We first came across hemp during a hemp festival that brought together several hemp brands and enthusiasts. That’s how we discovered hemp’s benefits for health, skin, and the environment. Hemp plants are now found across the world, and it’s also regarded as a trillion-dollar crop. From clothing and accessories to skincare and stationery — sustainable hemp products are quickly gaining popularity, despite facing some legal concerns as it’s sometimes confused with marijuana. However, in India, Uttarakhand was the first state to obtain a legal permit for hemp cultivation in 2018.
But what is hemp? And how is it related to cannabis? Let’s find out.
Hemp & Its Origin
Hemp is a plant and a form of Cannabis Sativa L, which is often confused with marijuana. But hemp is different and distinguished from the latter based on its THC. Hemp’s THC level is less than 0.3 percent — for the uninitiated, THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the chemical that results in marijuana’s psychological effect. When the THC level is lower than 0.3 percent, it causes no intoxication.
The hemp plant is a sustainable source because the entire plant, including the stems and seeds, can be converted into a wide range of products.
The hemp plant is a sustainable source because the entire plant, including the stems and seeds, can be converted into a wide range of products. It is used in the making of paper, fabric, fuel, flour, feedstock, etc. Besides, several brands globally use hemp in their skincare and cosmetics range and are considered beneficial for skin and the environment.
Source: Financial Express
Hemp’s existence dates back to 8,000 BC when it was first discovered in Asia. Subsequently, it was found across Europe, South America, and Africa. In those days, hemp seeds and oil played crucial roles in food and pottery. In 100 BC, China began to develop paper out of hemp, and in the 17th century, America passed a law to mandate its farmers to cultivate hemp as one of the crops. Hemp requires minimal effort to grow and is adaptable across changes in climate and soil quality.
An interesting trivia – Abraham Lincoln used hemp seed oil as fuel for his lamps. Also, in 1942, Henry Ford built an experimental car with its body made from hemp fibre, and it was said to be ten times stronger than steel. In 2014, Barack Obama signed a Farm Bill to allow research institutions to kickstart hemp farming programs. Incidentally, this bill distinguishes hemp from marijuana, legalizing industrial hemp cultivation. For this, the THC of Cannabis Sativa L. should be 0.3 percent or lower.
In India too, hemp-based brands and organizations are on the rise. Bombay Hemp Company, popularly known as Boheco, offers a wellness range with Ayurvedic products — which are also one of the first licensed hemp leaf extract products. Hyderabad is home to Hemis, India’s first brick-and-mortar hemp store; Vizag-based GreenJams uses Hempcrete, a form of cannabis concrete, for sustainable construction alternatives. Several such exciting new and eco-friendly developments have been happening across the hemp sector.
The Benefits of Hemp
“Hemp will be the future of all mankind, or there won’t be a future.”
– Jack Herer, author, and American cannabis rights activist
Source: Vocal Media
Hemp is a versatile plant, and every part of it — from the stalk to the leaf can be used for various purposes. The cultivation of hemp itself is sustainable; it requires very little land space. Although hemp requires only half the area that cotton requires for its cultivation, it produces three times more fibre than cotton. It needs less water, and all types of soil are suitable for hemp. Besides, the plant sheds leaves, providing the soil with the right amount of fertilization, and the best part – It’s an all-natural pest-repellent.
Globally, many fashion labels are adopting hemp fabric to create clothing lines. Apart from being sustainable, hemp fabric is durable and considered one of the strongest fibres. Its antimicrobial properties make hemp kid-friendly too; it’s also a breathable fabric, suitable for all skin types. Needless to add, hemp is biodegradable. If you’re keen on checking out some Indian hemp fashion labels, you can look up Foxxy, Hempkari, and Hemis.
You might have come across skincare brands using hemp seed oil in their products. From lip balms to shampoo — hemp offers a wide range of benefits. It’s rich in Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 fatty acids, making it ideal for moisturization, soothing acne, and anti-aging. Hemp is also known for accelerating hair growth! However, most brands use hemp because it is known to possess UV protection traits, which is ideal for skincare and fashion. Indian brands like Hemis, Satliva, Health Horizons are developing exciting product ranges with hemp.
Source: Very Well Fit
Would you be surprised if we say hemp protein powder is the next big thing? For those planning to switch to plant-based protein powder, hemp-based protein powder is an excellent choice because it consists of ten essential amino acids. Hemp hearts can be another addition to the diet, and you can sprinkle them on cereals or salads. Rich in fatty acids and low in calories — hemp flour is a gluten-free alternative for all baking needs. If you’re up for introducing these nutty goodies into your daily diet, you can check out Boheco Life, Noigra, Well Versed Life, and India Hemp & Co.
When we stumbled upon hemp stationery on Etsy, we knew that soon hemp stationery would become big. For one thing, hemp can be recycled more than regular paper, and it promotes deforestation. It grows faster than trees, and, as we said earlier, it grows across various soils and weather. If you’re someone who cannot do without notebooks in your everyday life, well, hemp stationery might be the answer you are looking for. You can browse stationery from Amala Earth or OG Hemp.
The Way Forward
A study by Markets & Markets predicts that industrial hemp will dominate diverse fields such as textiles, automobiles, food, and skincare. We may witness hemp’s use in all spheres of our lives — from sanitary napkins to architecture. Across India, brands like Hemis, India Hemp Organics, Its Hemp, Qurist have set up experiential stores with an excellent curation of hemp-based products. If there isn’t one in your city, you can explore online stores like Canna Essentials, Hemis and CBD Store.
So, coming back to the original question: is hemp a fad, or here to stay? We think there are enough reasons to include it in our daily life. Choosing things like stationery, skincare, and accessories made from hemp will ensure we’re on the right course for building a greener future.