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Hemp – Myths & Realities

Hemp – has there ever been a plant so misunderstood? Even today, if you mention the word around the wrong people, they’ll tell you to take your tie dye and your Grateful Dead records back to the 60’s where they belong. It’s true, there is some controversy surrounding this crop, but the truth is that hemp has the potential to be hugely beneficial to our planet, our economy, and our health. How did we come to believe such inaccurate things about one of the most useful plants in our arsenal?

The word ‘hemp’ had a very different meaning in the ever expanding landscape of medieval Europe. As their exploration efforts broadened, they labeled any fibrous plants they discovered as ‘hemp’, which is why we have so many different types of hemp today: Manila hemp (abacá, Musatextilis), sisal hemp (Agave sisalana), Mauritius hemp (Furcraeagigantea), New Zealand hemp (Phormium tenax), Sunn hemp (Crotalariajuncea), Indian hemp (jute, Corchorus capsularis),Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), bow-string hemp (Sansevieriacylindrica).

A new layer of confusion was added to the word when the word hemp ‘marihuana’ (today, commonly spelled as ‘marijuana’) was coined and then adopted by the American Bureau of Narcotics in the 1930’s to describe all forms of hemp, regardless of their botanical distinctions. Luckily, in 1998 hemp was been legalized for industrial use in Canada, but the damage done to the public awareness and understanding still remains. So, lets talk about some of the myths surrounding hemp!

 

    1. Myth #1: Smoking hemp will get you high.
      Reality: Industrial hemp contains almost no THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the compound in Marijuana responsible for the psychoactive effects. In fact, hemp contains high levels of CBD (Cannabidiol), which counteracts the effects of THC in the body. So, you could say industrial hemp is like the anti-drug to Marijuana.
    2. Myth #2: Marijuana crops can be hidden in hemp fields.
      Reality: Industrial hemp and marijuana require very different environments and care in order to flourish. Hemp is grown outdoors, planted close together and grows tall and skinny. Marijuana is short and bushy, and grows best indoors with more space between plants (4-5 feet). Not only would it be extremely easy to spot Marijuana in a Hemp field, but because Hemp contains such high levels of CBD, cross pollination would have a negative effect on the THC levels in the marijuana plants.
    3. Myth #3: Hemp is not an economically viable crop.
      Reality: The market for industrial hemp is growing like a weed (pun intended) and it’s no surprise! Hemp is easy to grown in our cold Canadian climate, it absorbs more CO2 out of the air per acre than trees, and has over 50,000+ known uses. It can be used to make environmentally friendly fuel, textiles, paper, bioplastic, food, medicine, building materials, animal feed, beauty products, etc.

There is a lot of confusion and mythology surrounding hemp, but the benefits of embracing this crop are almost immeasurable. We believe that with some education and awareness, the solutions offered by industrial hemp products will be in high demand! Head to our website where you can read more about this super crop, check out some cool products, and even sign yourself up to get involved in the fast growing market of industrial hemp!

3 Pain Reducing Properties of Hemp

Living with a chronic pain conditioncan color every aspect of your day. Whether you simply struggle with sore muscles from your active lifestyle, or you combat an auto-immune condition like Lupus or Fibromyalgia, the burden of daily pain can quickly become overwhelming. Often, chronic conditions come with a whole host of not-so-charming complications to complement the pain, such as IBS, chronic fatigue, trouble concentrating and so on. To make things worse, most chronic conditions are completely invisible to the world around us, making the burden even more heavy and alienating.

Most chronic pain survivors have tried every mystery potion and magic jelly bean on the market to find relief, from beer spas to magic jewelry. If you’re in enough pain, desperation will have you grasping at whatever straws late night television is featuring this week. It’s no surprise that many survivors find themselves on the business end of an opioid dependency, just from trying to get by from day to day.

Luckily, modern science is starting to understand the value of hemp for its role in managing chronic pain conditions and their accompanying symptoms. Now, more and more people are turning to hemp as a natural, non-addictive and non-psychoactive alternative to traditional pain relief methods. But how does it work?

