What is Hemp? Shattering misconceptions & remarkable uses
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a variation of the Cannabis plant that is commonly grown in large quantities to keep up with the demand.
The reason for the big demand is the wide variety of uses for the raw materials that come from the hemp plant.
The fiber, seeds and oils of the hemp plant are used for the production of many different consumer and industrial products.
Hemp grows naturally all across the United States and can be found growing wild in the state of Florida.
Although the plant grows naturally in the wild, Florida state law as well as United States Federal Law prohibits the cultivation of industrial hemp and all varieties of the Cannabis plant.
Despite these restrictions, the manufacturing of goods and the use of hemp is allowed and is becoming increasingly popular as new and unique uses for the plant are becoming more prevalent each and every year.
Uses of Hemp
The hemp plant can be used for a wide variety of things that go far beyond what we typically associated with the plant. The most well known uses of hemp are for the making of rope, paper, clothing and canvas. In fact, this was the primary use for the plant for hundreds of years up until new discoveries were made that allowed for the processing of the hemp plant to be turned into plastics, oils, and even building materials.
Many industries have adopted use of the hemp plant because of its remarkable sustainability and ability to grow in diverse climates and conditions that would typically be poor for the growth of plants. With the movement toward “green” and sustainable manufacturing practices hemp has become a popular source of materials across a wide spectrum of industries.
In recent years, the hemp seed has become an important ingredient in food products. Today it is used in certain salad dressings, protein shakes, energy bars and many other food products. It is targeted as an ingredient in many of these foods for its high nutritional properties.
One popular of hemp-based foods includes Manitoba Harvest, the online retailer of hemp protein powders, hemp oils, and hemp hearts.
With the rise of many food allergies and the increasing awareness of health and sustainability in the United States and beyond, the demand for hemp has grown rapidly in the past few years.
Many individuals are drawn to the plant because of its nature-friendly properties that ensure every bit of hemp processed and used for the production of goods has the potential to be replenished.
Hemp is also used in the production of many skin care products and soaps and shampoos such as those sold by brands like Hippie Butter and The Body Shop. The oil of the plant is known to have “healing” properties that help to promote healthy skin. One of the main attractions of using hemp-based products instead of the mainstream soaps and skincare products is the fact that they typically contain no artificial ingredients or chemicals that can sometimes cause irritation and poor results from their continued use.
Hemp is NOT Marijuana
Although the two plants are related and oftentimes referred to as “cousins”, hemp is not the same plant as marijuana. Many people will make this mistake in casual conversation, however it is in fact not true.
Hemp and marijuana are both distinct varieties of the Cannabis plant, but the two have very distinct differences.
Marijuana contains a substance called tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly referred to as THC that is the psychoactive element in the Cannabis plant and often used as a drug.
Hemp, however contains only trace amounts of the substance and cannot be used as a psychoactive drug like marijuana. In fact, varieties of Cannabis are grown specifically for the commercial use of hemp contain a type of “counter-chemical” that eliminates the effect that any trace amounts of THC might have on the human body.
Industrial hemp contains a large amount of fiber, oils and seeds, more than the typical marijuana plant, which provides the raw materials necessary for the production of goods.
It is this industrial hemp that has been grown for years in China and more recently in Canada as a cash crop responsible for providing hemp to manufacturers all across the globe.
Hemp From the Agricultural Point of View
Hemp can survive and thrive even when the conditions for growth are not ideal. It can take root in poor soil or rich soil, in valleys or on mountains and does not require a great deal of care to produce a healthy crop.
Hemp is vegan and gluten-free, non-GMO and can be grown naturally. It does not require the use of herbicides or pesticides to produce a healthy crop and one of the most sustainable agricultural crops around.
At its largest, hemp can grow upwards of twenty feet tall and grows rapidly compared to many similar plants.