The not-so-distant cousin to cannabis, ‘hemp’ is probably a word you’ve seen appear more and more on your quest for CBD education and plant-based healthy-living. But what is the difference between CBD oil and Hemp oil? What else is hemp used for? And why the hype all of a sudden? We’re here to answer these questions and give light to the lesser known, but equally important spiky green leafed plant.
Though stemming from the same plant family (Cannabis Sativa), Cannabis and Hemp are definitely not the same thing. They are two different strains bred with different qualities, which affects their uses, and in turn, their legality. In order to be classified as hemp, the extract must contain <0.3% THC (the same level required for CBD products), while Cannabis can contain anything from 5% to 30% (and in some cases, even more). Hemp has been produced mainly for industrial purposes for thousands of years and is believed to have over 25,000 applications – from ‘hempcrete’ building material, to superfood ingredient status, to clothing and textile fibres. With such practical and sustainable benefits, it’s a shame that things got so confused when US law implemented the 1937 Marijuana Act, which unnecessarily tainted hemp and its name.
So, what’s the link with CBD? If we’re talking oils, CBD oil and hemp oil differ in how they are extracted from the hemp plant itself. Hemp oil is extracted from compression of the seeds that industrial hemp produces, while CBD oil is gathered from the plant in its entirety. The latter is taken from the stalks, leaves and buds of strains that have been purposefully grown to contain significant levels of cannabinoids.
Given the environment in which hemp can grow, its natural benefits and nutritional value make a lot of sense. The fast-growing crop demands half as much water as corn, can tolerate a variety of soils and temperatures, and requires no pesticides. Hemp seeds themselves are nutty in flavour and are extremely rich in essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6; two polyunsaturated fats golden for a healthy immune system.
Hemp is also a fantastic source of protein, with 30g of hemp seeds (2-3 tablespoons) providing around 11g of protein – meaning a sprinkle of these on your breakfast in the morning will have great benefits on your energy levels throughout the day. What’s more, its natural fibre levels are the perfect gift for your gut, aiding both your digestive system and metabolic rate. Hemp is also rich in an array of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, iron and zinc – all key players in keeping our energy on form and our machines well oiled.
We appreciate that distinguishing between all of these products is a little complicated, but since hemp ingredients are tested to have virtually zero cannabinoid content, its value to our body is different to that of CBD. That being said, like CBD, the science is there to show how a derivative of the cannabis family can benefit our bodies, providing the fuel we need to deliver better versions of ourselves on a daily basis.
We’ll end with a note from our American cousins and one of their Founding Fathers:
“Make the most of the Indian hemp seed… and sow it everywhere!”
George Washington 1794