Hemp! This tall annual plant might look ordinary at first glance, but wait until you discover its infinite possibilities! In fact, it might have a chance to become THE most useful crop of the future. Used in the food, textile, cosmetics, health and construction industries, the list of its uses is impressive and growing at a fast pace.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HEMP
Hemp, contrary to popular belief, was a common crop in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ropes and textiles were made from hemp fibres, mainly for boats. How is it that it has since then disappeared from fields across the nation? Once again, blame it on cannabis and its bad reputation at the time. Its culture ceased abruptly in the late 1930s due to a law prohibiting any farmer from growing hemp. The authorities in place did not want to make the distinction between these two plants and simply decided to forbid both! Fast forward 60 years to 1998. That’s the year the federal government finally granted the first commercial licence to grow industrial hemp … 60 years later! No wonder this plant is still so unknown! Unfortunately, the market of the ’90s was difficult and the demand for this plant was low and sporadic. Many farmers gave up along the way. Once again, the glory days of hemp were short-lived. Fortunately, today’s increasing demand for ecological, versatile and healthy products, has given hemp a new chance.
Hemp is an environmentally friendly plant. We’ve said it already, but it’s worth repeating it, because it really is a true champion for the environment. Did you know that almost all parts of the plant can be transformed? That means almost nothing is wasted! Its seeds can be transformed into hemp hearts, flour or hemp milk. They can even be pressed into a delicious oil, perfect for salad dressing. Hemp oil, which has many health benefits, can also be incorporated into cosmetics, as is the case with Chanv products. The fibres come from the stem, and can be made into paper, textiles and even insulation. Finally, at the heart of the stem, there is a soft, white flesh called the hurd which can be used as mulch, animal bedding or to make hemp concrete, an extraordinary building material!
Hemp is versatile, ecological, waste-free, healthy, easy to grow. It’s good for the soil and cleans the air. Could it be the perfect plant? It looks like it! One thing is certain, for a plant that has been used for hundreds of years to make ropes and sails for boats it sure has had … the wind in its sails in the last couple of years!
Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, balms, and oils that are absorbed through the skin for localized relief of pain, soreness, and inflammation. Because they’re non-intoxicating, topicals are often chosen by patients who want the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the cerebral euphoria associated with other delivery methods. Other transdermal innovations are fast arriving in the cannabis market, including long-lasting patches and tingly lubricants for patients and recreational consumers alike.
Strain-specific topicals attempt to harness certain terpenes and cannabinoids in a chemical profile similar to that of Blackberry Kush, Permafrost, Blueberry, or whatever other strains the processor wishes to imitate. Along with THC, CBD, THCA, and other cannabinoids, topical producers may also select ingredients and essential oils for additional relief, like cayenne, wintergreen, and clove.
Cannabis-infused lotions, salves, oils, sprays, and other transdermal methods of relief work by binding to a network of receptors called CB2. These CB2 receptors are found throughout the body and are activated either by the body’s naturally-occurring endocannabinoids or by cannabis compounds known as “phytocannabinoids” (e.g., THC, CBD).
Even if a topical contains active THC, it still won’t induce that intense “high” you’d get from smoking or ingesting cannabis. With most topicals, cannabinoids can’t breach the bloodstream; they only penetrate to the system of CB2 receptors. Transdermal patches, however, do deliver cannabinoids to the bloodstream and could have psychoactive effects with a high enough THC content.
Topicals are most popularly chosen for localized pain relief, muscle soreness, tension, and inflammation, but anecdotal evidence is beginning to show a widening spectrum of potential benefits, from psoriasis, dermatitis, and itching to headaches and cramping.
A THC-rich rub infused with cooling menthol and peppermint is a perfect way to wind down from a brutal workout or hike. For intense localized pain, you may try a warming balm that combines the deep painkilling properties of cannabinoids with a tingling, soothing sensation. Inflammation symptoms may require a different chemical profile, as Cannabis Basics’ CEO Ah Warner explains:
“Arthritic pain is caused by inflammation. My products have [THCA] and CBD, both of which are anti-inflammatory. Active THC is not for inflammation, but when left in its acid form and combined with CBD, the two work to get rid of inflammation and the pain that comes with it.”
Different topicals have different benefits to offer depending on the way they are processed and the ingredients that are used, so experiment with various transdermal products to see what works for you. Canadians will see more and more options for topical remedies as regulations are enacted, and for sufferers of pain and inflammation, it’s worth exploring. You’d be surprised the difference that one special ingredient makes.