What is Industrial Hemp?
Did you know that Industrial hemp is a multifunctional, highly useful plant that has been grown wildly from around 8000 BC? Every single part of the hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa) can be cultivated and utilised in ways that benefit our health & wellbeing, the community and the planet.
Hemp grows in temperate, sub-tropical and tropical climates and is extremely durable. Plants can grow to around 5 metres high and is naturally resilient to most pests. And if the crop is planted densely enough it has the ability to outgrow weeds. A hemp crop grows relatively fast compared to other types of farming and requires much less water, making it super-sustainable wonder plant!
Although hemp and marijuana are essentially derived from the same plant (Cannabis Sativa), they differ greatly due to the amount of THC they contain (THC is the component which will get you buzzed). Hemp contains less than 1% THC (not psychoactive) whereas marijuana contains up 5%-35% THC.
To break it down:
|Type||Is it Cannabis?||THC||Psychoactive?||Cultivation||Uses|
|Hemp||Yes||Low (<1%)||No||Adaptable to grow in most climates, although likes temperate zones.||Can be used for foods, body & skin care, wax products like candles & food wraps, paints, clothing, construction material, bio-fuel, substitute for plastics and pet food.|
|Marijuana||Yes||High THC (5% – 35%)||Yes||Grown in a carefully controlled environment||Medicinal use (CBD oil) & recreational use (please not this currently ILLEGAL in Australia)|
Technically classed as a nut, hemp seeds are an edible wholefood with great nutritional benefits. The seeds contain around 30%
oil and are a source of essential fatty acids & healthy fats.
Seeds are an excellent source of plant protein! They contain around 25% – even higher than flax & chia seeds, which are around 16%–18%.
They are also a wonderful source of:
You can eat hemp seeds raw or cooked – sprinkle them in soups, smoothies and salads. Your food will taste delicious and your body will love you for it!
Whole hemp seeds can be cold pressed to produce hemp oil. Hemp oil has been used in food and medicine in China for at least three thousand years and is great for heart, brain, skin and hormone health.
After the seeds have been cold pressed they leave behind what is referred to as ‘seed cake or meal’, which can be turned into hemp flour and protein and can be used in cooking, smoothies and raw foods.
Hemp fibre is tough, durable, absorbent, anti-mildew, antibacterial, UV resistant, versatile and the list goes on.
Once the hemp plant is cut, the hemp is then left to rett (retting is a controlled process of decomposition that allows the fibre to loosen). The woody core is then separated from the bast fibres by a process of decortications. After this process, the fibres can be used to produce:
o Rope & Twine
o Fabrics & Textiles
o Building Materials
Hemp roots have higher ‘terpenes’ than the rest of the plant. Terpenes are chemicals that determine how the plant tastes as smells, as well as how your body interacts with the plant. Terpenes are the basic elements in essential oils and are used in perfumery and aromatherapy.
A hemp root has over 200 terpenes.
The leaves of hemp are edible, can be eaten raw, juiced or brewed as a tea. Hemp tea is rich in antioxidants and is non-psychoactive and non-toxic. The leaf juice contains the full spectrum of essential nutrients and the additional benefit of high quantities of Cannabidiol (CBD), as found in the mature leave and bud of the legal industrial hemp plant. Please note that currently in Australia it is illegal to sell or do any of the above.
The hemp plant has myriad uses and that is one of the reasons we love it so much! Due to misinformation, some negative stigmas and some rather archaic laws, hemp has been kept in the dark for way too long.
However a new perspective is emerging: laws are being reformed, people are becoming more informed and educated around the benefits and uses of hemp, allowing us all to move forward towards a cleaner, more wholesome and healthful future.
Cheers to hemp!
Written by Cass Douglas – part of Hemp Collective’s marketing team