What Is Hemp & What Is It Used For?
You may have heard the term “hemp” in many products throughout the grocery store and retail outlets – hemp milk, hemp hearts, hemp seed oil, hemp rope, and the list continues. That being said, being curious about what is hemp is a valid thought. From the outside, it’s hard to know how hemp differs from its cannabis counterparts.
This ultimate guide about hemp will clear the air.
How Do We Define Hemp?
Hemp, also known as industrial hemp, is a non-psychoactive strain of cannabis. This means the plant can’t get you high because it contains less than 1% of THC. Industrial hemp is grown for a number of uses – clothes, rope, food, and much more.
What is hemp used for if it can’t be smoked?
Each part of the plant is more useful than you’d imagine! The seeds are harvested for food and oil purposes. The stalk is used to make fabric, rope, other strong materials. Does hemp have buds? Well, yes it does! As a matter of fact, the flowers (and leaves) are used to extract CBD oil. Hemp buds are the richest part of any cannabis plant when it comes to the CBD content and this precious CBD oil has many medical benefits. These are just a few popular uses of the plant, and you’ll see plenty more down below.
Is Hemp Illegal?
Unlike marijuana, industrial hemp is legal in all 50 states! This particular strain of cannabis contains less than 0.3% of THC, the compound that gets you high, so it’s not psychoactive. Therefore, there’s no reason for it to be illegal, and that’s why hemp was finally legalized federally by the Farm Bill last year.
In the edible hemp products like hemp seeds and hemp milk, there are no cannabinoids such as THC and CBD because the seeds have neither. So there is no way the substance can end up in your hemp salad dressing, for instance. This explains why products like hemp rope and hemp protein powder can be legally sold in regular stores.
How Is Hemp Grown?
If you’re a beginner wondering how to grow hemp, you’re going to need a good guide and some practice. Hemp plants are sensitive, meaning there are a ton of guidelines to follow when growing your own. The soil, temperature, pH levels, and other factors are important to take into account.
If you’re growing hemp for CBD, then you can’t have any male plants and need to check attentively for them to remove them. This is a common issue among hemp farmers – male plants pollinate so quickly. Many people have lost thousands of dollars because of this.
Benefits of Hemp
Depending on the hemp product, there could be a wide variety of benefits to reap from it! Here are a few at a glance:
- Moisturizing, reducing wrinkles, and more benefits for the skin
- Hemp seeds are rich in vitamins and other nutrients
- They may also reduce the risk of heart disease
- The stalk is used for crafting strong rope and hemp clothes
- Much friendlier to the environment than other fabrics and materials
- The plant grows very quickly and it’s economic to cultivate
- CBD oil, which is extracted from hemp leaves and flowers, has a wide variety of health benefits (it can relieve pain, anxiety, depression, and more)
Let’s get deeper into these benefits as we discuss the top products made from hemp!
What Is Hemp Used For? (Most Popular Uses)
Hemp seeds are an easy, nutritious addition to any diet. They contain lots of fiber, protein, and Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. As a matter of fact, the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio (3:1) is considered to be absolutely perfect! If you love chia or flax seeds for their health benefits, then you’ll definitely love these.
Hemp seeds also aid in digestion since they contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. These hemp seeds nutrition facts are very impressive!
Although less common than almond and coconut milk, hemp milk is a delicious alternative to dairy milk! It contains plenty of protein and fiber, plus it has a unique (and tasty) nutty flavor.
What is hemp milk derived from? It’s also made from hemp seeds, so there are no cannabinoids in it at all. But what hemp milk is especially rich in and other types of milk aren’t are protein and good fats. If you’re choosing between almond, rice, or the hemp version, you’d better opt for the latter! Compared to cow’s milk, this one has more protein and carbs, but fewer calories.
Speaking of protein, there are many plant-based, hemp-derived protein powder products emerging on the market!
Hemp seeds are a great alternative to whey protein because just 2–3 tablespoons of hemp seed contain about 11g of protein. They also contain all essential amino acids, making them a complete protein (which is difficult to find for those on plant-based diets).
(Culinary) Hemp Seed Oil
Another of the most common culinary uses for hemp is hemp seed oil, which is not to be confused with CBD oil (more on this later). Many people purchase hemp seed oil for cooking their own dishes. This is extracted from the hemp seed itself rather than from the leaves and flowers of the plants, meaning it contains no cannabinoids.
What makes hemp seed oil so wonderful and convenient is its resistance to high temperatures. Namely, if those lovely fatty acids are to be preserved, they shouldn’t be overheated. However, hemp seed oil can be cooked up to 475°F for 30 minutes and still retain its hemp benefits!
Many skincare companies have taken advantage of the hemp oil benefits for the skin! People rave about how hemp seed oil heals their acne, moisturizes, brightens, and overall makes their skin look incredible. The anti-aging qualities are very much praised. The linoleic acid and oleic acids from hemp seem to reduce wrinkles and prevent their occurrence too.
Many people make clothes out of hemp fabrics because it’s much more environmentally friendly than cotton and wool. Plus, anything made out of hemp fiber is strong and lasts forever. Hemp clothing makes a strong fabric that’s great for winter and thick clothes.
