What is Hemp? A Simple Guide

Hemp is the name used for varieties of the Cannabis Sativa plant species. Whilst it’s the same species as cannabis there is a big difference between them both, hemp contains less than 0.3% of THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, this is what gives you the ‘high’ effect. 

Hemp has been used for thousands of years for numerous uses including medicine, textiles and food. It was in around 2,700 BC that people in China began cultivating hemp. Then around 2,200 years ago it began to expand across Europe. Humans have used hemp in many different ways, and these days you’re most likely to see it used and marketed in the wellness industry. 

Here we give you a simple guide to what hemp is and what it can be used for. 

What is hemp used for? 

Hemp is cultivated for many different uses, with different parts of the part used for a variety of items. Hemp is used in fabric, foods, rope, health products and more. 

Hemp seeds are edible, plus they offer a variety of nutritional benefits too. With high levels of fibre, both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein and other chemicals too. Fatty acids are great for heart health and skin health too. 

How is hemp different from other cannabis plants? 

Hemp is often confused with marijuana, simply because they’re both species of the cannabis plant. However, hemp only contains small trace amounts of THC, whereas marijuana contains higher levels which makes people ‘high’.  

If a cannabis plant wants to be legally classified as a hemp plant, then it must contain no more than 0.3% THC when dried. Other cannabis plants will typically contain at least 5% THC but this can go up to 30% too. 

The plant species Cannabis Sativa, of which hemp is part of, contains nearly 500 natural components, of which more than 100 are grouped together as compounds called cannabinoids. 

The most widely known, and researched cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Whilst hemp contains trace amounts of THC, they contain high amounts of CBD. 

Hemp oil and CBD oil 

Hemp oil isn’t the same thing as CBD oil. Hemp oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, whereas CBD oil is made is extracted from the hemp plant. 

Hemp seed oil can be used in cooking, as well as other things, and boasts a variety of nutritional benefits. 

Does hemp have any benefits? 

It depends on the hemp you’re taking about when it comes to benefits. The hemp seed boasts many nutritional benefits from the omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, protein, fibre and magnesium. 

However, in terms of the hemp plant being used in CBD products, there still isn’t enough research to conclusively prove that it is an effective treatment for medical conditions. There have been some small-scale trials that have suggested that hemp can be used as a remedy for different illnesses including: 

  • Arthritis
  • Heart problems 
  • Alleviating cancer-related symptoms

Does hemp have any side effects? 

Again this depends on the form that you’re taking it in, whether that’s the whole seed or through the use of hemp CBD products, but side effects may include: 

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Throat irritation 

For people who are pregnant and breastfeeding there hasn’t been enough research to suggest that it is safe for consumption, so please steer clear if you are either of the above. Also if you’re taking prescription medications then it is best to consult your doctor before you use CBD products to ensure that they don’t interfere with what you’re prescribed. 

Different uses for hemp

Industrial hemp is used in more than 25,000 products, proving that the fibres in the hemp stalk are used in many different ways. 

Products that you’ll find that contain hemp include: 

  • Clothing
  • Paper 
  • Construction material
  • Food 
  • Cosmetics 
  • Industrial oils 
  • Health supplements 

A final note on hemp 

Hemp is used in a variety of different ways in the world, from cooking with it, to ingesting it in the form of CBD products. There has been limited research to indicate just how beneficial CBD products are to our health, but many anecdotal accounts of how it has helped with a variety of medical problems. The best advice if you’re looking to start taking CBD products is to buy from a reputable seller, buy high-quality products and start with small doses. 

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