Hemp, a member of the cannabis plant family, is a hearty, fibrous plant that serves a variety of uses. Cannabis plants have high levels of the psychoactive component Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whereas hemp contains less than 0.3% of THC. Strainz hemp is organically grown and farmed for the purpose of extracting live cannabinoids and manufactured into high quality CBD and other oils. While most farms cultivate the plant for cannabinoid extracts and crafting CBD products, these plants have historically been used for a number of resources. From fabric to superfood, the versatility is amazing.
History and Use
The history of hemp dates back to 8,000 BC. There is even evidence that the plant could have been one of our very first agricultural crops. Historians have been studying the uses and history of hemp and cannabis from around the world. It has been discovered that humans have used this plant for thousands of years for resources, turning it into textiles, building materials, shelter, food, medicine, ink, rope, and more. Advanced modern uses of the resource are biofuel and plastic.
Hemp is a hardy sturdy plant that can survive in many climates and harsh conditions. Simply growing this plant is good for the environment. The plant tissues actually metabolize toxins and remove impurities from the soil known as phytoextraction. Researchers discovered hemp can naturally extract lead, cadmium, and nickel from the earth and clean contaminated soil. The plants absorb environmental pollutants while replenishing the earth with nitrogen and nutrients. The roots naturally aerate compacted soil, making the ground more stable and preventing erosion.
CBD and Therapeutic Uses
For thousands of years, the roots and leaves of the hemp plant were used for medical and therapeutic purposes. Hemp contains a variety of cannabinoids without the high levels of THC that other strains of cannabis have. Today the plant is widely used for its cannabinoids which are extracted from the whole plant or the leaves and flowers. Using Cannabidiol (CBD) for wellness, skincare, and managing pain has become popular as people look for non-toxic options. Many people are turning to this plant seeking its therapeutic properties. Evidence suggests that CBD may help with sleep, depression, anxiety, pain, and more. Exciting new scientific discoveries are being made on the ways this plant may be a natural aid for some severe health conditions.
Food and Nutrition
The hemp plant also produces nutritious whole foods such as protein rich seeds, oil, and milk, which contain all 9 of the essential amino acids that humans must get from food. The cold-pressed seed oil from the plant does not contain CBD. It is a nutritious oil with a lovely nutty flavor rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, zinc, and protein. Best used in salad dressings, smoothies, or for low heat cooking. Hemp oil should not exceed 330 ℉ or the oil will start to degrade and change in taste. The plants seeds and milk are a great source of plant-based protein with better bioavailability than other protein sources. Hemp seeds can be added to salads, smoothies, baking, and more.
Fabric and Paper
For thousands of years, hemp has been used in the making of fabric and textiles and it is the strongest natural fiber source. Compared to other natural fibers like cotton, hemp has advantages because of its durability and resistance to molds, bacteria, and ultraviolet rays. Its sturdy nature makes it great for making rope, canvas, paper, and even ship sails because it can hold up in harsh weather and is long-lasting. Before the 20th-century hemp pulp was commonly used to make paper. It takes 90 days to produce hemp paper from a seedling whereas tree pulp paper can take 10 – 40 years. Hemp paper and cloth can also be recycled again and again up to 8 times as opposed to tree pulp products which are only recyclable up to three times. With the loss of trees and deforestation happening around the globe, it would be a good thing to reconsider the uses of hemp where tree pulp and wood can be substituted.
Less Water, Fewer Pesticides
One acre of hemp has the equivalent of textile material to 2 to 3 acres of cotton. Growing hemp uses much less water than other textile crops such as cotton and is not as susceptible to pests, so it is easy to cultivate healthy crops without the use of harsh insecticides. Evolving the textile industry and utilizing this plant would be a great alternative as it is more earth-friendly, environmentally sustainable, reduces the use of harsh chemicals and pesticides, saves water, and makes a more durable cloth that lasts longer than cotton. Cotton currently dominates in the textile world, mostly because of the ban on hemp that happened in the 20th century.
Why We Don’t Use More Hemp
In the 20th century, the United States banned cannabis and included hemp in the ban. There was and still is a negative stigma around hemp and its correlation to cannabis and a fear of it coming into the country with the influx of immigrants. The U.S. decided to ban both of these plants altogether. The lack of knowledge and ability to regulate farming, production and differentiate between hemp and cannabis led to it disappearing in the US.
The passing of the U.S. Farm Bill in 2018 brings a wave of hope for a greener, more sustainable future. As hemp farms take off in the United States we hope to see it evolve industries where it can provide a more eco-friendly option. We can save water, decrease the use of harmful chemicals going into our earth, and provide environmentally sustainable options for many industries from textiles to plastic. The more ways we can utilize this plant resource, the better off our planet will be. Go green, support hemp production!