Hemp - Cannabis Sativa

Botanical Name
Cannabis Sativa, cannabis
This family also includes hops!
Common Names
Hemp, cannabis
Hemp is the name for a type of cannabis with little to no THC - the psychoactive compound.


Parts Used 
The hemp plant is one of the most nutritious, regenerative and versatile plants on the planet. With 50,000 known uses and counting, we’re still discovering more! Here are some of the medicinal uses of hemp...

The flowers: cbd extracts, tea, herbal smokes

The leaves: tea, raw, wilted

The stem: tea 

The seeds: pressed into oil, ground to flour or protein

Non-medicinal uses include fibre for construction, thermal insolation, bio plastics, clothing, bio fuels, cosmetics, cleaning products and more! They are also amazing carbon sequesters (4-10x more than trees) and growing them helps the regeneration of polluted soil back to organic land.


Native To
The first known record of hemp use is from China, dated 6000 years ago. Hemp is thought to be native to central Asia but recent studies have theorised it also being native to Europe. Due to hemps incredibly long history of cultivation around the world, it is almost impossible to tell if the plant originated in just one place.
Botanical Description
Hemp is a tall, annual plant growing up to 4m in height, with green palmate shaped leaves. There is slight serating to the edges of the leaves but they are soft to touch.The stalk is hollow apart from the very base and tip, and is surrounded by a pith layer of strong fibres called hurds. The flowers are small and range from yellows to greens. 
Hemp is dioecious, meaning the species has separate female and male plants. The male plants grow smaller flowers that produce pollen, and the female plants grow larger flowers that turn to seeds when pollinated by the males.
Where They Grow
At the moment in the UK hemp can only be grown by farmers with a 3 year hemp license. It's said that hemp grew like nettles in the wild, but 'wild hemp' can no longer be found here. I once met an old woman who remembered a time where all the children could uproot any hemp they found and bring it to the local post office to swap for a few coins. 

Season To Harvest

Hemp is a summer crop, typically sown in May with the whole plant harvested in late September. The flowers obviously come slightly sooner than the seeds.

As hemp is a very fibrous plant, if harvesting with a machine someone will need to hand pull out stuck pieces of the stem every so often or else the whole harvester will get clogged!


Soil Health

Hemp is one of the great soil restorers. Along with a few other plants including sunflowers, hemp can help return polluted soil to organic land by absorbing the toxins in the soil and replacing them with organic mater.

The long taproot of hemp travels deep underground to find water, and as a result it holds the soil together creating earth that is more stable and resilient to droughts and floods.


Energetically, hemp is drying and warm.


The medicine in hemp comes from compounds known as cannabinoids. Every green part of the plant contains some cannabinoids but the flower holds the most. We create small amounts of our own cannabinoids that interact with our endo-cannabinoid system. This system is responsible for the homeostasis of all other major systems in the body. So when something causes an imbalance, we produce cannabinoids to help the endo-cannabinoid system restore our health and wellbeing. However, and here's the caveat, we do not produce enough on our own. We need to get it from external sources. The hemp plant is one of the best sources of cannabinoids we know.

The effect of cannabis on our endo-cannabinoid system is why the plant can be used for so many things ranging from anxiety and stress, to immunity, gut health, hormone regulation, pain sensitivity, digestion and even brain function.

The most well known cannabinoid is CBD. It is one of the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis and as such, one of the most researched. In fact there are over 140 cannabinoids in the plant, all with varying medicinal qualities. This complex profile cannot be recreated in a lab, and the medicine of the plant is at its most potent when all its compounds are taken together. Mother nature knows what she's doing!

THC is the other well known cannabinoid. This is responsible for the 'high' you get when taking cannabis. Although hemp has little to no THC in it and the cannabinoid tends to get a bad rap, it's actually a potent medicine in itself. THC is currently being used successfully to treat seizures and other severe conditions but mostly in the US where the cannabis plant is legal. 

Billy, an 11 year old boy, became the first person to receive a prescription of high THC cannabis in the uk after using the plant in the US to treat his epilepsy. When he started using cannabis he went from having multiple seizures everyday to going over 300 days without a single one. Incredible!


The leaves can be made into a tea, or eaten raw or wilted. They are full of vitamins protein, omega 3,6,9 and fibre!


The stem can be made into tea but is too fibrous to eat. I find stem tea to have a calming effect, similar to chamomile. 


Hemp seeds can be pressed into an oil that contains more omega 3,6 and 9 than oily fish! The oil is also wonderful for the skin as it is high in vitamin e and nourishes the skin without clogging the pores.

The husks of the seed contain large amounts of protein - in fact they contain all 21 amino acids that your body needs but cannot produce! The seed is known as a superfood in its own right.


Magic & folklore 

In Ancient Asian cultures there is a goddess called Magu, known as the protector of women, a healer and the goddess of hemp. Ma-Gu literally translates to hemp maiden in Chinese, and she is recognised as the caretaker of hemp in Taoism.

She is usually portrayed as a young woman around 18 either holding a bucket of peaches, a branch of hemp leaves, or a lotus flower.

Stories of her healing with these plants quickly spread, beginning with Magu giving a peach to a sick old women on the side of the road. The woman ate the peach and then stood up and walked away, healed, leaving the peach pit in her place. Magu planted the pit and gave out her healing peaches to the community. While the peaches were used for physical healing it is said the hemp and lotus were used for spiritual healing.

Hemp seeds were often eaten for 'second sight' and to protect against possession. They were also used in matters of the heart and were given to partners and loved ones as a token of their love.


Love Em xx