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Hemp: Plant of many uses

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Hemp: Plant of Many Uses
Hemp: Plant of Many Uses

Hemp is more often than not referred to as industrial hemp. With its origin in Central Asia, a centuries old crop, hemp cultivation has fed more mouths than one can imagine. A plant of many uses, hemp, widely known as industrial hemp, justifies the tag as well as possible. A plant of the cannabaceae family, parts of hemp plant that primarily contribute to its industrial uses are its bast fiber(found in the stalk), its edible seeds and its flowers. With China leading in industrial hemp farming, accounting for 20 percent of the world’s hemp production, Canada is the leading producer of indutrial hemp seeds.

In India, the mention of hemp has been done as early as in the Vedas. In this article, we look at various facets of hemp plant and how it has proved to be an useful resource for various industries, thus being an asset for countries’ economy.  

1. Hemp vs Cannabis

More often than not, hemp is confused with cannabis and marijuana. Before, we dive into understanding the uses of the plant, let us clear this confusion. While, hemp, cannabis and marijuana are derived from the same species, Cannabis sativa L., their phytochemical composition, genetic functioning and method of cultivation varies. All the three plants are different strains of the same species, having different uses. With cannabis and marijuana, still not legal in various countries, NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Act, 1985 states that cannabis with

THC(tetrahydrocannabinol) lower than 0.3% can get legal approval for commercial cultivation as a right under the state list. With concentration of THC in hemp being less than 0.3%, it was an easy pass for hemp.

2. Hemp and its uses

Hemp plants require almost no specific conditions for their growth and cultivation. Except Antarctica, where hemp plants cannot thrive in the cold conditions, they grow naturally across the world. From wide ranging uses in industries such as textiles, shoes, food, paper, rope, even biofuel and bioplastics – hemp, is a plant of many uses  as well as a very important raw material.

Mansi Shah of Hemp Fabric Lab, says, “The modern hemp industry in India is at a highly nascent stage, even though, paradoxically, the use of hemp fibre and seed for a range of applications – rope, fuel, food – has been commonly acknowledged for several centuries in India’s rural communities.”

With hemp plant having no intoxicating effect, let us discover how the plant has been an asset for the Indian economy.

2.1 Food and Nutrition

Since hemp is highly nutritious, hemp based food products are umpteen. Starting from hemp based CBD oil, an extremely useful oil for treating medical ailments, to hemp milk, hemp plants have contributed significantly to the food sector due to its properties. From being nutritionally superior to flax, chia, or fish Oil and having a balanced ratio of Essential Fatty Acids, hemp oil and hemp seeds have been regular as part of nutritious diets.    

2.2 Fiber and Fuel

Hemp, a naturally occuring, durable fiber has been the first choice as raw material for many fiber industries. Hemp was first used for weaving nets, making carpets, sacking etc. Upon observing its quality, it was then discovered that fibrous stalks of hemp were great to be weaved into cloth. With cotton coming into the picture, usage of hemp in the textile industry saw a decline. However, a report on The Statesman writes, “…hemp has 2 or 3 times more productivity than cotton, and the fiber is longer, stronger, more insulating and absorbent than cotton fiber.” Due to these properties, hemp is making a comeback in the organic, modern textile industry in India, says Mansi Shah.

Biodiesel from the hemp seeds and biofuel from the fibrous stalks of hemp, makes fuel production a by product of hemp cultivation. Hemp fuel obtained from the stalks is a form of cellulosic ethanol. However, there has not been much study into the same and requires further investigation.

2.3 Plastic and Paper

Hemp based platics fall into the category of bioplastics, and could prove to be extremely safe in today’s world where we’re facing a plastic crisis.

Beyond textiles, hemp has also found its usage in paper manufacturing. The bast fiber of hemp is primarily responsible for paper production. Studies suggest that paper made from hemp has far better quality than the paper we use now.

2.4 Pet food

Since hemp seeds contain several healthy proteins and can also improve the skin condition, they are given as dietary supplements to dogs, cats, cows, horses, as well as birds. These seeds contain all ten essential amino acids, making it a full proof protein. They also make pets’ skin healthy and shiny.

2.5 Construction Material

Pulpy wood-like center of hemp’s stalks is blended to make Hempcrete, something that could be used as a construction material. It is a biocomposite of hemp hurd, mixed with lime and water. Hempcrete is also mold-resistant, carbon-negative, and works as an insulator. With no synthetic components and great structural strength, hempcrete is a viable and conventional alternative as a construction material.

