Hemp. The Super Plant

What would you do if we told there was an amazing plant, which can be used for almost anything.  From medicine, food, clothing, paper, beauty products to building products, even fuel to power diesel engines. Eastern cultures are recorded as using it as long ago as 10,000 years.

Some of you may even already be wearing or using it.  Let me introduce you too Hemp.

Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) is a member of the Cannabaceae plant family. There are many varieties of Cannabis such as Sativa, Indica and Ruderalis.  However, only Sativa is suitable for cultivating on an industrial scale. Hemp is sometimes confused with other Cannabis plants like Marijuana (which led to it being prohibited in the 1930’s).  Unlike Marijuana, Hemp only contains trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for getting people ‘high’.  The good news for hemp though is it has much higher levels of Cannabidiols (CBD’s).

A very brief history

Up until the 1930 – 1950’s most countries around the world grew hemp. Its fibre were used for a wide variety of purposes.

There is a popular theory that when American company Dupont began manufacturing plastics and nylon from petrochemicals, they saw hemp as a threat to their business.  They pressured the Government to classify hemp and marijuana together as a prohibited substance.  This resulted in the prohibition of industrial hemp.  While the theory seems probable, the prohibition was mostly likely due to a lack of knowledge of Cannabis and THC or what actually caused people to get high.

In 1937 Australia also banned the growing of Hemp, when the government agreed to follow the US. Until then Australia was an important producer of hemp to the increasing international demand.

During the past decade, most countries have legislated to allow the cultivation and use of Industrial hemp again, under licence.

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp and CBD’s

When most people think about Hemp Oil, they are typically thinking of Hemp Seed Oil.  Hemp Seed Oil generally appears translucent green and contains high amounts of Omega 3 and 6 but only trace amounts of CBD’s.  However, Hemp Oil generally appears black as it is made from the leaves. This Hemp Oil is a concentrated source of Cannabinoids. including Cannabidiol (CBD). There are 500+ nutrients found in the Hemp Plant. Hemp ‘Leaf’ Oil also contains small amounts of Omega 3 & 6 but nowhere near the levels found in the seeds. 

Hemp as a food

Hemp is one of the most versatile and eco-friendly substances on the planet.  It is also a super food –

  • The seeds can be eaten raw, ground into meal, sprouted or made into dried sprout powder. 
  • The leaves of the hemp plant can also be consumed raw in salads.
  • It can also be made into a liquid and used for baking or for beverages such as hemp milk, hemp juice and tea
  • Hemp seeds contain more polyunsaturated fatty acids than any other food and are the only food to contain Omega 3 & 6 in just the right ratios required for humans. 

Hemp seeds are also a rich source of- 

  • B Vitamins
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Dietary Fibre 

Hemp as a protein source

The amino acid profile of hemp seeds is comparable to other sources of protein such as meat, milk, eggs and soy. 

Hemp protein is made without chemical processing and simply involves mechanical pressing, grinding and filtering.  Therefore it is still considered a whole food. Even at 50-60% protein because it retains all the necessary components for proper digestion and assimilation. 

Uses

Hemp is a very versatile plant and can be used for a wide variety of applications. Including – 

  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Cordage
  • Canvas
  • Paper
  • Plastics 
  • Bio-fuel
  • Medicinal
  • Jewelry
  • Oil
  • Beauty Products (Creams/Oils)
  • Building Products
  • Water & Soil Purification
  • Animal Bedding
  • Weed Control 

Hemp as a wide variety of uses that can promote a more sustainable world.  Hemp products can be recycled, reused and are 100% biodegradable. Claims are also made that Hemp can help reduce global warming because it takes out large amounts of carbon dioxide per acre, more than most plants (This is true if the end products are locked up permanently in applications like building products). 

Industrial hemp is a very robust plant that will outcompete weeds.  In a lot of cases it is possible to grow without the use of herbicides, reducing the pesticide load on the environment. 

With all these positives and benefits of Hemp. it is hard to believe it isn’t used more extensively.  It really could be a game changer.