Mention the word ‘hemp’ to many people, and they’ll immediately picture “hippie” types getting high in communes or fields and the like.
However, hemp is more beneficial and widespread than you might realize and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the country annually. Read on for the lowdown on hemp today.
What is Hemp?
Firstly, you’re probably wondering what is hemp exactly? Hemp is the name of a particular type of cannabis. Hemp is, like marijuana, from a particular species of the cannabis plant called Cannabis sativa. This herbaceous species originates from Central Asia and has been used by humans for thousands of years in many different ways.
A fast-growing plant, hemp is not a product that will get you “high” like you can get from ingesting or smoking marijuana. However, it was lumped in with marijuana from a legal standpoint for decades after it became illegal along with marijuana.
In 2018, though, The Agriculture Improvement Act legalized hemp again in all 50 states. As such, today, you can buy hemp products in all sorts of forms without worrying about breaking the law.
How Does Hemp Differ from Marijuana?
Many people think that hemp is just another word for marijuana, but they are wrong. In fact, hemp differs considerably from marijuana because of how little THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol) it contains. Hemp contains only 0.3 percent THC concentrate or even less and, as mentioned above, won’t produce any mind-altering effects like marijuana.
Smoke, consume, or otherwise ingest marijuana, and you’ll be getting up to 30 percent THC (although the average is 10 to 20 percent), and you are, therefore, sure to notice a “high” of some type before too long.
Hemp, though, does contain a lot more CBD than marijuana. Cannabidiol is like a “cousin” of THC because the pair have identical chemical formulas, but there’s one bond broken in CBD’s chemical structure, which makes the difference between THC being mind-altering and CBD not.
Uses for Hemp
Hemp is a highly versatile plant that can be used in many ways. For example, it is often grown for its fiber, located in the plant’s stalk. The outer, longer fiber of hemp gets used regularly in creating paper, textiles, rope, and more.
The inner fibers of hemp stalks are popular in building materials and plastics, among other things. You’ll find hemp used in clothing, linens, insulation, biofuels, bioplastics, paints, varnishes, soaps, etc.
People also use hemp seeds as a topping for meals or baked into them. Medicinal uses are many and varied, too. For example, hemp is used to combat high cholesterol, arthritis, constipation, and eczema.
You’ll see hemp seed oil available to buy, too. This oil comes from hemp seeds that are cleaned and then cold-pressed. Many people use the oil in cooking, but it’s also frequently used by manufacturers of cosmetics, shampoo, and personal care items, among other things.
Potential Benefits to Keep in Mind
As you can imagine, there are many benefits of hemp worth noting. This plant grows to around 16 feet yet grows quickly, making it a sustainable option for textiles and the like. Its fibers are very versatile, too.
Products made from hemp can be recycled and reused and are typically biodegradable, which is another plus. Many goods traditionally produced from petroleum, which we know is bad for the environment, can now be made from hemp, which is another bonus.
Also, one prime reason why hemp is so popular with manufacturers and designers these days is that it also has a very high tensile strength. This means that hemp makes strong yet light and safe string, thread, rope, and a fiberglass-like material. Hemp fabrics provide better insulation, being warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
One of the big benefits you’ve likely heard of when it comes to hemp is its excellent health qualities. For instance, hemp seeds are seen by many as a “superfood” due to their high level of complete protein and the fact that they’re bursting with excellent omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds can lower cholesterol levels because they also contain handy phytosterols.
Hemp is a product that you may only just be beginning to understand, but as you can see, it’s well worth investigating and learning about further. You can start using it in many more areas of life this year and feel good about your choices when you do.