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What is Hemp? Products and its Uses

1. Introduction

Hemp, or Cannabis sativa, is a plant of the Cannabaceae family cultivated for either its bast fiber or its edible seeds. Industrial hemp is also known as hemp and is a short-day crop. A popular misconception is that hemp and Cannabis, the plants from which marijuana and hashish are derived, are identical.

Hemp is not Cannabis, however. Although all three products—hemp, marijuana, and hashish—contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical that generates euphoric effects in humans, the strain of Cannabis used to make hemp contains significantly less THC than that used to produce marijuana and hashish.

Three unique species of plants belonging to the Cannabis genus, often known as the Cannabaceae family, are known for producing various products.

However, monoecious hemp is better for the harvest of both fiber and seed, it is considered that dioecious genotypes are superior for fiber production from hemp short-day crops. This is also because of the biological function of hemp plants. Successful application of hormones such as abscisic acid can alter the life cycle.

Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis are all included in this classification. Strains of Cannabis cultivated exclusively for hemp include 0.3 percent or less THC. Varieties of marijuana contain more than 0.3% THC. THC can induce a high when consumed in sufficient quantities.

The majority of the edible parts of the hemp plant are the seeds. The leaves can be used to make tea, but the seeds carry most of the plant’s nutrients. Hemp seeds possess nearly 30 percent fat, of which some are considered essential fatty acids. 2 Therefore, the majority of the potential health benefits of hemp are located in the hemp plant seeds.

2. Hemp Products: Fibres, Seeds, Oil

Understanding Hemp Fibres

Hemp fabric is one of the numerous forms of textiles and hemp products made from Cannabis sativa plant stalks. It has been known for millennia that this plant is a source of incredibly tensile and durable textile insoluble fibers, a major fiber production industry. But in recent years, the psychoactive characteristics of Cannabis sativa have made it increasingly difficult for farmers to cultivate this extremely valuable crop.

Over thousands of years, Cannabis sativa has been selectively bred for two very different purposes. On the one hand, multiple generations of cannabis growers have employed selective breeding techniques to enhance the number of psychoactive cannabinoids by altering biological functions such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids in transgenic hemp plants.

Other farmers, on the other hand, have selectively bred Cannabis sativa for decades to produce fibers of superior strength and quality. These farmers have also prioritized restricting the successful application of psychoactive cannabinoids their plants produce.

This has directly led to two distinct strains of Cannabis sativa. It is a frequent myth that psychoactive marijuana is formed from the reproductive female Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp is derived from the male plant. Female plants are known for the vast bulk of hemp harvests worldwide. However, female Cannabis sativa plants that have been specifically cultivated for use in the textile industry for a variety of fiber production purposes contain only trace quantities of THC and do not typically produce sticky buds.

 Fabrics are fabricated from organic hemp.

The hemp plant’s stalks are constructed of two layers: the outer layer is built of bast fibers that resemble rope, and the inner layer is composed of a pith that resembles wood. The only component of the Cannabis sativa stalk used for fiber production for textile uses is the outermost layer; the inner, more woody layer is typically used for the production of fuel, building materials, and animal bedding.

After removing the bast fibers from the top layer of the transgenic hemp plant, the remaining material can be processed into rope or yarn. Hemp rope is so durable that it was once the preferred material for rigging and sails on ships. Hemp is still widely recognized as a superior clothing material that outperforms cotton and synthetic textiles in most measures.

Once transformed from the insoluble fiber into fabric, hemp has a consistency close to that of cotton but a certain degree of the texture of the canvas. A fabric manufactured from hemp retains its flexibility even after being exposed to drying heat and is also very resistant to pilling.

Hemp fabric is extraordinarily soft and extremely durable; although a regular cotton T-shirt may only last up to ten years, a hemp T-shirt may last twice or even three times as long as a cotton T-shirt. This is a great advantage for hemp due to its biological function. This is because the plant’s fibers are long and robust. According to some estimates, cloth from hemp is three times as durable as fabric made from cotton.

3. What are Hemp seeds?

Hemp seeds, a major class of hemp products, provide a considerable quantity of several nutrients. These seeds, which are technically classed as nuts and found on the hemp plant, are edible and are safe to produce milk, oil, cheese substitutes, and protein powder.

Although hemp and marijuana, both are extracted from the same plant, hemp seeds contain minimal quantities of the psychoactive THC. Since ancient times, the seeds have been consumed orally and applied topically to treat and prevent a wide range of health issues. Numerous assumptions are supported by a growing body of recent clinical research.

