by Marijuana Doctors
a long-standing history
illegality in the United States
has led many to
what is hemp
and why is it
What is Hemp?
As a renewable source for raw materials,
hemp is incorporated into
thousands of products from health foods and holistic body care to
paper, textiles, and rope.
In fact, hemp has been around for
thousands of years - its earliest documented usage dating back to
approximately 8,000 BC. So, what's all the concern about how does
hemp differ from marijuana that we consume medicinally and
Today, we're tackling hemp 101.
Our in-depth guide should give you a
better understanding of the versatility of this material, it's rich
history, environmental benefits and importance as a cash crop.
Hemp vs. Marijuana:
The Difference Explained
It's a common misconception that hemp and marijuana are one in the
While it's true that they both come from the same
family, they are genetically distinct. In addition to having a
different chemical makeup, they are further distinguished by use and
To help you better understand the concept of
hemp vs. marijuana, it's important to first understand what cannabis
Cannabis (the plant family) is commonly used as an overarching term
to describe both hemp and marijuana. This is the main reason why
most people confuse the two plants.
Hemp actually refers to the
industrial, non-drug variant that is cultivated for its fiber, hurd
and seeds. It contains all varieties of the Cannabis species that
have negligible amounts of THC - the chemical the chemical component
that gets you "high".
Let's take a closer look at how these plants
Contains a maximum THC content of 0.3%
Adaptable and grown in most climates
Used for a variety for products like nutrition and health
supplements, textiles, rope and construction materials
Contains anywhere from 5-35% THC content
Grown in a carefully controlled environment
Used for recreational and medicinal purposes
What is Hemp Used
Hemp has many uses, but to understand its full potential it's
important to first look at the anatomy of a hemp plant.
commonly used parts of the hemp plant can be broken down into two
categories, seed and stalk.
Hemp seeds or "hemp nuts" are encased in an exterior husk called
the "cake." The hemp seed is one of the most important parts of
Not only is this how the plant reproduces, but the
seeds offer incredible nutrition and holistic benefits.
The nut is most commonly utilized for producing hempseed oil and
hemp milk, which are used in a variety of skin care and food
While at first glance the cake seems useless, it's
actually a highly valuable component used to create products
like animal food, gluten-free flour and protein powder.
If you thought that hemp seeds had a wide variety of uses,
you'll be surprised by the hemp stalk.
Similar to the seed, the
stalk of the hemp plant is broken into two parts:
The bast fiber is
what most people are probably familiar with as it's used to
create textiles, paper, rope and netting.
The hurd is more
commonly used as insulation, construction materials, animal
bedding, and plaster.
Construction materials aren't the only popular product derived
from hemp stalk. When Henry Ford unveiled his plastic car in the
1940s, he gave the world a glimpse at the possibilities of hemp.
The car's tough panels were made from a recipe that called for
70 percent of cellulose fibers from wheat straw, hemp and sisal.
More recently, a man named Bruce Michael Dietzen was the
mastermind behind what he called the "green machine," a vehicle
that used about 100 pounds of woven hemp to create the body.
with the exterior at least 10 times more dent-resistant than
steel, the car wouldn't need as much fixing after an accident.
Now that you understand
the anatomy of the hemp plant, let's take a look at the role hemp
plays in nutrition.
Benefits of Hemp for
Hemp has become a wildly popular supplement in health, nutrition and
Often referred to as hemp hearts, hemp seeds are
exceptionally nutritious. They have a mild, nutty flavor and are
rich in healthy fats, protein and various minerals.
derived from hemp seeds, is a highly beneficial supplement used in a
variety of skin care products.
Dietary protein can come from many different
sources. However, for vegans and vegetarians, whey and other
animal-based protein products aren't an option. Hemp is a great
source for plant-based protein. An average 30-gram serving of
hemp protein powder contains around 120 calories and 15-20 grams
of protein, depending on the brand.
Fights bad cholesterol levels and blood clots
Hemp seeds may
help reduce your risk of heart disease. They contain high
amounts of the amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide
in your body. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that helps your
blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered blood
pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. Some studies show
that hemp seeds may limit the absorption of dietary cholesterol,
which could slightly lower overall cholesterol levels.
Offers all 10 essential amino acids
There are eight amino acids
the human body cannot make and two more the body cannot make in
sufficient quantity. Hemp offers all 10 essential amino acids in
its seed. It also has a similar amino acid profile to soy
protein and egg white protein and is therefore considered a
Rich in gamma-linolenic acid
This property has been linked to
reduced inflammation, which may decrease your risk of certain
Hemp seeds can help aid digestion through fiber, which is
essential for your body's digestive system. Hemp seeds are a
good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber contain roughly
17 grams per serving.