Takeaway

As you saw above, hemp, a plant of many uses, has several other uses as well that are not mentioned in this article. With hemp cultivation experiencing a shift, let us hope that it is encouraged in the coming years, as the plant seems to be able to do-it-all.  

References

https://homegrown.co.in/article/803605/7-indian-companies-on-the-forefront-of-the-hemp-revolution

https://www.hempbasics.com/shop/general-hemp-information

https://premiumjane.com/blog/10-amazing-things-you-can-use-hemp-for/

https://www.greenentrepreneur.com/article/331065

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Synonyms and meanings of Cannabis in Ayurveda

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Synonyms and meanings of Cannabis in Ayurveda

What lies in the name? Well, it does, and this question becomes redundant when something or someone has scores of names to describe their functions. The functions of the subject what it does or effects on the object. The ancient Indian literature and mythology shares on record the myriads of names from Lord Shiva to Rama and from Krishna to Lord Dhanwantri if we mainly talk about Ayurveda. 

The reason for giving these lords numerous names is to describe their powers in their names.

Any subject or object of some importance carries synonyms, and more are the names, more is the importance it holds. Let us specifically discuss the case of Cannabis here. This plant might have attracted people from the western world in the 20th century, but its significance lies in Ayurveda literature since time immemorial. From ‘Sharangdhar Samhita to ‘Rasendra Sara Sangraha, and from ‘Bhavpraskahs to Rasendra Chintamani’ a total of 34 different names have been given in these ancient works of literature.

The synonyms carry the meaning and convey the functions that ‘Cannabis’ does in the body or mind. So, let us discuss some of the synonyms of Cannabis and their meanings/utilities that can enable you to learn and know about the wonder herb.

  1. Sivaluli– ‘Bhanga’ or Cannabis is known to be originated from Lord Shiva himself and therefore has been used in Shiva Poojan along with leaves of Indian bel. The offering of the leaves on ‘Shiv-Lingam’ shows the significance the herb carries.
  2. Vijaya– Cannabis is called ‘Vijaya’ as it can give you victory over the six desires of the mind.
  3. Bhangi– Cannabis is called ‘Bhangi’ as it treats ‘Taapa traya’ which is referred to 3 basic types of diseases, namely adhyātmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika.
  4. Ganja– Ganja is one of the oldest and common names of Cannabis Sativa. It is dried leaves of Cannabis Sativa and called ‘Hemp’ in English. Since it has the properties to intoxicate like alcohol, it is called Ganja.
  5. Vimrardini– ‘Vimradan’ in Sanskrit means pressing and squeezing, the Swaras or Juice of ‘Bhanga’ made with this pressing; hence, it is given this name.
  6. Divya– Cannabis is called as ‘Divya’ as the judicious use of ‘Bhanga’ gives exhilaration and pleasure.
  7. Siddha– ‘Cannabis’ is said to be a holy herb as it has been used as a sacrament and its usage in almost every known and unknown mind and body diseases.
  8. Siddida– Cannabis bestows enlightenment as even in the modern-day ‘Naga’ sadhus have been found using it for doing the practice of the hardest ‘Hatha’ yoga. The toughest form of ‘Yoga’ which requires practice with perseverance.
  9. Siddha muli– An ascetic is a person who follows the pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme self-denial or self-mortification for religious reasons. The cannabis plant does not require any efforts for its cultivation, and like a person who leads an austerely simple life, it grows humbly and only at its own.
  10. Manonmai– Cannabis accomplishes in winning over the problems of the mind.
  11. Madhu Drava– The consumption of Cannabis stimulates ‘Sudha Drava’ or happy hormones such as dopamine in the brain and gives a state of happiness.
  12. Pasupasavinasini– Cannabis restores health from non-human behaviour.
  13. Kalaghni– Under acute conditions like severe pain, acute abdomen, and cholera, the use of Cannabis has shown patients recovering from these conditions which make its name as ‘Kalaghni’ or victory from death quite apt.
  14. Sarvarogaghni– Cannabis is used in two hundred Ayurveda formulation, and its usage is mentioned in almost every disease that it is rightly being referred to as ‘Sarvarogaghni’ or a cure for diseases.
  15. Chidahlaada– Cannabis is called as ‘Chidahlaada’ as it has been used to give happiness and joy at every festive occasion.

