The health benefits of cannabis are inarguably high and its sister plant hemp is equally beneficial for the body and the environment. Hemp seeds are one of the most nutrient dense seeds on the planet and, if used more frequently in the production of consumer items, could significantly decrease deforestation and the use of both fossil fuels and pesticides. Hemp can be consumed raw, ground into meal, and made into oil or a vegan milk substitute. Only a few short years ago, hemp was a rare sight in your grocery store or on the label of your favourite shirt. Now, it can be found in our food, accessories, clothing, body products, plastics, cars, paper, and construction materials. Hemp can even be used as fuel and as medicine, helping to slow cancerous tumor growth. Despite all of these diverse uses for hemp, we continue to use products that are unsustainable and hazardous to the environment instead.
Why Hemp Usage Is Rising
As discouraging as this seems, hemp is already starting to play a more relevant role in the marketplace and I believe this will only increase over time. Hemp poses a serious threat to many industries including oil and gas, fashion, pulp and paper, construction, and transportation. Although there are many forces actively working to prevent hemp from expanding into potential markets, including governments and market leaders, it is inevitable that hemp usage will increase now that it’s been legalized in more countries. To read more about why it became illegal in the first place, check out our article here.
Hemp was legally defined as distinct from marijuana in the United States in 2014 and hemp sales have risen continuously since then. Industrial hemp used to make consumer products is not psychoactive, thus it does not affect brain function and is not considered a drug because it has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (the active chemical in cannabis) on a dry weight basis. In the US, the Hemp Industry Association stated that annual retail sales from hemp products reached approximately $620 million in 2014 and natural and conventional retailers experienced a 21.2% combined annual market percent growth rate. Naturally, as sales rise, more innovative hemp products are developed and launched in the marketplace.
My Top 5 Favorite Consumer Goods Made From Hemp:
Hemplify: This innovative, all-natural alternative to Gatorade and energy drinks contains hemp extract, vitamins (A, B1 [Thiamin], B3 [Niacin], Pantothenic acid [B5], B6, B12, C, D, and E), electrolytes, and omegas. Unlike many sports drinks, it doesn’t contain sugar; Hemplify is sweetened with Xylitol, a birch bark extract that aids in the absorption of hemp extract into the bloodstream, as well as Stevia and Glycerin, which are derived from natural plants and fruits.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts: These certified non-GMO shelled hemp seeds are well balanced in essential fatty acids, amino acids, and omegas, and are comprised of 30% pure plant-based protein. Hemp hearts make an excellent addition to smoothies, parfaits, rice dishes, cereal, salads, and more.
Hoodlamb Parkas: Available for men and women, Hoodlamb parkas are made from a combination of hemp, organic cotton, and recycled PET and Satifur, Hoodlamb’s special formula for a soft and cruelty-free faux-fur lining. I can personally confirm that these jackets are perfectly designed to withstand below-zero weather (and that’s in comparison to my previously-owned Canada Goose jacket).
Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Soaps: Dr. Bronner’s has a wide range of liquid soaps suitable to clean literally anything from your hair to your dirty dishes (my personal favourite is the Lavender). Dr. Bronner’s is also a great company to support, as it’s a cruelty-free, fair trade, non-GMO, organic, vegan brand that utilizes natural ingredients and recycled packaging.
Saje’s Shaver Saver: This 100% natural product is designed to help irritated skin post hair removal using soothing essential oils, hemp, and other hydrating ingredients. Alternatively, the product can be used as a faster, convenient alternative to moisturizer.