What is hemp, and more importantly, why should you care?
Industrial hemp, or simply hemp, is a plant that has been used for thousands of years, and it has many benefits that you may not be aware of. Hemp can be used to make clothing, paper, food, CBD products, and more!
It is also environmentally friendly and sustainably grown all over the planet. This article will discuss the history of hemp, some of the benefits (there are tons!), and how you can use it in your own life so you too can get some of these health benefits.
TL;DR – Hemp, is a naturally occurring plant used for many different things. From CBD products, to rope, to clothes, to building materials – hemp can do it all.
What is Hemp?
Industrial hemp, or simply hemp, is a plant within the cannabis plant species. Cannabis sativa is the specific name for hemp. Cannabis sativa and cannabis indica (marijuana) are almost identical in nature, except for one thing: THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content.
Industrial hemp plants (cannabis sativa) cannot contain any more than 0.3% THC – by federal law. Marijuana has no limit to the amount of THC it can contain. This is why it is heavily regulated.
Industrial hemp is grown for a wide variety of needs. From clothing, to rope, to hemp oil – there is a huge demand for it. Historically, hemp grew very tall and stringy, because we used it for the hemp fibers only. Now days, a hemp plant can take on a number of different appearances, depending on what you are growing it for.
Hemp stalks are no longer the only useful part.
You can get a LOT of biomass per acre of cultivated hemp. A farm that uses a 10 acre plot to grow can yield upwards of 2,500 lbs of flower with varying CBD content – depending on the strain grown. It cost $19,289 per acre, or $7.72 per pound of dried hemp flower, according to an article by Successful Farming.
Since the passing of the Farm Bill, the top state in hemp production has been Colorado. Kentucky actually grows a ton of hemp plants to be used for hemp oil production. Montana will likely be more of a dominant member in the hemp harvesting area in the near future after starting their domestic hemp production program.
Producing hemp on a national level is only in infancy stages. Hemp crops will likely grow rapidly over the next ten years.
Different Parts of the Plant Are Used Differently
Hemp traditionally has very long and strong stalks which can be made into rope, clothing, textiles, and even paper. Hemp seeds contain a lot of healthy fatty acids which are great for skin care and hair care. The seeds can also act as a great source of hemp seed protein when added to food for both humans and animals.
The flowers, stalks, and leaves can all be made into hemp oil or hemp dog treats through a means of extraction. These are the parts of the plant that contain a lot of beneficial cannabinoids, like CBD.
The Difference Between Hemp vs Cannabis
Related read: Hemp vs Cannabis
For whatever reason, people always compare hemp and cannabis plants – which is a comparison that doesn’t really make sense. It is like comparing dogs to German Shepards.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis that contains very low levels of THC and high levels of CBD, so it is often used for medical purposes. Marijuana is the second main plant that makes up the cannabis species. It is identical to hemp except for the THC content is quite high. Hemp and marijuana both make up the cannabis plant species.
When most people think of cannabis, they think of the psychoactive drug THC. However, cannabis is a plant species that has many different plants that make up that species. Some of the plants have therapeutic benefits and others that do not have any psychoactive effects.
According to federal law in the US, a cannabis plant is classified as marijuana if it has a THC content of over 0.3%.
Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, but it was not until recently that scientists began to understand exactly how it works.
Hemp is also a valuable resource because it can be used to make products such as paper, clothing, and biofuel. Hemp is a sustainable crop that can be grown without using pesticides or herbicides, and it requires less water than other crops.
Hemp productions leaves us with products which are also biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid that interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates many different functions such as mood, appetite, and pain. Hemp oils are rich in CBD, typically made from organic hemp.
Hemp leaves, flowers, and stalks can be used to make these hemp oils.
CBD can be used to treat various conditions such as anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy. It is also non-intoxicating, which means it cannot get consumers high – at all. Many people assume that since THC gets you high, CBD will as well.
This is not true.
CBD vs THC: Receptor Targeting
Related read: Comparing CBD vs THC
Why is THC intoxicating, while CBD isn’t?
It all has to do with our endocannabinoid system, and how these compounds interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors make up the endocannabinoids system, which is simply a network of cells that talk with each other.
When they are triggered, the receptors do different things like offer pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, and a slew of other beneficial things.
