valid points to consider.
Pro - Highly Durable
Among organic fibers, hemp is one of the strongest and most durable. It is easily blended with other fibers to produce a hemp-hybrid material. This technique retains the strength of the hemp fibers, while adding the comfort of a softer, more refined fiber. The end result is absorbent, lightweight and sturdy. Hemp clothing reportedly has up to triple the tensile strength of cotton. It is well suited for outdoor wear because the plant's durability helps the clothing stand up to adverse weather conditions.
Con - Possible Breaks
Because hemp fibers are used to produce organic clothing, they are not usually treated with the same anti-wrinkle chemicals as cotton or synthetic clothing. This gives hemp clothing a tendency to bunch up and crease in certain areas it is worn. This repeated creasing can sometimes result in weak points developing or fibers breaking, leading to a hole. Fortunately, hemp fibers are strong, so this is usually not a problem unless the item is worn heavily. Buying hemp clothing advertised as “relax fit” will circumvent this problem; however, this is at the cost of compromising the “green" chemical-free nature of organic clothing.
Pro - Highly Renewable
Hemp is easily grown in most regions of the world. A temperate or tropical climate is ideal. Hemp is naturally resistant to many insect species and requires very little water, making it easy to care for and cheap to cultivate. Hemp also grows so fast, a crop of hemp can be harvested up to three times per year, making this one of the most renewable fibers available for creating clothing.
Jerry Garner has been writing semi-professionally for more than 15 years. The body of Garner's work includes informative articles, news and current events and historical essays. He is an avid sports fan and frequently writes about outdoor activities online.