Hemp seeds are a fantastic substitute for the protein, vital fatty acids, and other nutritional benefits found in meat and dairy products because of their nutty flavor and flexibility. Additionally, hemp seeds have a smaller environmental impact than meat and dairy products. 

Hemp seeds can be consumed as :

Raw, roasted, or otherwise prepared.

Hemp hearts that has been covered with shells

Through cold pressing, hemp seeds are removed from their oil

Used to make non-dairy hemp milk and hemp cheese.

Hemp seeds have the following nutrients:

  • Iron
  • Vitamin E
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • B-vitamins
  • Zinc

Additionally, hemp heart seeds contain abundant amounts of the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6.

Several studies indicate that hemp seeds’ ideal ratio of fatty acids is three to one. These fatty acids maintain appropriate cholesterol, blood pressure, and immune system function and may aid in metabolic regulation when present in this proportion.

3.1. What is Hemp Oil?

The oil produced by pressing multipurpose hemp seeds is called hemp oil (also known as hemp seed oil). Unrefined, cold-pressed hemp oil ranges in hue from dark to clear light green and has a flavour reminiscent of nuts. The flavour and colour depend on various factors. The flavour becomes increasingly grassy as the colour darkens. A full-spectrum hemp oil containing tetrahydrocannabinol is produced from the Cannabis plant’s flower.

The refined best quality in hemp seed oil has no detectable flavour and is colourless and odourless. Its principal application is in topical skin care products. In various forms, lubricants, paints, inks, polymers, and fuel all utilize industrial hemp seed oil. Soaps, shampoos, and detergents all incorporate hemp seed oil.

The oil contains omega-6 to omega-3 necessary fatty acids in a ratio of three to one. In addition, transgenic hemp plant oil has potential usage as a feedstock for industrial biodiesel production.

3.2. How is hemp seed oil Manufactured?

The principal constituent of the cannabis plant, considered to be psychoactive, is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is not present in Cannabis sativa strains utilized to generate hemp seed oil since these strains of seed hemp variety do not have high concentrations of THC.

Before beginning the oil pressing process, the better quality in hemp seed is typically cleaned to 99.99 percent purity. The hemp seed is devoid of THC; nevertheless, trace amounts of THC may be detected in full-spectrum hemp oil if plant debris adhering to the seed surface during processing causes the seed to absorb THC.

4. Uses Of Hemp Seeds, Fabrics, Hemp Oil

4.1. Reduce PMS and cramping symptoms.

PMS and cramps are both normal occurrences throughout a woman’s lifetime. The mental and physical suffering cannot be ignored, making it difficult to carry out routine everyday activities. It is believed that a hypersensitive response to the hormone prolactin causes these symptoms.

Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are less likely to occur due to consuming multipurpose hemp seeds. This is because the essential fatty acids (GLA) included in hemp seeds lower the sensitivity generated by that hormone.

4.2. Condition of the Heart and Blood Pressure

Magnesium, which is the top quality in hemp seeds contains plenty, has a role in regulating your heartbeat and has been linked to the prevention of coronary heart disease. In addition, they contain linoleic acid, which one study found to cut participants’ cholesterol levels by 15% and may also aid in lowering blood pressure. Linoleic acid exists in flaxseed oil of seed hemp variety.

4.3. Cognitive healthiness

The top-quality hemp seeds possess the optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, giving them a high nutritional value. This balance, which is generally lacking in most diets, is advantageous for cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and mental health.

Terpenes are an additional type of plant component discovered in hemp seeds. Terpenes are the topic of intensive research, and preliminary data indicate that they may help protect the brain and limit tumour formation, as evident from human studies.

4.4. Outstanding plant-based protein source

Approximately 25% of the calories in all kinds of seed hemp varieties comprise a considerable proportion of protein.

The protein content of hemp seeds is comparable to that of beef and lamb. Thirty grams of hemp seeds, or two to three teaspoons, provide around 11 grams of protein.

They are considered a source of complete protein, which means they contain an adequate amount of essential amino acids. Essential amino acids cannot be synthesized by the body and must thus be ingested.

Since plants usually lack the amino acid lysine, sources of full proteins are incredibly rare in the plant world. Quinoa is another plant-based food that contains all of the essential amino acids.

According to the required factors, the amino acids methionine, cysteine, arginine, and glutamic acid are found in significant concentrations in hemp seeds. Additionally, hemp seeds contain extraordinarily high amounts of arginine.

Additionally, hemp’s protein is extremely easy to digest, making it superior to the protein in many grains, nuts, and legumes.

