What Is Hemp: Uses, Benefits, and a Brief History of Cannabis Sativa
Feb 27th 2023
What is hemp? Will it get me high? Is it even legal?
If you’ve been wondering about any of the above questions, you’re not alone. The world of hemp products, such as CBD gummies, oils, ointments, and whole-plant hemp capsules, can be a bit confusing, even a little overwhelming at first. But the fact is, the hemp plant, which contains only trace amounts of the cannabinoid THC—the stuff in marijuana that gets you “high”—has played an integral part in human civilization for centuries. It has been used in countless ways by many different people, and best of all, as of 2018, is once again completely legal in all 50 states.
In this article, we’ll dig into the roots of hemp’s history, examine the plant’s various uses and benefits, and look at some of the different hemp products available on the market today.
A Brief Hemp History
The hemp plant is from the same family of Cannabis Sativa as the marijuana plant, although it contains only very small amounts of THC and historically has been used for very different purposes. Originating in Central Asia sometime before 2800 BCE, hemp spread across Europe during the Middle Ages, growing in abundance from central Russia to the east coast of England before eventually reaching the Americas during the Age of Sail.
In North America, hemp played a critical role during the Revolutionary War. Its domestic cultivation and manufacture were essential in sustaining the war effort. Later, in the decades leading up to the Civil War, the hemp industry was a driving economic force in several states, most notably Kentucky and Missouri.
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, however, effectively banned the cultivation of Cannabis Sativa, leading to an 80-year prohibition on the hemp plant that was only recently lifted with the 2018 Farm Bill.
Different Uses for Hemp
When we talk about the uses for hemp, we’re really talking about utilizing three different parts of the plant:
- Seed – Hemp seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and packed full of essential vitamins and antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to a heart-healthy diet. In addition, the oil expressed from the hemp seed can be used to enhance everything from beauty products to paint varnish.
- Fiber – When it comes to hemp history, the long, tough fiber found inside the stalk was far and away the most useful part of the plant. The rigging, cordage, and canvas sails on ships were all made of hemp as late as the mid-19th century, and hemp linen clothes and bedding were long a staple on the homestead. Today, the strong, durable, environmentally-friendly fiber is being used to make all sorts of industrial products, including concrete, insulation, and even automobile parts.
- Leaves and Flowers – While the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant do contain very low amounts of THC, they also have a wide array of other non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBD, CBDV, CBN, and CBG. Many people currently use these for a variety of health reasons.
Hemp Uses and Benefits
There are many different potential health benefits to using hemp products that contain CBD and other cannabinoids. Hemp-derived salves and ointments may be able to provide relief for sore muscles, arthritis, cracked heels, and dermatitis, while gummies, tinctures, packed with CBN, CBD, or CBG can be used to aid with sleep, anxiety, and focus, depending on what cannabinoid is most prevalent.
For instance, if you’re looking for hemp products with concentrated levels of Cannabigerol, known as the “Mother of all Cannabinoids,” then a hemp-derived CBG oil tincture is exactly what you’re looking for. On the other hand, if you need help alleviating itchy, red skin, the Endoca Hemp Whipped Body Butter may be just what you need.
At My Health Etc., we are committed to sourcing the best hemp-derived cannabidiol products on the market. We’re readily available to answer any questions you might have or to guide you through our extensive selection of CBD Oil and other hemp products.
Get started on your hemp journey today!
Hemp | Description, Products, Seeds, Fiber, & Uses | Britannica
HEMP: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews (webmd.com)
Hemp & Flax in Colonial America | The Colonial Williamsburg Official History & Citizenship Site