Hemp is a term reserved mainly for low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) strains of the plant Cannabis sativa. Of the approximately 2000 cannabis plants varieties known, about 90% contain only low-grade THC and are most useful for their fiber, seeds and medicinal or psychoactive oils. Hemp is one of the earliest domesticated plants known.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis that is grown for the fiber and seeds. The fiber and seeds is incredible valuable and is why hemp is often called a “cash crop”. Hemp is a very hearty plant and grows very quickly in very diverse soil conditions. Cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes has been done by many civilizations for over 12,000 years. Industrial hemp was the desired fiber used to manufacture rope, canvas, paper, and clothing until alternative textiles and synthetics for these purposes were discovered. Although China has been the largest hemp producer over the years, other countries such as Australia and Canada are catching up. It is illegal for anyone to grow hemp in the United States as hemp is illegal under the marijuana prohibition act. Now hemp oils, hemp plastics, hemp building materials and many hemp fiber products can be seen and purchased on the market. Hemp is truly an amazing plant with the potential to help “green up” many industries.
Gel caps and hemp protein powder are among some of the health products being produced today.
Hemp seed is a highly nutritious source of protein and essential fatty acids. Hemp seed has the second highest amount of protein of any food (soy being the highest). Hemp seed protein closely resembles the protein found in the human blood, making it easier to digest than soy protein. Many patients who have trouble digesting food are given hemp seed by their doctors. Hemp seed protein was once called ‘edestine’, and was used by scientists as the model for vegetable protein. Hemp seed oil provides the human body with essential fatty acids. Hemp seed is the only seed which contains these oils with almost no saturated fat. As a supplement to the diet, these oils can reduce the risk of heart disease. It is because of these oils that birds will live much longer if they eat hemp seed. With hemp seed, a vegetarian could survive without virtually any saturated fats. One handful of hemp seed per day will supply adequate protein and essential oils for an adult.
In modern times hemp is used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, construction (as with Hemcrete and insulation), body products, health food and bio-fuel. Hemp is thus legally grown in many countries across the world including Spain, China, Japan, Korea, France, North Africa and Ireland. Although hemp is commonly associated with marijuana (hemp’s THC-rich cousin), since 2007 the commercial success of hemp food products has grown considerably.
In addition to providing useful fibers, hemp seed also has high nutritional value. And the plant can be used to make biodegradable plastics, some fuels, and a variety of other things. Hemp foods including but not limited to hemp energy bars, hemp salad dressing, hemp milk, hemp protein shakes, hemp oil.