The uses of the hemp plant are innumerable. It is proving to be a worthy replacement for tree-based products like cotton fiber, paper, fiberboard and an eco-friendly alternative to plastic and fuel. It is a common misconception that consumption of hemp seeds leads to intoxication. Hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant with a low THC content and, therefore, cannot be used as a psychoactive drug, unlike the marijuana variant. Here are a few interesting numerical and historical facts about hemp:

  • While cotton can only grow in moderate climates without frost, hemp grows well in any climate and needs much less water. The high amount of pesticides and herbicides used on cotton amount to 50% of the world’s usage, as against none in the case of hemp; a little fertilizer suffices.
  • The fiber that is produced from hemp is much stronger than that made from cotton. At the same time, it is softer and can be made into various clothing, such as shirts, pants, jackets and even backpacks. It is not prone to mildew attacks and will last twice longer. 1 acre of hemp fields will give 2 or 3 times the quantity of fiber as a cotton field of the same size.
  • One year’s hemp cultivation on 1 acre of land can produce as much paper as 2 to 4 acres of trees. All kinds of paper can be made from hemp, including cardboard and tissue paper. Hemp-based paper will save the environment from mass deforestation and be able to meet the global demand of the next 25 years, which is expected to double.
  • Hemp paper is of much higher quality than tree-based paper; it is durable and more recyclable, and its manufacture process involves a lesser use of toxic chemicals.
  • Fiberboard made from hemp is stronger yet lighter than wood. Moreover, it is a fire retardant. Using hemp fiberboards will reduce the felling of trees.
  • While a tree cut down for its wood will be replaced with another tree in several years,┬áhemp can be harvested within just 120 days of being planted. Any type and size farming land is conducive to its growth, unlike trees that need an open, wide area. The deep roots curtail soil erosion and water is saved from pollution.
  • The extraction of hemp seed protein is a more economical process than that of soybean protein. The former is also more nutritious; it can be used to make milk and milk products like butter, cheese and ice-cream, tofu and veggie burgers. The flour produced from this seed makes tasty and healthy pasta, bread, cookies and other baked items.
  • Durable and strong materials resembling plastic can also be made out of hemp-based composites; unlike plastic, these are biodegradable and will not harm the ecosystem. Leading car manufacturers, such as the German Mercedes Benz, are now making dashboards and body parts from this versatile plant.
  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, former Presidents of the U.S., grew hemp and advocated its mass benefits. Current U.S. laws ban the cultivation of this plant, but there are millions of hemp plants growing in the wild across the U.S. Although very widespread and popular between 1776 and 1937, hemp and textiles made from it have no mention in the Smithsonian Institute, the American Textile Museum and most American history books.
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Hemp for Weight Loss

Hemp seeds offer a huge variety of health and medicinal uses for the human body including weight loss. The natural compound of hemp along with its wonderful benefits to the body make it a great, healthy option for many dieters. The most common form of consuming hemp is done through ground hemp seeds, also known as “hemp powder” or by eating the seeds whole.

Popular Ways to Consume Hemp on a Diet

Some dieters will choose to eat hemp seeds. Popular meal choices that can include hemp seeds include salads and soups. Other dieters will choose to use hemp powder in their diets. Hemp powder can easily be sprinkled in many types of foods including yogurt, shakes and smoothies. However, there really is no wrong way to consume hemp, so dieters should feel free to experiment with hemp as a weight loss tool.

Hemp is High in Fiber and Omega 3

One of the best reasons dieters like to add hemp to their diet plan is because it is high in fiber. Fiber helps dieters feel full, which reduces cravings. In addition, hemp is also full of Omega 3, which is an essential fatty acid that the body needs to stay healthy.

Hemp Can Raise the Body’s Metabolism

Since hemp is mostly protein, it can help to raise a person’s metabolism. The reason a persons metabolism may increase is because it takes more energy to burn protein than it does carbohydrates. An increased metabolism may speed up weight loss for many dieters.

No Diet is Complete Without Exercise and Proper Nutrition

Although hemp protein powder, and hemp seeds, are great weight loss tools, they should be used in combination with diet and exercise to achieve maximum results. If dieters are unsure of what type of diet and exercise regimen could help them achieve the best results, they should contact a physician.

Whether dieters take hemp in its protein powder form or eat entire seeds, it can be a great weightloss tool. It’s natural makeup makes it easy to digest and it is not considered an allergen.

