Hemp seeds are small, but these small, protein-packed kernels pack a long history.
While hemp is only legal under limited conditions in the U.S. (full legalization is just a matter of time), hemp could be the miracle crop that saves the economy and the planet itself. Hemp can play a pivotal role in just about every industry; it can provide food, fuel, clothes, cars, and even paper. Already, you can buy dozens of products made from hemp.
Here are eight virtually unknown facts you need to know about hemp. We recommend you read all about it while enjoying a bowl of oatmeal sprinkled liberally with hemp hearts.
HEMP SEEDS CAN FIGHT WORLD HUNGER
On its own, hemp seed contains the human daily requirement for protein. It is the healthiest meat alternatives and can prevent protein–energy malnutrition, the most deadly form of hunger afflicting world populations. Hemp seeds are high in protein and calories, making it a potential staple for starving countries. It provides essential amino acids, while developing and maintaining muscles.
Because hemp seeds are an amino- and vitamin-rich protein, they are among the most nutritionally dense foods on earth. They are edible as is or can be roasted or shelled and eaten as “hemp hearts.” They can be ground into flour, pressed into oil, or sprinkled over other foods like salads or yogurt.
You can buy hemp milk at your local supermarket, or if it does not stock it, you can make your own by throwing two cups of water into a blender with half a cup of hemp seeds. Blend and sweeten to taste.
HEMP PAPER PROTECTS AGAINST DEFORESTATION
Because people can use hemp for just about everything, including paper, it can become a profitable cash crop to replace the need for slower growing trees. Eliminating the need to cut down forests is the best way to protect them, and if countries cultivate hemp, they can use it to make paper and most other products made from wood. It can also speed the replacement rate of trees already cut down.
By being a source material for paper and even building materials, hemp can literally save the world’s forests, which is far wiser for earth and her inhabitants. A single acre of hemp can produce the same amount of paper a year as four acres of trees.
HEMP HELPED DEFEAT THE AXIS POWERS DURING WORLD WAR II
The United States Federal Government only made hemp illegal in the 1950s. In the previous decade, during World War II, the U.S. Department of Agriculture filmed a thirteen-minute video to promote the cultivation of hemp throughout the United States. Called the “Hemp for Victory” campaign, it was necessary for the country to grow its own hemp, as Japan had cut off its supply.
Hemp is literally the crop that saved the war. It made many vital products needed by the military, from sails for ships to ropes. Even more interestingly, the very word “canvas” itself has its origins in the world “cannabis,” as the North American Industrial Hemp Council explains at length.
GROWING HEMP CAN CLEAN THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH BIOREMEDIATION
Hemp can clean the atmosphere and protect the environment and even reversing damage done to it. Global warming is the result of high levels of carbon dioxide, or CO2. Hemp consumes four times as much CO2 as trees do, and its short 12- to 14-week growing cycle makes it a highly sustainable crop that effectively fights global warming.
Hemp also removes toxins and radioactive chemicals from the soil! Scientists planted it at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster: They discovered hemp engaging in phytoremediation better than any other plants in the area, which is a process of remediating the soil by eliminating chemicals from it.
HEMP IS CANNABIS SATIVA, BUT HEMP IS NOT MARIJUANA
It is true, yes. Marijuana and hemp seeds originate from cannabis plant, but hemp and marijuana are not the same. Agricultural hemp contains almost no tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes you to get high. That means you’ll never have to worry about feeling weird at work after you enjoy hemp seeds for breakfast.
Even smoking hemp will likely just give you a headache. However, another cannabinoid, cannabidiol (or CBD), can be found in hemp and science suggests that CBD oil, a nutritional supplement extracted from hemp, has numerous potential health benefits. Many users report that CBD helps them feel better with few side effects.
HEMP PRODUCTS ARE SURPRISINGLY DURABLE
Up until the 1820s, when cotton monopolized industries, more than 80 percent of all clothing, fabrics, and textiles were hemp. It was huge business. Hemp was the main medium used to make ropes, paper, and even construction materials. Today, only a handful of virtually unknown companies produce hemp clothing commercially. But hemp is durable and comfortable, and its growing appeal to the fashion industry is helping promote legalization.
Hemp can even make cars. Henry Ford may have constructed a car out of hemp, soybean, and plastics. It was lighter than steel, yet able to withstand ten times the impact without a single dent. More recently, Bruce Dietzen built an experimental sports car from hemp.
Today, hemp is increasingly popular for building homes. Hempcrete walls are fire-resistant, bug-free, rot-free, and even mold-free, and they are 100 percent biodegradable, as well.
HEMP SEEDS ARE EVEN MORE NUTRITIOUS THAN FLAX OR CHIA
Hemp seeds offer complete nutrition, even better than flax or chia. They contain high levels of vitamins A, B, D, and E, as well as vital minerals, proteins, and fatty acids. In fact, hemp seeds are a super food, Hemp has powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, making it a medical and scientific wonder too.
If that is not convincing enough, hemp seeds also contain a nutrient found in breast milk, called gamma linolenic acid, or GLA. High levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids make hemp oil healthier than most vegetable oils on the market too.
HEMP CAN REPLACE PLASTIC, FIBERGLASS AND OTHER MATERIALS IN COMPOSITE PANELS
Hemp stalks provide an excellent source of fibrous material for making composite panels of all shapes, sizes, and functions, from doors to floors, car parts, window frames, and everything between. It acts as a reinforcement for thermoplastics, such as polypropylene. It is ideally suited for making a wide array of plastic consumer products, and it is customizable to meet various systems and specifications.
Hemp is cheap to produce and an ideal replacement for glass fiber. It is easier to mold and weighs less than most other materials for composite paneling. It is recyclable and there is a consistent supply of quality hemp available already, although full legalization will help promote more U.S.-based hemp growing and bring costs down.
HEMP IS HEALTHY FOR YOU AND HEALS THE PLANET
The benefits of hemp are virtually endless.
This “billion dollar crop” offers great economic opportunity if we cultivate it on a large-scale once again. We might even export surplus for industry in developing countries. The jobs it can create can have a significant impact on reducing unemployment and related crimes, and the medical value of hemp-derivatives is rapidly changing public perceptions about this plant while simultaneously improving people’s health.
Whether you wear it, turn it into paper, or eat it, we hope this article has convinced you to give hemp a try. And if you’re already a hemp fan, share these facts about hemp with your friends and family and invite them to see how hemp can make their lives better, too.
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