20 Reasons Why Hemp Is The Most Versatile Plant On Earth 

Despite the fact that CBD has demonstrated a variety of health benefits—ranging from its anti-seizure properties to possibly improving quality of life in Parkinson's patients—there are still a lot of hemp naysayers out there.   

Courtney Coll modeling hemp clothing in Hemp Field

To them I would say this: There are a lot of reasons to support the decriminalization of hemp and allow farmers to grow it freely. Producing CBD oil may be one of its most exciting abilities, but that’s not all hemp can do. Not even close. 

Don’t believe us? Here’s a giant list of the things hemp can do. 

1. It produces healthy (and delicious!) hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are rich in iron, magnesium, and zinc—essential nutrients that we have to get through our diet because our body doesn’t make them on it down. They’re also high in protein, providing 10g per ounce. 

2. It’s high in protein and makes a great protein powder

Speaking of protein, hemp produces a high-quality protein that’s easier to digest and absorb than other common protein powders like those made from whey, soy, grains, nuts, and legumes. 

3. It requires very little water to grow

A water crisis is on the horizon and that means it’s more important than ever to find crops that help conserve water. Well, growing hemp requires ¼ of the water it takes to grow cotton. 

4. It produces hemp seed oil

Not to be confused with CBD oil, hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant and doesn’t contain CBD. That said, it’s chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids, which display potent anti-inflammatory properties and may help prevent diseases related to inflammation, including heart disease. 

5. It has natural antimicrobial properties

According to an article published in BioResources, “Some natural fibre plants, such as hemp, are regarded to possess antibacterial activity against a wide range of pathogenic bacteria.” In the future, we could take advantage of this by adding it to food packaging, cosmetics, and even in medical settings. 

6. You can use it to build a guitar

Yes, really. A company called TreeFreeHemp makes different custom hemp products, including custom-made guitars. The owner, Morris Beegle, uses hemp for the straps, body, picks, and volume knobs, according to an article in Forbes.

7. It’s great for the soil

Agricultural crops like soybeans and corn lead to soil quality deterioration, but hemp actually returns nutrients to the ground and has the potential to help restore damaged soil.  

8. It’s where CBD oil comes from

Okay, this one is obvious. But CBD has some no-joke healing properties! In fact, a CBD-based pharmaceutical drug was recently approved by the FDA. The drug, called Epidiolex, treats severe forms of epilepsy

9. It could help save the forests

Wood is used to make a ton of different products, but it’s not without negative consequences like deforestation and destroying animal habitats. According to experts, hemp could be the solution we’re looking for. Especially when it comes one product in particular, which brings us to…

10. It can be used to make paper

Did you know that The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper? It’s true. And hemp paper could make a big comeback since it apparently resists decomposition and doesn’t discolor over time.  

11. It’s a powerful antioxidant in skincare

Like other popular antioxidants—like vitamin E, vitamin C, and astaxanthin—hemp has the potential to prevent premature aging and cellular damage. No wonder we’re seeing it all over the beauty aisle.

12. It can be used to make hemp milk

Oat milk might be having a moment—but have you ever tried hemp milk? Better yet, have you ever made your own hemp milk? It’s absolutely delicious and super easy to do. Just soak hemp seeds in water overnight and then blend them up in your blender. You can even add a few dates or some vanilla bean for a little sweetness. 

13. It can be used to detox soil

Hemp is a “bio-accumulator,” which means it absorbs heavy metals and other chemical waste from the soil. It does this so efficiently that it’s even planted to detox land after it’s been contaminated. This is pretty cool, but also means that if you’re taking hemp oil internally it must be third-party lab tested for contaminants. 

14. It makes a kick-ass salad

They don’t get a lot of attention, but the leaves of the hemp plant are healthy in their own right. These days, you can find hemp everywhere—even as a side in restaurants and incorporated into salad mixes at certain Whole Foods markets

15. It can be used as fuel

According to an article in the Guardian, we might want to be exploring hemp as a biofuel more seriously. As the author wrote, it’s been “successfully used for many years to create bioethanol and biodiesel, is environmentally friendlier to produce than sugar beet, palm oil, corn or any of the crops mentioned in the report and can grow in practically any temperate to hot climate leaving the ground in better condition than when it was planted.” Mic drop. 

16. It could help solve our plastic problem

A bioplastic is any plastic alternative that’s plant-based or biodegradable. And seeing as it grows rapidly and produces a very strong product, it’s thought that hemp will dominate the bioplastics market in no time. 

17. It can be used to make electric cars (Wait, what?)

Yes, really, A Canadian company made a compact 4-passenger car out of hemp

18. It withstands the test of time

Hemp was first grown in Central Asia, but it quickly spread all over the world. It was cultivated for its fiber as early as 2800 BCE and was grown in Jamestown, the first permanent British colony in North America. 

19. It doesn’t require pesticides to grow

Did you know that certain plants can be used as natural pesticides? Cannabis sativa is one of them (along with garlic, castor, and neem). In fact, the authors of a paper published in the Journal of the International Hemp Society write that “Cannabis has been utilized as a pest repellent or pesticide, in a variety of formulations. These formulations include dried plant parts, plant extracts or pure cannabinoids, as well as the use of the genus as a "companion plant.”

20. It is finally Federally legal in the U.S.

After many years of being lumped together with its intoxicating cousin marijuana (hemp was considered a Schedule 1 drug until the recent signing of the 2018 Farm Bill which removed Hemp from the controlled substances Act and is now considered an agricultural commodity) hemp is finally legal under Federal law.  It is now up to the individual states to regulate the plant, but this opens up many more opportunities for hemp farmers and businesses.

Phew! You made it. If this doesn’t convince you that hemp is nature at its finest, we don’t know what will. 

Written by Gretchen Lidicker

Senior Health Editor & CBD Expert or Contributing Health Editor and CBD Expert. Gretchen is a writer, researcher, and author of the book CBD Oil Everyday Secrets: A Lifestyle Guide To Hemp-Derived Health & Wellness. She has a masters degree in physiology and complementary and alternative medicine from Georgetown University and is the former health editor at mindbodygreen. She’s been featured in the New York Times, Marie Claire, Forbes, SELF, The Times, Huffington Post, and Travel + Leisure.

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