Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man. It has been used for paper, textiles, and cordage for thousands of years. In fact, the Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
So what exactly is hemp, and how is it different from the psychoactive form of cannabis that we consume medicinally and recreationally? Let’s dive into some Hemp 101 so you can better understand this versatile material.
What Is Hemp?
There are many different varieties of the cannabis plant. Hemp — also called industrial hemp — refers to the non-psychoactive (less than 1% THC) varieties of Cannabis sativa L. Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, but are genetically distinct and are further distinguished by use, chemical makeup, and cultivation methods.
What Can Hemp Do?
Hemp can be grown as a renewable source for raw materials that can be incorporated into thousands of products.
Hemp seeds are probably the most popular application of hemp because it’s so nutritious. Popular among vegetarians and athletes, hemp seeds are often compared to flax and chia seeds as superfoods. Here’s just a short list of some of its amazing health benefits:
- One of the most nutritious foods available in nature.
- Easily digested by the body.
- Can sustain our dietary needs, even without consuming any other healthy food.
- Contains essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) – helps with immune system and cholesterol levels.
- Helps heal those suffering from immune deficiency diseases.
- A superior vegetarian source of protein.
Hemp Seed Oil
While hemp offers different types of oil, hemp seed oilis the most common dietary application you will find. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the plant itself. When the oil is unrefined, it is commonly considered “Nature’s most perfectly balanced oil”. Here’s why:
- It contains a perfectly balanced 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids.
- Great source for Vitamin A & E.
- Includes number of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.
- Has amazing skin care properties.
- Promotes healthy hair and nails, while reducing inflammation.
Clothing & Accessories
Why use hemp clothing? Hemp fabric has proved to be superior to its counterparts in almost every way. Hemp fiber is more…
- Porous and breathable – Hemp fibers allow your skin to breathe.
- Durable – Hemp fiber is the most durable fiber of any plant.
- Eco-friendly & Sustainable – Cotton is a water-intensive crop and uses 25% of the world’s pesticides. Hemp requires 50% less water to grow than cotton and requires no use of pesticides.
Beauty & Skin
What makes hemp skin and body care products better than conventional products? Here’s just a couple reasons:
- Hemp oil based beauty products offer superior ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids compared to other oils (Omega 3 is great for smoothing and firming our skin.)
- Hemp oil is packed with vitamins – Vitamin B, C, E to state just a few
- Key amino acids in hemp oil prevent wrinkles and allow the skin to retain more moisture. They also help conditions like dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis by moistening your skin.
The first documented use of hemp as “medicine” appears about 2300 B.C.E. in China, when an emperor prescriped hemp for the treatment of constipation, gout, and menstrual problems. Since then, records of using hemp (and overall cannabis) as medicine has appeared across variety of different civilizations, including India, Egypt, Persia, Europe, and even during the early days of the United States. Such as:
Hemp Extract (CBD)
Hemp extracts are naturally found compounds in the leaves of hemp. CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the better known compounds, but there’s more than 80 different compounds that can be found in hemp.
There is evidence that consuming hemp flower straight from the plant, or using a “whole plant” CBD product, can boost overall effect and improve the cannabinoid’s beneficial aspects.This is due to the residual THC, terpenes, and other cannabinoids that have an entourage effect in getting the CBD molecule to the endocannabinoid receptors.
Hemp can do all of this and MUCH, MUCH MORE!