In Taranto, Italy, farmers are benefiting from one of the many Uses of Hemp – to remove toxins from the soil of their fields.
In past years, this area of Italy had been celebrated for its production of cheeses, but the fields that were once filled with roaming sheep, are now filled with a species of cannabis. It’s not the smokable kind of cannabis, however, it’s the kind of cannabis that can be used to extract toxins from contaminated soil – hemp.
Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component that gives the high.
CBS visited a local farm in the region, owned by Vincenzo Fornaro, and witnessed a barren farm that was once home to more than six hundred sheep. Fornaro said that his family made ricotta and meat for many years, passing the tradition down through generations.
Everything changed in 2008 when the Italian government ordered all his sheep be destroyed, after the toxic chemical dioxin was found in his sheep. An enormous nearby steel plant was responsible for the toxins. It released contaminants into the environment, which had a detrimental effect on the surrounding areas.
To detoxify his land, Fornaro planted fields of industrial hemp, which is known to draw heavy metals from contaminated soil. The process is called phytoremediation.
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