That’s the plain dictionary definition to describe the fantastic hemp plant. Knowing how versatile it can be, let’s just say it doesn’t say enough about its many benefits and uses. If we had to write our own definition, here is what we would come up with.
HEMP – Annual dioecious flowering plant with a long stem, cultivated for its thousands of benefits and uses. Greatly underestimated, it offers endless possibilities as it can be used in clothes, housing, food, beverages and much more.
Way better, don’t you think? Hemp could almost help us meet all of our basic needs if we gave it a chance to do so. You might think we are exaggerating by saying this, but it is, in fact, pretty true. It was one of the earliest plants to be cultivated by man! In fact, it dates back as far as the Neolithic period, more than 9000 years b.c. That’s like 11 000 years ago! In other words, it has been around for a very, very long time and yet, it is still only beginning to be popular. In Québec, many entrepreneurs are determined to put hemp into the spotlight. To celebrate this amazing plant, here are a few surprising ways that it is being used, along with a list of Québec-based businesses trying to give hemp the recognition it deserves.
Foodies: Discover Hemp!
Hemp oil and hemp hearts both come from the plant of the same name. Even though preconceived ideas are hard to change, it is important to understand that hemp does not cause psychotropic effects! You can’t get high on hemp. Never. Ever.
Hemp oil is delicate, and it does not tolerate high heat. Therefore, forget about using it for frying your best onion ring recipe for Super Bowl night. It is at its best used in salad dressing, on pasta, to replace butter on bread or veggies or to enhance the flavours in soups. Rich in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, it could easily be on the list of the world’s greatest superfoods. It is, indeed, a fantastic supplement for a healthy boost to your diet.
It is impossible not to love the nutty flavour of hemp hearts. Try it once and you will want to sprinkle it over everything you eat! They are high in protein, making them perfect for meatless or vegan meals. Two tablespoons of hemp seeds on your favourite salad is equivalent to a large boiled egg. That’s 7 grams of protein! What’s the difference between hemp hearts and hemp seeds? The first ones are hulled seeds, with the outer shell removed, while seeds are usually not … unless it says shelled hemp seeds on the bag. Available at la Maison d’Herbes here and in some grocery stores.
Hemp in Cosmetics
As you’ve seen so far, hemp oil is a healthy plant-based product. Since what you put on your skin is just as important as what you eat, why not take advantage of how versatile it is by using it as a beauty product. Knowing your skin doesn’t really have a way to block toxic ingredients that might be found in regular cosmetics, choosing natural body products made from hemp oil totally makes sense! Don’t worry, the oil you use on your salad won’t be the same one you put on yourself, since many ready-to-use cosmetics that contain hemp oil are now available on the market. In Québec, CHANV is a pioneer in that field. The line has a moisturizing cream, shampoo, lip balm, soap and even deodorant, all made with hemp oil. This plant-based oil is unbeatable when it comes to providing relief from the symptoms of eczema, psoriasis and other cutaneous problems. It is also very effective against signs of aging, dry skin and to reduce itchiness. To try hemp oil, you can check out DIY recipes online or even better, visit the CHANV website and order ready-to-use products online.
Hemp Fibre: The Future in Textiles.
Maybe you already knew about using hemp in recipes or as part of your beauty routine, but did you know it could be your new fashion statement? Yup! Tshirts, dresses and pants made from hemp fibres are actually a thing. If you have sensitive skin, you will be glad to learn that it is not a harsh material, that it does not irritate your skin and that it gets softer and softer each time you wash it. Sports fans out there, hemp fibre is your fibre! Fabric made with hemp is breathable and antibacterial … so you can say goodbye to unwanted body odours after an intense workout. If you are looking for eco-friendly clothing option, you will also be pleased to hear that hemp is usually cultivated without pesticides or other chemical inputs and that it is woven into a durable textile, for clothes that will last you a long, long time. That sounds perfect if you are looking for zero-waste clothing alternatives. In Québec, companies such as Abaka, a leader in the business (located in Shawinigan), make clothing from natural fibres such as hemp.
A House Made of Hemp
The first little pig had a house made of straw, the second had one make of wood and the last piggy had a home made of bricks. You know what happened to the first two, and how the smart one outwitted the big bad wolf thanks to the sturdy construction he lived in. If we could rewrite old classics, we could say that last house was never destroyed by the wolf because it was made of …. hemp. We know what you have in mind right now: a hut made of leaves. But that’s not, thankfully how hemp is used in the construction world. Actually, hemp is turned into blocks that are similar to concrete blocks, sometimes called hempcrete (hemp+concrete), an incredibly energy efficient material. In a nutshell (we will let experts explain the full process) hemp blocks are made by mixing hemp, lime (the material, not the zesty fruit), water and clay. The result is an extremely strong, isolating and durable product that will be applied to the timber frame of the house. Hemp is an ecological, long-lasting material. It is still a marginalized market in Canada, but artisans such as Art du Chanvre and ArtCan are working tirelessly to promote the use of hemp as a building material. Visit their website and try not to want to live in one of their beautiful houses.
Raise Your Glass to Hemp!
Didn’t we tell you how versatile hemp is? Last spring, the Saint-Bock microbrewery was working on six different hemp beers! If you are looking for alcohol-free options for your mocktails, try Kombuchanv, a mix of the popular fermented tea beverage + hemp. A surprisingly refreshing, thirst-quenching drink with just enough bubbles to keep you satisfied. Kombucha is usually sold in glass bottles, but Kombuchanv comes in a can, a first in the province. Offeredhere and in some grocery stores in Centre-du-Québec. If you like hot drinks and a cozy coffee shop ambiance, visit La Maison d’Herbes, for a wide variety of teas and infusions made…with hemp of course!
Dogs Deserve Hemp Too!
Finally, we can’t ignore how useful hemp is when it comes to keeping our pets healthy and happy. Since hemp fibres are highly resistant and super strong, they make sturdy collars and leashes. Strong enough to survive the assaults of even the greatest master chewers out there!
Can pets benefit from all the nutritious qualities of hemp too? Of course! High in vitamins and antioxidants, hemp supplements for animals are definitely a positive addition to your dog or cat’s diet. And for times when he deserves a treat for not chewing on your favourite pair of boots, your dog can even chomp on some delicious natural hemp treats. In Québec, Crocx is the main supplier to meet the needs of your four-legged friends.
The list could go on and on and on about how to make the most of hemp. Ropes, flour, biofuels, the sky is the limit. Combined with the fact that it’s good for you and the planet, we can easily say that the hype over hemp can only grow stronger! With more and more businesses joining the movement there are no more excuses to ignore all it has to offer! May hemp be with you!