Hemp, medical and economic abilities
Although hemp is technically the same plant as marijuana, in fact there are many differences between the two. Hemp and marijuana come from the genus Cannabis. But industrial hemp has no more than 0.3% THC or even less. Even though both plants have similar characteristics, they have their own traits and application purposes.
A little bit of history of Hemp
Hemp has been cultivated on our planet for over thousands of years. Is has been used as food resource and to produce fiber in ancient China and Mesopotamia. Its range of applications has evolved from a product to make rope and clothes to paper and sail cloth. Moreover, its seeds and flowers provided medical care to treat a great range of diseases during a period that goes from the year 2700 BC until the Roman times. And this is only the top of the iceberg.
During thousands of years hemp has been used in different types of industries. It has been used to make paper, clothes, ropes and many more. As a matter of fact, the word canvas comes from the Dutch word that means cannabis. Does canvas come from hemp? Yes, it does!
Hemp was a essential crop for North America in the early 1600s. The first settlers cultivated hemp for many purposes, such as oil, clothes, sailcloth and ropes. They made the presses needed to crush the hemp seeds to get oil. They knew hemp oil was a “superfood”.
In the early 1930s, Henry Ford envisioned a car manufactured and fueled only by hemp. He produced a car with a invincible body.
In 1938 the famous magazine Popular Mechanics published an article that wrote: Hemp is a billion dollar crop. When the magazine published the article a billion dollar was unthinkable for anyone; no matter its economic status. It was considered impossible. The article demonstrated that hemp had over 25.000 different uses. He journalist wrote hemp was a viable crop for North America farmers and an excellent solution for thousands of consumers who needed this plant.
However, the article was published too late. In 1937, The Marijuana Tax Act declared illegal to produce cannabis and any type of related products. Consuming marijuana called the attention of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics and President F. Roosvelt passed the act and the prohibition began. On top of it, this law was against the point of view of the American Medical Association.
During the following 60 years, hemp grew as a feral plant and it was designed as a ditch weed. After this pass from being a well considered plant to a illegal one, hemp had returned to mother nature and nobody seems to look after it. Only the strongest varieties survived in the ditches until the laws changed and the breeders began to recover the species.
In 1961, the United Nations, drafted the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, organism that outlined the different standards for the international agreement of the use of narcotics and the criminal activities related to them. Unfortunately, hemp was included in this draft because it was a type of cannabis. It is true that hemp was identified as a exclusion because the Convention will not apply to cannabis cultivation for industrial purposes. The Act mentions the need for the countries “to prevent misuse of, and illicit traffic in the leaves of the cannabis plant”. Therefore, from those days until today, industrial hemp has been considered a Controlled Substance, at the same level of substances such as heroin, cocaine and so on.
As we published in our article “WHO recommends removing cannabis from the list of harmful substances”, cannabis and hemp are beginning to recover their original status.
In 1998, the Canadian Government legislated in order to allow planting and processing industrial hemp, although it continued being highly regulated by Health Canada. No doubt it meant a step forward because for the first time in six decades, farmers were allowed to grow hemp for food and different fiber and more. It became legal to process and export hemp products outside Canada.
As we published in our article “Trump, the president of the Hemp”, President Donald Trump stated he would support the “STATES Act”, a bipartisan bill that would exempt legal state-licensed cannabis businesses from the Controlled Substances Act. According to Trump, hemp is considered just another agricultural product. No doubt this means an enormous step towards total normalization of hemp.
Anyway, since cannabis has become legal in Canada and USA, no need to say hemp is legal too.
Many years before hemp and marijuana were banned. However, hemp seems to be rediscovered as a plant with a great environmental, financial, health and commercial possibilities.
Hemp potential is enormous. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one single acre of hemp is able to produce four more times paper than one acre of trees. On top of it, all types of papers can be produced using hemp: products such as, newsprint, computer paper, envelops, toilet paper, tampons and many more. In fact, there is not any other plant or tree on the planet with such a capacity to produce as much paper per acre as hemp.
If we produce paper from hemp we could stop chopping down billions of trees. We could stop destroying forests where most wildlife lives. One tree must be growing between 20 and 50 years before they can be cut down for commercial purposes. In only four months after being planted, hemp grows up to 20 feet tall and it will be ready for harvest. Changing trees for hemp we can save wildlife habitats and avoid soil erosion. Moreover, reducing topsoil erosion we can reduce pollution of rivers and all types of natural water natural forms, such as lakes, streams, and so on.
In order to make paper, less toxic chemicals are necessary if we use hemp instead of trees. Don’t forget paper industry is probably the most polluting activity of human beings. If using hemp instead of trees we can reduce a lot the use of toxic products, there is no need to say it is well worth.
Hemp can be use instead of cotton to produce textiles. Moreover, hemp fiber is 10 times stronger than cotton. Cotton grows only in hot climates while hemps grow everywhere. And cotton needs much more water!
Only in the U.S.A. hemp is cultivated in 50 states. Many stores in this country are selling hemp-derived products and their demand is growing every day.
Hemp is a natural repellent for weed growth and it has few pests that can attack it. With so few insect enemies and without weed problems, hemp no needs herbicides and pesticides. However, cotton needs a lot of pesticide. About 50% of the pesticides used in the U.S. are used on cotton.
