Have you ever wondered what hemp is? Recently, I have noticed a substantial increase in hemp products, CBD oils, and the like being sold around where I live – given, I do live in the Santa Cruz Mountains where natural health and wellness remedies are all the norm. However, I have always felt a little embarrassed to ask about what hemp really is, as it seems everyone knows more about this up and coming multi-use plant than me!
The first thing I found out, to make things incredibly clear, is that hemp is not marijuana. The confusion between the two is what puts a heavy stigma on the idea of using hemp products, which began post World War II, despite its vital importance prior to the war. To begin, I have attached a little infographic below to explain the difference between the two. In short, hemp does come from the same plant family as marijuana, Cannabis sativa, but does not have the psychoactive properties that marijuana does. In fact, there are many legal regulations throughout the world to ensure that hemp is grown with exceptionally low levels of THC so that the plant cannot be used in ways similar to its stigmatized cousin.
What hemp does have that marijuana does not is flexibility. Hemp is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and can be used in a multitude of different ways. Hemp can be used to make textiles like clothing, ropes, and carpeting, to make paper and packaging, ingested as an incredibly nutritious food in various forms, building materials including paints, biofuels, and insulation, and, one of the most widely accepted uses, for body care, including soaps, lotions, and cosmetics. The hemp plant has over 50,000 known uses!
Now, as a passionate environmentalist studying sustainability sciences, I could gladly talk your ear off about the potential for hemp to replace so many inorganic, dangerous substances and materials, but in light of the main purpose of this blog, I would like to orient your attention to the health and wellness benefits to using hemp products to fulfill various dietary needs. Hemp can be a good source of fatty acids, similar to those found in fish, and it is high in protein. In addition, it is also used to make CBD oil. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical extracted from the hemp plant that is used medicinally for a variety of ailments, and is often diluted with a carrier oil coming directly from the hemp seed.
CBD, when consumed, reacts with neurotransmitters within the body, and can decrease inflammation and the perception of chronic pain. CBD oil has been used to aid symptoms of depression and anxiety in some medicinal practices and cultures. Furthermore, CBD oil from the hemp plant has been linked to a decrease in nausea and pain in patients undergoing cancer treatment, may help reduce acne causing bacteria, and promote brain and heart health.
Doing a quick search online can provide you with a slough of CBD supplement ideas, in the form of pills, oils for the body, and oils to ingest, and is quite overwhelming. As I usually promote, CBD oil can be found as a supplement in softgel or capsule form, and is one of the easiest ways to add hemp into your diet. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, Irwin Naturals has a variety of full-spectrum hemp extract in fast-acting liquid softgels to choose from that transparently listing all their ingredients on the label. This brand happens to mix their CBD oil capsules with a variety of other oils including flax seed oil, and has a 50mg concentration of CBD. Many other brands have lower concentrations of CBD, and mix in a variety of other extracts, oils and vitamins. Other companies find their niche by offering organic options, or combinations of other synergistic compounds.
Make sure to do your research on the company you are purchasing from in order to ensure you are buying high quality, natural CBD oil. Take a look at their websites to find out more!