The Hemp plant has been cultivated since nearly 12,000 years and over this time it has been used for food, fibers and fuel by many civilizations across the globe. Today, Hemp seeds and fiber can be used to create over 60,000 sustainable products ranging from health drinks to fabric to concrete and everything in between! Hemp is one of the strongest plant fibers. The venerable fiber is extremely weather resistant and can be used to make fabrics, plastic, wood, Hempcrete, ropes, canvas, sails and much more.
Hemp as Fabric
A natural, more sustainable substitute for many popular fabrics, Hemp can also be pulped using fewer chemicals than wood.
Hemp wins in comfort and durability due to its softness and high abrasion resistance, making it a highly competitive choice. The texture of pure Hemp textiles resembles that of flax linen, which is also extremely versatile and can be blended with other fibers to create many different looks. Hemp’s versatility as a textile is truly remarkable, since Hemp fibers can be woven alone or with other fibers to produce weaves from rugged canvas to the lightest, silkiest gauze in an infinite array of colours and finishes. Hemp has an appealing natural luster and a lush hand and drape not found in any other natural or synthetic fiber.
Hemp v/s Cotton
One acre of hemp, on an average, can produce approximately three times more fiber than cotton. Apart from that, the hemp crop uses less water than cotton crops. Also, cotton cultivation takes a huge amount of toll on soil, whereas hemp detoxifies the soil by removing harmful chemicals and pollutants and enriches it with nitrogen and oxygen.
Hemp fabrics are moisture absorbent, anti-bacterial and breathe well compared to cotton. These fabrics last long as they are three to eight times stronger than cotton and maintain their strength even when wet.
Benefits of Hemp Fabric
One study shows that and this unsafe use of chemicals impacts our ecosystems to a great extent since it ends up in the soil and rivers, whereas hemp can be grown with much fewer chemicals or none at all.
- Stronger, more durable and holds its shape over time.
- It accepts dyes more readily and retains colour better.
- Fabric’s inherent luster is enhanced by washing.
- It is porous and has superior absorbency.
- High resistance to UV light, about 95% UV reflective.
- The fiber is resistant to rotting, mildew, mold and saltwater
Hemp as Paper
Hemp is highly suitable for paper as it has a high cellulose and low lignin content. Hemp paper is also more eco-friendly and sustainable than tree paper, as it can be produced much quicker. The quality of Hemp paper is actually better than wood paper, as its pulp is superior to wood pulp.
Hemp was first used as paper in Central Asia, where Hemp fabric was smashed down into thin sheets to make the world’s first paper.
The first identified Hemp paper dates back to the early Western Han Dynasty, around 200-150 BC. Since then, Hemp paper has been used all across the world. The Gutenberg Bible, Thomas Paine’s pamphlets, and the novels of Mark Twain were all printed on Hemp paper.
Benefits of Hemp Paper
- One acre of Hemp cultivation produces as much paper as 4-10 acres of trees over a 20-year cycle.
- Hemp stalks grow in 4 months, where trees take 20-80 years.
- Trees consist of only 30% cellulose, whereas Hemp plants can have up to 85% cellulose content.
- Hemp contains just 5% to 24% lignin whereas wood contains 20% to 35%.
- Hemp paper is more durable, and does not yellow, crack, or deteriorate, unlike tree paper.
- Wider use of Hemp paper can help achieve environmental sustainability by reducing deforestation.
Hemp seeds, also known as ‘hemp hearts’, are small brown seeds that are rich in protein, soluble and insoluble fiber, and healthy fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6. Technically a nut, these small, crunchy seeds are safe to consume and contain only low traces of THC.
They have a very high anti-oxidant effect and are believed to improve heart health and reduce symptoms of ailments related to skin and joints. These seeds can be added to your meals as a whole or consumed in the form of powder for a well-balanced diet.
Hemp seeds are readily available as shelled, grounded or split and a special thing about hemp seed is that it can be used in almost all varieties of foods for a healthy diet. The seed shells act as a bulking agent and add fiber to the diet aiding indigestion. Grinding the seeds helps the body to absorb more of the other nutrients. The hard outer shells can be easily shelled at home by using a mortar and a pestle or a food processor.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), roughly three tablespoons of hemp seeds contain about 116 calories and other nutrients mentioned below:
- Protein - 9.47 g
- Carbohydrates - 2.60 g
- Fat - 1.20 g
- Total fatty acids - 14.62 g
- Monounsaturated fatty acids - 1.62 g
- Polyunsaturated fat - 11.43 g
- Saturated fatty acids - 1.38 g
These seeds are also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.
