What is Hemp? Basic Introduction for Beginners

Hemp can be refined into a variety of commercial items. Manufacturers can derive hemp oil, hemp flour, and make medicines and other therapeutic agents from hemp. That is not all. Manufacturers can also make items like paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastic, biofuels, paint, insulators, food, and animal feed.

How is Hemp Different from Cannabis?

Cannabis and hemp are very close species as they are both derived from Cannabis sativa.   Their chemistry is quite similar, yet they differ in properties. The main factor that differentiates the two is the amount of THC and CBD. All varieties of medical “marijuana” have a psychoactive component called tetrahydrocannabinol or (THC).

However, hemp has much lower concentrations of THC than cannabis. On the other hand, hemp’s CBD content is higher than that of THC. To make things clearer, hemp is a cannabis plant with a THC level less below 0.3%.  Hence, hemp plants have mere trace amounts of THC. This is why hemp doesn’t induce psychoactive effects and isn’t addictive. This allows hemp to provide health benefits without psychoactive effects, something that “marijuana” can induce.

What happens when you consume Hemp?

There are different receptors in the human body. CBD in hemp and THC in marijuana each interact with different endocannabinoid receptors in your body. The interaction impacts the regulatory mechanism, which is made of natural cannabis-like molecules called endocannabinoids. THC and CBD in cannabis interact in a similar way in the body.

THC attaches to CB1 receptors, which are largely present in the brain and involved with cognition, motor skills, memory, and pain. It decreases the release of certain neurotransmitters and increases the release of other compounds that alters normal functions.  

It was believed that CBD works the exact same way. CBD works in a similar way as THC but interacts with CB2 instead. The exact way CBD affects our bodies is still unclear. However, scientists believe that it leads to more production of endocannabinoids in the body. 

Some studies also suggest that CBD activates the adenosine receptors in the body. This results in decreasing the level of stress and anxiety. Another benefit of CBD we know from several studies is that it binds to neural receptors that regulate temperature and inflammation.

What we know is that CBD in hemp isn’t psychoactive. Through the interaction with the endocannabinoid system, it provides benefits when there is inflammation, pain, or distress in the body. Moreover, the nutrients in hemp further provide health benefits to the body.

Health Benefits of Hemp

There are several health benefits of hemp. Before we see the individual benefits of hemp, let us see in which form of hemp is the best for use.

Hemp Seeds

As the name implies, these are the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seeds are known to be the most beneficial form of hemp. This is why they are also referred to as the hemp heart. Its use in food and medicine is becoming more and more common. 

Hemp seeds are high in insoluble and soluble fiber, which makes it good for digestion. It is also rich in healthy fats like omega-3 and omega-6, which is necessary for heart health. Nonetheless, people with cholesterol issues should consult with their doctor before consuming hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are also rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that it can help improve the signs and symptoms of several inflammatory diseases. Again, one shouldn’t consume hemp as a remedy for any disease without consulting their doctor. 

Hemp seeds have many nutrients, including important minerals and vitamins. Adding hemp seeds in the diet may prevent deficiencies of vitamins and minerals.

Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is one of the most popular hemp products in use. It comes from the hemp seeds. It is derived by cold-pressing hemp seeds. It has similar properties to hemp seeds, except that it is in the form of the oil, allowing for topical application.

Hemp oil is different from CBD oil. CBD oil is derived from the leaves and stalk of the cannabis plant.

Hemp oil is used in foods for its rich nutrient profile. It has proteins, essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.  It can be used as cooking oil just like any other oil. Some studies suggest that it can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart diseases. 

Hemp oil is also used as a hair conditioner. Its moisturizing properties may improve dry and itchy skin. Also, the anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties make it suitable for therapeutic purposes. 

Hemp Protein

Hemp protein is the powder containing all the protein content of hemp seeds. It is a high- quality vegan protein that contains all essential amino acids. It is an excellent choice in a protein powder for vegetarians and vegans. The protein content is considerably higher than that in flax or chia seeds. Along with nutritional benefits, it is a great agent for building muscle mass.