Nevertheless, don’t think these clothes are dull-looking! Hemp fiber is lightweight, yet three times stronger than cotton. Also, it is mold-resistant, which is perfect for outdoor wear. Not to mention it can be easily added to other materials, even silk. This 10,000-year-old fiber rules the runways with no problem.
As we mentioned before, hemp-derived products are very strong. What is hemp rope famous for? Well, this is just one of the strongest natural ropes in the world! It’s inexpensive and works great for both outdoor and indoor uses. That means hemp is heavily used in the marine and boat industry. Even the Mayflower had hemp ropes and sails.
Hemp is such a universal plant that you can build your own home with it! Hemp blocks have plenty of advantages over traditional masonry materials. The blocks have outstanding insulation properties. They keep the home cool in summer, while at the same time retaining the indoor temperature in winter, making them a perfect thermal buffer.
Also, if one is struggling with damp walls, hemp should be a perfect redecorating solution. On the other hand, its intricate qualities make it more fire-resistant compared to more traditional building materials. Amazing, isn’t it?
Paper & Plastic
Did you know the world’s first paper was made from the hemp plant? As time progressed, it became less common. However, hemp paper is even stronger and higher quality than paper made from trees. It’s also much more eco-friendly and sustainable.
For one, hemp plants grow much faster than trees. It only takes 100 days for a single plant to meet full maturity, whereas it takes trees 50–100 years to reach a similar stage. On another note, one acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 4–10 acres of trees.
Hemp plastic is another buzzworthy topic. This could become one of the top hemp benefits in the world. Not many manufacturers are taking advantage of this, but plastic made from hemp is estimated to see plenty of growth in the next few years.
There are some small downsides of hemp plastic and paper. Namely, hemp is difficult and labor-intensive to grow. However, the resulting products are much stronger and much better for the environment.
The final evidence of how popular hemp products are can be seen in sales revenues. In the US only, the sales of hemp products are expected to reach $2.6 billion! On the global level, the sales were worth almost $4 billion in 2018 and should reach $5.7 billion the following year.
The (Many) Benefits of Hemp Seeds
- High in plant-based, complete protein
- Contains unsaturated fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
- Daily servings contain a great amount of fiber which helps with gut health, weight management, blood sugar levels, and reducing appetite
- Boosts heart health
- Contains minerals and vitamins to enhance the body – magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin
- Reduces inflammation, which can also help manage the symptoms of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and metabolic syndrome
- Improves skin conditions including acne
Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD Oil
You’ve probably heard of CBD oil by now. Did you know that this beneficial oil is extracted from industrial hemp as well? While the hemp seed oil benefits are good, CBD oil benefits are even more incredible. It can improve pain, anxiety, depression, treat epilepsy, ADHD, and a number of other benefits.
Why does this oil provide more benefits than hemp seed oil, when it’s derived from the same plant? CBD oil is extracted from the leaves and flowers of industrial hemp, whereas hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds. The effects are drastically different because hemp seeds don’t contain cannabinoids, while the other parts of the plant are filled with hundreds of cannabinoids.
Read more about the difference between the two types of oil in our article dedicated to explaining this topic.
Where to Buy
Hemp products can often be found in your typical grocery and retail stores. For edible products made from hemp, these are most abundant in health food stores. These stores today have plenty of choices for hemp milk, protein powder, and seeds. What’s more, chain grocery stores usually sell basic hemp products as well.
If you’re looking for CBD oil in particular, it’s a little harder to find (but not impossible). The recent legalization in all 50 states allows for it to be sold in many stores. We’ve found it in many health food stores. You can also purchase it from many reliable online CBD retailers!
We hope you’ve learned what is hemp, what it’s used for, and what makes it different from other strains of cannabis! This magical herb has a variety of applications and health benefits. Products like hemp-derived fabrics and papers are environmentally friendly and even stronger than their counterparts. We hope to see a future full of hemp!
Is hemp legal?
Yes, industrial hemp is legal. Since it’s very low in THC, there are no intoxicating effects. Nevertheless, it takes some time for all states to make alterations to their laws, so make sure you have all the latest information.
Are there any hemp medicinal uses?
CBD oil is one of the most effective medicinal uses of hemp. As we mentioned above, there are a huge number of symptoms that this substance has been said to treat. Just a few include pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, ADHD, and skin issues. It also has very mild side effects when compared with other cannabis strains, such as marijuana. Regardless of CBD, hemp is a very nutritious plant, so it boosts our immune system.
What is hemp oil good for?
This depends on which type of hemp oil you’re talking about. Hemp seed oil is great for cooking and skincare products! CBD oil, however, is fantastic for a wide array of health ailments.
Is hemp a drug?
Industrial hemp is not considered a drug by the FDA.
What’s the difference between CBD and hemp?
CBD is one of the cannabinoids found inside of hemp leaves and flowers. Industrial hemp is the entire plant including the stalk, leaves, flowers, and seeds. CBD, on the other hand, is extracted using the hemp leaves and flowers.