  1. Nutrition – Recent studies have emphasized the importance of Protein and Essential Fatty Acids (Omega’s) in our diets, citing them to be as effective at pain relief as ibuprofen. Nearly every system of our body requires these nutrients to function, including our heart, brain, eyes, digestive tract, skin, circulation, immune system, and more. Just a ¼ cup of hemp seeds contains 15g of Protein, 14g of Essential Fatty Acids and 2.5 grams of fiber. That’s what I call a super food!
  2. Terpenes – These aromatic oils found in hemp, cannabis and essential oils were once thought to be nothing but a treat for your sniffer. However, when scientists looked closer they found that much like CBD, these fragrant little molecules can bind to receptors in the brain and can give rise to an incredible host of healthful effects. Most commonly, the effects cited are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-depressant, anti-seizure, and more. More study is needed on Terpenes but the healing potential here is huge!
  3. CBD – Hemp can be a great source of Cannabidiol (CBD) which is a type of molecule that interacts with our bodies own Endocannabinoid System. Studies have shown that these molecules fit into several different neuron receptors in the brain and body, including opioid receptors and serotonin receptors, which signal feelings of wellbeing and reduce anxiety. Some of the CBD molecules including Cannabichromene (CBC) and Cannabigerol (CBG) have even been correlated to a reduction in inflammation and may even block pain signals from reaching the brain! Unfortunately, CBD is still considered a government controlled substance. Hemp farmers are prohibited from harvesting the CBD rich (and incredibly useful) portions of the hemp plant like the flowers, leaves and roots. While consuming even trace amounts of CBD will still stimulate our bodies Endocannabinoid System, we are really looking forward to when the restriction on CBD is lifted and hemp’s full healing power can be utilized.

From one chronic pain survivor to another, consistently adding a hemp product like hemp seeds or hemp capsules to your daily self-care routine could really show a noticeable difference in your symptoms. Don’t take our word for it, try it for yourself today!

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10 Interesting Uses for Hemp

Humans the world over have used the hemp plant in many forms for thousands of years, and modern processing technologies have given it nearly unlimited applications. To date, over 50,000 applications have been found, and each one of them has the potential to shrink our carbon footprint. Also, since this plant can be easily grown in our unpredictable Alberta climate, it could give our local economy a much-needed boost. There are so many positives to embracing this super plant as part of our everyday lives.

Here’s 10 ways this crop is used today (some of them may surprise you)!

 

10. Pet Food

Whether it’s your 3 pound rabbit or that 500 pound bear you probably shouldn’t have domesticated, all mammals alike need their Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Hemp oil is an excellent source for all your EFAs, and it is a natural way to improve your pet’s joint health, lower its risk of cancer, and improve their skin and coat. It can be used alongside any medications, and can reduce your pet’s anxiety levels!

 

9. Skin Care

Hemp seed oil’s EFA profile is very similar to our own human skin, making it a perfect moisturizer for any skin type (even sensitive skin). It conditions the skin naturally without clogging the pores, and the anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the appearance of redness and aging! It can be used to treat many skin conditions like dandruff, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and dermatitis. Try it in our popular beauty product line, or if you’re feeling crafty, you could try making your own skin care products!

 

8. Batteries

Traditional batteries use toxic chemicals that are dangerous to humans, wild life and our water sources. Luckily, researchers have demonstrated that hemp bast fibers have the ability to conduct electricity as efficiently as graphene. If you’re electrical engineering knowledge is rusty, think ultra-green and ultra-cheap batteries!

 

7. Wood Finish

Hemp oil can be used as a solvent-free wood finish. Traditional products are so toxic they require a well-ventilated space, whereas hemp oil is environmentally friendly, and smells like freshly crushed walnuts. It preserves the natural color of the wood, and it is safe for food preparation surfaces. Watch a quick video about it here!

 

6. Textiles

Hemp has been used to make clothing for millennia, in fact materials made from hemp were found in tombs dating back to 8,000 BC! It is one of the most durable natural fibers on the planet, and products made from it are long lasting, stretch resistant, mold resistant, antibacterial, light and breathable. It can be ethically produced right here in Canada, so we can sleep well knowing we are making positive consumer choices when we choose hemp. Yay, us!

 

5. Biodegradable Plastic

You can’t shake a stick on the internet without hitting a video of a sad turtle with too much plastic in its diet. Our addiction to plastic disposables is one of the biggest threats to our water and land. If only there were some kind of plant based plastic that is biodegradable, recyclable, durable, carbon neutral and versatile. Oh wait, there is! Hemp plastic and other bio-plastics are rising in popularity in North America. It is lighter, stronger, safer, less expensive and can be molded into any shape imaginable! The possibilities are limitless!

 

4. Hempcrete

Hempcrete (Hemp + Concrete) is an exciting new building material made from a mixture of hemp hurds and lime. This is concrete that literally acts like a living tree; breathing in Carbon CO2 and breathing out fresh, tasty Oxygen. It is also mold resistant, pest resistant, fire resistant and is an excellent insulator!

 

3. Bio-Fuel

As if this plant weren’t already amazing, it is also an environmentally friendly source of biofuel. Hemp biodiesel is a cost effective, environmentally safe and renewable fuel source. When used, it can extend the lifespan of the vehicle because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel. This application has massive potential for our economy and our environment!

 

2. Motor Vehicles

The world’s most eco-friendly car runs on, and is made of…you guessed it! Hemp! Vehicles made of hemp are 10 times stronger than steel, yet are ultra-light, making them impact resistant AND fuel efficient. Researchers believe that with the rise in environmental concerns, hemp fibers are likely to become a major component of cars around the world.

