If you’ve ever walked past a suitably hip market stall, you’ve probably seen a whole array of items made from hemp. From baskets to bags to body lotion, the uses of it are endless. It’s been lauded as an eco-friendly alternative to synthetic fibres, yet it’s been banned in the USA since the 1930s. If you’re confused, don’t worry. Here we explain everything you need to know about hemp and CBD, including its health benefits and use in skincare.
What is hemp?
Hemp, or industrial hemp as it’s sometimes known, is a fast-growing subspecies of a plant called Cannabis sativa. Normally it’s spun into hard wearing fibres that are woven or pressed to make all sorts of materials, a use that dates back at least 10,000 years. Historically these fibres were used in producing fine papers, rope for mighty battleships and, more recently, bedding for less mighty bunnies. Oh, and its oil has a whole range of cosmetic benefits too.
Wait, did you just say *Cannabis* sativa?
Yes, technically speaking hemp belongs to the same family as it’s more infamous ‘whacky’ cousin. However, it contains virtually none of the same psychoactive chemical. To put it into perspective, marijuana contains 5-30% THC (the compound that gives it its properties), hemp on the other hand only contains 0.3%. Not that this has stopped the resistance to it in the USA, with its relation to marijuana bringing a heavy backlash that still prevents farmers growing hemp in all but 16 states.
Can you eat hemp?
There are a whole number of delicious hemp products out there, acting as a great vegan source of protein. Among these are hemp milk, protein powder, bread, burgers, and even hummus. CBD oil (more on this in a bit) can actually be used as a supplement or a dressing during meal times – just a couple of drops. It’s thought to have the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, reflective of that already in the body. This helps in boosting heart health as well as brain function.
Meanwhile hemp oil can be extracted by pressing the seeds of the plant. This oil can be mixed with CBD oil or used for cooking by itself. It also finds a pretty niche use in the manufacture of soap bottles. Needless to say, don’t eat those.
What is CBD?
CBD oil is extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant and has become known as a bit of a miracle substance recently. Any THC found in CBD oil will be residues from the processing, and the levels will be negligible. So you don’t need to worry about any psychoactive effect.
There are a seriously impressive number of benefits associated with CBD. In skincare and cosmetics, CBD helps to soothe the skin, proving effective at reducing swelling and inflammation. It’s also a great moisturiser, oil regulator, antioxidant, and provides skin protection too. So it’s easy to see why CBD is becoming such a sought-after ingredient in the beauty world!
It doesn’t just stop there though; the hemp oil it’s used with is packed full of the antioxidant vitamin E and vital minerals such as zinc, calcium and magnesium. All of these act together to boost skin health and maintenance, leaving behind a flawless glow.
Why is it becoming so popular?
In addition to the benefits listed above, hemp is gaining popularity as people become more aware about their environment and the need to be sustainable. Industrial hemp can be grown in many climates and, once used, can be recycled or broken down naturally. It also requires 50% less water to grow than the equivalent amount of cotton. That said, the lyrics to ‘hemp-eyed Joe’ don’t tend to flow as well...
Fashion companies are recognising the fact that hemp is durable, practical and stylish – just ask Adidas, who use it to make their much vaunted range of trainers. Likewise, skincare companies are finally moving away from harsh synthetic ingredients and are embracing the natural health benefits of hemp extracts.
It’s something we’ve embraced at UpCircle too – we have used hemp in our makeup pads. These reusable hemp and cotton makeup pads are an excellent eco-friendly alternative to disposable cotton pads and face wipes. They can be machine washed on a warm setting with the provided mesh wash bag to keep them together.