Hemp is a renewable resource that can be used to produce nutritional supplements, food, and thousands of products. The plant’s chemical and nutritional make-up and its environmentally friendly properties allow it to serve as a means of healing for both the planet and us.
Hemp is grown in countries all over the world for food, oil and fiber. Known for its sustainability, myriad processing applications, cannabinoid content and unique nutritional profile, hemp has the capability to provide healing effects for planet Earth and us.
However, hemp must be imported into the United States for commercial uses. In the U.S., over 30 states have passed laws to conduct hemp pilot projects, but are limited to growing the crop for purposes of research and development. A bill that would remove all federal restrictions on cultivating industrial hemp and reclassify it under the Controlled Substances Act was introduced in the House and Senate in January 2015, but since then has remained stagnant. If the federal prohibition of hemp were to be finally repealed, the natural health and environmental benefits of the incredible crop would be free to improve the health of the country.
Here are just some of the healing properties and effects of hemp:
- excellent source of nutrition, containing protein, antioxidants, healthy fats, and nutrients
- supports the health of skin
- promotes homeostasis and balance
- therapeutically beneficial for several conditions, including pain, spasms and seizures
- absorbs atmospheric CO2 to help combat climate change
- protects forests from unnecessary destruction
Hemp and your Body: Restoring Homeostasis
The cannabinoids and nutrients found in hemp give the plant and its components healing properties to encourage health. Hemp contains little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main compound found in marijuana that gets you high, making it a safer and less controversial nutritional tool that still offers significant health benefits.
Hemp can help heal the body in a number of ways:
Interacting with the Endocannabinoid System to Encourage Homeostasis
The body’s endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating several processes, including immune and central nervous systems function, mood, and sleep. Research suggests that “endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome” (when the body doesn’t generate enough endocannabinoids) can lead to serious health conditions like fibromyalgia, migraines, autoimmune disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and other conditions. Hemp contains cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), which have been shown to interact with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system and effectively assist in the treatment of conditions related to endocannabinoid deficiency.
Providing Therapeutic Effects to Help Manage or Treat Conditions
While research into hemp’s therapeutic potential is stifled due to regulations related to the Controlled Substances Act, the studies that have been done indicate that hemp could be effective for treating several conditions. Some of the conditions that studies have shown hemp’s cannabinoids to be therapeutically beneficial include pain, spasms, epilepsy and other seizure disorders, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, and arthritis. Read more about the studies that have examined cannabis’ medicinal properties here.
Improving Health of Skin, Hair and Nails
The cannabinoids, vitamins and minerals found in hemp oil support healthy skin, hair and nails. Hemp oil, pressed from the plant’s seeds, contains essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s, which produce the skin’s natural oil barrier to keep the skin hydrated and elastic. The vitamins C and E it provides serve as antioxidants to protect the skin and hair against damage caused by the sun, smoke and free radicals. It’s a good source of vitamins A and D, which are responsible for skin repair. CBD is also a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and can be helpful in treating common skin conditions dermatitis and psoriasis. When applied topically, hemp oil is absorbed directly into the skin, and it can be infused into body care products like lotion, shampoo, lip balms, soaps and facial serum.
Hemp and the Planet: Repairing Through Sustainable Means
Hemp’s natural health properties are significant, but its environmental benefits are also impressive. A renewable resource, hemp can be used to produce a huge variety of sustainable and completely biodegradable products, some of which include textiles, paper, building materials, plastic composites, and biofuel.
Currently the fuel, energy, paper and clothing industries are dependent on fossil fuels, lumber and cotton, all of which contribute to serious environmental issues like climate change and the health of the planet’s ecosystems. Hemp offers an environmentally friendly alternative for sustainable solutions.
Here are some ways that hemp can help heal the planet:
Using hemp instead of trees to produce paper and building materials can mitigate the dangers of deforestation. Trees play a critical role in the health of the planet. Unsustainable logging operations, fires, climate change-related degradation and clear-cutting for agriculture removes 46 to 58 thousand square miles of forests every year. A single acre of hemp is able to produce as much usable fiber as four acres of trees. Additionally, hemp can be harvested every 100 days, while trees need decades before they’re ready to be harvested. Hemp fibers are long, allowing them to produce stronger paper that can be recycled more times than paper produced from lumber. Turning to hemp helps protect the much-needed forests so that they can produce vital oxygen, provide homes for wildlife, and help combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2).
Help Reverse Climate Change
The increase of CO2 into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is making the Earth warmer and leading to climate change. Scientists have said that unless we reduce the emissions we produce, the average temperatures in the United States could increase by up to 10 degrees over the next century and we’ll experience more frequent droughts and powerful hurricanes. Hemp, which grows quickly, is adept at absorbing atmospheric CO2 and converting it into organic compounds to release oxygen. Hemp absorbs 5,319 kilograms of CO2 per acre, thereby helping to reduce global warming.
Rebuild and Remove Toxins from Soil
Rain, irrigation and crop planting can cause soil to lose nutrients that are essential to the health of plants. Hemp can be used to rebuild soil by restoring vital nutrients. Sometimes referred to as a “mop crop,” hemp eliminates soil pathogens like metals, pesticides, solvents and other toxins through a process called phytoremediation. The remaining plant materials left over after harvest provides valuable nutrients. Whether grown on unproductive land or used as a rotational crop, hemp enriches soil that has become leached of minerals.
Feed the Planet
Hemp is a viable option for feeding populations across the world that lack access to nutritious food sources. It’s a hardy and versatile plant that can be grown nearly anywhere. Its roots penetrate deep into the soil, allowing it to withstand droughts, flooding and frost. Hemp seeds provide omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, and iron, and are a great source of protein. Seeds can be eaten raw, mixed into foods or ground into flour for baking. With its versatility, hemp could be cultivated to provide much-needed nutrients to those in struggling communities.