Hemp produces the double of fiber per acre than cotton. Nowadays, a big variety of clothing is made from 100% hemp (pants, jeans, jackets, shoes, hats and many more).
Hemp is also use to produce building materials that can substitute wood. On top of it, these wood-like materials are stronger than wood and much cheaper to manufacture than the wood from the trees. Therefore, using hemp instead of trees to build houses, we could reduce costs and save billions of trees.
Hemp seeds contain many nutritious high-protein oil that is an excellent source of nutrition for human and animals. It is not intoxicating and extracting its proteins is far less expensive than extracting proteins from other “green beings” such as soybean. We can use hemp to produce paint, varnish, ink, plastic substitutes and more.
Hemp-derived products are nontoxic, biodegradable and renewable. Cultivating it needs almost no effort and means. No substitute of hemp has its potential. Hemp puts little strain on the soil and its need of fertilizers is very small. The less quantity of fertilizers we use, the less runoff in waterways and underground water we will cause.
Hemp can produce more biomass than any other plant that grows in the U.S. It is a biomass that can be used to produce fuel as a clean-burning alcohol and/or no-sulphur man-made coal. In fact, hemp is the cleanest and most renewable source of energy. If hemp were widely cultivated in the U.S. for fuel, it could cover 100% of all the country energy needs.
Hemp is an excellent heavy metal salts extractor. After the Chernobyl disaster, the Government has been planting hemp every year to decontaminate the ground. Hemp extracts the dangerous products from the soil.
During the World War II, hemp was in such a short supply that U.S. government temporarily legalized again. During the war the lack of shoes, lubricating oil, ropes and many other items was enormous. With the re-legalization of hemp farmers started to grow hemp again. Therefore, hemp helped the American and allies to win the war.
The reason behind hemp was banned is not because it is a harmful drug. It was banned because it was a threat to wood industry and other newly developed synthetic fibers of new patent and they were more profitable. Companies that got profits from the hemp prohibition propagated propaganda against hemp saying marijuana was a harmful drug that caused people to become dangerous and violent. But this propaganda went unchallenged and Congress banned hemp in 1937.
At that time wild hemp grew throughout the whole Midwest. Even though it is not intoxicant, it was banned, disregarding its enormous potential. For a long time, if a farmer was caught growing a acre of hemp, he was sentenced to death. It is not a joke. You could be given a death penalty for growing one single acre of nonintoxicating hemp. It seems impossible to believe cannabis is legal now in so many states in the USA.
U.S.A. Presidents and founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson cultivated hemp and used its derived products.
Health benefits of hemp
Hemp seeds contain more than 30 percent healthy fats and essential fatty limoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. According to a research published in Nutrition and Metabolism,
According to research published in Nutrition & Metabolism:”Dietary hempseed is… particularly rich in the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA) and also contains elevated concentrations of the omega-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid (ALA). The LA:ALA ratio normally exists in hempseed at between 2:1 and 3:1 levels. This proportion has been proposed to be ideal for a healthy diet.”
The seeds have gamma-linolenic acid, which helps the normal function and growth of the cells, nerves, muscles and more.
They are 25 percent protein and provide nutrients and vitamins, such as E, plus phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, iron and zinc.
The seeds have several heart-healthy compounds like the amino acid arginine. L-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide. It improves blood flow and maintains blood pressure. Nitric oxide signals the muscle cells in the blood vessels to relax. The vessels dilate and the blood flows better.
It helps the arteries to keep away from plaques. If you don’t have adequate nitric oxide, the risk of coronary diseases increases. The gamma-linolenic acid is aanti-inflammatory. Hemp seeds have the ability to reduce blood pressure, decrease the risks of blood clots and help to recover after a heart attack.
Fatty-acid lack can show in several ways, but skin troubles such as eczema and others are very common. Hemp seeds are rich in fatty acids in the optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. Studies prove that hemp seed oil can enhance symptoms of atopic dermatitis and relieve the eczema.
If you are following a vegetarian diet, hemp is an excellent source of proteins. They have all the essential amino acids and quantity of proteins similar to beef. Hemp seeds are a perfect way to get proteins if you are vegetarian.
Only 3 or 4 tablespoon of hemp seeds contains about 11 grams of protein plus the amino acids lysine, methionine and cysteine. Albumin and edestin, two important proteins contained in hemp seeds are rich in essential amino acids, which profile is comparable to soy and/or egg white. Hemp’s edestin content is one of the highest among the plants. Hemp proteins are very easy to digest due to its lack of oligosaccharides and trypsin inhibitors that affect protein absorption.
PMS and menopause
The gamma-linolenicacid from seeds of hemp produces prostaglandin E1, which decreases the effects of the hormone prolactin, which is considered to play a role in both, emotional and physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and menopause.
The seeds have soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps digestion of human beings and animals. The soluble fiber turns into a gel-like texture and helps to slow down the process of digestion. Thanks to this, you feel like you are full during a longer time and, therefore, it is an excellent diet to lose weight.
Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve at all and, therefore, helps add bulk to the stool. This way, food moves through your digestive tract more rapidly.
Fiber is essential in your digestive, heart and skin health. Moreover, it enhances blood sugar control, weight control and more.