Hemp is, quite literally, a miracle plant
Hemp is a marijuana plant that has a very low THC content, instead, it is higher in CBD and therefore doesn’t really provide you with much of a high. The uses for this plant however, are far more extensive than just a buzz. Hemp has been used for over 10,000 years in various forms of building material, clothing and ship sails. Today, hemp does have its uses in modern society, though due to it being an illegal substance, it has been difficult to explore the true potential that hemp can offer us. With legalization becoming more common internationally, the many benefits of it are now becoming free to explore for those who are willing, and the numerous benefits of this amazing plant can finally come to light. After being scientifically misled for over 70 years, by various form of government and media, we can take a look at the real potential of the hemp plant.
Anything from rope, to fuel can be created when hemp is properly processed, and has the potential to cut down on the waste that we, as humans, produce unfathomable amounts of. If we considered making the transition more to hemp-based products the world we live in today would be a much different place. Our dependence on products that produce waste that litters our planet for decades before they biodegrade will only continue to grow unless something changes. Hemp could be the change we are looking for, with advances being made in nearly every field that hemp or cannabis has been involved in, we are discovering more and more each day how this hemp is, quite literally, a miracle plant.
Let’s take a look at how we can use hemp in our day to day lives
Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, or ground up into a fine powder that can be used similar to flour. Providing you with a massive 64% of the daily value of protein per 100g serving, and loaded with carbs, it could potentially replace the meat in your diet. The leaves of the plant can be fashioned into a delicious salad, in place of lettuce, and adds a new taste to a healthy side-dish. The medicinal and healing effects of ingesting hemp are nothing to be ignored either, it can help with:
Hemp seed oil has been shown to have a calming effect on anxiety because of its high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid content. It was also shown to reduce migranes, which can be a strong indicator of anxiety.
CBD oil is a hemp based oil that has no psychoactive properties, but has shown to have an unmatched calming effect. Aside from its numerous other medicinal effects, CBD has shown great promise in clinical trials for depression, as well as reducing physical and behavioral levels of stress.
Nausea is one of your body’s defense mechanisms, sometimes it can feel great to finally throw up and get whatever was in your stomach out of it. Other times it can be less than pleasant. CBD interacts with the serotonin receptors in your brain, bringing on a euphoric feeling, which can ultimately reduce nausea levels better than most prescription medicines. You can take hemp oil directly, or add it to light food to help reduce the amount of nausea you are feeling.
Getting a good night sleep is something that most of us take for granted. While most over-the-counter and prescription medicine has been shown to carry a dependency, CBD based sleep aids do not, and can help improve the amount of sleep, as well as the quality of sleep you experience each night. Try some hemp-based tea or milk before bedtime to promote a good rest.
The small amounts of THC in hemp oil interacts with your cannabinoid receptors, as well as the serotonin receptors in your brain, causing a euphoric feeling, which has shown to have promising effects on depression patients, as well as those who suffer from PTSD.
In the area of chronic pain hemp has likely had the most research, some people are experiencing such bad pain every day of their lives, that it affects their overall mood, health, and lifestyle. Even more problematic, a lot of these patients are currently on medication that is dangerous, and can have deadly side-effects. Hemp oil has been shown to be a safe alternative to powerful prescription opioids, while still being able to reduce chronic pain and discomfort. More people each day are adding hemp oil to their diet in place of heavy pain killers.
Hemp being used in our food not only has the potential to bring new life to our already-favorite dishes, but the benefits of ingesting it alone are reason enough to start adding it to all of your meals.
Hemp has been used to make fiber for thousands of years, it would stand to reason that people would use these fibers to make clothes. Thousands of years ago hemp was one of the first plants to be woven into fiber, its durability and long fibers made a very strong fabric, which was used in everyday items such as clothing, bags, and hats. It also had its use in the military as tents and sails for ships. Today’s hemp is used in much more than rope and ship sails, hemp has made its way into the fashion industry, being mixed with other materials, such as silk for lingerie. Aside from the potential to look amazing, hemp produces more fiber per acre than trees, cotton, or linen do, so there would be no shortage of material. Hemp based clothing prevents the shedding of small plastic particles into our water, which is detrimental to the water based wildlife. Even in the beginning stages, before hemp is processed into a fiber, it is a very low maintenance plant, in that it does not require much in the way of pesticide use, which our normal clothing crops are drenched in. If that is not enough, hemp based clothing actually becomes easier to care for over time, requiring less need for ironing, and even getting softer with repeated washing.
