Facts about Hemp:
the uses and benefits
Hemp, or industrial hemp, is typically found in the Northern Hemisphere. It is a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. It is a very fast growing plant and was one of the first plants to be spun into usable fiber 10,000 years ago. It can be refined into a variety of commercial items including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed.
Cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis Sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), however they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates the psychoactive effects of THC. The legality of industrial hemp varies widely between countries. Some governments regulate the concentration of THC and permit only hemp that is bred with a very low THC content.
Hemp is used to make commercial and industrial products including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, and biofuel. The fibers can be used to make textiles that are 100% hemp, but are commonly blended with other fibers to make woven fabrics for apparel and furnishings. The inner two fibers of the plant are more woody and are more commonly used for industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter. Hemp oil from the seeds can be used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics. Hemp seeds are used in bird feed mix as well.
Uses and Benefits
Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into hemp meal, sprouted or made into dried sprout powder. Hemp seeds can also be made into a liquid and used for baking or for beverages such as hemp milk, hemp juice, and tea. Hemp oil is cold-pressed from the seed and is high in unsaturated fatty acids. The leaves of the hemp plant can be consumed raw in salads.
In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of hemp products, driven by the demand for hemp seed and hemp oil for use as ingredients in foods such as granola.
In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs treats hemp as a purely non-food crop. With proper licensing and proof of less than 0.2% THC concentration, hemp seeds can be imported for sowing or for sale as a food or food ingredient. In the U.S., imported hemp can be used legally in food products and, as of 2000, was typically sold in health food stores or through mail order.
Hemp fiber has been used extensively with production climaxing soon after being introduced to the New World. Items ranging from rope to fabrics to industrial materials have been made from hemp fiber throughout history. Hemp was also used to make sail canvas and has a texture similar to linen. Because of its versatility, hemp is used in a number of consumer goods, including clothing, shoes, accessories, dog collars, and home wares.
Concrete-like blocks made with hemp and lime can be used as an insulating material for construction. The blocks are not strong enough to be used for structural element, requiring support by a brick, wood, or steel frame. However, hemp fibers are extremely strong and durable, and are usable as a replacement for wood for many jobs, including in the building of durable and breathable homes.
Hemp can be used as an internal plaster and is a mixture of hemp hurd (shive) mixed with larger proportions of a lime-based binder. Hemp plaster has insulative qualities.
Plastic and composite materials
A mixture of fiberglass, hemp fiber, kenaf, and flax has been used since 2002 to make composite panels for the automotive industry. Various car makers are beginning to use hemp in their cars, including Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Iveco, Lotus, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Saturn, Volkswagen, and Volvo.
Hemp paper are paper varieties consisting exclusively or to a large extent from pulp obtained from fibers of industrial hemp. The products are mainly specialty papers such as cigarette paper, banknotes and technical filter papers. Production costs are about four times higher than for paper from wood, so hemp paper is not cost efficient for mass applications as printing, writing and packaging paper.
Hemp jewelry includes bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings, watches and other adornments. Some feature beads made from crystals, glass, stone, wood and bones. The hemp twine varies in thickness and comes in a variety of colors, the half knot and full knot stitches are most common.
Today boots, athletic shoes, sandals, and dress shoes that are made with 100% hemp fiber, or textiles that blend hemp fibers with materials such as cotton, jute, virgin polyester, and recycled polyester. It’s durable, breathable and naturally antimicrobial, so it doesn’t hold on to odors. Because hemp can be grown sustainably, shoes, clothing, and accessories made with hemp are representative of the Green movement.
Hemp shives are the core of the stem, hemp hurds are broken parts of the core. In the EU, they are used for animal bedding, or for mulch. Industrial hemp is much more profitable if both fibers and shives (and even the seeds) can be used.
Biodiesel can be made from the oils in hemp seeds and stalks; this product is sometimes called “hempoline”. Alcohol fuel (ethanol or, less commonly, methanol) can be made by fermenting the whole plant. Filtered hemp oil can be used directly to power diesel engines. In 1892, Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine, which he intended to power “by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils, which earlier were used for oil lamps.
Production of vehicle fuel from hemp is very small. Commercial biodiesel and biogas is typically produced from cereals, coconuts, palmseeds and cheaper raw materials like garbage, wastewater, dead plant and animal material, animal feces and kitchen waste.
Legal in the U.S.!
In contrast to cannabis for medical use, varieties grown for fiber and seed have less than 0.3% THC. Present in industrial hemp, cannabidiol is a major constituent among some 560 compounds found in hemp.
The oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis approved for industrial hemp production produce only minute amounts of THC, not enough for any physical or psychological effects. Typically, industrial hemp contains below 0.3% THC, while cultivars of Cannabis grown for medicinal or recreational use can contain anywhere from 2% to over 20%.
Use of industrial hemp plant and its cultivation was commonplace until the 1900s, when it was associated with the Drug-Type Cannabis species containing higher levels of psychoactive THC. Influential groups falsely portrayed hemp as a dangerous ‘drug’, even though it has the potential to be a sustainable and profitable alternative crop. In the United States, the public’s perception of hemp as marijuana has blocked hemp from becoming a useful crop and product.
Hemp was made illegal to grow without a permit in the U.S. under the Controlled Substances Act passed in 1970 because of its relation to marijuana, and any imported hemp products must meet a zero tolerance level for THC. Some states have made the cultivation of industrial hemp legal, but farmers in many states have not yet begun to grow it because of resistance from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2013, after the legalization of cannabis in the state, several farmers in Colorado planted and harvested several acres of hemp, bringing in the first hemp crop in the United States in over half a century.
Congress included a provision in the Agricultural Act of 2014 that allowed colleges and state agencies to grow and conduct research on hemp in states where it is legal. Hemp production in Kentucky, formerly the United States’ leading producer, resumed in 2014, followed by North Carolina and Washington in 2017. By the end of 2017, at least 34 U.S. states had industrial hemp programs.
As of 2015 the hemp industry estimated that annual sales of hemp products were around US $600 million annually; hemp seeds have been the major force driving this growth.
The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, part of the 2018 Farm Bill, was signed by President Donald Trump December 20, 2018, and has changed hemp from a controlled substance to an agricultural commodity, which makes it easier for farmers to get loans to grow hemp, and allows them to get federal crop insurance.
Earlier this year, the DEA reclassified FDA-approved drugs that contain CBD and no more than 0.1 percent THC from Schedule I, the most serious category, to its lowest category, Schedule V; the same as prescription cough syrups and painkillers. The 2018 Farm Bill completely removes from the drug schedule all hemp plants and derivatives with much higher THC levels, 0.3 percent. To date, there is one FDA-approved CBD product, Epidiolex, approved to treat a rare form of childhood-onset epilepsy.
CBD is turning up in cocktails and wellness products, it topped $350 million in consumer sales in 2017; and it’s expected to grow. Popular products CBD is used in include: Beauty (skin/hair care), Body aches and pains, Stress and Mood supplements, Sleep aids, Vapes, Pet supplements and more. Chefs are incorporating CBDs into recipes and cocktails. The range of products with CBD additions is growing and will continue to do so.
As with everything in the marketplace, knowledge about the available products is essential in making good decisions. And when you are making that decision based on your health needs, that information is even more important.
Ready to look into leaving the side effects of prescription medications behind? Get your information and have a in-depth discussion with your primary care-giver about the benefits of CBDs.
Your thoughts and questions are welcomed, I’m always looking to increase my knowledge!
Walking the Path of Peace,