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what does hemp do

Jamestown settlers introduced hemp to colonial America in the early 1600s for rope, paper, and other fiber-based products; they even imposed fines on those who didn’t produce the crop themselves. US presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp.

Seeds can be consumed whole, or refined by being pressed or crushed to produce hemp seed oil and flour. These seeds are also hulled, or shelled, to make them more palatable. The remaining shells, which are rich in fiber, can also be used for making flour.

For a cleaner burn, consider lighting your hemp flower with hemp wick. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Frequently asked questions

Hemp has been cultivated on a global scale for thousands of years. The oldest documented evidence of hemp cultivation is a rope, which dates back to 26,900 BCE, found in today’s Czech Republic.

Some of the earliest known prolific uses of hemp began in China about 10,000 BCE, where it was used for making clothing, rope, and paper. The Yangshao people, who lived in China from roughly 5,000 BCE, wove hemp and pressed it into their pottery for decorative purposes. From about 5,000 to 300 BCE, the plant was also grown in Japan and used for fiber and paper.

The short answer is yes. Though be aware that while hemp does have trace amounts of intoxicating compounds, that doesn’t mean it will get you high. Hemp plants don’t produce enough THC to have an intoxicating effect. CBD, though technically psychoactive, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid and won’t produce any form of a euphoric high on its own.

Hemp plants are almost always cultivated outdoors, as opposed to marijuana plants, which are often planted in greenhouses or indoor grow operations. Because hemp is susceptible to the same predators, diseases, and insects that attack marijuana, many cultivators employ a technique called crop rotation, in which alternating crops are planted in the same place, to avoid any buildup of these organisms and to allow nutrients to return to the soil.

Girgih AT, Alashi A, He R, Malomo S, Aluko RE. Preventive and treatment effects of a hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) meal protein hydrolysate against high blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Eur J Nutr. 2014;53(5):1237-46. View abstract.

Prociuk M, Edel A, Gavel N, et al. The effects of dietary hempseed on cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury in hypercholesterolemic rabbits. Exp Clin Cardiol. 2006;11(3):198-205. View abstract.

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Don’t confuse hemp with Canadian hemp, hemp agrimony, cannabis, or cannabidiol (CBD).

Cheng CW, Bian ZX, Zhu LX, Wu JC, Sung JJ. Efficacy of a Chinese herbal proprietary medicine (Hemp Seed Pill) for functional constipation. Am J Gastroenterol. 2011;106(1):120-9. View abstract.

Jeong M, Cho J, Shin JI, et al. Hempseed oil induces reactive oxygen species- and C/EBP homologous protein-mediated apoptosis in MH7A human rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synovial cells. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;154(3):745-52. View abstract.