The world we live in today has more plastic waste than you could possibly imagine, less than 11% of plastics in Canada are recycled, and end up being burned and put into our atmosphere, or in our lakes and oceans affecting wildlife. Hemp can be used to create a biodegradable plastic, that fully decomposes in three to six months. The amount of waste this alone would save would be worth the effort to transition from plastic to hemp-based plastic. In addition to this, the plastic can be fortified in order to last longer, for use in things such as toys and packaging. Hemp based parts are being used in some cars, and with this technology still evolving, it could find its way into many other facets of our lives. You may ask “well, why isn’t everything just made from hemp plastic?” which is a valid question. Currently we have not invested enough time or efforts into the technology behind these biodegradable plastics, so the technology itself just does not exist yet. Many large corporations have begun to heavily invest in the idea behind 100% biodegradable plastic, which hemp is helping make large steps in, but currently even the hemp-based plastics available commercially only contain about 30% of the biodegradable resource.
The shavings and leaf from the hemp plant can be used as bedding for small, or large animals. This would be an eco-friendly alternative to wood shavings, as hemp is much more maintainable than trees are. Hemp is also a softer material than wood, so it would provide for a more comfortable bedding in most cases. In addition to providing our furry friends with comfortable bedding, the hemp can actually be used to create shelter for animals as well. It has insulating properties which help keep animals warm and insulated in the cold.
Hemp paper has been around for thousands of years, and is much more sustainable than our currently methods of paper production. Hemp paper is very similar to normal paper when processed properly, but in most cases today, you will find hemp based paper as a specialty, used mainly in rolling papers, cigarette papers and bank notes. Some companies have expanded their use to paper bags, which are much more durable than regular paper bags due to the longer fibers that hemp provides. There are very few hemp-paper processors available in this day and age, so hemp paper has become increasingly less popular over time. Regardless of if there were more, hemp paper costs roughly four times as much as regular paper to produce. Though if it were invested in, cheaper alternatives could be thought of, which begs the question, why haven’t we invested in this more already?
Believe it or not, hemp can be used to make fuel. The whole plant can be processed to create an ethanol or methanol based substance. When filtered it can be used to directly fuel diesel powered vehicles. The impact this would have on our reliance to fossil fuels is uncanny. The only drawback to this method of fuel creation is, it takes a lot of hemp to make very little oil, though the plant grows incredibly quickly, so whether or not this is actually an issue is in the eye of the beholder. Another barrier to the biofuel development is legality. Testing and refining hemp has been difficult due to government barriers, these are slowly and systematically being taken down as hemp becomes legal across more countries. Hopefully, with more time and investment, we can make this technology work for us, and become less reliant on fossil fuels. Though current prices being around $1,000 CDN per barrel of hemp oil, the prospect does not seem too enticing to many. As hemp becomes more popular as a biofuel, and explored more as a valuable resource we can only improve upon the way it is used.
Hemp can be used in place of many different building materials that are commonly used today. It makes an excellent insulation, which some companies in Europe are currently exploring. It has also been used to create “hempcrete” which is similar to concrete, but lighter, and much more friendly for the environment. The cost of building with hemp-based material is a fraction of the current cost of concrete, this could be hugely beneficial in third-world countries, where building supplies are limited, and most can’t afford the supplies that are available. Not to mention the shelter it could provide here at home for the less fortunate, who already have few options. Some companies are already offering prefabricated hempcrete blocks, which would allow for much more ease of use. Hemp could be the sustainable building material of the future.
Chemical Waste Clean-up / Soil Purification
Possibly the coolest use for the hemp plant is its ability to clean up the environment all on its own. The reproductive and growth rate of hemp allows it to clean soil through a process called phytoremediation, which describes the plants ability to absorb metals in the soil. If used on a grand-scale, this has the potential to clean up areas that have been abandoned due to nuclear fallout, or because they are too toxic to support life. They have been experimenting with this in Chernobyl, with amazing results. This has further potential in areas such as Fukushima, where the nuclear reactor had a meltdown, and has left most of the area uninhabitable.
These are only a few of the ways that we know of that hemp could potentially change the planet for the better. There are many unknown and unexplored ways we can incorporate hemp into our lives that would benefit humanity as a whole, and hopefully, with it now being legal in most places, we can finally begin to unlock those mysteries. With time and research, we may all be able to live in a much more waste-free environment and leave our children with a healthy planet.