There are tons of questions about hemp. Here are the most important answers.
1. What is Hemp?
Hemp is a non-intoxicating plant that is part of the Cannabis Sativa L. species. There are many different varieties of the cannabis plant, including hemp and marijuana. Hemp is federally legal and it is used globally as a food, fiber and medicine. Hemp stalk, seeds and flowers contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, terpenes, flavonoids, vitamins, chlorophyll, and amino acids. Hemp flowers contain phytocannabinoids that work synergistically with our body’s Endocannabinoid System to promote homeostasis. Unlike marijuana, hemp flowers contain high levels of the phytocannabinoid, CBD, and low levels of the psychoactive phytocannabinoid, THC. As a result, hemp supports health and overall wellness without the intoxicating “high.”
2. What are Hemp Cannabinoids?
Hemp-derived cannabinoids are naturally occuring active compounds called phytocannabinoids that are found in the flowers of the federally legal hemp plants. In addition to its primary phytocannabinoid, CBD, hemp contains over 100 phytocannabinoids, including CBC (cannabichromene), CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and CBDV (cannabidivarian). These phytocannabinoids work naturally with the body’s endocannabinoids to support a variety of processes like appetite, sleep, mood and immunity. Endocannabinoid receptors found throughout the brain and body work with phytocannabinoids found in the plant to support homeostasis, the body’s natural state of balance.
3. What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, is one of the most popular phytocannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Cannabidiol has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and the U.S. government owns a patent claiming Cannabidiol (CBD) is an antioxidant and neuroprotectant.
4. What are Endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids are compounds produced by the human body that bind to cannabinoid receptors to support homeostasis. They are similar in structure to cannabinoids found in the hemp and marijuana plants.
5. What is The ECS?
This Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, is an integral part of our physiology as humans. It helps us maintain homeostasis, or balance, in our bodies by communicating with other biological systems. Discovered in the mid-1990s by Israeli researcher, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the Endocannabinoid System helps other systems in the body stay healthy, fight disease, and communicate smoothly.
6. Is Hemp Safe?
Yes, hemp is considered safe. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains less than 1% of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the only intoxicating phytocannabinoid. By definition, Industrial Hemp must have 0.3% or less THC. This low level of THC ensures that someone using a CBD product will not become intoxicated.
In addition to CBD, hemp also contains:
- Trace amounts of over 100 cannabinoids
- Essential fatty acids such as omega 3, 6, and 9
- Flavonoids, including cannaflavins, that act as powerful antioxidants
- Terpenes (aromatic oils similar to essential oils) with anti-inflammatory properties
Together, these phytochemicals provide a synergy called “The Entourage Effect”.
7. How does the Farm Bill affect hemp?
Hemp-derived extracts, naturally rich in CBD and other cannabinoids, are protected under state laws and Farm Bill provisions. The Agricultural Act preempts the Controlled Substances Act, protecting hemp and hemp extracts or derivatives. The recently passed 2018 Farm Bill clarifies the legality of the whole plant, including hemp derivatives like CBD.
8. Does It Work?
The synergistic blend of ingredients found in hemp support the body’s own endocannabinoid system, which manages a variety of biological processes like appetite, sleep, relaxation, and inflammation responses. By communicating with CB1 and CB2, endocannabinoid receptors which are found throughout the brain and body, hemp assists the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of homeostasis, the body’s natural state of balance.
9. How is It Different Than Marijuana?
Though hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, they are genetically different and are further differentiated by growing methods, intended use, and chemical makeup. Though both plants have a range of beneficial phytocannabinoids and terpenes, hemp is non-intoxicating.
10. How Much Should I Take?
Hemp-based cannabinoids are individualized, so there is no set dosage that works for everyone. Start low and go slow. A dose that makes one person feel energized may make another person feel sleepy. Whenever you use cannabinoid products, make sure you are hydrated and well-fed. Listen to your body to understand how all of the active compounds in the plant affect your mental and physical health.
11. Do I need to tell my doctor that I'm using hemp?
You should absolutely tell your doctor that you are using hemp. The medical community’s understanding of the Endocannabinoid System is just beginning, and doctors and medical professionals are starting to teach this new information to students and existing physicians across the country. Hemp and CBD are being studied, tested, and proven effective by patients every day. If you are having a positive experience using cannabinoid products, the information may be helpful as more patients inquire about cannabinoids.
12. What’s the best way to consume Hemp?
Everyone responds differently to hemp, so product preference is completely individualized. There is a wide range of products available, including capsules, tinctures, topicals, infused food products, drinks and vaporizers, and it is up to you to figure out which products are best for your individual needs.