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Hemp History

Hemp is one of the oldest agricultural crops, cultivated as early as 4000 B.C. in China. It has been mentioned in different contexts in several ancient texts:

  • It was grown all over the world and valued for its medicinal benefits.
  • Once its many properties were discovered, it was treated as a precious substance and even given importance in religious ceremonies.
  • Hemp is one of the oldest known sources for cloth
  • Composites of hemp and limestone have been discovered in ancient Roman structures.

The naval prominence in the Netherlands around the 17th century brought about the Golden Age. The Dutch East India Company has established their shipping trade globally, with the financial support of the Dutch merchant empire. This naval industry relied on hemp to a very large extent. It was the second most important component in ship-building, after wood. It was used as rope, canvas and to waterproof the hull through caulking. Around 21 kilometers / 13 miles of rope and several hundred square meters / yards of canvas were needed for each sailing vessel. This in turn increased the cultivation of the cannabis plant.

The British colonized the region of modern-day America and set up large agricultural fields to produce the raw material, mainly in Kentucky and Missouri. The processed fibers were exported to England and the other colonists. Employment opportunities increased in America as the spinning and weaving industry grew, eventually leading to the War of Independence against England’s dominance. The growth of hemp in the U.S. dwindled with the availability of cheaper imported fibers from Manila and the East India Company. During War II, however, the Japanese took possession of the Philippines and the East India Company, and since jute supply from India was also restricted, the Americans had to produce hemp once again, for industrial purposes as well as to sustain the vast demand from the army and navy, as follows:

  • Rope made from hemp was used in rigging, towing and mooring the ships
  • Paratroopers needed webbing for their parachutes
  • The fiber was used to make shoes for the soldiers
  • It served as a fire-hose of average quality

Thus, hemp has played a vital role in global history.


“Hemp for Victory” Documentary from 1942.

Hemp is the most versatile natural resource. Its stalk can be converted to fiber for rope, textiles, paper and construction materials. Its seed is a food product and has medicinal value, along with the root. The oil extracted from this seed goes into cooking as well as making paint, varnish, ink, lubricants, cellophane and detergents. Its leaves are useful as manure and animal bedding. The most important uses of hemp are explored in detail:

Food and Nutrition

Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, sprouted, or ground into a paste and added to foods. They have a nutty flavor and can be consumed as a healthy mix with other grains, seeds, dried fruits and nuts. The seed is almost as rich in protein as soy; this protein called edestin matches the protein content in human blood. Further processing of the seed produces items such as whole grain, baking flour, protein powder, oil and hemp cake, a byproduct of the oil extraction process. 80% of the oil from the hemp seed is essential fatty acids (EFAs), including omega-3 and omega-6. It is recommended to consume 1 tablespoon / 15 milliliters of hemp oil per day to meet the nutritional needs of the body. Non-dairy milk and milk products are obtained from hemp, with nutritional properties similar to soy milk. Tofu, organic cereals and nut butters can also be made of hemp, while the fresh leaves of the plant are used in salads.

Body Care

The range of body care products made from hemp oil includes face creams, body butters, soaps, shampoos and conditioners. This oil contains a lot of omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids that give the skin its much-needed nutrients and offer biochemical and therapeutic effects for the body. The mineral oil in petroleum-based cosmetics cannot achieve the same result, since it comes from fossilized or dead carbon and does not have any regenerating properties. Hemp oil can slow the natural aging process of the skin; its moisturizing and healing benefits are used to cure various skin problems, especially psoriasis and eczema. It induces a healthy growth of hair, leaving it with a shine and bounce. Hemp oil-based creams can be topically applied to fight acne and reduce scars. It is also found in lipsticks.

Paper

Paper is made from the pulp of the long, strong hemp fibers. These grow under the bark of the dried hemp stalk, on the outer surface of the woody interior. The first hemp paper mill opened in 1818 in Saint Petersburg, Russia; the paper produced was used in bank notes, stocks, bonds, postal stamps, watermarks and other official documents. Hemp paper is more durable and recyclable than tree-based paper and does not need bleaching. Today, it is most used in cigarette paper.

Fiber

Grown over the same piece of land, hemp would produce 10% more fiber than cotton or flax. The bast fibers of hemp are very strong and their length varies from 0.91 meters / 3 feet to 4.6 meters / 15 feet. These hollow fibers help in regulating body temperature. They also have anti-microbial properties and are not prone to mildew. This makes hemp fabrics useful in clothing, upholstery, bedding and medicinal bandages. Hemp is a great material for diapers because of its softness and absorbent power. Due to its strength and durability, it is used to make canvas for the sails of ships and rope. Hemp sacks are almost as good as those made from jute. Hemp fiber can also be converted into trendy shoes, bags and even jewelry.

Fuel

The hemp plant undergoes fermentation to produce methanol and ethanol fuels. Biodiesel, also referred to as hempoline, is obtained from the oil extracted from its seeds and stalks. These bio-fuels are cheap and efficient in automobile usage, and they do less harm to the environment than other fuels. They offer a renewable source of energy as a worthy replacement to fossil fuels.

Plastic Alternative

Plastics contain cellulose and hemp has the highest cellulose content among all plants. In 1941, Henry Ford built a revolutionary prototype car from hemp and soybean plastic. Automobile panels are made of a composite consisting of fiberglass, hemp fiber and flax. Nowadays, car parts made of 100% hemp are also available; in particular, the interiors of car doors and the automobile glove box. The hemp biocomposite material is as strong and durable as fiberglass, but lighter and safer. It is stiff, has a high heat tolerance and is a flame retardant. In kitchens, sink basins are made of the hemp composite. This material is recyclable and thus a eco-friendly alternative to plastic.

Building Materials

The short inner fibers of hemp are called hurd; these are combined with lime to give a material that is commercially known as Hempcrete or Isochanvre; though this material resembles concrete, it is half its weight and thrice as elastic. Hempcrete blocks are used as an insulating material and to control moisture. A building made with Hempcrete blocks will remain warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Although this material is strong, its blocks need to be reinforced by a frame of steel, brick or wood to be used as structural elements in construction. They are not as brittle as concrete and do not need expansion joints for stability. Another good use of hemp is for sound-proofing walls and ceilings of buildings, since it has acoustic insulation properties. Fiberboards are made of the long bast fibers of hemp. They have much more strength and resistance to insects and fire than fiberboards made from wood chips.

Hemp is such a versatile plant that it finds use in almost all spheres of life. Among its many benefits, the most important and valuable are to the health, environment and economy.

Health Benefits

Hemp seed is a rich source of protein, second only to soya. The type of protein it contains was formerly called edestine; it matches that in the human blood, thereby assisting digestion. Its intake is recommended to people with digestive problems. The oil extracted from the hemp seed has fatty acids essential to the body to prevent memory-related diseases. The consumption of this oil on a regular basis will ensure a long and healthy life due to the minimal amount of saturated fats; it is ideal for vegetarians. An adult requires only a handful of hemp seeds per day to get the required amount of protein and fatty acids. Since it suppresses appetite, it helps people on a weight loss program. It controls blood sugar levels and thus keeps diabetes under control.

Environmental Benefits

Hemp crop grows in any climate and any soil. Its roots grow deep into the soil, thereby avoiding erosion. For good growth, it needs no pesticides and very little fertilizer. This saves on additional agricultural costs and makes the hemp plant eco-friendly. In addition, its paper manufacture process saves the felling of big trees and does not need harsh chemicals, unlike the tree-based paper. It last longer and can be recycled many times. The fuel produced from hemp is devoid of sulfur and other metals. It is a clean biomass fuel and contributes very little to air pollution, as compared to other resources. The level of carbon dioxide released by burning fuel from hemp is also negligible. Hence, acid rain, the greenhouse effect and other undesirable phenomena can be reduced.

Economical Benefits

The commercial products that can be made from hemp range from soaps, cosmetics and other body care items to construction materials like cement blocks and fiber-boards. Each part of the plant has one or more uses and the products of daily usage include cloth, shoes, diapers, canvas, cellophane and paints. A country that has a mass cultivation of hemp can set up industries to self-sustain its economy and to provide employment opportunities to its inhabitants.

Why Buy Hemp Products?

By buying hemp products, you are helping the world work towards a more sustainable future. Hemp can be made into practically ANYTHING. Hemp foods is packed with nutrition. Hemp is not just good for us on the inside, but on the outside, too. Not only can we benefit from hemp nutritionally, and as a beauty aid, it's also beneficial from an environmental viewpoint. From paper to clothes, from construction materials to even building cars, hemp is literally a miracle crop. Spread the word!