Let’s Talk About The Hemp Plant In Our World Today!
What Is Hemp?
The Hemp plant is no stranger to our community. As a matter of fact, it might have a ‘stigma’ attached to it because of its cousin the Marijuana plant. In any event, lately, it has been getting some attention – and in a very positive way. So, let’s talk about the hemp plant!
The Hemp plant is grown from the Cannabis Sativa seeds. It is usually gown in the northern hemisphere. Hemp can be used in its natural plant state as well as being more processed to produce some very interesting by-products.
You can use Hemp:
- To make clothing, rope, strong fibers which can be woven into many useful products
- Textiles – used as 100% hemp, it can also be blended with other organic fibers like flax, cotton or silk, to make woven fabrics for apparel and furnishings.
- Biodegradable plastics
- Food products – you can use the leaves in salads, the seeds can be ground into meal or even eaten raw and used as a base in granola, can be made into Hemp milk and tea, can be cold-pressed to produce Hemp oil as well.
- Animal food and bedding
- Water and soil purification processes, as well as weed control
- Building sector
- Automotive sector – the production of insulation mats
What makes Hemp different is that it contains a low concentration of THC (the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol) and a higher concentration of cannabidiol CBD (which lowers or eliminates any psychoactive effects).
There are several countries that have regulatory laws in place for the growing and processing of Hemp for health (internal and external) use. And lately, more countries are opening up to the versatility and many uses of the hemp plant and the role that it can and has played in the health industry.
Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa var. sativa is the variety grown for industrial use, while C. sativa subsp. indica generally has poor fiber quality and female buds from this variety are primarily used for recreational and medicinal purposes.
It is interesting to note that the main differences between the two types of plants are:
- The way they look
- The amount of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that each plant produces
The Oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis which are regulated for industrial production will produce only minute amounts of this psychoactive drug, not enough for any physical or psychological effects.
Typically, hemp contains below 0.3% THC, while cultivars of Cannabis grown for medicinal or recreational use can contain anywhere from 2% to over 20%. 
Types Of Hemp Plants
Nutritional Value Of Hemp
Interestingly enough, a 100-g portion of hulled hemp seeds can provide 586 calories. Other components:
- 5% water
- 5% carbohydrates
- 49% total fat
- 31% protein
The seeds of the Hemp plant can provide 64% of the Daily Value (DV) of protein per 100-g serving. Also, food for thought (no pun intended) the Hemp seed amino acid profile is comparable to protein sources like meat, milk, eggs, and soy.
Even when comparing the PDCAAS (protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores) – the attempt to measure the degree to which food for humans is a ‘complete protein’, the Hemp seed measures 0.49-0.53 for the whole seed, 0.46-0.51 for hemp seed meal, and 0.63-0.66 for hulled hemp seed.
Hemp seeds are a rich source of:
- B vitamins
- Dietary minerals – manganese (362% DV), phosphorus (236% DV), magnesium (197% DV), zinc (104% DV), and iron (61% DV)], and dietary fiber (20% DV).
About 73% of the energy in hemp seed is in the form of fats and essential fatty acids, mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic, oleic, and alpha-linolenic acids. While hemp has a very low amount of THC, it does have other cannabinoids, as well as terpenoids.
Benefits Associated With Hemp
A few of the more common benefits associated with the Hemp plant, whether it is used in its natural state or undergone any processing to make it more refined:
- Soil fertilizer
- Weed and soil control – hence use of less pesticides
- Health-based healing and wellness– arthritis, muscle pains, anti-aging cell production, anti-depressant
- Great natural source of plant protein (more than 25%), vitamin E, and minerals (phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc)
- Helps to reduce the risk of heart disease (contains arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease)
- Helps with skin issues (a healthy source of fatty acids -a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 – helps provide relief from skin discomforts like eczema)
- Can be a source of relief for symptoms associated with PMS (premenstrual syndrome and menopause)
- As Hemp has a high amount of soluble and non-soluble fibers, it does provide some relief with digestive disorders
Producers Of Hemp
The world’s largest producer of the Hemp plant is France.
It produces more than 70% of the world’s output. China comes in second place with about 25%. Other producers in smaller quantities: Chile and North Korea.
More than 30 countries all together produce industrial Hemp: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and Ukraine.
My Final Thoughts On Let’s Talk About The Hemp Plant
Based on the nutritional value alone, the Hemp plant provides a good source for basic dietary needs. Using it in its natural form as with most things, is probably the best way to reap all the benefits. Of course, there is much to be said when it comes to the by-products that it can produce once it has gone through various refining processes.
In all fairness, this plant has so much to offer despite the stigma that might be attached to it. However, I am sure that once there is educational information being presented, people will come to realize and appreciate the Hemp plant for what it has to offer in the way of health and healing. I hope this article is a source of useful information about the Hemp plant.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Pexels, and CTFO.
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