 

1. Nuclear Disaster Clean Up

For over a decade, industrial hemp has been planted at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster. Why? Hemp crop literally cleans and enriches the soil it is planted in by breaking down pollutants and stabilizing metal contaminants. The crop is then used to make biofuel so that none of this plant goes to waste. Hemp is now being sought to help clean up environmental disasters around the world, including Fukushima!

 

It’s plain to see that hemp should not be underestimated. The nearly endless applications of this super plant will mean exciting and positive things for our environment, our economy and our future. Discover the benefits of hemp today!

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A, B, C’s and Omega-3s

In our last blog post, we touched on in importance of Omega-3s for both your physical and mental health. Bad cholesterol? You need some Omega-3s, my friend. Depression? Try some soothing Omega-3s! Auto-immune Condition? You guessed it: Omega-3s! Stubborn carpet stains?! Ok, maybe not that last one, but I’m sure the point is not lost on you. Omega-3s are essential for nearly every aspect of your health, so it should be no surprise to learn that children need it at every single stage of their development.

In the 1980s, several clinical trials were conducted to measure the effects of consuming supplemental Omega-3s on pregnant women and their developing babies. The women were divided into 3 groups: group 1 received an Omega-3 supplement during pregnancy and lactation while the women in groups 2 and 3 received an olive oil placebo or nothing. The women in the first group had longer gestational periods, allowing for increased grey matter density in the baby as well as a lower rate of preeclampsia. The babies had heavier birth weights, higher visual acuity, higher mental processing scores, and higher hand-eye coordination scores. This is because Omega-3 fatty acids are a foundational component of every cell in your body, and are especially important for the development of the Central Nervous System.

The Central Nervous System begins developing 3 weeks after conception, and in a way, never stops. However, during the first 3 years of a child’s life, the brain is incredibly impressionable, both environmentally and chemically. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers who receive sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids lower their child’s risk for a host of psychiatric, learning and behavior disorders, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and ADHD. They are also associated with increased social skills and attention span, as well as a decreased risk for asthma, heart disease, autoimmune conditions – and more!

Sadly, as amazing as our bodies are, they are unable to synthesize their own Omega-3s which is why it is so important to supplement or consume Omega-3 rich foods. Most doctors and medical professionals will recommend a fish oil supplement, but with concerns like rising ocean mercury levels, over fishing, and questionable fish processing practices, it is no wonder a growing number of people are looking for alternative sources for their Essential Fatty Acids.

Hemp is a sustainable, anti-carcinogenic, healthy and balanced source of Omega-3, protein, amino acids, vitamin E and fiber. It can be easily (and enjoyably) consumed in the form of seeds and oil or in capsule form. It is the perfect food for anyone who is pregnant, or breastfeeding, and for children at every stage of their development. Try this super food today!

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Breaking Down the Hemp Crop ~ Part 1 ~ Fibre

Are you as impressed as we are with all the amazing uses of hemp?

In addition to the high nutritional value for humans and animals in this miracle crop, it’s also super healthy for the environment.

There are a many things that make this crop so wonderful. One of them is how much of the plant can be used to supply solutions to customer demands.  Since different parts of the plant have different benefits, we’re going to break it down one part at a time starting with the fibre.

Fibre

Also known as bast is one of the most productive parts of the plant.  It derives a great deal of products and is embraced for its excellent strength and durability.  The hemp plant produces both long and short fibre, each having its own uses.

Early Uses

One of the earliest uses of hemp fibre was for cordage on ships.  Its strength, durability, and resistance to rot made it a great option for sailors.

Another pioneer user of hemp fibre was Levi Strauss.  He gained popularity in Western USA during the gold rush offering a strong, resilient pants to miners.

Long Fibre

Taken from the exterior of the plant, the long fibre is considered the bark of the stalk.  It stretches the entire length of the plant, and can therefore produce a fibre over 10 feet in length – depending on the height of the finished crop.  

This makes it ideal for textiles as it offers a continuous “thread” which does not break down as quickly as its competitor, cotton.  Cotton fibres are less than 1% of that length, averaging 1-2mm.  This shorter length inevitably results in faster wear in cotton products.

The insulative effect of hemp fibre makes it an ideal multi-season garment as it keeps you cooler in the summer, and warmer in the winter.  Its anti-bacterial properties also make it attractive as a textile, cordage, and paper product.

Short Fibre

Considered a secondary or bi-product of the long-fibre, as the name suggests, the difference is in its length.  Despite the short fibre not being as strong as the long fibre, it is still considered superior and stronger than many other fibres being used in the textile industry.

The short fibre is collected during the process of separating the fibre from the hurd in the hemp stalk.  This secondary product offers first class solutions to demand for products like textiles, paper products, auto-body parts, and building materials.