- Protein Powerhouse: Hemp seed is valued for being a complete protein, containing all 21 amino acids, including all 9 essential amino acids. It’s important to consume essential amino acids through food because our bodies cannot produce them naturally.
- Essential Fatty Acids: Hemp seed contains an ideal of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids. These fatty acids cannot be synthesized by the body but are required to support a wide range of cellular processes in the body, including the proper function of the heart and brain.
- Loads of Nutrients: Hemp seeds are also an excellent source of Vitamin E, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Vitamin E and zinc are potent antioxidants that protect cells against the damaging effect of free radicals. Iron helps deliver oxygen-rich red blood cells throughout the body and magnesium plays a role in hundreds of chemical reactions in the body.
Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds have secured their position as a superfood. They not only have a rich nutritional profile but also provide a range of health benefits. As a dietary supplement, it provides a blend of simple proteins, rich minerals and vitamins and a perfect balance of essential acids and antioxidants.
- Protects Brain: The CBD compound found in hemp seeds helps in neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and neuropathic pain.
- Heart Health: Omega-3 fatty acids that are present in hemp seeds improve the health of the heart and reduce the risk of heart diseases. The seeds also contain high levels of arginine, an amino acid that is converted into a chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is an essential component for artery and vein dilation and it also helps in keeping the blood vessel walls elastic and smooth.
- Reduces Inflammation: The amount of omega-3 and omega-6 present in hemp seeds can help reduce inflammation. In addition, hemp seeds are a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a polyunsaturated fatty acid which may also have anti-inflammatory properties. As a result, this reduced inflammation helps in managing the symptoms of various chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, etc.
- Improves Skin: Hemp seeds are a rich source of plant fiber. Plant fibers are believed to help in managing the symptoms of atopic dermatitis (AD) and acne.
While consuming hemp seeds has lots of potential health benefits, one should avoid overdoing it. The healthiest option is to eat an assorted diet that contains a wide range of nutrients.
How to Consume Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are available in shelled, split or ground varieties. One may remove the hard outer shell of the seeds at home by using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Inside the hard hemp seeds lie soft, white or light green inner kernels. These seeds are packed with essential amino acids and can be consumed by sprinkling a spoonful on top of a smoothie, salad, yogurt or cereal.
Hemp seeds have a nutty flavor which makes them a safe substitute for people with nut allergies. These seeds can be dry toasted over low heat to make them even nuttier. Alternatively, similar to almond milk (which is made by blending almonds and water), one can make hemp seed milk which can be used as an alternative to dairy products in various recipes and drinks.
A couple of spoonful's of these seeds pack a huge amount of essential nutrients. They are easy to cook and eat. It’s best to store them in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.
Hemp seeds are also available as hemp nut butter, also it can be consumed in the same way as peanut butter or almond butter spread on a toast or with pancakes.
Hemp protein powder which is an alternative to whey protein powder and hemp milk which may be fortified with extra nutrients.
Hemp oil (also called hemp seed oil) is harvested by cold-pressing the hemp seeds. Although it comes from the cannabis plant, it usually contains only a trace of THC, the psychoactive, intoxicating element in cannabis. It is a natural source of important nutrients including polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 and proteins.
Benefits of Hemp Oil
Hemp seed oil, formed by cold-pressing hemp seeds, is used in a variety of ways and may work to improve overall health.
- Skin Benefits: One of the most important benefits of the hemp seed oil is its effect on skin. The abundance of essential fatty acids in hemp oil helps in alleviating skin irritations, dry skin, eczema, etc. by offering benefits like anti-inflammation, skin cell repair, moisturizing, balanced oil production, and anti-aging properties. It reduces irritation when applied to the skin because of nutrients like linoleic acid that enable skin repair and regeneration. These nourishing components also have the ability to moisturize the skin without clogging the pores. As a result, hemp seed oil works wonders on acne-prone skin by moderating oil production and reducing the incidence of clogged pores. Hemp oil can also be ingested for skin benefits because of the presence of GLA that aids in skin growth, repair, and inflammation.
- Hair: Hemp oil acts as a deep conditioner for dry and brittle hair. Applying a small amount of this oil while conditioning or after a shower can work wonders in terms of moisture and hair growth. The fatty acids present in the oil help moisturize the scalp, adding on to your natural oils. This is the reason why fatty acids are often used in hair products and serums. The omega-3s present in the oil also helps to add shine, tame unruly hair, and give it the required strength.