A naturally balanced ratio of essential fatty acids
contain over 30 percent fat. They are exceptionally rich in two
essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic
Are a rich source of vitamin E and minerals such as
phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron
Moderates oil production
Hemp oil is good for many skin types,
including acne-prone skin because it can help moisturize without
clogging your pores. It can also be used to help regulate oil
production while providing optimal hydration.
Moisturizes and soothes inflammation
anti-inflammatory effects of omega-6 fatty acids and GLA, found
in hemp, help soothe skin while encouraging new skin growth and
Holds anti-aging properties
In addition to its anti-inflammatory
properties and help with cell regeneration, hempseed oil is
known to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Uses for Hemp
Hemp is a sustainable wonder crop that is sweeping the nation, but
the uses for hemp go far beyond nutrition and health.
In fact, it's
an incredibly sustainable crop with some unique
environmentally-friendly characteristics that don't go unnoticed.
Hemp is a farmer's best friend.
Unlike its cousin, marijuana,
hemp is a hearty plant that grows in a variety of environments
and soils. Additionally, it is less susceptible to disease and
pests. It grows tightly spaced and has a fast grow rate, which
leads to high yields.
And because of hemp's ability to restore
soil fertility, farmers can grow food crops immediately after a
hemp harvest without a fallow period.
Since the term "cotton is king" was coined in 1858, cotton
reaped the benefits of being the world's primary fabric, but
much evidence suggests that cotton shouldn't be the fabric of
our daily lives.
Hemp has been used to produce durable textiles
for thousands of years, but its durability and efficient
production aren't the only reasons we should reconsider cotton
Cotton is an incredibly thirsty crop that puts a strain on
freshwater sources. It can take more than 5,000 gallons of water
to produce two pounds of cotton - the equivalent of a single
t-shirt and pair of jeans.
Hemp uses far less water than cotton,
with an estimated 2,600 gallons of water to producing a little
over two pounds of hemp matter.
Industrial hemp has the ability to clean contaminants found in
soil through a process known as phytoremediation.
"phytoremediation" was coined in the 1990s by the scientist Ilya
Raskin, a member of a team that tested hemp's ability to
accumulate heavy metals from the soil in contaminated fields
Similar and more recent tests have been
conducted in the western United States in an effort to clean up
high levels of selenium found in soil.
Almost any type of plant or organic material can be converted to
fuel, and the advantages these alternative sources have over
fossil fuels are huge.
As a crop, hemp exhibits good resistance
to pests and has a much lower water requirement when compared to
other crops making it a great option for producing biomass
Because hemp farming has the ability to reduce our dependence on
carbon producing, non-renewable resources like fossil fuels,
lumber and plastic, it's great for air quality.
In fact, for
every ton of hemp that is produced, 1.63 tons of carbon are
removed from the air.
Much like other plants, hemp is especially
helpful for absorbing CO2 through natural photosynthesis, making
The History of
While hemp has deep roots in world history, its story in the United
States is far more complicated.
What used to be a primary crop and
textile resource in the early 1700s was quickly prohibited because
of its relationship to marijuana and the mind-altering effects
feared by the general public.
This timeline highlights
some of the most important dates through hemp history in the United
States, especially as we see hemp turn a new leaf with policy
reforms and the need for more research.
1700's: The first
U.S. hemp plantings in took place in Jamestown, Virginia - growing hemp became mandatory
Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper
Hemp-derived cellulose was promoted as an affordable and
renewable material for plastics
"Marihuana Tax Act" passed
government runs the "Hemp for Victory" campaign to promote
hemp production for war supplies
1958: The last
crop was grown in Wisconsin
Controlled Substances Act (CSA) formally prohibited
grows the first industrial hemp crop since the passage of
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) adopted a
hemp policy that urged the DEA and USDA to recognize the
distinction between hemp and marijuana
2002: Hemp bills
were introduced in seven states
President Barack Obama signs the Federal Farm Bill with hemp
amendment, allowing states with hemp legislation in place to
grow hemp for research purposes
issues the first licenses for industrial hemp research and
As a result of this
long-term prohibition, most people have forgotten the industrial
uses and benefits of hemp.
Next time someone asks you what is hemp
used for or how it differs from marijuana, you can point them in the
direction of this resource and others in this guide.
Much like anything else, education is the cornerstone to changing
attitudes and reshaping the image of hemp.
From purchasing hempseed
beauty products to
CBD oil at your local dispensary, hemp is an
amazing plant and should be recognized as such.