Hemp comes from the cannabis family, but possesses virtually no THC (the compound in cannabis that causes a “high”). This makes it an ideal source of CBD for products that can help maintain the body’s optimal functions—without causing intoxication. The history of hemp is complicated; for a long time it was criminalized along with cannabis. The resulting stigma has prevented robust research on CBD, so there is still much to learn about its potential benefits.
An easy way to access information about the contents of your CBD product is through a Certificate of Analysis. It breaks down the contents of each product, as well as outlining the testing the product has undergone. You can find Certificates of Analysis for products here.
Unlike cannabis plants that may be selected for big, sticky buds, hemp plants are intentionally selected and cultivated for their tall, strong stalks. The fibers that run along the length of the plant are ideal for weaving into a fabric that can be soft, durable, and breathable. Historically, hemp was the material of choice for industrial fiber products like rope and twine. Cotton, which gained popularity upon criminalization of cannabis, requires significantly more land and water to cultivate than hemp. The more you know!
We’ve explored the stalks and buds, but hemp seeds have their own unique claim to fame as well. These small but mighty seeds are densely packed with protein, healthy fats, and magnesium, all of which are essential to optimal health. All 10 essential amino acids are present in hemp seeds, which makes them an excellent and complete source of protein (especially for those on plant-based diets). Small and unimposing, they can be sprinkled on cereal, in stir-fries, or blended into your smoothies with almost no effort—and very little perceptible change in flavor. Another way to get the nutritional benefits of hemp is through hemp milk, an eco-friendly and lower-calorie alternative to dairy.
One of hemp’s most exciting properties is its capacity to improve the environment around it. Hemp crops can thrive in degraded soil and actually clean and revitalize it as they grow. That means there’s less need to deforest new land for agriculture, which helps to conserve the habitat of existing wildlife. Hemp is also one of the most carbon-hungry crops; in fact, every ton of hemp cultivated removes a ton of carbon from the air. And with innovation such as hemp-derived plastics and biofuels gaining wider acceptance, hopefully we can look forward to an agricultural renaissance for this incredible plant