Hemp as a product that is disrupting our lives. We are amidst a revolution where hemp is winning. The plant has been the focus of an increasing number of scientific studies because of the wonderful things that are being discovered about it. Manufacturers, industrialists, medical professionals, and even the governments are reconsidering their perceptions of the plant.
The hemp plant has been around for millennia. Did you know that hemp oil was a go-to medicine and household item in the 6000 BCE? Hemp has been a part of human everyday life since ancient times. It should not come as a surprise that it is now coming back to that.
After much research on the plant, it has been established that it can play a pivotal role in just about any industry. Though in the present scenario, it is primarily serving industrial purposes, its demand and popularity in the other sectors such as medicine, clothing, and the food are augmenting at a great pace. Hemp can feed, clothe, build, and educate the world.
And yet, something is a hurdle in its acceptance and progress among the people. A major part of the audience is still inhibitive and confused about making hemp a part of their daily life. While the reasons for that can be many, they can be narrowed down to two precise things:
Lack of Knowledge
Even though humans have cultivated hemp since antiquity, the knowledge resources around the plant are scarce in the present time. The hemp industry was huge at one time. But then it burned to the ground. When the United States banned all things cannabis-related, hemp was banned too. And that resulted in a shutdown of the industry worldwide.
For almost a century, hemp fell off people’s radar. People stopped talking about it, learning about it, working with it, and therefore today we stand with a very limited knowledge of a truly wonderful resource.
Hemp can solve a lot of the issues that stare humanity in the face right now. But that requires a mass adoption of the plant and its products by the people. However, asking people to invite something in their lives without truly knowing what it is creates a problem.
Inhibitions stemming from tainted reputation
Hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant. It is a sister plant of marijuana which has made it suffer for a long time now. When marijuana was scheduled as a Class-1 drug in the US, and subsequently in the entire world, all varieties of the plant were thrown in the sack and locked away together.
For a century, people’s knowledge of cannabis has been synonymous with weed and marijuana—something people use to get high; a drug that is not medical; a crime. It is this tainted reputation that has made hard for hemp to be accepted by the population.
How can this perception of Hemp be changed?
The simplest solution for curiosity is knowledge. And that is true for hemp too. The only way through the tainted rapport and all the scepticism is learning about the plant—from its history to its present.
And this article is a start. The hemp industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world today. Hemp is among the earliest known domesticated plants. In its industrial use, it has been used for producing textiles, paper, health food, fuel, biodegradable plastic, and construction material.
But that is just a tiny fraction of this wonderful plant’s journey. Let’s take a look at some very interesting facts about hemp.
Use in History
- The oldest records of hemp farming date back to 5000 years in China. The industrialization of hemp goes back to ancient Egypt.
- It was legal to pay taxes with hemp in America from 1631 to early 1800s.
- In the 17th and 18th century, refusing to grow hemp was against the law!
- The oldest artefact in human history is a piece of hemp fabric from 8000 BC.
- The first bibles, charts, maps, and even the early drafts of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were made from hemp.
- Until the 1820s, when cotton gin was introduced, 80% of all textiles, clothes, fabric, linen, bed sheets, drapes, etc. were made of hemp.
- Until the 1880s, all school books were made from hemp or flax paper.
- Hemp helped US defeat Japan in World War II. Japan had cut off hemp supply for the United States which sparked the Hemp for Victory campaign in the country. The plant made it possible to produce vital products needed by the military—sails, ships, and ropes.
- The first pair of Levi jeans were made from hemp fabric.
- Hemp canvas was Van Gogh’s go-to canvas.
- In the Middle Ages, hemp seeds were boiled in soup and/or used as filings in pipes and tortes in countries like Germany and Italy.
- In the 1990s, during the mass starvation in Africa, charitable organisations used hempseeds to cook porridge for nourishment.
Properties of the Plant
- Hemp enriches the soil where it is grown. Hemp’s deep roots are structured in a way that it can be grown in many different types of soil and terrains. The plant can hold the soil together while increasing its microbial content. After harvest, some of its leaves and stems are put back in the soil to enrich the next yield.
- Hemp absorbs toxic metals. Multiple studies suggest that hemp can eliminate toxins and radioactive material from the environment. The hemp plant can conduct the process of phytoremediation and remove chemicals from the soil.
- Hemp seeds contain a high percentage of essential nutrients. The seeds of the hemp plant contain an oil rich in gamma-linolenic acid (which is also found in breast milk). They also contain other omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This makes hemp seed oil naturally healthier than other varieties of vegetable oils.
- Hemp has anti-bacterial properties. This property of the plant makes it useful in two industries—construction and skin care. Hemp is popular for home-building because the walls made from hemp are mould, pest, and rot free as well as fire resistant. Also, they are durable for as many as 500 years. Hemp is also a good insulation material.In skin care, hemp oil is used as an ingredient in products such as body lotions and creams to keep the skin young, radiant, and alive.
- Hemp can reduce carbon emissions. Hemp has a huge carbon-dioxide uptake that it creates carbon sequestration—a process that captures carbon emissions. One ton of hemp can potentially eliminate 1.63 tons of carbon.
- Hemp seeds are more nutritious than flax or chia seeds. The seeds of the hemp plant offer complete nutrition to the human body. They are a rich source of vitamin A, B, D, and E and contain essential minerals, proteins, and fatty acids.
- In addition to anti-bacterial properties, hemp has strong anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-oxidant properties. This combination is what makes it a medical, scientific, and cosmetic wonder.
- Hemp can help fight world hunger. On their own, hemp seeds are a rich source of protein. They are also vegan which makes them the healthiest and most eco-friendly meat alternative. The addition of hemp seeds alone in a person’s diet can help tackle protein-energy malnutrition.
Power of the Plant
- Hemp can protect the earth against deforestation. Hemp can be used for just about everything including paper. It is therefore a profitable cash crop that can replace the slower growing trees.The best way to protect forests is to eliminate the need to cut them down. And hemp cultivation provides a way to do that. Hemp can be used to create paper and a number of other products that are usually made from wood.Moreover, unlike some other plants, a large yield of hemp can be grown on a small area thus eliminating the need to clear forest land for crop cultivation.
- Hemp can replace plastic, fibreglass, and other similar materials in the composite panels. The stalks of the hemp plant are an excellent source of fibre. They can, therefore, provide fibrous material needed to make composite panels. These can range from floors and window frames to car parts and doors.Also, hemp can act as reinforcement for thermoplastics such as polypropylene. That is to say that it can be used to make a plethora of plastic items.Additionally, hemp is easy to mold, weighs less, and cheap to produce. It is recyclable and therefore is an ideal replacement for glass fibre.
Health Benefits for the Human Body
- Hemp is a nutrition storehouse. The hemp plant is a rich source of proteins, minerals, and vitamins catering to different needs of the human body all at once.
- Hemp oil lowers the cholesterol levels of the body. Hemp oil contains the optimal ratio of polyunsaturated fats. This enables hemp oil to accelerate the metabolism which in turn lowers the cholesterol levels.
- Hemp oil helps diabetic people. Hemp oil is a fatty ingredient. It does not contain any carbohydrates or sugar and therefore poses lesser risk of raising the blood sugar levels. The addition of hemp oil in the diet of a diabetic person can help maintain blood sugar levels and avoid glycaemic highs and lows.
- Hemp decreases inflammation and helps in fighting the side effects of cancer treatment. Hemp is rich in omega-3 and fatty acids GLA. These ingredients—in addition to CBD—make it possible for hemp seed oil to reduce inflammation in the body.
- Hemp can effectively balance hormones in the body and ease PMS. As mentioned above, hemp contains gamma linoleic acid which is a vital building block in prostaglandins. These are hormone-like compounds that ensure proper functioning of the body. Taking hemp regularly keeps the hormonal balance of the body intact thus reliving symptoms of multiple health conditions such as menopause, depression, etc.
- Hemp oil contains essential fatty acids that can boost the immune system of the body. The fatty acids present in hemp are essential in building a strong and healthy immune system. These fatty acids have also proven to help with mood swings. Supplementing the body with omega-3, of which hemp is a natural source, can help improve bipolar disorder. Omega-3 also benefits people with ADHD. The fatty acids present in hemp aid in regulating the release of neurotransmitters thus playing a crucial role in battling depression and anxiety.
- Hemp contains fatty acids that are crucial for maintaining good brain health. The fatty acids present in hemp are also essential for a healthy brain and nervous system. The nerves that communicate with the brain are protected by a myelin sheath. Myelin is a conductor that makes sure that messages sent from one nerve reach their designated destination. Ensuring that the body gets enough fatty acids can help prevent brain degeneration.
- Hemp is the latest trend in skincare. It contains all nine essential amino acids. It is a powerhouse of the vital nutrients that are required by the body. These ingredients combined with the anti-bacterial, anti-inflammation, and anti-microbial properties make hemp a skincare wonder. Skincare products containing hemp oil invigorate the skin and help reduce acne and skin rashes. It improvises the skin’s elasticity and counteracts the redness and blemishes.
Hemp is a wonderful resource that can improve our lives in more ways than one. From being a merely industrial crop to a fashion trend and a superfood, the hemp plant offers a lot to the humankind. The wonders of this resource are causing massive shifts in pan industries and all of them are of the good kind. Hemp is slowly taking over all industries gaining everyone’s favour owing to its truly wonderful uses. It is not long before the entire world is engulfed, once again, in hemp.