What would ordinarily be a simple question, turns into a whirlwind of potential when understanding hemp. Its effectiveness is undoubtedly just the bottom of the barrel, as the avenues that you can take with hemp stretch farther than you can imagine, and in many different industries.
With hemp being around for longer than mankind, its roots and uses are deeply sewn into the foundation of past communities and potentially civilizations. In hindsight, despite it being hidden away from society for reasons no one can truly understand, we can still take what was learned before us and bring it into our current lives. Which is technically what is happening now.
The hemp industry is reaching new heights and while there is plenty of more information that needs to be looked at and studied, we have a pretty good idea of how significant and groundbreaking hemp can be for us.
Firstly, let's recap on what hemp is. Hemp is a form of the cannabis plant that is full of CBD and only contains a small amount of THC. CBD is one of many cannabinoids that refers to the medically active part of the plant that we use to aid in our wellbeing. THC is the part of the plant that makes us want to binge-watch The Office while eating a bucket of chicken; however still has specific medicinal attributes. How do we know that Hemp only contains this small amount of THC? Because legally 0.3% is the largest amount allowed in the plant, otherwise it is not allowed to be used by manufacturers and companies for distribution.
Secondly, when it comes to consuming hemp, we have a few different ways of doing this. Out of the hemp plant as a whole, the seeds are what we consume. These hemp seeds can either be eaten whole, shelled, or broken down into a protein powder. To take it one step further, hemp seeds can also be made into oil.
(Reminder: Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are two different types of oils. Hemp seed oil comes from the seed themselves, while CBD oil comes from the flowers and fan leaves of the plant. Hemp seed oil does not contain CBD, rather it contains many nutritious compounds like a perfect ratio of Omega 3:6.)
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into why hemp is so effective.
Hemp As A Whole
Why, we as a planet, still use other sources when we have hemp around is incredibly confusing. This is due to hemp having so many environmental benefits right from its growing process to its strength and power in many different industries. You may be wondering, if this product is so great for the planet, then why haven’t we been using it all this time? To put it simply, decades ago major corporations decided to reach for profitable sources rather than sustainable ones, forcing these companies now to backtrack due to their detrimental effects and cry out from the world.
Now that we are back on the hemp bandwagon, we can see its benefits in many ways. Let’s break it down more easily.
- Cannabis being a weed means it grows fairly easily. So easily, that it can grow very well with little water. In fact, hemp hates to have its “feet” too wet, helping us save water and dodge soil erosion.
- Being a larger plant, growing to an average of 5 feet tall, cannabis plants actually take up a lot less room. So much so that MASSCANN states “One acre of hemp produces as much cellulose fiber pulp as 4.1 acres of trees, making hemp a perfect material to replace trees for pressed board, particleboard, and concrete construction molds.” This of course is based on the average but given inputs to production, climate, and geographical conditions, this productivity will vary.
- Hemp is also great for soil because it has long roots that help with microbial growth. It also helps pull heavy metals out of soils when used for phytoremediation purposes and restores some vital nutrients that may have been lost in the first place. However, don’t be fooled, hemp does love nitrogen and requires it to survive. Given this, it’s best to use natural nitrogen inputs as opposed to synthetic fertilizers.
- Green Flower states, “It has already been proven that hemp can eliminate toxins from the environment. Hemp is so effective at absorbing toxic materials it has even been considered for removing radiation from Fukushima.” It also was used to help remediate the grounds near Chernobyl.
- Forbes lists some of its biodegradable materials to be “plastic polymers, building products, fabrics, wood, biofuel, paper, and even car components,” but keep in mind these items truly are only biodegradable if they are made without other synthetic inputs.
- The cultivation of hemp is said to be able to prevent the constantly terrifying deforestation rates by using hemp as a source of wood and paper.
This is really just the tip of the iceberg for hemp’s effectiveness in being a sustainable source for the environment.
Hemp As Food
It really can’t be said enough how utterly incredible hemp is for our bodies. Hemp is considered the most nutritionally complete seed in the world. Healthline states “Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). They also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been linked to several health benefits. Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, and zinc.” On top of this, they offer a great source of protein, hence their popularity as a protein powder. Containing a pleasant nutty flavor, they do not take over the flavors of meals or smoothies and can easily be sprinkled on dishes for some extra nutrition. As a seed that has been used as a food and medicinal source in China for the past ~3000 years, it's good to know we are getting back in touch with a powerful food source.
In addition, new innovative hemp heart protein has hit the market under the Anavii Health line. This hemp heart protein is 70% protein with high concentrations of essential amino acids that the body craves but doesn’t naturally produce. In addition, it is high in magnesium, manganese, and much more! What’s more, is the protein is flavorless! That’s right, no nutty flavor so you can easily add it to many of your favorite recipes for added nutritional benefit!
As stated above, we have different ways we can consume hemp seeds and start to introduce them into our lifestyles. If you are happy to simply add them to dishes, this can be done very easily. With their nutty flavor, hemp hearts (the dehulled seed) are great on top of smoothie bowls, salads, or even dishes where peanuts would traditionally be sprinkled on top.
Hemp as Clothing
While consuming hemp has made a big mark, hemp being turned into apparel is starting to make its way into the clothing market and with good merit. Not only can hemp be made into some pretty fashionable items, but there are also a few reasons why moving towards hemp clothing can in fact make our impact on the environment a little better.
If you are someone who likes to shop, then you may be a part of “fast fashion” which contributes to global warming and environmental issues. This is due to not only manufacturers consistently having to keep up with new trends throughout each season, but also individuals consistently using one outfit and disposing of it considerably quicker. These clothes end up in landfills, unable to deteriorate. Hemp, being a biodegradable fabric, is great to invest in! Along with its environmentally friendly cousins organic cotton and linen, they take less than 200 years or infinity to decompose like their enemies polyester, sequins, and spandex. While cotton takes around 5 months to decompose, linen and hemp take approximately two weeks in an industrial scale compost facility!
As stated above in hemp as a whole, we can see that growing hemp is so much more sustainable which means using hemp for clothing will be the better option for the environment. But it's beneficial to know that hemp clothing actually holds up really well. They are breathable, absorb sweat well, possess antimicrobial properties (helps with our odor), are resistant to UV rays, and become softer after every wash.
Hemp as Medicine
While there is much more information to be shared with us and many more studies needing to take place, hemp has a pretty good reputation for itself when it comes to its medicinal uses. This is due to its abundance of CBD and cannabinoids and the benefits that come along with this compound of the hemp plant. While some CBD products boast its benefits as being far and wide, it's important to know everyone is different, and studies have been able to show benefits for the following.
- Harvard Health states that “the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether.” Which is such a win for individuals with such a debilitating illness! When it comes to these conditions, the pharmaceutical drug Epodiolex FDA approved for this use.
- One of the most common uses of CBD is for stress, and many use it to improve restlessness which can be caused by stress. Studies have shown CBD to be able to not only aid in falling asleep but staying asleep as well.
- Healthline states that the properties of hemp seeds could potentially lower your risk of heart disease. “Additionally, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack.”
- Healthline also states that due to fatty acids in hemp seeds, “Studies have shown that giving hemp seed oil to people with eczema may improve blood levels of essential fatty acids. The oil may also relieve dry skin, improve itchiness and reduce the need for skin medication.
Well, is hemp effective? We say heck yes! We love where hemp is going and what the future will look like with this incredible plant. The sky is the limit at this point, and our world will be much better for it!
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