Cannabis is the herb which has been used by Vaidyas, Rishis and ordinary citizens since times immemorial before it received a bad name and a taboo in the early 20th century. If we closely study its names and references from where it got its various names and shun the sceptical view to allow more scientific studies on it. The chances are there the world would accept Cannabis as the herbal medicinal plant, not as a roadside harmful and redundant grass.

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Tips to Buy the Best CBD Oil

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CBD OIL

As the popularity of medicinal cannabis grows, a number of people are substituting their medication with cannabis products. CBD or cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis, is gaining popularity in today’s medical field due to its multiple benefits. Not only does CBD help treat certain ailments, it helps better the lifestyle of individuals as well. Do you wish to buy CBD oil? Are you unsure about where and how you should buy it? Well, then you’ve come to the right place for information. Here are some tips to buy the best CBD oil.

About CBD and CBD oil

CBD is one of the major compounds present in marijuana. This compound is well known for its therapeutic benefits. CBD helps lower anxiety, alleviates pain, overcome nervousness, reduces inflammation, etc. Unlike THC or tetrahydracannabinol, another dominant compound found in cannabis, CBD does not possess any psychoactive properties and thus, does not make consumers high. Due to its multiple benefits, CBD oil is available in the market and is in high demand. CBD oil helps ease symptoms related to conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, cancer, PTSD, etc.

Why you should be careful while purchasing CBD oil

Today, there are countless brands and product lines selling CBD products such as CBD oil. This makes it confusing for the buyers as to which products are worth buying. Sadly, all the products available in the market are not equally good, and it isn’t easy to be able to tell the good products from the bad ones.

A number of CBD oils and products available online are low-quality, and some are even fake. Some of these products contain THC, and some have toxic chemicals which can cause severe poisoning. Therefore, it is important to follow certain guidelines in order to select the best CBD oil before buying.

Tips for buying CBD oil

Here are some tips to help you buy the best CBD oil.

  1. Note the ingredients: One should always read the ingredients of the product and compare them with those of the other products available. For instance, some good quality CBD oils would include additional ingredients such as melatonin or MCT oils that provide more benefits to individuals. On the other hand, low quality oils would have harmful ingredients like vegetable glycerin and propylene. Therefore you should be on the lookout for the aforementioned components that could prove whether a product is good or bad.
  2. Check the THC content: Prior to buying the product, you should check the laws regarding CBD or CBD oil that apply in your state. Most of the states impose restrictions on the amount of THC that should be present in CBD oils. In a good quality effective oil, the THC concentration should be 0.3% or lower than that. Not only does a higher THC content limit the benefits of the oil, it can potentially be categorized as recreational marijuana.
  3. Google the brand and check reviews: It is necessary for you to google the brand name before buying the oil. Check whether the website seems legitimate enough. You should also check the reviews from other customers in order to analyze whether the product is good or not. Sometimes, there can be fake reviews as well; therefore, only trusted bloggers’ reviews should be considered. This step would help narrow down your choices along with the other tips.
  4. Check lab reports: It is essential to check whether a laboratory has tested the CBD oil. If the product has successful lab results, the information regarding that should be available on the brand’s website. An absence of lab reports could suggest that the product is suspicious. In the reports, it should be noted whether the laboratory is a known one or not, and whether the products are accredited with following the International Organizations for Standardization (ISO). It should also be checked if the reports were published less than 3 years ago, since they would be considered expired after that.
  5. Choose within your budget: Once you have checked for all of the above conditions and narrowed down your list of oils, you can choose the one that is within your budget. Sometimes, certain products are priced high because of their trendy packaging or outer looks, therefore you can cut the cost by choosing another oil with the same ingredients and a less attractive packaging.

Word from Hempsteet

Discussed above, are some important tips for buying the best CBD oil. If you think CBD oil could benefit you, it is recommended that you contact your medical health professional and get a prescription for the same. We advise against self-medication using cannabis.

References:

medium.com/alphagreen/how-to-buy-cbd-products-online-and-benefit-10-tips-to-remember-5df4de0e7094

www.healthline.com/health/best-cbd-oil

cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-oil-product-buying-tips/

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Cannabis and Ulcerative Colitis

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Cannabis

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a disease of the inflammatory bowel that causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract. In Ulcerative Colitis, the innermost lining of the intestine (colon) is affected. This disease affects the gastrointestinal tract and has a relapsing nature.

