Few people know the difference between these weeds, and it’s important to understand that Hemp was unfairly banned less than 80 years ago! History and diverse studies show that this is a useful plant that nature has provided, sufficient to encourage the growth of a sustainable, eco-friendly and thriving industry.
Hemp is NOT marijuana
Industrial Hemp (IH) has less than 0.3% THC vs. its psychoactive counterpart “Marijuana” which has up to 30% THC. Although they belong to the same family, their genetic diversity makes them distant cousins.
Hemp has already been the backbone of truly self-sufficient, sustainable and healthy human civilization. It was the largest domesticated crop from 1,000 B.C. to 1883. It wasn’t until 1937 that the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the USA created a mass campaign associating hemp with marijuana - “the devil’s grass” - and allied with major industries such as big oil and nylon (du Pont family which started as a gunpowder manufacturer and later expanded into other materials) whose businesses were threatened and jeopardized by the hemp industry – to ban it.
It has been cultivated for over 10,000 years, with references dating back to ancient China and Mesopotamia. It has been a highly nutritious source of hemp food, and the fibre has been used functionally throughout history.
Hemp: Main Focus
Hemp is a renewable, waste-less crop that only requires 90-120 days to grow. The seeds are used for food, oil, natural medicine and cosmetics among other products and the stalks and fibres have several commercial and industrial uses such as making paper, canvas, textiles, shoes, ropes, bioplastics, insulation, biofuel, etc. All of which also have a reduced carbon footprint on the environment compared with their conventional counterparts.
Hemp as a Superfood
Hemp is a functional food. Hemp seeds, technically a nut, have a mild, nutty flavor and are usually referred to as “hemp hearts”.
Hemp hearts offers vitamins E, D, B1, B3, B6 and folate, as well as important minerals like Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc, Magnesium and Potassium which are necessary for body functions.
Hemp is a complete and plant-based source of protein that contains over 25% of digestible high-quality bio-available protein, similar to that of an egg and contains the 9 essential amino acids (EAA), which act as building blocks for proteins in the organism. Essential nutrients are those the body is not able to produce itself and therefore must obtain them from diet. Hemp seed contains considerably more nutrients than other superfoods from the plant kingdom, such as chia seeds and flaxseeds.
Its high content of arginine, one of the EAA, directly benefits heart health, producing nitric oxide as a metabolite. Nitric oxide is a vessel dilator that promotes lowered blood pressure. Arginine is also a natural anti-inflammatory and studies show it decreases the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation marker.
In addition, hemp seed oil is composed of 80% PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) being an exceptionally rich source of essential fatty acids (EFA) like Omega 6 and most importantly Omega 3, in an ideal ratio of 3:1, unlike any other food.
Omegas in the optimal ratio promote health by improving blood sugar and levels of EFA, decreasing risks of heart conditions. Hemp seed oil has also been proven beneficial in the treatment of eczema and other skin conditions, it is an anti-inflammatory and aids in reducing symptoms in arthritis, PMS and menopause.
Another attribute of hemp is that it has more than 10% of soluble and insoluble fibre which is indispensable for a healthy gut and digestive tract. The complete nutritional profile and its high antioxidant content makes hemp a valuable source of food, which benefits the digestive bacteria, preventing the out-growth of harmful pathogens.
Hemp consumption is linked to a reduced risk of diabetes, helping reduce sugar spikes and regulating cholesterol levels.
Consequently, hemp is a highly nutritional food for everyone and its plant-based origin makes it suitable for vegans and vegetarians as well.
Hemp Farming and the Environment
The hemp crop is eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable. It promotes carbon sequestering. 3.6 tons of CO2 are absorbed and cleared from the air, per tonne of hemp grown. It also improves the soil, absorbing harmful minerals such as Cadmium. And it replenishes the soil, returning 60-70% of nutrients back to the soil, making it an excellent rotational crop.
The farming of hemp, widely used by many different industries, has a positive impact on the Earth.
Hemp stalks are the longest and most durable, natural fibre on earth; 4 times the pulp of trees.
It was the largest domestic crop until 1890.The average ship had 60 tonnes of hemp rope, ballast and sails.
Some of the industries that have taken advantage of this renewable, natural resource, throughout history are:-
Cotton production, which is the second most polluting industry in the world, detriments the environment drastically. In turn, a Hemp crop uses 4 times less water than cotton and it produces 2 times the textile. Hemp is 100% organic and natural, as well as hypoallergenic.
Building and Construction
Hempcrete is a building material made of hemp fibre, lime rock and water, bio degradable, sustainable, weather-proof, fire-proof and insulating. It has been used to build homes and is helpful in avoiding the use of heating or cooling systems by naturally maintaining a cool temperature in the summer and a warm temperature in the winter.
Furthermore, Hemp bioplastic made from hemp stalk is an affordable, natural and biodegradable alternative that replaces fossil-based carbon in regular plastic production. It is 10 times stronger than steel for which it was originally used by Henry Ford to make the panels of the car without steel.
Hemp is used by BMW and Mercedes-Benz and recently was used to replace glass-fibre in Porsche.
The first known Hemp rope was found in Czechoslovakia in 1997 and dated from 26,900 B.C.
In 2014, the University of Calgary AB presents one molecule thick graphene made from hemp that is stronger and lighter than graphene from graphite for lithium batteries.
Biofuel is also made from hemp and it was first intended to be used for cars and other equipment before it was banned.
Paper and canvas are other products which may be successfully obtained from the processing of hemp stalks.
Another innovative industry utilizes hemp for products needed within the animal realm, including food and care.
Hemp as Natural Medicine
Cannabinoids (CBD) mimic our own endocannabinoid system, turning on human receptors sited for optimal function.
Medicinal Cannabis has been proven, through history and generations, to aid the treatment of various health conditions. In 1999, CBD’s antioxidant properties were discovered. The studies proved it useful in the treatment of ischemic disease, autoimmune and inflammatory illnesses; for instance arthritis, eczema, tumor growth, PMS as well as eating disorders, depression and anxiety. CBDs are neuro protectants following ischemic insults such as stroke and trauma, and help in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons and dementia.
WHY HEMP - Farm Hemp, Eat hemp and Use Hemp?
Hemp is older than many civilizations, and it has been widely accepted, encouraged, and even rewarded over hundreds of generations.
Hemp provides more for humans than any other plant resource on earth.
Hemp seed may be consumed raw and the nutrients are easily absorbed. It contains multiple vitamins and important minerals that are frequently insufficient, mainly in people with a plant-based lifestyle. In addition to all the essential amino acids and the adequate ratio of 3:1 Omega 6 : Omega 3, the environmental impact is lower, and this industry takes
some weight off the oceans, by providing the essential Omegas 3 & 6 typically obtained from fish, benefiting the whole ecosystem.
It’s a growing industry which helps people help the earth by contributing to human health, saving the natural resources, replenishing the soil and clearing the air we breathe. Hemp allows us to create ecological alternatives to modern necessities, whilst nourishing the planet.
Corporate competition had it driven into a negative context as a drug causing it to be banned for sale.
However, Hemp is Now Back! And it’s a thriving industry to promote, protecting the earth and obtaining numerous benefits.