Hemp(cannabis sativa), also known as industrial hemp is an annual herbaceous flowering plant with a cosmopolitan distribution due to widespread cultivation. It is a dioecious plant which is native to Eastern Asia. It has been cultivated and used throughout history.
It is said to be capable of producing 30,000 products. In certain countries, the plant is classified as a narcotic (legally) however many people believe it to be less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.
What is hemp used for?
Hemp plays a vital role as variety of commercial and industrial products are made by it like garments, textile, paper, biofuel, bioplastics, insulation etc.
Importance Of Hemp
Hemp is becoming more common in conjunction with other natural materials. This is due to the fact that cannabis cultivation is performed mechanically with minimal environmental impact. It is used as an Industrial fiber, seed oil, fruit, relaxation, religious and spiritual moods, and medicine.
The oil obtained from it can be used for painting, varnishing, and soap making. Cannabis contains hundreds of chemical compounds, many of which are cannabinoids that are helpful in providing relief from chronic pain. However, It has been banned in many countries due to its use as a street drug.
Hemp as a medical crop
Hemp is considered important due its use as a medicinal crop. In the next twenty year it can play a major role in treating diseases. It has been discovered that cannabis can cure many illnesses. Some of which are discussed below
- Cannabis unlike tobacco has not been proved harmful for the lungs. A study found that cannabis actually helps the lungs expand their capacity rather than harming them.
- The ability of the body to use insulin efficiently is important for good health. People with diabetes, on the other hand, have a body that is less receptive to the effects of insulin and also less responsive to it. However, cannabis users have improved insulin sensitivity according to research. Thus, it can protect us from harmful diseases like diabetes.
- It can help control and prevent diabetes because of its effect on insulin. Cannabis has been related to blood sugar stabilization, lower blood pressure, and improved blood circulation.
- Cannabis contains a compound called Cannabinoids which can help combat cancer, or at least some forms of cancer.
- Depression being a widespread disease can also be cured with help of it. Cannabis’ endocannabinoid compounds can help to stabilize moods, which can help to alleviate depression.
- Cannabis is believed to help users relax and maintain control of their emotions. It may assist children with autism who have regular violent mood swings in controlling their behavior.
- Cannabis sativa has been shown to aid in the prevention of seizures.
- It has also been related to speeding up the healing of broken bones and also helps in strengthening the bone. The bone will be more difficult to crack in the future as a result of its use.
- Individuals with glaucoma can find that cannabis may help relieve the pressure applied to the eyeball, providing some temporary relief.
- Cannabis is also widely available in the form of creams and balms for arthritis sufferers.
- Multiple sclerosis causes debilitating muscle contractions, which can be alleviated with the use of cannabis.
- Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that affects people. Cannabis can aid in the reduction of tremors and pain, as well as can also help in the promotion of sleep.
- Cannabis may provide relief to people suffering from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. (Thomas, n.d.)
Hemp as a food supplement
Hemp is a remarkable plant that contains a variety of beneficial natural compoundsmaking it a suitable food supplement in the coming years. Foods and beverages containing marijuana have been eaten for millennia. There are many edible products containing cannabis such as gummies, candies, chocolates, tablets, teas, and oils. Hemp seeds made from cannabis are rich in nutrients like proteins, amino acids and fibers etc.
These seeds can be grounded into a liquid and can be used in baking or drinks like hemp milk and tisanes. The import of hemp products worth $11.5 by US in 2011 shows that it can be used as a food supplement in the coming years. Although it contains narcotics many states have legalized cannabis due to variety of edibles obtained from it.
Many users are willing to try cannabis edibles hence increasing their demand. Since recreational marijuana use has become legal in Colorado, sales have increased from $17 million in early 2014 to $53 million in the mid of 2016. In the state of Washington, edible sales rose by 121 percent in 2016. Edible sales are expected to rise at a rate of up to 25% per year in the future thus proving that it could be used as a food supplement in the future.
Many cannabis-infused beverages are now sold in different countries. Cannabis edibles like drinks, sprays, inhalers, powders, etc. are now produced in both home as well as commercially
Hemp as a fiber crop
Hemp was one of the first plants, 50,000 years ago, to be spun into functional fiber. It has the potential to be processed into a range of consumer products. Many commercial items like paper, rope, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food, and animal feed can be made from cannabis. Because of its versatility in use, it can be used in a wide range of products.
- The texture of pure hemp is close to that of linen therefore can be used in making clothes, shoes, footwear, dog collars, and home wares etc.
- Due to its light weightiness, it can be used in making construction material.
- Hemp obtained from cannabis is used as an insulation material. By cutting the insulation material during the construction process, it could be easily tailored to various sizes and shapes.
- Cannabis seeds have a high fat content, with fatty acids making up 30-35 percent of the biodegradable wood varnish that protects flooring from mold, rodents, and wear.