The symptoms of UC can be diarrhea, an urgency to defecate, abdominal pain, rectal pain, blood in the stool, fever, fatigue, weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration, etc. Severity of the inflammation can lead to serious health complications like increased risk of colon cancer, bleeding, bone loss, hole in the colon, etc. Though there is no exact reason for Ulcerative Colitis to happen, it is suspected to develop due to factors such as immune disorder, genetics, bacteria or viruses can spark the immune system, etc.

UC can be diagnosed with the help of different tests like colonoscopy, endoscopy, biopsy, stool test, etc. UC can be of different types like proctosigmoiditis, ulcerative proctitis, left-sided colitis, pancolitis, and acute severe ulcerative colitis. There is no permanent cure for UC, but treatment can reduce symptoms and can bring long-term remission and prevents relapses.

UC or Pittaj Grahani in Ayurveda is a disease of purisha vaha srotas which is caused by Pitta Pradhana Vata doshas. Ayurveda works on the philosophy of doshas, Vata, Pitta, Kapha, any imbalance in the doshas creates health issues in one’s body. As per Ayurveda, treatment involves Shamana chikitsa (internal medicines), Shodana chikitsa (Panchakarma therapy), lifestyle modifications and stringent diet regime. In more severe case, Panchakarma therapy plays a vital role as it quickly detoxifies & rejuvenates the digestive system, controls the inflammation, rectal bleeding and heals the ulcerations.Past analysis has shown that by getting Ayurvedic treatment, patients can avoid the colon surgery. 

UC can be treated with a combination of treatment, i.e. diet, medication or in severe cases surgery. We’ll look at each of the treatments separately:

•    Diet

It is suggested that one suffering from UC should take low fibre and low-fat diet, the idea is to eat healthy and light, the fat will avoid flaring up the colon and fibre will reduce the number of stools one passes. One should have a good amount of fruits and vegetables and a diet that feeds ample nutrients and vitamins. Some medical practitioners may advise stopping the intake of dairy products if one is lactose intolerant.

There are some home remedies to treat UC; one can have probiotics that are filled with healthy bacteria avoiding inflammation. One can use turmeric in daily cooking; turmeric is an age-old herb that has antioxidant properties.

•    Medication

Various kinds of medicines are being used to treat UC that leads to controlling the symptoms. The medicines may include antibiotics.

•    Surgery

In severe case of UC, the patient has to undergo surgery; the surgery might involve the removal of the colon and the rectum. Due to the advancement of medical technology, an internal pouch is created and is linked to the anus, avoiding ileostomy.

Cannabis and Ulcerative Colitis

In some of the studies, cannabis has shown signs of decreased inflammation and maintain remission of the condition, so usage of cannabis to treat symptoms of UC such as abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, etc. might be helpful.

A professor of microbiology and physiological systems at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester researched how cannabis stops inflammation.

They started the research by acknowledging an already known inflammation process that occurs when the body is infected with a pathogen. The neutrophil influx is a normal reaction of the immune system that sends neutrophils a type of white blood cell to fight against foreign microorganisms such as viruses or bacteria.

However, if the immune cells react disproportionately, they can also destroy the epithelium, which is the protective layer of cells that lines the inside of the intestine. So, to stop the overreaction of the immune response, particular molecules are “dispatched” and transported across the epithelium to stop the inflammation.

It was found that the second process requires endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), which are naturally produced by our bodies and have a similar effect to the cannabinoids in cannabis.

By performing experiments in mice and human cell lines, the team found that if endocannabinoids are lacking or are insufficient, the body cannot control the inflammation process anymore and the neutrophils attack the protective intestinal layer.  The scientists believe that cannabis makes up for the natural cannabinoids, inducing the same anti-inflammatory effect that endocannabinoids would have.

To conclude, all the arguments, discussion, debates reach one point, i.e. whether the studies that have been conducted are enough to consider the usage of medical cannabis to treat any ailment. Can one overlook the side effects of cannabis? It is always advisable to consult a medical practitioner before using cannabis to treat any illness.  And it is also vital for the medical practitioner to be well informed about medical cannabis and the studies available on it, to advise patients accordingly.


[1] https://charaka.org/ulcerative-colitis/

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322764#How-cannabinoids-stop-the-inflammation

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