Hemp undoubtedly offers several benefits to humans, animals, and the environment. However, it is also highly misunderstood due to the numerous misconceptions that have not been debunked for many people. With that said, this hemp 101 guide will break down everything you ought to know about hemp, its purpose, potential benefits, as well as the potential risk associated with its use.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is one of the Cannabis sativa plant varieties, mainly grown for industrial use. Because of its versatility, hemp can be used to produce a wide variety of products. Just like bamboo, hemp is among the fastest-growing plants in the world.
Hemp is also one of the first plants to be converted into fiber about 50,000 years ago. It can be reproduced into a vast range of commercial products such as textiles, paper, clothing, rope, biodegradable plastics, biofuel, food, insulation, paint, and animal food.
Although both industrial hemp and cannabis-based drugs are sourced from varieties of Cannabis sativa and contain THC, these substances have distinct strains with unique phytochemical properties and use.
Additionally, hemp has lower THC content but with a higher CBD (cannabidiol) concentration, reducing its psychoactive effects.
In terms of hemp vs. marijuana, hemp has a lower THC dose, which is why it is considered non-psychoactive. Marijuana, on the other hand, has over 0.3% THC, which makes it psychoactive.
Benefits of Hemp
Hemp is known to offer several benefits to its users. Some of its known benefits are:
It Contains Several Essential Nutrients
Hemp seeds are rich in protein and fiber, two of the many essential nutrients for overall health. Protein is necessary for the body as it aids in producing essential enzymes and hormones. It also plays a vital role in developing healthy muscles, strong bones, healthy skin, cartilage, and blood.
Fiber, on the other hand, aids digestion. People who regularly intake dietary fiber have fewer chances of developing heart ailments, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, gastrointestinal diseases, and diabetes.
It Could have Possible Effects on the Brain
Hemp is discovered to have high contents of omega-3 fatty acid. This component is well-known for being very beneficial to the brain and overall well-being. Omega-3 fatty acids help boost the brain’s DHA level, a compound that improves memory and general cognitive function.
People with high DHA levels have fewer risks of developing dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other mental health disorders.
It has Potential Benefits to Heart Health
Based on a study released by the WHO, cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest causes of death worldwide.
The nutritional components derived from hemp, such as omega-3 fatty acids and omega-3, are proven to help reduce cardiovascular issues. These fatty acids enhance arterial function and blood flow while regulating the heart rate.
It can help Ease Digestion
Because hemp is rich in fiber, it is highly beneficial for the digestive system. One of the main benefits of a fiber-rich diet is the lower risk for stomach aches and constipation.
People who neglect their digestive health are more at risk of developing severe health issues such as colon cancer and diabetes.
Hemp is a Great Immune System Booster
Hemp is packed with nutrients that are essential for the immune system. The intake of hemp offers many long-term and short-term health benefits.
Moreover, the omega-3 fatty acids in hemp reinforce the cells to help combat diseases, viruses, and bacteria. As a result, the overall immune system becomes stronger.
It can help People Lose Weight
Eating hemp seeds can satisfy a person’s appetite more than saturated fats and carbohydrates. When a person intakes hemp seeds, they are less likely to eat more food because their hunger is already satisfied. For this reason, hemp is excellent for people who want to eat less and lose weight.
Eating Hemp can help improve Skin Health
The omega fatty acids found in hemp are known to benefit the skin. People suffering from skin diseases such as eczema or dermatitis could improve their skin by consuming hemp seeds.
It could Potentially help with PMS
Another known advantage of hemp is its ability to regulate PMS symptoms. Omega fatty acids are proven to help reduce PMS symptoms, and it can also help relieve menstrual pain.
It lowers Cholesterol Levels
Because hemp is rich in polyunsaturated fats and fatty acids, consuming this plant can lower cholesterol levels. Having low cholesterol levels mean one has a lower risk of developing a heart attack, stroke, and other diseases related to the heart.
Hemp helps Fight Skin Aging
Linoleic and oleic acids are found in hemp oil. These acids play an essential role in overall skin health. Consuming hemp can increase one’s linoleic and oleic acid levels, thus, resulting in younger-looking and healthier skin.
Hemp extract refers to the oil extracted from the hemp plant’s seeds and stalks. It can be used for several different purposes. One of the most common uses of hemp extract is its consumption as a wellness supplement.
Hemp extract does not get you high as it only contains very little THC content. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is considered a psychoactive compound derived from the Cannabis sativa plant.
Uses of Hemp
Hemp is a multi-purpose plant with many uses. Here are some of the most common uses of the hemp plant.
Textiles and Clothing
Hemp fibers have long been used in the production of textiles and clothing. Hemp fibers are known to be durable and long-lasting.
Hemp is now being used to produce high-quality plastic materials that are also 100% biodegradable. This is a great discovery given the current global waste disposal issue.
Hemp is a viable alternative to wood in terms of paper production. Aside from the fact that hemp is a lot more durable than wood, it can also help reduce the number of trees being cut yearly.
The use of hemp can potentially revolutionize the construction industry and promote a more eco-friendly housing production. The components of hemp, such as its fibers and oils, can mimic concrete, wood, plastics, insulation, paneling, and bricks.
Hemp is rich in natural oils and minerals, highly beneficial to the hair and skin. This is why numerous beauty and skincare products contain hemp as one of the ingredients.
One can enjoy many benefits when using hemp as a wellness product. Both CBD and hemp oil can be used daily to improve diet and boost overall wellness.
Hemp can be used to produce biodiesel, a type of fuel that is used in diesel engines. Biodiesel is a renewable and sustainable resource that is also non-toxic and biodegradable.
Food and Drinks
Because hemp seeds are rich in essential nutrients and minerals, it is now classified as a superfood. Hemp protein, in particular, has been loved by many personal trainers and health professionals across the globe.
Given the nutritional benefits hemp can offer, it has also been widely used in animal feed production. Hemp seeds are often included in birds’ mixed seeds as they make great energy sources.
Aside from offering a wide array of eco-friendly use, hemp can also be used to restore impaired environments. Hemp can be cultivated in the land areas where other plants wouldn’t survive. Planting hemp in these areas is also a great way of cleaning the area’s soil.
Side Effects of Hemp
Based on multiple studies, hemp oil can trigger several side effects. Below is a list of the most common side effects of hemp:
- Mood changes
- Appetite changes
- Dry mouth
Hemp oil may also increase the level of liver enzymes. Thus, people with liver ailments should use the substance with caution. Ideally, they should regularly see a physician to check the liver enzymes’ levels in their blood.
The use of this substance should also be avoided during pregnancy and lactation. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the use of hemp can have potential risks to the baby’s development.
Moreover, before using hemp oil or CBD oil as a supplement in treating a specific medical condition, be sure to seek your physician’s advice first.
Does Hemp Have THC?
Hemp is the term used for cannabis Sativa variant containing about 0.3% or less Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. THC is a psychoactive compound found in the cannabis Sativa plant. It is intoxicating, especially in higher doses.
Given that hemp only contains 0.3% or less THC, it is not considered psychoactive, and it will not get you high.
Hemp is undeniably a miracle plant that brings several exceptional benefits to humans and animals’ health. It also offers many sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. However, one should still exercise caution when consuming hemp, particularly when it contains THC.
This is because it can induce several potential side effects that vary in severity. Regardless, hemp offers more benefits than disadvantages, making it useful for both humans and animals alike.