Neglected Opportunity: Cannabis as a potential savior for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

Photo of Cannabis, by Charlón
Photo of Cannabis, by Charlón

The most Versatile, Efficacious plant on earth!!

Amidst the hype on the decriminalisation of marijuana and the subsequent “herb” revolution, has any real thought been put into the possibilities that could develop as a result?

We in Trinidad and Tobago have for the most part, always had a buffer to protect against economic strain and the resulting ills (I’m referring to the natural resources of oil and gas mainly, among the many others that we are blessed with).  However, even when managed with extreme care, they are not renewable and therefore leave us vulnerable.  

Be it divine guidance or controversial interest, I believe that the re-emphasizing on the branding and overall image of Cannabis could not have come at a more prudent time! Given that, we cannot afford to put all our eggs in one basket and the fact that so many beneficial, agricultural and economic boosters could be derived by developing a prominent niche for the plant’s products here in our twin island state, and the Caribbean to a wider extent.  

Photo by Prensa 420
Photo by Prensa 420

Some of the possibilities include:

  1. Using  Cannabis to aid in Soil Remediation
  2. Facilitate Cannabis Research:  which could greatly improve the world of medicine, use to produce biofuel, development of a Hemp Market; production of textiles and durable goods.

At first glance, it doesn’t look like the superhero that it’s made out to be, but allow me to expand.

 Soil Remediation:

Cannabis/Hemp is unaffected by pollutants in the soil and its roots can grow as deep as eight (8) feet. It can be grown at very low cost, in a wide variety of environments and has a quick production rate, due to its fast growing cycle. The plant can be harvested in three (3) to six (6) months as opposed to 30 years for a tree.

This family of plant, are also very good accumulators via the process known as phytoremediation. They can filter toxins from the air and soil, storing those toxins within and suffer no harm. Think about it “ the Beetham Dump (one of many) is rife with pollutants and is located in very close proximity to the sea. If the Cannabis plants were to be used as a buffer around dumps, a lot of leachate (toxins) could be minimised penetrating the soil and washing into bodies of water as surface run-off. But remember, “it also pulls toxins from the air”. I would personally like to walk past any dump and not think that my life span has been shortened as a result of inhaling those putrid emissions. Notwithstanding that it is not the most efficient phytoremediator; it is very economical when considered for all of its many uses. For this reason, the use of this plant should be at the forefront of the minds of all government bodies and entities that entertain industrial processes. 

Photo by Giandomenico Jardela
Photo by Giandomenico Jardela

Cannabis Research: 

This is the other area I wish to briefly highlight. Though recreational use is one benefit of the plants, we cannot look at the forest for only the trees. Effort placed on researching current use and possibly developing new uses will definitely reinvigorate our love for growing things. A common issue among island states is the loss of topsoil as agriculture is embattled with the need to provide more housing for growing populations. Also, the scars left on the earth as a result of quarrying and forest clearing is equally nerve wrecking. Did I mention that Cannabis can grow almost anywhere and that its roots can reach as deep as eight (8) feet? A look into the possibility of preventing hillside erosion and quarry rehabilitation should definitely be researched.

In addition, it is widely researched that Hemp seed is one of the single most complete foods on the planet and the oil is instrumental in assisting the removal of cholesterol from the human body. Since food security is a major issue for most if not all the countries of the world, it is imperative that we look at ways to “grow it at home”.

Another area for development is in the production and use of Bio-Fuel. In recent time, the government of T&T proposed that CNG Kits be installed on all suitable vehicles. This is a credit to the government, however although to a very reduced extent, environmental toxins are still produced. Using Biofuel made from Cannabis on the other hand, results in no harmful waste products. FCDA has shown that using Cannabis is the most efficient, and potentially the cheapest and most reliable way to produce energy. Even the production aspect of the fuel is environmentally friendly. 

To close, here is a list of the possible products that can be made from Cannabis to get you thinking on products that might be incorporated into your future business:

  • Insulation
  • Clothing and Textiles
  • Paper products
  • Industrial lubricants
  • Varnishes
  • Construction material – bricks, fiberboard e.t.c
  • Food
  • Rope
  • Nets
  • Lace
  • Soap
  • Sails
  • Shoes
  • Plastics – pollutants are very much reduced as opposed to traditional plastic production
  • Explosives
  • Caulking
  • Paint
  • Sealant
  • Methanol
  • Charcoal
  • Auto-bodies
  • Animal food
  • Lotions
  • Ointments
  • Lacquer
  • Salad dressings

 I would like to know: “ Why are we not funding this?”

This article was written by Guest Blogger, C.Patrick

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5 thoughts on “Neglected Opportunity: Cannabis as a potential savior for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

  1. It is known as God’s Herb in India and has been used for medicinal use, food, cooking oil, shoes and rope for ages. Thanks to the blackmail of the west the Govt is spending millions to burn natural grown herb and has ruined the livelihoods of the village women making beautiful hand crafted colourful shoes


  2. Admittedly, I am not a smoker but this article is rather thought-provoking.

    I believe that further research into the potential use of cannabis is warranted. The author cites some interesting elements such as: soil remediation, the possibility of preventing hillside erosion and a variety of possible by-products.

    In all, I believe we must leave no stone un-turned for in this globalised world, innovation is key to surviving.

    This is a good read…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for your contribution Pacosmith.
      For the record I have never smoked Cannabis and God willing, never will. As you pointed out the aim of the article is to provoke the reader’s thoughts so we can all improve on our know of the topic. For instance one reader in Linkedin group shared the History behind Cannabis. It was informative and an eye opener, see for yourself at The additional used of Cannabis just go to show how a little imagination and knowledge could be used to transform the agriculture industry.


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