THC has what’s called a strong binding affinity to the CB1 receptor. This simply means that it ‘fits very well’ within this receptor. The result is intoxication, and some other things.
CBD, on the other hand, interacts much more loosely with this receptor. It may even interact with other receptors we haven’t discovered yet – we just don’t know enough about this interaction at this time.
How Can Hemp Be Used to Improve Our Health and Wellness Routines?
Hemp plants have been around for centuries and has many uses in regards to our health. You may know hemp from its use in making textiles, rope, or paper. What you may not know, however, is that hemp can also be used as a food, medicine, or supplement.
Here are some of the ways that hemp can be used in everyday life to improve our health and wellness routines:
Hemp can be used as a food. Hemp seeds are a great source of protein, omega fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins. They can be eaten raw or added to smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal.
Hemp seed oil can also be used as a food. A hemp seed is a great source of omega fatty acids and minerals. Hemp seed oil can be used in salad dressings, dips, or cooking oil.
Hemp can be used as a medicine. Hemp has been shown to help with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and other conditions. It can be taken in the form of an oil, tincture, capsule, or edible.
Hemp can be used as a supplement. Hemp supplements are a great way to get the benefits of hemp without having to eat hemp seeds or oil. They are available in the form of capsules, powders, or liquids.
Is Hemp a Drug?
Hemp is not considered as a drug. While CBD does exist in drug form (see Epidiolex), it is now a federally legal compound that people can legally purchase.
As long as the THC content in hemp remains under 0.3%, it is not considered a drug.
Is Hemp Still a Schedule 1 Drug?
No, it isn’t. The Farm Bill of 2018 distinguished marijuana from hemp. Marijuana remains a schedule 1 drug (which in itself is a whole other story), while hemp is now federally legal. The main reason for this is that marijuana contains high levels of THC, which is intoxicating.
Since hemp is non-intoxicating, there really is no reason for it to remain a controlled substance.
Will Hemp Come Up in a Drug Test?
It is technically possible for hemp-derived products to cause you to test positive on a drug test. While the THC content is so minimal, it still may be enough to cause the positive result. The worse the quality of the drug test, the higher the likelihood for a false positive to occur, too.
If you take constant drug tests for THC, it is safer to just avoid CBD products for now.
Why Is Hemp So Great For The Environment?
One of the many reasons why hemp is so great for the environment is that it doesn’t require GMO seeds, pesticides, or herbicides to grow. This is extremely beneficial because there’s no need to use harmful chemicals that can pollute the soil, water, and air.
In addition, hemp grows extremely quickly, meaning that it can be used to replace other crops that are being harvested at a slower rate.
For example, if we were to replace all the cotton crops in the world with hemp, we would need far less land and water to produce the same amount of fabric. This would help preserve our natural resources and reduce the amount of pollution produced by farming.
Finally, hemp can be used to create a variety of biodegradable and environmentally friendly products, such as paper, clothing, and building materials.
There are many reasons why hemp is so great for the environment, and we must start using this sustainable crop more often. It has a host of health benefits, but it can also help preserve our planet.
Is Hemp Legal in the United States?
In the United States, hemp is legal in almost every state. This is why CBD made from hemp is legal in the US. It’s important to check the laws in your specific state before you try to grow or use hemp-derived items.
In other countries around the world, the legality of hemp also varies. Some countries allow hemp to be grown for commercial purposes, while others only allow it to be used for medical or scientific purposes.
It’s important to do your research before trying to use hemp in another country.
Is Hemp and Marijuana the Same Plant?
Hemp and marijuana are the same plant, except for one difference that man recently defined: the THC content.
The Farm Bill of 2018 defines industrial hemp as the cannabis sativa plant which contains under 0.3% THC content. Marijuana is an identical plant, except the THC content will be great than 0.3% – that’s it.
Hemp cultivation and marijuana cultivation are generally identical, since they are the same plant.
Summary – the Hemp Plant
As you can see, there is an absolutely boat load of information on the hemp plant. We’ve only managed to barely scratch there surface in this article, too.
From health benefits, to textiles, to sustainable farming – hemp as what we need as humans. If we could replace some other crops with hemp, it would be better for all of us.
Marijuana as a Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK224384/
Missouri Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6140266/