The first thing you need to know about hemp is that different parts of the plant offer up different uses. When it comes to food, our focus is on the seeds – though other parts of hemp play their part in making some very different kinds of edibles.
Hemp isn’t just good for the planet – it’s good for you as well! We’ve already had a brief look at how it’s used as a core cooking ingredient, but you can reap the benefits of hemp just as easily in other ways. This is especially true if you need to recharge, calm down, or are looking for relief from aches and pains.
What Is Hemp Used for in Food?
But what about hemp itself? There are so many different modern uses of hemp that it would be practically impossible to list them all here, but we figured we’d give it a go, and break a few of them down.
But it has so many other uses that can boost your overall level of wellness. As we mentioned earlier, the omega balance makes it great for your heart health , and it can also be hugely beneficial for your body’s largest organ, the skin. Since it interacts with your body in a different way when applied topically, there are a huge range of skincare benefits of CBD , including acne relief, hair treatments , reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and even soothing rough patches of eczema or psoriasis.
Hemp seeds are a delectable snack in their own right, in much the same way as sunflower seeds, but they’re also used as the source material for our hemp protein powder – which is great whether you’re bulking or baking – as well as hemp seed oil and our delicious dairy-free milk .
The hemp plant is a stout, aromatic, erect annual herb. The slender canelike stalks are hollow except at the tip and base. The leaves are compound with palmate shape, and the flowers are small and greenish yellow. Seed-producing flowers form elongate, spikelike clusters growing on the pistillate, or female, plants. Pollen-producing flowers form many-branched clusters on staminate, or male, plants.
Fibres are obtained by subjecting the stalks to a series of operations—including retting, drying, and crushing—and a shaking process that completes separation from the woody portion, releasing the long, fairly straight fibre, or line. The fibre strands, usually over 1.8 metres (5.8 feet) long, are made of individual cylindrical cells with an irregular surface.
Hemp, (Cannabis sativa), also called industrial hemp, plant of the family Cannabaceae cultivated for its fibre (bast fibre) or its edible seeds. Hemp is sometimes confused with the cannabis plants that serve as sources of the drug marijuana and the drug preparation hashish. Although all three products—hemp, marijuana, and hashish—contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that produces psychoactive effects in humans, the variety of cannabis cultivated for hemp has only small amounts of THC relative to that grown for the production of marijuana or hashish.
The edible seeds contain about 30 percent oil and are a source of protein, fibre, and magnesium. Shelled hemp seeds, sometimes called hemp hearts, are sold as a health food and may be eaten raw; they are commonly sprinkled on salads or blended with fruit smoothies. Hemp seed milk is used as an alternative to dairy milk in drinks and recipes. The oil obtained from hemp seed can be used to make paints, varnishes, soaps, and edible oil with a low smoke point. Historically, the seed’s chief commercial use has been for caged-bird feed.
Hemp originated in Central Asia. Hemp cultivation for fibre was recorded in China as early as 2800 bce and was practiced in the Mediterranean countries of Europe early in the Christian era, spreading throughout the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. It was planted in Chile in the 1500s and a century later in North America.
The fibers of the hemp plant stalk are strong and durable and can be used to create textiles for clothing, ropes, linens and more, as well as processed into pulp to make paper. There’s a tendency for hemp clothing to “wear in, not out,” becoming softer and more comfortable over time while still outlasting cotton thanks to the strength of the hemp fibers. Hemp is more environmentally friendly than cotton or synthetic materials and, because the lifetime of hemp textiles is long, we could produce less clothing overall if everyone wore hemp. Paper made from hemp is “tree-free,” meaning it does not contribute to further deforestation of our planet, and can be processed into results that are nearly identical to traditional paper.
Hemp is an excellent crop for farmers because it requires far fewer resources to grow than traditional crops, replenishes the soil with nutrients and has a relatively short harvest cycle. Hemp products contain only trace amounts of THC if any at all, and will not cause a positive drug test result or any intoxication.
Skincare & Soap
Hemp can be processed into two types of biofuel: biodiesel and bioethanol. Hemp seeds can be used to make biodiesel, which will extend a diesel engine’s life with better lubrication than petroleum diesel fuel, and the remainder of the plant can be processed into bioethanol Hemp biofuels provide alternatives to the current dependence on fossil fuels, emit less ozone-damaging pollutants both in production and use and can be grown quickly with significantly fewer costs than corn.
PHOTO Art Du Chanvre
Grow your own home with hemp — no, really! The hemp plant can be grown and processed into building materials that replace large portions of the plywood, traditional drywall and insulation, as well as glues and sealants. At harvest, the hemp plant stalks are run through a decortication process and the fibers of the stalk are concentrated into a pulp, which is then mixed with lime and water to create the composition known as hempcrete. Hempcrete is naturally mold, pest and fire resistant. Plus, each cubic meter of hempcrete can pull over 220 pounds of carbon from the air. As a carbon-negative material, it is an obvious choice for an eco-minded builder and anyone who enjoys a warm comfy home will love the fantastic noise and heat insulation hemp housing can provide.