4.4. Hemp Seeds Can Help Alleviate PMS and Menopause Symptoms.

Premenstrual syndrome is believed to afflict up to eighty percent of women of reproductive age. These signs and symptoms may show physically or emotionally (PMS)

Prolactin sensitivity is probably the underlying cause of these symptoms.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is contained in hemp seeds, is responsible for the formation of prostaglandin E1, which is known to counteract the adverse effects of prolactin.

In a study involving women, one gram of essential fatty acids per day and 210 milligrams of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) significantly reduced premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms.

Primrose oil, a full-spectrum hemp oil, which is likewise rich in GLA, has been the focus of additional studies indicating that it may be especially beneficial in reducing PMS symptoms in women for whom previous PMS therapies failed.

It reduced premenstrual syndrome symptoms, including breast soreness and tenderness, depression, irritability, and fluid retention.

Studies have demonstrated that multipurpose hemp seeds, which are high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), may also ease some menopausal symptoms.

Menopause is associated with hormonal imbalances and inflammation, which can be controlled by the GLA present in hemp seeds. The precise mechanism underlying this is unknown.

4.5. Weight Loss

Including hemp in your diet will help you achieve your weight-loss objectives, which is just one of its numerous benefits. This has been found as a result of various animal studies. The high fibre quality in hemp seeds helps you feel full for a longer time and decreases your cravings for sugary foods.

It will also keep your blood pressure regulated. Consuming a dose of these protein-rich seed hemp varieties first thing in the morning helps prevent overeating at meals by keeping you feeling full throughout the day.

4.5. Improves Skin

The multipurpose hemp seeds possess anti-inflammatory factors, making them effective for treating eczema and putting acne under control. This is one of the most prominent wide-range functions of hemp in the cosmetic industry.

In addition, hemp seeds are abundant in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help improve skin health by enhancing the skin’s ability to retain moisture and protect it from the destructive impacts of the environment.

4.5. Fewer Seizures by Full-spectrum hemp oil 

According to studies, the cannabidiol (CBD) in hemp oil can reduce the frequency and severity of seizures in children with uncommon kinds of epilepsy that are difficult to treat with traditional medications. Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome are among these kinds of epilepsy.

Those with tuberous sclerosis complex, a disorder that can lead to the growth of tumours in various parts of the body, may experience a reduction in the frequency of their seizures if they regularly consume CBD.

4.5. Muscle tension

There is some evidence that high-CBD, full-spectrum hemp oil produced from transgenic hemp plants may be effective for lowering sensations of both general tension and muscle tightness.

CBD has a similar anti-inflammatory effect on the body as fatty acid sources. This action may assist reduce the stress-related tension carried by many persons and aid recovery after physical activity.

Likely, massaging hemp seed oil or full-spectrum hemp oil into stiff muscles serves a great function to release tension and allow those muscles to relax.

How do environmental factors affect Cannabis Sativa plants?

a. Gibberellic Acid

The yield of hemp biomass and its quality are mostly regulated by the genetic background of the cultivar but are also heavily influenced by environmental factors, such as temperature and photoperiod.

Environmental factors affect the biological function of hemp plants. 

Hemp is a facultative short-day crop with significant adaptability to photoperiod and a large influence of environmental influences on crucial agronomic properties such as “flowering-time” and “sex determination.” This sensitivity of hemp can result in a high degree of heterogeneity, leading to unanticipated production decreases.

Additionally, the biosynthesis route of successful application of gibberellins is controlled by several endogenous and external variables, including light, developmental stage, and hormone balance. It can withstand environmental factors with the successful applications of plant hormones such as gibberellins and abscisic acid. It also determines whether the plants will be short-day crops or long-day crops.

The Bottom Line

Hemp is a diploid species with nine homomorphic autosomal chromosome pairs and two heteromorphic sex chromosomes, X and Y (2n = 20). There are two types of genes in hemp. The haploid size of genes in hemp female plants is 818 Mbp, and that of male plants is 843 Mbp. The sex-determination system as a combination of genes in hemp has been extensively explored. Male plants carry the heterogametic sex (XY), whereas female plants carry the homogametic sex (YX) (XX).

Nevertheless, despite unique sex chromosomes, the phenotypic manifestation of sex in hemp exhibits a degree of plasticity. Certain dioecious hemp plants produce flowers of the opposite sex dictated by their chromosomal makeup. Monecious hemp plants bear the homogametic sex (XX). This variation varies from monecious plants with primarily male blooms to monecious plants with primarily female flowers.

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