The Beginners Guide To Hemp
There’s a lot of confusion about hemp and misinformation out there regarding the hemp plant. Below, we’ll break down the basics and give you a beginners guide to the hemp plant.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant family and is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. The hemp plant is grown primarily for industrial and commercial use with its fibre refined into a variety of materials including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, hempcrete (concrete), insulation and biofuel. Nutritionally, hemp seeds are rich in essential nutrients such as fatty acids (omega 3 and 6), protein, and a range of vitamins and minerals that provide health benefits that are well documented. For example, hemp seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease, improve skin disorders, reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause, and aid digestion.
Is hemp a drug? Will it get me high?
Hemp is often confused with cannabis or “weed” which is derived from the same species of plant but has markedly different purposes and characteristics. The main difference between the two is that industrial hemp has little to none of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In fact, to be legally called hemp, it must contain less than 0.3% THC, compared to cannabis or marijuana which contains 2-20+% THC. Hemp also has higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates any psychoactive effects. So, it’s impossible to get high from hemp.
Is hemp environmentally friendly?
As a crop, hemp requires considerably less water compared to soy, corn, cotton, wheat and rice. Growing hemp also requires minimal chemicals because it has a naturally high resistance to pests, weeds and diseases and only needs moderate amounts of fertiliser.
Hemp is also an ideal carbon sink as one tonne of hemp takes out 1.5 tonnes of CO2 in the air – a much quicker rate than trees!
How is hemp beneficial for me?
The hemp plant is often grown for its leaves, which are used to extract CBD oil. CBD oil has attracted strong scientific interest for its therapeutic benefits.
Hemp also contains other beneficial compounds such as phytocannabinoids and phytonutrients (yes that’s a mouthful) that include terpenes (aroma9c oils that give
distinctive flavours) and flavonoids (potent an9oxidants that reduce inflammation and enhance immune function).
Hemp products (particularly CBD oil) are becoming increasingly popular as the health and performance benefits are being recognised and scientifically validated. The hemp plant is also fast becoming a global crop as legal restrictions are relaxed. Cultivating industrial hemp for the food and wellness markets as well as the other commercial uses has massive potential in the future. Are we on the cusp of a hemp revolution?
WRITTEN BY Dr. Nick Kimber