Hemp, a plant that can house us, clothe us, feed us, support us and help safeguard our planet is so wrongly misconstrued in the media and in popular opinion. If you’ve heard of hemp, then you heard of some of the common misconceptions surrounding the plant and its uses.
Hemp is a multifaceted plant with thousands of uses - its abilities know no bounds.
So, why is a plant that is rich in resources and potential, misunderstood? We take a deep dive into the history of hemp, the history of hemp use, and what the future holds for the plant.
What is hemp?
Hemp is a plant type of Cannabis Sativa L that is grown specifically for industrial use. It is used to make a vast range of commercial and industrial products like paper, rope, textiles, clothes, bioplastics, biofuel, and more! While hemp and marijuana are both a part of the Cannabis sativa family, they are not the same - the most notable factor that tells the two apart is the amounts of THC they contain. The marijuana plant contains tetrahydrocannabinol or THC to produce psychoactive effects, whereas hemp does not. Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, therefore making hemp and its by-products non-psychoactive.
What hemp does produce is plenty of CBD or cannabidiol. There are many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, but CBD is found in the highest concentration. The hemp plant’s most common use is for the production of CBD oil and CBD powders. But, hemp can be used for a plethora of things other than CBD oil.
Hemp can be used in the manufacturing of clothes, textiles, building materials, beddings for humans and animals, biofuel, paper, and other industrial products. In fact, the hemp plant can produce 4 times more paper, per acre, than trees and since hemp is a plant, it’s also biodegradable. A homerun for hemp in sustainable baseball!
The seeds from the hemp plant, can also be consumed and enjoyed as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Hemp seeds are protein powerhouses! They also have mass amounts of fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. They’re great on their own or for sprucing up a leafy salad - super versatile and can be used in many recipes.
Needless to say, hemp is a robust, diverse, and purposeful plant. But, its main use is producing CBD oil and powders. The growth and cultivation of hemp and CBD oil in Ireland is regulated by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) - deeming the farming of hemp safe and legal.
It wasn’t always that the plant was so tightly controlled and regulated. Hemp has been part of human society for centuries. Historically hemp has been cultivated and celebrated for its diversity and array of uses.
What is the history of hemp use?
Hemp is a deeply historical plant bound with a cite that traditions. It is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world. Historically, it has been grown for millennia. Carbon testing shows that the use of hemp dates back as far as 8000 B.C. Hemp has been discovered on every continent in the world and it is more than likely it was used long before its first recorded use. Hemp was used in food, pottery, paper, and medicine - among more. There have been discoveries of ancient artifacts in China, Taiwan, Greece, Russia, and France. An item of hemp clothing is one of the oldest artifacts ever discovered. Even some monarchs are buried in hemp clothing.
Hemp has a rich history of use in human civilization because of its stability and immense versatility. Let’s have a quick look into how exactly hemp was used around the globe many moons ago.
The first traces of hemp are found in Asia, around 8000 BC. China has been cultivating hemp for over 6000 years. During Emperor Shen Nung’s reign, he taught his people how to cultivate and harvest the crop for clothing and textile use.
In China, they were among the first people to produce hemp paper.
The middle ages saw hemp gain massive economic and social popularity in Europe. Sufficiently sustaining the world’s need for fibre, foods, and more. Hemp is resistant to saltwater and three times stronger than cotton, so it sustained many voyages for sailing ships - using hemp rope, canvas, and oakum. King Henry VIII encouraged farmers to plant and harvest the plant to provide materials for the British Naval fleet. He even punished farmers if they didn’t grow 1/4th of an acre of hemp by introducing and passing laws.
Around the 1600s, America discovered the plant and its many uses. It soon became a key ingredient in making clothes, shoes, food, and paper. American farmers were required by law to grow hemp. Some believe Even the Declaration of Independence was signed on hemp paper. Hemp plantations flourished in this period and the plant is deeply entrenched in the history of the United States.
Prohibition in America started in the early 1920s and continued until 1933 with the outlawing of alcohol and other substances. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 saw the decline of hemp in America. As hemp and marijuana are so closely related, they were both placed under the same act. This quickly became the norm across the world. Followed by smear campaigns and WWII, the cultivation of hemp declined and its abundance of uses, forgotten.
What is hemp used for today?
Thankfully, nowadays, hemp has and is seeing its resurgence with readily available hemp products.
Hemp can be used in many sustainable industries like fuel for the production of biofuel for example. As we move further and further away from fossil fuels, scientists are looking at more environmentally sustainable fuel alternatives, and hemp biofuel is leading that conversation.
Not only is hemp an alternative to damaging fossil fuels, but it also has the potential to replace plastic. Hemp-based plastic is not yet widespread as it falls under the category of bioplastics.
Hemp is a viable food source. You’ll often see recipes call for the use of hemp seeds - they’re protein powerhouses and a great addition to a meal if you’re someone who doesn’t get a lot of protein. Hemp is a complete protein. Meaning it has all of the 9 essential amino acids that a person needs. In terms of plant-based protein, complete proteins are few and far between. We are now seeing hemp protein supplements pop up in the markets.
The hemp plant can also be found in other industries like clothes, textiles, animal bedding, soil, and paper. But one use of the plant has trumped all other industries and that’s the production of CBD oil.
CBD oil is a product that is directly derived from hemp. CBD does not create a high effect or have any psychoactive effects.
With the ever popular and ever-growing product taking over the market, it can be really hard to know exactly what CBD oil is best for you.
What’s the best hemp oil to buy?
There are tonnes of CBD products on store shelves but determining what’s safe and what’s best for you is not always an easy decision. There are a few factors that you should consider when buying CBD oil like:
- What form of CBD you want
- How and Where is the hemp grown
- What the lab reports say
- What CBD percentage is
When it comes to the breakdown of CBD, we recommend full-spectrum CBD oils. This means the oils include different types of compounds. Cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
If you’re interested in CBD; then full-spectrum CBD like Celtic Winds CBD Multi-Complex Hemp Oil is best for you. A 100% CBD hemp oil, all-natural, vegan, and contains over 150 compounds.
Find out for yourself why Celtic Winds CBD Multi-Complex Hemp Oil is the best hemp oil out there- click here