Textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber summarizes the historical evidence that Cannabis sativa, "grew and was known in the Neolithic period all across the northern latitudes, from Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Romania, Ukraine) to East Asia (Tibet and China)," but, "textile use of Cannabis sativa does not surface for certain in the West until relatively late, namely the Iron Age." "I strongly suspect, however, that what catapulted hemp to sudden fame and fortune as a cultigen and caused it to spread rapidly westwards in the first millennium B.C. was the spread of the habit of pot-smoking from somewhere in south-central Asia, where the drug-bearing variety of the plant originally occurred. The linguistic evidence strongly supports this theory, both as to time and direction of spread and as to cause."
Since hemp seed is very low in sodium and calories and is a complete protein, it can be eaten in large quantities without fear of gaining too much weight. Complete proteins make the body feel full because all of the necessary amino acids have been taken in through food, thereby inhibiting the release of ghrelin and curbing hunger pains. This reduces the chances of overeating and subsequent weight gain. Also, fiber makes the body feel full and stimulates good digestion and fast passage of bowels, which can reduce weight and increase the efficient absorption of nutrients.
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses. Hemp has lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects. The legality of industrial hemp varies widely between countries. Some governments regulate the concentration of THC and permit only hemp that is bred with an especially low THC content.
A mixture of fiberglass, hemp fiber, kenaf, and flax has been used since 2002 to make composite panels for automobiles. The choice of which bast fiber to use is primarily based on cost and availability. Various car makers are beginning to use hemp in their cars, including Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Iveco, Lotus, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Saturn, Volkswagen and Volvo. For example, the Lotus Eco Elise and the Mercedes C-Class both contain hemp (up to 20 kg in each car in the case of the latter).
In the Australian states of Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, and most recently, South Australia, the state governments have issued licences to grow hemp for industrial use. The first to initiate modern research into the potential of cannabis was the state of Tasmania, which pioneered the licensing of hemp during the early 1990s. The state of Victoria was an early adopter in 1998, and has reissued the regulation in 2008.
^ Jump up to: a b c This paper begins with a history of hemp use and then describes how hemp was constructed as a dangerous crop in the U.S. The paper then discusses the potential of hemp as an alternative crop. Luginbuhl, April M. (2001). "Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L): The geography of a controversial plant". The California Geographer. 41. California Geographical Society. pp. 1–14. hdl:10211.2/2738. Hemp contains less than 1% THC, or tetrahydrocannabinols, the psychoactive property in marijuana. In other words, smoking hemp cannot create a 'high.' ... The dense growth of hemp eliminates other weeds.... The best growing technique for hemp, planting 300 to 500 plants per square meter, also helps authorities easily tell the hemp from marijuana, which is a plant that is less densely cultivated. (Roulac 1997; 149).
Hemp seeds are one of the best sources of plant-based protein and GLA and have a wide variety of health benefits, including their ability to improve heart health, stimulate digestion, build muscle mass, eliminate insomnia, treat anemia, and aid in weight loss. They also help to stimulate metabolic activity, boost the immune system, reduce symptoms of menopause and menstruation, improve skin and hair health, and build stronger bones.