By Lisa Egan
By now, you probably have heard the great news: President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, which legalizes industrial hemp. The new bill defines industrial hemp to include “all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers” of industrial hemp.
This means that hemp will now be treated as an agricultural commodity instead of a “controlled substance” like marijuana (hemp and marijuana are both plants in the cannabis family, but unlike marijuana, hemp does not get people high).
Why is the legalization of industrial hemp great news?
Well, industrial hemp is an incredibly versatile plant. If there is such a thing as a wonder plant, hemp is it.
The list of products that can be made with hemp is in the thousands (possibly tens of thousands!) and includes textiles, clothing, paper, plastic substitutes, fuel (bio-diesel), beauty and skin care products, sheets, bedding, towels, blankets, furniture, rope, canvas, carpet, home-building materials, and even cars.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can start using hemp today.
5 Incredible Ways You Can Use Hemp
1. CBD oil
As more people seek natural remedies for health problems, interest in cannabidiol (commonly known as “CBD”) is growing.
CBD oil is a fascinating substance that has tremendous therapeutic value.
It is one of over 100 compounds found in cannabis plants (including hemp!) that belong to a class of naturally occurring, biologically active chemical constituents called cannabinoids. CBD is non-intoxicating. Unlike THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, CBD is a phytochemical that won’t get you “high.” There are two primary types of CBD oil formulas:
Both Full Spectrum and THC-free CBD formulas provide similar therapeutic benefits.
Cannabinoids bind to special receptors in the human body that make up what is known as the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biochemical communication system that all humans (and many animals) have. Endo refers to endogenous, which means originating within the body. Cannabinoid refers to the group of compounds that activate the ECS.
The ECS is responsible for the physical and psychological effects of cannabis.
You could say we are “hard-wired” for cannabis because we have receptors throughout our bodies that respond to cannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors to regulate basic bodily functions, including mood, temperature, digestion, sleep, pain, appetite, and many more.
The list of health concerns and conditions CBD has been shown to benefit include:
- Chronic pain and inflammation
- Arthritis (including rheumatoid and psoriatic)
- Epileptic seizures
- Neuropathic pain (as seen in conditions like multiple sclerosis)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Serious neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s
- Cardiovascular protection
*Sources provided below
There are even pet-friendly CBD formulations to help your furry friends.
2. Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids (Omega-3 and Omega-6) which help support the immune system and healthy cholesterol levels. They have a slightly nutty flavor and a nice crunch, and a serving (3 tbsp) contains 10 grams of protein. Blend them into smoothies, or sprinkle them on top of oatmeal or yogurt for a nice nutrient boost.
The benefits of hemp seeds can also be experienced with cold-pressed hemp seed oil.
Note: Hemp seed oil is NOT the same as CBD oil. Hemp seed oil is nutritious, but it does not contain cannabinoids like CBD oil.
3. Hemp Protein Powder
A sustainable source of amino acids, Omega-3 fatty acids, protein (15 grams per serving), and fiber (8 grams per serving), hemp protein powder is a nutritious (and delicious) way to add protein to your smoothies and shakes. The protein found in hemp seeds is very digestible, which makes this powder a good option for those with sensitive digestive systems. My personal favorite is Nutiva, and it is available in plain, chocolate, and vanilla flavors.
4. Hemp Oil Skincare Products
Hemp seed oil has been used to treat skin conditions for thousands of years. It contains essential fatty acids (Omegas -3, -6, and -9), which contain anti-inflammatory properties and helps soothe irritated skin. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and can help improve skin’s health and appearance (some people report success in improving conditions like eczema and acne). Hemp seed oil can be found in skin care products like soaps and moisturizers.
5. Hemp Coffee
Believe it or not, you can buy hemp-infused coffee! Hemp seeds contain all 20 amino acids – including the 9 essential amino acids the body cannot make itself – making them an excellent source of protein. Hemp-infused coffee also contains fiber, and of course, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. You can even get reusable eco-friendly coffee filters made from hemp!
Do you use hemp-based products in your home? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments.