Hemp has been used by humans throughout the ages. In fact, archaeological evidence indicates that its use dates back to 8000 BC. In more “recent” times, it was used to create the famous Guttenberg Bible, which is 600 years old, as well as the original draft of the Declaration of Independence.

Plant Characteristics

Hemp is not marijuana. However, both are species that can be classified in the family Cannabaceae. Here are some characteristics of the plant:

  • Appearance: It has skinny leaves that are mainly produced from the top area of the plant. When it grows, it becomes skinny and tall with just a few branches on its lower portion.
  • Cultivation: These plants have a growth cycle that lasts 108 to 120 days, and they are grown close together, about 4 inches apart.
  • Chemical Makeup: Hemp has low amounts of THC. To be considered legal, it can have as much as 0.3 percent of THC in the United States and 0.2 percent in other countries.

Plant Uses

One thing that is fascinating about hemp plants is that every part of the plant is useful. The plant has been utilized in many different ways. As a fiber, it’s been used to create paper, rope, textiles and fabrics. In fact, the term “canvas” was derived from “cannabis.” The seeds of the plant can be eaten and are very nutritious. It’s thought that they were first consumed by ancient Chinese civilizations.

As a building material, it’s extremely versatile and makes a good replacement for wood. In fact, hemp fibers can be stronger than steel. Hemp oil that comes from the stalks and seeds of the plant has been turned into biodiesel fuel, which is used to run engines. In addition, hemp oil is also used in dietary supplements, body care products and paint.

And, of course, the main thing as far as we are concerned…it is extremely healthy for your mind and body! Read some of our other hemp articles to learn more about hemp’s health benefits.