Hemp has been used for thousands of years across various cultures for its multitude of reported benefits. Many also claim it to be a miracle plant. Despite its long-standing history, some people are still unsure of its uses and potential advantages.
So, what is hemp, and why is it getting so much attention? In this blog post, we delve into every aspect of this wonder plant, including what it is, how it’s different from weed, its uses, and potential benefits.
Are you a curious consumer or a wellness enthusiast looking for environmentally friendly products? Keep reading to explore the fantastic world of hemp.
What is hemp?
Hemp is a versatile agricultural crop from the Cannabis sativa plant family. People often grow this herb for its seeds, fiber, and oil, and it’s been cultivated for thousands of years.
It typically grows up to 5–15 feet tall and features long, thin leaves with small flowers that produce seeds.
Unlike marijuana, hemp contains no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound responsible for the psychoactive effects. These low levels make it a non-intoxicating plant used primarily for its industrial benefits.
It’s not like marijuana, which primarily functions as a medicinal and recreational herb.
What does hemp look like?
Can you tell what hemp looks like? It’s often mistaken for plants that look like weed, because they belong to the same family.
Hemp plants are slender with fewer leaves, while marijuana plants are more shrub-like and bushier in appearance. The former’s leaves are narrow and concentrated near the top of the plant, and they exhibit a different appearance during the flowering stage.
The seed pods hang down from the plant, while marijuana plants cluster their flowers together at the top. Does hemp have buds? Yes, but they’re not as dense as marijuana nugs and develop a pale green color. They also grow in a slightly different location on the crops.
While both plants belong to the same family, they have distinct differences in their appearance.
What is hemp used for?
Have you ever wondered what hemp is used for? Discover a wide variety of this herb’s applications below.
Various people have used this herb for medicinal purposes for centuries. It contains beneficial compounds called cannabinoids, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce therapeutic effects.
One of its most well-known components is cannabidiol (CBD), which reportedly relieves various health symptoms.
What is hemp used for medically? It may improve the quality of your sleep, reduce anxiety, ease seizure symptoms, alleviate chronic pain, lower inflammation, and combat depression. It also reportedly has anti-cancer properties and may treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.
Hemp-derived CBD products have gained popularity in recent years as a natural alternative to traditional medicine. Apart from cannabinoids, they also contain other beneficial compounds, like terpenes and flavonoids, which contribute to its potential health benefits.
Only take hemp products under the supervision of a healthcare professional and ensure you consume responsibly.
While more research is needed to understand hemp’s health benefits, current evidence suggests it may help treat different mental and physical conditions.
Studies show that hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. They also have high levels of healthy fats, like omega-3 and omega-6, and contain vitamins and minerals like zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Many wellness enthusiasts use hemp seed oil as a natural supplement. Add it to shakes and smoothies or use the seeds as a nutritious topping for salads, dressings, and yogurt.
You can also use hemp oil for cooking and baking. It’s a sustainable crop that requires fewer resources than other high-protein plants, like soy. Its benefits for human health and the environment make it a promising ingredient for the future of food.
Hemp is considered a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to synthetic fabrics.
Manufacturers use the fibers to weave clothes, accessories, and home décor items. The benefits of hemp in material use include durability, resistance to mildew and UV radiation, and breathability.
It also has moisture-wicking properties, which make it an excellent choice for sports clothing. People use it for paper products, insulation, and building materials due to its strength and insulating properties.
With its versatility and sustainability, hemp is becoming an increasingly popular choice in the fashion and construction industries.
This plant is valuable, versatile, and has been used for various purposes for many years. As innovations in technology and agriculture continue to emerge, we can expect to see even more hemp uses.
Benefits of hemp
The hemp plant offers many benefits for various industries, ranging from construction to renewable energy.
One of the most significant advantages is its ability to produce strong and durable fibers. They can transform into textiles, paper, and building materials like hempcrete. As a result, companies can reduce their reliance on products with harmful environmental impacts.
Another benefit of hemp is its ability to produce biomass, which converts into biofuels. Biomass fuels emit fewer greenhouse gasses than traditional fossil fuels and are made locally. Biomass is also good for animal feeding.
It also has significant potential in phytoremediation, which uses plants to remove pollutants from the soil or water.
The hemp plant could hold several more breakthroughs for different industries with further research.
Side effects of hemp
As with other plants, hemp can deliver unwanted side effects when overindulged.
This plant could increase your heart rate or cause drowsiness, which may impact people who need to stay alert. It could interact with certain medications, making their effects more potent or less effective. Always consult with a healthcare provider before using it.
Some users may experience hives, itching, or swelling. Other rare side effects include dizziness, nausea, and dry eyes.
It’s vital to test a small amount before consumption to avoid these reactions. Always purchase hemp products from a trusted source to ensure purity and quality.
Hemp vs. weed
Hemp vs. marijuana has been an ongoing debate for decades.
They both belong to the same plant family, but they’re not synonymous. They’re two different types of the same species of naturally growing weed, but with a distinct chemical makeup and unique physical characteristics.
The primary distinction between them is that hemp features a THC level of less than 0.3%, while cannabis has more than 0.3%.
Another way to differentiate between the two is by exploring what weed looks like compared to hemp, along with their unique cultivation methods.
Hemp is typically grown in large fields with a low plant density, while marijuana is generally cultivated in smaller, more controlled environments. The former also grows much faster and requires less water and maintenance.
It differs from wild marijuana due to its THC content and growth traits. It’s naturally resistant to pests and doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer. Marijuana needs more attention and a specific environment to thrive.
Hemp’s effects aren’t comparable to those of marijuana. While the latter often causes intoxicating cerebral effects, the former doesn’t deliver psychoactive sensations because of the low THC level.
Although both plants come from the same lineage, they differ significantly. People primarily use hemp for industrial purposes, while marijuana is more suitable for medicinal and recreational consumption.
The legality of hemp varies in each region. In some places, it’s illegal due to its association with marijuana, while in others, you can legally purchase it.
Recently, there have been advances in legislation in the US. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of this plant as an industrial crop at the federal level.
This legal action paved the way for the cultivation, research, and production of this beneficial crop nationwide. As a result, the hemp industry has grown significantly, creating new opportunities for farmers, entrepreneurs, and investors.
Do you still have more queries regarding this plant? Below are our answers to some frequently asked questions about hemp.
Is hemp sativa or indica?
Hemp is part of the Cannabis sativa family, one of the three recognized species of the cannabis plant. The other two are Cannabis indica and Cannabis ruderalis. This classification reflects its taxonomy and helps to distinguish it from the other varieties.
Is hemp natural or man-made?
While breeders selectively grow some hemp strains to enhance the most desirable traits, they’re still from the same biological plant. It’s accurate to consider it a natural herb rather than a man-made one. Like with other crops, cultivation is still subject to human intervention.
Can hemp get you high?
Unlike marijuana, hemp can’t get you high, as it contains low levels of THC, the cannabinoid responsible for the psychoactive effects.