Apparently, there’s more to cannabis than just being a smoker’s best friend. As a matter of fact, this plant carries myriad benefits and serves incredible purposes that go way beyond what most of are familiar with. The cannabis plant is used for making fabric, paper, and even fuel (through industrial processing of hemp).

And, that’s not it! Cannabis is even used to holistically treat several medical conditions such as migraines and chronic pains.

It’s time to add one more benefit to the list; and an unexpected one at that. Would you believe if you were told that cannabis can actually clean toxic waste? Goes against the whole perceived ‘toxic’ image of the plant, doesn’t it?

Multiple instances have proved that cannabis actually removes toxic waste from the land and even clears the harmful radiation from soil.

The process called – phytoremediation is used for cleaning polluted soil using plants. A 2014 report from the Nation of Change’s Christima Sarich said that mustard family is used more often in this process. However, cannabis has demonstrated a lot more promise because it acts a little harder against toxins than any other plant.

In the late 90s, a group of representatives experimented with phytoremediation using industrial hemp. The group consisted of Institute of Bast Crops, Ukraine and Consolidated Growers and Processors, PHYTOTECH. They used industrial hemp – a plant high in fiber and low in psychoactive properties. The group used it near Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. A huge agricultural land on this site is still unusable due to high residual radiation still present in the soil along with heavy metal lingering since the meltdown of 1986.

In the words of Slavik Dushenkov, one of the research scientists associated with PHYTOTECH, ‘’Hemp is turning out to be a great phyto-remediative plant found so far.”


Another experiment was conducted in 2009 to establish hemp’s effectiveness in cleaning toxic waste. The Belarusian scientists experimented around the areas polluted due to Chernobyl – a disaster that contaminated the surrounding 20 miles. Scientists further noted one more benefit of using industrial hemp instead of using other phytoremediation plants. They noticed that hemp had the potential of being used as a bio-fuel which adds to the already long list of benefits of this crop.

Chernobyl is just one of the incidents. Radioactive emissions and toxic materials like strontium, cesium, and plutonium with high concentration in plants and animals in Japan and US are also found by scientists. The West Coast has not remained untouched from toxic waste either.

A freelance writer from Netherlands named Seshata specializes in writing about cannabis. She talked about several studies that testify the use of hemp and the plant’s amazing ability to absorb heavy metals and toxins like cadmium. However, the negative image associated with cannabis and the whole ‘war on drugs’ put limitations on studying this plant in depth, especially in the US.

Considering a huge portion of land in the United States is polluted and is in dire need of cleaning, using hemp in the phytoremediation process could be the answer to this major issue. The land remains unsafe for use until it’s cleaned-up. Governments spend billions each year in an effort to make toxic land usable but in vain. It’s high time that hemp came into picture and we all woke-up to its amazing potential in making the phytoremediation process all the more effective.

The cherry on the cake is that once we’ve used hemp for cleaning purpose, what is left can still be put to other uses. It can be processed and converted into oil and put to several more industrial purposes.