- Latin name
Known as true hemp Cannabis is the Latin and the Greek name for the plant. There are other plants which are given the name hemp:
- Henequen, sisal and bowstring hemp belong to the family Agavaceae; Manila hemp belongs to the Musaceae family.
- Sunn hemp is obtained from Crotalaria juncea, Leguminosae.
The Plant and its Environment
Hemp is the common name for an Asian annual herb grown for cannabis and for its strong, pliable fiber It is cultivated in Eurasia, United States and Chile. The plants may vary in height approximately from 1 m (3 ft) to 5 m (15 ft) depending upon the climate and soil type.
- The male plant bears flowers in axillary racemes and dies soon after pollination while the female plant bears flowers in short, crowded spikes and dies after the seed matures: both are used for their fiber
Hempseed oil does not contain the psychoactive substances present in the plant. The colour of the oil is like dark olive oil with a flavour similar to sunflower oil. Hempseed oil can be ingested safely and used on salads but should not be heated because of the GLA content.
|Type||Based On||Content - %|
|Saturated fatty acid|
|Typical saturated fatty acid content||8|
|Monounsaturated fatty acid|
|Typical monounsaturated fatty acid content||12|
|Polyunsaturated fatty acid|
|Typical polyunsaturated fatty acid content||80|
- Folk-lore and traditional plant uses
The flowers and leaves of Hemp are used to produce the narcotics bhang, hashish, and marijuana. The pain killing and antinausea properties of cannabis for those suffering from multiple sclerosis and cancer are widely known, but little is known about the beneficial properties of hemp seed oil. It is thought that for optimum nutrition a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 of 3: is desirable and hemp fits this requirement.
- An 11 year old suffering from itchy eczema found that steroid treatment did not help, but found relief when she took 3 tsp of hemp oil three times a day; over a period of several weeks her skin became smoother and less irritable. Hempseed yields an oil used in the manufacture of soap and oil paints and the seeds themselves are widely used as birdseed.
A resin, called charas, produced by female flower heads and seeds of hemp, is used in narcotic smoking mixtures in India. Hemp seeds can be used to make 'hemp butter', of greater nutritional value than peanut butter (Eramus 1986)
Reference: Carrier Oils for Massage and Aromatherapy: Len Price with Ian Smith and Shirley Price