While you may not normally consider a plant to be a “complex” or “divisive” topic, the hemp plant is definitely an outlier. The United States has not always been a champion for the hemp plant. While that’s changing (slowly but surely), recognizing hemp’s attributes, it’s history, and the many uses for hemp help us understand and appreciate the plant as a whole. The Infinite CBD team presents Hemp 101.
Before we introduce you to the plant itself, having a brief overview of hemp’s history allows us to understand how and why this plant has been controversial in the United States in the past.
For years, hemp has been consistently grown, cultivated, and used by civilizations as a part of their medicinal and industrial practices. When we say “for years,” what we really mean is 10,000 years. Yes, hemp is older than some of the most coveted and ancient civilizations and texts. In many ways, hemp even goes beyond our clear understandings of what life was like that long ago.
Most recently, archeologists found a scrap of hemp clothing in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Iran) and were able to date it to around 8,000 BCE.
Ancient medicinal and cultural sources frequently mention hemp.
A text authored during the Chinese Sung Dynasty (500 CE), titled The Lu Shi, mentions hemp repeatedly. For example, the text refers to Shen Nung, the Emperor in the 3rd Century BCE, who taught his people to grow and harvest hemp for textiles. Shen Nung was also known to be an herbalist, and it’s even suggested that he used hemp to create medicinal teas.
Historically and in many cultures, hemp has been used to make paper, create textiles and cloth, and as a holistic ingredient for teas, tinctures, and salves. These practices seem to have been prevalent in China, Russia, Ancient Rome and Greece, and throughout western Europe as trade expanded.
Clearly, hemp has been around for a long time. It’s history not only demonstrates how useful the hemp plant can be but also the industrial and medicinal potential it was believed to possess.
While the hemp plant has often been treated differently by United States law, it really is just like every other plant. Understanding the plant and its parts, along with growing conditions and molecular content, helps us to view hemp holistically rather than through a single lens.
The hemp plant thrives in a very specific environment, although it can be bred to withstand other types of conditions and weather. The optimal growing conditions for the hemp plant are in warm weather with a mild climate, and in soil with efficient drainage and aeration systems.
The hemp plant has five main parts.
All plants begin at the roots. Hemp roots create a solid foundation for the plant, embedding it in the airy but moist soil. Throughout history, hemp roots have been a common ingredient in medicinal herb mixtures.
The stalk of the hemp plant is incredibly strong. This fibrous material is highly versatile and can create textiles, rope, compost, and even paper.
On the leaves of the hemp plant, flowers grow. Together, these are used to create animal bedding, mulch, and even holistic oils.
The seeds of the hemp plant are produced near the top of the stalk. Hemp seeds can be used to create hemp oil, fuels, flour, and animal feed.
As you may have noticed, oils can be extracted from the hemp plant. This brings us to the central point of contention: hemp vs. cannabis. Distinguishing between these two variants of the same plant is what has been the cause of the controversy surrounding hemp.
Cannabis plants can contain over 0.3% THC. In cannabis, THC is the cannabinoid known for getting consumers “high.” In US states with medical and recreational cannabis programs, you can find cannabis flower containing 30%+ of THC.
Recently, the 2018 United States Farm Bill differentiated hemp from cannabis; hemp may contain no more than 0.3% THC. The same bill also took hemp off of the Schedule I narcotics list, enabling US farmers to grow hemp with fewer regulations.
Cannabis can contain high amounts of THC, but what about hemp? If it contains such a small amount of THC, what does it contain?
Hemp is unique because it naturally contains higher levels of another cannabinoid, known as Cannabidiol (CBD); this is the cannabinoid that’s growing popular within and outside of the cannabis community for its array of benefits suggested by research. While CBD is not an FDA approved application, and is not meant to treat, cure, or prevent any illness or injury, the potential seems promising.
While a few of the uses for hemp have been mentioned previously, reviewing a handful of hemp’s uses is a great way to acknowledge how our society uses this amazing plant.
At Infinite CBD, our team of scientists uses organic Colorado-grown hemp to create our premium CBD products. We consciously choose organic hemp because of its purity, the potency of the CBD its extractions contain, and because the remaining hemp parts can be used in other industries.
We’re dedicated to being champions for the hemp plant regardless of the misguided misconceptions of the past, especially in The United States.
The construction industry is using hemp more and more. Specifically, hemp concrete is becoming a popular building material. Due to its strength, antimicrobial, and fire-resistant nature, hemp concrete is a versatile and “green” building material.
For centuries, hemp has been used to create an array of textiles. Due to hemp’s “earth-friendly” cultivation, organizations are turning to hemp to create sustainable clothing and shoe products.
With Infinite CBD oils, tinctures, and salves, you can now bring CBD hemp products into your home. Help us create a legacy for hemp, and who knows, maybe CBD will become a critical part of your routine.