Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you probably know that hemp is a hugely beneficial plant that can do wonders for your health and wellness. However, there are also many other benefits of hemp, many of which may surprise you.
Hemp is one of the most useful, renewable crops on the planet and is beneficial to the earth and people alike.
Here are ten hemp facts that everyone needs to know about this wondrous plant.
Hemp Won’t Get You High
Many people confuse hemp and marijuana since the two plants look very much alike. They are the same species, both falling under the umbrella of cannabis; however, each has very different effects. Most notably, marijuana is intoxicating, while hemp is not. Marijuana is notorious for its psychoactive effects and causes users to become high. On the other hand, hemp lacks the intoxicating compounds found in marijuana and, therefore, you cannot get high on hemp.
Hemp Seeds Contain as Much Protein as Beef
Hemp seeds are a great source of plant-based protein. It may surprise many to hear that these seeds contain similar quantities of protein to beef and lamb meat. For every 30 grams of seeds (about three tablespoons), there are 9.46 grams of protein.
Moreover, hemp seeds are a complete protein source, which means that hemp protein provides all nine essential amino acids. The body doesn’t produce these amino acids, and they must, therefore, be obtained through diet.
Hemp Can Be Used to Build Houses
Hemp fibres have been used for centuries to manufacture textiles, paper, rope, and other useful products. Now, the crop is gaining a lot of attention as a durable and environmentally-friendly hemp building material.
Hempcrete is an alternative to concrete and can be used to build houses. It’s strong, light-weight, energy-efficient, non-toxic, and resistant to mold, fire, and insects. Moreover, it can be easily sculpted into different shapes to build various parts of a home, including bricks, flooring, roofing, insulation, wall panels, and more.
Hemp Is a Sustainable Alternative to Plastic
Hemp plastic is paving a new way for the future. It’s becoming increasingly viable as an eco-friendly alternative to carbon-based plastic. Moreover, not only is it sourced from quality, sustainable hemp plants, but it’s also usually biodegradable and recyclable.
Conventional plastic is polluting the environment and even makes its way into the food chain, having a destructive effect on both human and animal health. Therefore, the world is in urgent need of a natural alternative, like hemp plastics. Currently, it’s rare to find 100% hemp-based plastic, but “composite bioplastics” – those made from a combination of hemp and other plant sources – are being used.
Growing Hemp Plants Helps Clean up Radiation
One of hemp’s perhaps most amazing benefits is that it can remove toxic metals and even radiation from soil. Using plants to clean polluted soil is a process known as phytoremediation.
In the case of hemp, the roots of the plant dig deep into contaminated soil and absorb harmful chemicals. And because the crop reaches maturity within a few months, it’s believed that the contaminants don’t have enough time to harm the plant. Therefore, growing hemp in contaminated soil is proving to be effective in cleaning up polluted areas, even those affected by radiation.
Hemp Has a Very Short Harvest Cycle
Hemp requires few (if any) pesticides as it grows quickly and attracts few pests. Moreover, the crop grows easily and usually takes between 108 to 120 days to mature when grown under optimal conditions. Thereafter, it’s ready for harvesting. Generally, hemp harvesting is considered a simple process, but harvesting for fibre is easier than harvesting for hemp seeds.
Hemp Captures Carbon Emissions
Studies have proven that hemp absorbs more CO2 than any forest. Typically, forests absorb 2 to 6 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year, while industrial hemp captures between 8 to 15 tonnes. Most plants are able to absorb CO2 through the process of photosynthesis (converting it into glucose and oxygen). But thanks to its large amounts of lush foliage, hemp works even harder and takes in high amounts of carbon dioxide.
Hemp Is Loaded with Magnesium
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, thereby helping to regulate heartbeat and minimizing the risk of heart disease. Additionally, magnesium is known to support memory, learning, mood, and healthy sleep. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, hemp seeds magnesium content is approximately 140 mg per two-tablespoon serving (20 grams).
This dosage of magnesium may be particularly helpful for athletes looking for improved strength and enhanced energy levels.
Hemp Seeds Contain Omega-6 and Omega-3
The hemp seed oil fatty acid profile is also notable. It contains high concentrations of polyunsaturated fatty acid, approximately 76%, and is an excellent dietary source of essential fatty acids. It has an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 3:1, which is considered particularly beneficial, making hemp seeds optimal for good health. It’s also worth mentioning that while rich in polyunsaturated fat, hemp seed oil is low in saturated fat.
Hemp’s Fibre Is Stronger than Steel
We left the most incredible hemp benefit for last. While many find it hard to believe, hemp is stronger than steel. When measuring strength, two factors are looked at; “cracking and breaking” and “bending and mending.”
So how does hemp fare against steel? Two times the amount of pressure is necessary to crack and break hemp when compared to steel. Plus, hemp “bends and mends” about six times better than steel. This is due to hemp fibres having a better strength-to-weight ratio than steel.
Final Thoughts on Hemp Facts
So there you have it, ten surprising and perhaps even amazing facts about hemp. From its potential use in the building of houses and stepping up as a sustainable alternative to plastic to its rich content of beneficial nutrients, such as protein, magnesium, and essential fatty acids, hemp is set to make a huge difference to both the planet and people.