Hemp vs Cotton: The Ultimate Showdown

Joe Martino

Activist Post

Hemp has been making a lot of noise lately, especially with the growing awareness surrounding the use of hemp oil for treating cancer. Although the word ‘hemp’ still often gets confused and lumped into the same definition as Cannabis, a similar but psychoactive plant, it’s important to realize hemp can be a major game changer for our world if used to its potential.

As we go through this post, you will be wondering ‘why don’t we use this stuff all the time…for everything?!’ Simple answer, farming hemp was banned in the US and other countries in the 1937 because of the threat it caused to certain companies and their businesses. More about that here.

Although hemp has many practical uses, let’s focus on one that would affect us every day; clothing. For this, we will compare hemp to cotton, as cotton is a very popular resource used in clothing production. We’ll need to focus on various areas that have to be taken into consideration when comparing the two so we can determine not only what is better for us, but also what is best for our environment as it’s important to view things holistically. Let’s do it.


Cotton: To grow cotton you require about 1400 gallons of water for every pound you intend to produce. That’s a lot of water! Some areas of the world that produce cotton are running out of fresh water due to the production of cotton as well as clothing. Some areas of the world have even experienced desertification as a result of producing cotton.

Hemp: You require about half the amount of water to produce hemp as you would if producing cotton. Hemp is a strong and reliable plant that grows very quickly. Not only that, hemp produces about 200% – 250% more fiber on the same amount of land compared to cotton.

The victor: Hemp

Cotton: One of the biggest downsides to cotton is how much pesticides are used to grow the plant. Although organic cotton farming is beginning to catch on a bit more, the production of cotton worldwide takes up about 25% of the world’s pesticide use. The other unfortunate factor is that these chemicals can end up being absorbed into our skin as we wear our clothing.

Hemp: The beauty of hemp is that it requires no pesticides to grow. In fact, it doesn’t require any chemicals at all to grow. The growing nature of the plant competes with weeds and overpowers their ability to sustain themselves. This allows the hemp plant to grow freely and quickly.

The victor: Hemp

Comfort & Longevity

Cotton: Generally very comfortable to begin with, as you continue to wear cotton it ‘breaks in’ to become even more comfortable. There is no denying how soft cotton can be, but it is also true that cotton fibers break down over time, and the more it is washed the faster it breaks down.

Hemp: The hemp fiber used in clothing is a strong natural fiber that, like cotton, gets progressively softer with each passing day you wear it and each time you wash it. Although it may not start off quite as soft, it is still soft and certainly would not be considered uncomfortable. The plus is that the fiber is much stronger and more durable. Repeated washing will not break the fiber down anywhere near as quickly as cotton. Creating more hemp clothing would mean we would need to produce much less clothing.

The victor: Hemp

Breathability & Wicking

Cotton: Breathability is certainly a strong suit for cotton. It also does not hold odors very much. This is quite possibly one of the biggest downsides to synthetic fibers; they don’t dispel odor well and don’t often deal with moisture well either. While cotton has a natural wicking system, it also holds moisture a little longer than what might be considered most desirable.

Hemp: Performs very well when it comes to breathability and wicks moisture away from the body effectively. Hemp also carries anti-bacterial properties that trump any other natural fiber. This means hemp will not mold or grow mildew very easily. Since it also does not hold odors, hemp clothing edges out cotton slightly on this one

The victor: Almost a tie, but hemp is our pal on this one again


Cotton: Without the use of dyes, cotton comes naturally in white, cream and off-white. Cotton can be dyed naturally or synthetically to achieve a desired color. The growing knowledge that cotton is very taxing on the environment and not healthy for our skin is creating quite the demand for organic cotton. In terms of the fashion market, organic cotton is showing up more and more.

Hemp: Given the various processes available to remove fibers from the stem of a hemp plant, hemp can be naturally creamy white, black, green, grey or brown. Without even requiring the use of dye, hemp comes in a variety of colors. Of course, you are still able to dye hemp both naturally and synthetically. Hemp is quickly becoming more and more popular in the fashion market as designers see the potential in the material while being a very environmentally sound option. Since it is durable and lasts a long time, it can be attractive to certain designers.

The victor: Hemp

Final Decision

Winner by knockout and growing undisputed champion of natural harmony, HEMP! This isn’t to say that cotton, especially grown organically, is not a good material; it simply isn’t better all around than hemp. In some cases, cotton could be a must use if something specific is being produced. The biggest differences are in the facts that hemp requires much less water and no pesticides to produce. Not only that, it boasts a lot more fiber per acre. Concerned about excess CO2 in the atmosphere? Hemp is spectacular at sequestering CO2! Take the time to check out some hemp clothing around the Internet or see if there are some local stores that sell it. Although options can sometimes be limited right now, look out for more hemp clothing as awareness continues to spread!


The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

5 Responses to “Hemp vs Cotton: The Ultimate Showdown”

  1. Anonymous says:

    as a rastafari iv known this all my life..onelove xx

  2. NPP says:

    It is mind bogglingly stupid that Hemp is some how illegimate. Concerned about excess CO2 in the atmosphere? No, I am not concerned, but so what, as this article points out, Hemp is a win win situation… on a similar track, this gutsy Granny has long made me smile:
    Cannabis Grandmother spared jail:

    Herbal remedies banned as new EU rules take effect:

    The Health Business:

  3. Anonymous says:

    i watched a film yesterday called
    Run from the cure. it will uplift you but also make you very angry. our governments and phama corperations have a lot to answer for. go to you tube and watch it everyone. i spent the rest of the day on line trying to find hemp oil produced as it was in the film, but they all seem to be cold pressed hemp SEED oil which is not the bit we need. it’s the THC in the buds that has the healing quality for cancer. you can get plenty of info on how to make your own but then we would be breaking the law in this country.

  4. NPP says:

    Run From The Cure The Rick Simpson Story (Full Version)
    …. For over a century, big business and pharmaceutical companies worldwide have withheld the cure for cancer and countless other medical conditions all in the interest of personal profit…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am a believer and I am currently using hemp oil to treat my prostate cancer. I grew my own supply because I didn’t trust commercial growers. Of course it should be legalized. But it isn’t going to happen. Big Pharma/Farma won’t allow it. Every time the case for legalisation is put forth on MSM it is accompanied by pictures of hippies smoking joints – none of the real benefits are highlighted. In the end people like myself will be treated as criminals because we feel more confident treating ourselves than placing ourselves totally in the hands of the medical ‘entrepreneurs’!

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