- Heart Health: In addition to the positive skin benefits of hemp oil, it is also beneficial for a healthy heart. Even when the hemp seeds are cold-pressed for extracting oil, the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids are preserved and these offer cardio-protective effects such as reducing blood pressure, clearing up the veins, decreasing the chance of heart disease, improved heart rate, etc.
- Strong Immune System: Hemp seed oil also helps in boosting the immune system with the help of valuable nutrients. There are various essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot make on their own and we need to consume foods that are rich in these essential fatty acids to maintain good health.
- Heart Health: Hemp seed oil benefits are related to its 3:1 ratio of two essential polyunsaturated fatty acids—linoleic acid (LA) and a-linolenic acid (LNA) that are especially beneficial to the heart. A diet rich in healthy fats (fats which contain polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) helps in improving insulin sensitivity and stabilizes the rhythm of the heart.
- Weight Regulation: Hemp oil contains high amounts of dietary fiber. Adequate consumption of fiber keeps the gut clear and helps in weight regulation of the body.
- Managing Cholesterol Levels: With the presence of β-sitosterols, hemp oil is believed to be more effective oil compared to other vegetable oils (such as soybean, rapeseed, etc.) in lowering cholesterol levels. Also, with the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, it helps in overall cardiovascular health.
- Muscle Tension: Hemp oil also helps in relieving general tension in the muscles caused due to stress. With an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, it also promotes recovery from muscle tension due to exercise. Rubbing a bit of hemp seed oil into tight muscles may help release tension and relax the muscles.
- Fights Free Radicals: Hemp oil contains powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress (a byproduct of too many processed foods, environmental pollutants, and a stress-filled lifestyle).
Difference Between Hemp & CBD Oil
Hemp seed oil and CBD oil differ in the part of the plant they come from and how they are used.
Hemp oil is extracted from hemp seeds. The plant contains low levels of cannabinoids including two most commonly known—THC and CBD. This oil is obtained by cold-pressing hemp seeds similar to how olive and coconut oil are obtained.
The extracted oil does not contain any THC since there is no THC in the seeds. There may be some small traces due to plant matter sticking to the seeds during the extraction process. However, modern commercial methods of oil extraction decontaminate seeds by 99.99%.
Nowadays in the market, you may even find oils that are extracted from various parts of the hemp plant; they contain some amounts of THC or CBD but are still labeled as hemp oils since they are extracted from hemp plants. This information is usually printed on the bottle. As a consumer, it is important to diligently read the information on the bottle before purchasing it especially if you are concerned about CBD and THC-free products.
Hemp oil should be used as garnishing oil rather than cooking oil similar to extra virgin olive oil. You may drizzle it on salads, pasta or side dishes. It has multiple uses, from being a vitamin supplement to being an important ingredient in cosmetics.
On the other hand, CBD oil contains a high concentration of cannabidiol. This oil is extracted from hemp that is specifically cultivated to be high in CBD. This makes the ratio of CBD to THC much higher and ideal for making CBD oil (also known as CBD hemp oil). This oil is typically produced using an ethanol or CO2 extraction process to obtain cannabinoid-rich oil from industrial hemp plants, which produces very different effects when compared to traditional hemp oil.
CBD oil is usually used for medicinal purposes as it works through the endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS is responsible for keeping the body in a state of balance by impacting hormone production, mood, sleep, pain, appetite, and immune response.
CBD also helps to stimulate the body’s natural cannabinoid production to maintain the efficiency of the receptors and the optimal function of the endocannabinoid system.
Is Hemp Oil As Good As CBD Oil?
Both hemp oil and CBD oil are extracted from the same plant but have different uses. They vary in the amounts of THC and CBD present in them and thus benefit people in different ways. One can’t be said to be better than the other one. It all depends on the consumer and the purpose for which they plan to purchase the oil.
It is referred to as a superfood because of the high levels of omega fatty acids and other natural nutrients that are present. As a result, it has great use in hair and skin products. Also, due to low amounts of saturated fats, hemp oil has found an important spot in many kitchens. It adds a crispy, nutty flavor to foods and is great as a salad dressing. It is ideal for protecting the body from free radicals and replenishing it.
On the other hand, CBD oil is more commonly used in holistic healing practices to lessen anxiety, chronic pain, address sleep issues, etc. or any other ailments that are difficult to treat without the use of heavy medication.
Hemp oil offers small health advantages rather than working on healing prospects.