Hemp (also known as industrial hemp, although our own cultivation of it is anything but industrial!) is a strain of the plant Cannabis sativa. The important difference between hemp and cannabis as you might know it, is that they both contain the compounds CBD (the one which interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in your body) and THC (the one that gets you high), but in varying proportions.
Hemp, which is legal to produce in the UK, must contain less than 0.2% of the THC compound, so you won’t feel any psychoactive (‘high’) effects. It is grown only under a license granted by the Home Office. Cannabis plants containing more than 0.2% THC are currently illegal to produce or consume in the UK.
Why do we love hemp so much?
It’s an amazing plant! Hemp is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. Allegedly it has 25,000 known uses – and we’re still discovering these! Have a look at our blog to find out more about some of these uses…
It can be used in food, medicine, clothes, cosmetics, cleaning products, building materials, biodegradable plastic and as a clean energy source, making it a renewable replacement for countless current technologies.
Hemp seeds are one of nature’s superfoods. They are one of the best sources of complete plant-based protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids, without any of the phytic acid in soya, so all the lovely nutrients can be absorbed by the body. The oil from hemp seeds is higher than fish oils in omegas 3, 6 & 9, in the perfect balance for the human body. The oil is also high in vitamin E, making it wonderful for cosmetics and skin care – an anti-ageing treat! It’s also non-comedogenic, so won’t clog your pores – great for oily or spot-prone skin.
High in fibre, the hemp seed shell is also a rare nutritional source of vitamin D for when the sun isn’t shining. The combination of protein and fat that is provided by the seed make it an excellent replacement for meat or dairy products, great for cutting down on animal protein for more plant-based and ecologically-friendly diets.
Hemp is also a low impact crop, which doesn’t require pesticides. It actively heals the environment by regenerating the soil and capturing CO2 from the atmosphere – amazing!
Hemp nurtures the soil rather than depletes it. Its deep roots break hard ground and bring
nutrients to the surface making it more fertile, as well as increasing the soil’s water retention, preventing desertification.
The fibres of hemp are up to 25 times stronger than cotton. They require 10% of the water and no fertiliser, herbicide or pesticides. These fibres can be used to make textiles, composite materials such as paneling for vehicles and a variety of other products. The inside of the stem is made up of a carbon-rich material known as ‘shiv’ or ‘hurds’. This substance can be used to make paper or can be mixed with lime and/or clay to form hempcrete, a wonderful, breathable building insulation material, that can be used to make ecological housing. Hemp plants are extremely vigorous and can capture more carbon-rich biomass during a growing season than any other plant in a temperate climate. The opportunity to lock this biomass into high quality construction material presents a viable strategy for decarbonising the atmosphere, and mitigating some aspects of climate change. We’ve got grand plans to build using it – watch this space!
These are just a few reasons why we believe hemp is one sustainable powerhouse of an answer to the global environmental crisis.