What is Hemp?
Cannabis has found its way into new wellness trends and it's only increasing in popularity. Once linked with smoking joints and bongs, cannabis has now carved a path into mainstream natural medicine. And, rightfully so — cannabis has been shown to help with a number of health ailments, including anxiety, pain, epilepsy, depression, and more.
Hands down, CBD (cannabidiol) is the most popular element of cannabis, However, chances are you've heard the word "hemp." A chunk of commercial CBD available today comes from hemp since it's so easy to grow (marijuana has to be grown in very controlled environments).
What is Hemp?
Hemp includes all variations of cannabis containing negligible amounts of THC, which is the psychoactive chemical in marijuana that gets you "high." Hemp really refers to the industrial variant that's cultivated for its hurd, seeds, and fiber as well as other types of natural healing elements found in its leaves.
You should take note, however, that hemp isn't used as a recreational drug. This is because it has as low as 0.3 percent of THC. And the National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC) says marijuana plants used for getting high often contain about 15 percent THC.
Hemp produces CBD. CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis and actually blocks the psychoactive properties associated with marijuana.
What is Hemp Used for?
There are a number of uses for hemp.
- The Seeds
The seeds are primarily used in dietary products. Hemp seeds are often hulled and used in various ways. The seeds can:
- Be ground into a meal
- Be eaten raw
- Be used to make protein powder
- Be made into milk
You can also press hemp seeds and make them into oil. The oil can then be used as ink, salad dressing, and even as a core ingredient in a variety of body care products.
- The Shiv (Hurd)
Hemp hurd, which is often called the woody core, is the hemp plant stem's soft inner core. It's extremely rich in cellulose, and absorbent, and has perfect acoustic and thermal properties. You can use the hurd in two different forms:
- As unrefined and untreated chunks, you can use it in a wide array of everyday and industrial products like insulation, cement, and paper.
- As a form of pulp, you can use it to make biodegradable plastics you can easily break down and recycle.
From its many applications, its hemp concrete (hempcrete) that's gaining much global attention as a natural alternative to concrete. There are many houses in Canada and Europe now being built in hempcrete because of its strong windproof, insulation, and low carbon footprint properties.
Along with hempcrete, hemp hurds are used for biodegradable garden mulch, animal bedding, plastics, paper, and insulation.
- The Bast (Fiber)
If you were to slice a hemp stalk in half, you'd see a long, string-like band nestled in a snug hollow tube running the length inside. This is the bast fiber of hemp. When its harvested properly, the fiber is even stronger than steel. The fiber and the stalk are used primarily in construction materials, clothing, paper, and more.
Since CBD comes from the hemp plant, it can cause some confusion. Keep in mind, CBD oil and hemp oil are not the same thing. It's important you know the difference when you're shopping online. More importantly, you should find out where the hemp is grown. CBD isn't currently FDA regulated. So, if the CBD is derived from hemp grown overseas, you could be placing your body at risk.
Hemp is a bioaccumulator. Individuals plant hemp in order to cleanse soil since it absorbs anything that's in the soil like:
A lot of hemp does come from overseas, and it might not be grown and harvested in a clean or safe way. According to Consumer Reports, hemp grown in the U.S., particularly from states producing both recreationally and medically legal cannabis, tends to be much safer, since there are more stringent standards.
Therefore, if you're going to buy and use a hemp-derived product, you'll want to ensure the product has been independently tested through a third-party lab. You'll also want to look on the company website for the COA-certificate of analysis to ensure you're consuming a safe and clean product.
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