Attractive Alternative

Being able to use multiple parts of this miracle crop certainly makes it attractive.  The yield per acre planted increases, and waste decreases.  If you are a conscious customer looking for an environmentally friendly alternative that passes the quality test, hemp has you covered.

Beyond Fibre

As mentioned, the hemp plant provides many commercial uses.  Stay tuned for the next post all about the hemp hurd.

About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com

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The Many Uses of our Miracle Crop

Did you know that hemp is not only good for your health, but also for the health of our environment?

It’s a fascinating plant that has been used by many cultures for thousands of years.  Whether it be for food, shelter, or as a tool, hemp offers a natural solution to a world of challenges and demands.

If you are looking for a way to go green and pitch in to help heal our environment, look no further than this carbon negative miracle crop.

Many Uses of Hemp

Here in Canada, only parts of the hemp plant can be processed for industrial use.  Luckily, there are so many uses of hemp, even just by using part of the plant, many benefits are achieved.  

Hemp Stalk (Bast Fibres & Hurd)

From use in apparel to paper products, the hemp stalk is an incredibly rich part of the plant.  It contains bast fibres and hurd which can be used for the following (just to name a few): canvas, fabrics, carpets, rope, paper, insulation, fiberglass, concrete, stucco, mulch, chemical absorbant, and biofuel.

Hemp Seed

Perhaps one of the most popular parts of the plant, the seed is what gives us the delicious hemp hearts packed with protein and delicious goodness.  Hemp oil is also extracted from the seed and can then be processed for different uses such as dressings, infused oil, and cosmetics.  

Environmental

With so many great products that come from the hemp plant, you might be wondering, what else is it good for? The environmental benefits of this super crop are just as abundant as the vast line of items that it yields.

Absorbs Carbon

Hemp  plants have the natural ability to be carbon sinks, capturing harmful carbon from the air and storing it in the fibre and extensive root system.  When the plant is converted into long-lasting products such as building materials and bio-plastics, carbon is stored for the lifespan of the consumer goods.

Remediates Soil

One of the most fascinating aspects of the hemp plant from an environmental perspective is its ability to heal our soil.  This is done through a process called phytoremediation.  There are certain varieties of hemp that have been used to clean up the soil after nuclear accidents such as Fukushima in Japan.

Bright Future

As more people learn about hemp and make use of this miracle crop, we will learn even more about its endless benefits.  We’re excited to see how things evolve with an age old plant that’s getting a second chance to grow.

How do you use hemp? Join the conversation on our Facebook Page – HempE Health & Beauty.

Hemp, Our Miracle Crop

About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com

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Hemp Offers a Healthy Harvest for Farmers

Have you ever thought about why farmers grow the crops they do?  

While it has a lot to do with climate and soil type, market demand plays a large role in the ultimate decision. This is where you, the customer, comes into the picture.

Simple Economics

Supply and demand is a basic principle in economics, and decision makers take careful consideration when selecting which crops to plant for the year.  This very principle is a big reason as to why traditional crop farmers are choosing to grow hemp rather than canola in their fields.

You see, for a farmer to switch their annual crop from a tried and tested plant like canola, they need to be sure that there is a demand for their new crop of choice, and also that there is not too much supply to meet that demand.  The odds are in the hemp farmers favour since there is a growing demand for this super crop, and current supply is not over the top due to stricter regulations.

Healthy Harvest

Hemp is a favorable option for farmers looking to make the switch from a commonly grown crop to an innovative option.  Not only does hemp offer a healthy end product for customers, it is also great for soil and the atmosphere.   With an abundant list of benefits to growing and using hemp, you might wonder why more farmers aren’t planting it?

Though the plant itself has been grown across the globe for thousands of years, it’s faced some limitations in the last century due to being part of the cannabis sativa family.  Luckily, things are changing, and laws are loosening up surrounding the entire plant species due to its numerous advantages for people and the planet.

Industrial Hemp

The agricultural community is pondering the future of hemp as a crop option, often asking if it will grow to be more popular than canola.  While nobody can predict what’s to come, hemp pioneers are speaking up about this natural solution that is a substitute for petroleum based products and reduces dependency on trees for paper and cotton for clothes.  Imagine the possibilities once hemp reaches its full potential.

There is an important shift happening in Canada from a legal perspective, and hemp regulations are developing in the plant and planet’s favour.  While it is still regulated by Health Canada, the growing demand for use of the entire crop will push for updated legal treatment of a plant that is not a drug, but treated like one.

Demand Creates Supply

As Canadian citizens demand healthier options for ourselves and the Earth, policy makers will surely supply us with the right regulations to ensure that we aren’t missing the boat on an economic success story that’s an environmental win.

What do you think about the current status of hemp in Canada?  Join the conversation on our Facebook Page – HempE Health & Beauty.

About the Author ~ Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things. simplysustainableblog.com