For decades now, hemp has been on the receiving end of some significant stigma. Thanks to the “War on Drugs” started in 1971 by Richard Nixon, cannabis, and eventually by extension hemp, was criminalized; despite overwhelming evidence against its danger. While we’ve seen a reversal of trends in recent years, many people still have incorrect and negative associations with hemp and cannabis.
While some of this stems from stigma, some of it also stems from a simple lack of knowledge on the subject. Not many people realize the full potential of hemp and all of its incredible uses! That’s why we’re here to update you on all things hemp and why you’re probably going to be hearing about this plant for years and years to come.
We’ll briefly dive into the history of hemp before examining all of its modern-day uses to give you the whole picture. While we won’t tell you how to grow hemp, you might be surprised at how expansive the world of hemp is, and by the end of this article, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’re on board the hemp hype train too!
What Is A Hemp Plant: History of Hemp
Let’s start with the basics! Hemp has been so heavily stigmatized thanks to its relationship to marijuana, as they are two different types of the same plant. A “hemp” plant is a nonpsychoactive variation within the cannabis plant family, whereas a “marijuana” plant is psychoactive.
The main difference is in the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for the drug’s psychological effects. Hemp is classified as any cannabis plant with 0.3% THC or less in its chemical makeup, while marijuana has 5% or above.
To find the first traces of hemp, you have to go all the way back to roughly 8000 BCE, where the first traces of hemp have been discovered in modern-day Asia. Hemp was likely one of the first agricultural crops that humans ever cultivated, and up until relatively recently, hemp crops played an enormous role in society.
Hemp production was widespread and well-documented, as the plant spread through Asia and Europe, eventually coming to North and South America in the late 16th century. The founders of the United States even used hemp paper to draft the Declaration of Independence!
It wasn’t until the 1970’s that hemp began to get a bad rap, but thankfully, those days are coming to an end.
Hemp Plant Uses
Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp was removed from the controlled substances list, legalizing hemp cultivation around the US. This was huge for several reasons, most notably sustainability. Hemp is recyclable, uses 2x less water than cotton, helps to regenerate soil health, and even slows deforestation!
As evidenced by its spread across the globe, hemp can be grown in almost any climate, making hemp farming a relatively easy task to get into. From New York to California, hemp farmers can count on their crop having a good chance of survival.
Hemp Clothing and Textiles
One of the most common uses of hemp is hemp fabric! Clothes made from hemp have existed for generations, and when it comes to cost and environmental sustainability, there’s almost nothing close to hemp. Hemp needs half of the amount of water that cotton needs and produces 200-250% more yield than cotton can produce! Additionally, hemp requires little to no pesticides or herbicides and mature in a matter of months, making it a quick, environmentally friendly option for clothing and fabrics!
Looking to build yourself a new house? Why not use hemp? Though it might sound far-fetched, hemp has been used in building materials going back to the 6th century, in the form of something called Hempcrete. Hempcrete takes the core of the hemp plant mixed with a lime-based binder and creates a lightweight insulating material that can go in the walls of a home.
As industrial hemp and hempcrete have been “rediscovered,” they have started to gain traction as toxin-free, fireproof materials that can be used in a number of different ways.
Now that the world is trying to reduce its plastic use, there is a huge market for alternatives, and hemp has a hat in this ring as well. Hemp fibers are some of the strongest fibers in the natural world, and when mixed with cornstarch, you get hemp plastic.
Hemp plastics can be molded into almost any existing shape, and because it is a sustainable and biodegradable material, hemp plastic can be an excellent option to replaced oil-based plastics in the future.
Hemp Health Food
Thought the uses would stop at plastics? Think again! Not only can you eat hemp, but you might want to add hemp to your diet. Hemp milk is a relatively new trend, follow in the footsteps of other milk alternatives. Simply by blending water and hemp seeds, you get a nutritious, protein-filled milk alternative with more protein and healthy fatty acids than several other plant-based milks.
Hemp seeds are at the heart of hemp food, as a single seed contains 25% more protein and Omega 3 fatty acids than Walnuts. Hemp seed oil, hemp protein powders, and hemp supplements have started to appear more frequently around the country, and they might be worth a shot!
In all honesty, we could continue to list uses for hemp all day (some sources claim that more than 25,000 different products can be made from hemp). However, the final use on our list is one of the most significant, and that is CBD.
CBD is another chemical in the cannabis plant, like THC. Unlike THC, however, CBD is entirely non-psychoactive and has various uses in the wellness world. From skin nourishment to stress relief and sleep help, CBD is a fantastic supplement to add to your life.
Winged Women and Hemp
With so many amazing uses for hemp, we want to get the word out to as many people as possible. Here at Winged, our wellness products use CBD and other natural ingredients to make top-quality wellness products specifically designed for women. We know just how fantastic hemp can be for your lives, and we hope you can see it for yourself!