The sturdy and versatile hemp plant is finally making a comeback, and this may be a benefit to us all in the long run. Among the three main varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant lies a huge potential for sustainable food, housing, fuel, medicine, and more. Between the crush of prohibition and the war on drugs’ misguided vilification of hemp, the plant suffered a huge blow. Many people don’t understand that hemp is different from what most know as “marijuana,” including lawmakers who mistake the high-inducing drug with the industrial powerhouse crop. Under current law, after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, Cannabis plants with a THC content (the compound that may result in a “high”) of less than 0.3% are legal, opening up a major opportunity for growth in many industries.
There are hundreds of different varieties of the Cannabis plant now, thanks to careful cultivation for medicinal and recreational uses. For most large-scale use, however, a mere handful of plant varieties are needed- the ones that are larger, stronger, and suited for industrial use. The hemp plant can be grown and used in a range of applications, including:
- Fiber– hemp textiles create soft, strong, and sustainable products including clothing and shoes, as well as cords and netting
- Paper– hemp paper can be used for books, printing, cardboard, newsprint, and packaging
- Building materials– hemp fibers can be cut or molded to create fiberboard, insulation, mulch, and hempcrete
- Animal agriculture– hemp plants can not only be made into bedding for animals, but products made from hemp seed make a protein-rich feed
- Fuels– both the hemp stalk and seed contain valuable compounds that can be made into diesel fuel, ethanol, and other biofuels
- Food– hemp seeds and nuts can be used for many food items like cooking oils, flours, granolas, and protein powders
- Body care– hemp oil is easily applied to topical products such as soaps, balms, lotions, shampoos, and more
One of the most exciting compounds of the Cannabis plant is cannabidiol, or CBD. CBD, and tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, are the two most-studied compounds in the plant, but there are hundreds more bio-active molecules that work in harmony to give a range of physiological effects. Many people have begun supplementing with CBD oil and CBD-infused products, claiming that they help ease anxiety, promote restful sleep, and reduce pain. Much more research on CBD is needed, but in the meantime, this has become big business. Because CBD products are legal across the country, and have somewhat distanced themselves from the social stigma of “marijuana” use, this industry is only expected to grow.
CBD oil is used for both people and pets like dogs and horses. The interaction of CBD in the brain means that it may potentially relieve pain and anxiety, enhance immune function, and soothe a weary mind. Because everyone is different, you may need to experiment to find the optimal dose of CBD oil for you. Generally, many people find benefits between 10-100mg per day, depending on their state of health. CBD oils on the market today contain different concentrations (how much CBD per mL), so be sure to read the labels carefully. For pets, doses range from 1-20mg, and it’s important to consult with your veterinarian before giving CBD oil, to narrow down the best therapeutic dose. Like many other natural supplements, CBD oil may take some time to work, so give it more than a day or two for best results.
Hemp and CBD oil have great potential for both health and industrial use. With the right knowledge and application, we can take advantage of the benefits of this incredible plant.