Hemp is one of the oldest cultivated plants. Due to its unusually high nutrient density and many health-promoting nutrients, hemp is considered a real miracle plant and is becoming increasingly popular, especially as a food supplement.
Hemp is a true multi-talent, because there is hardly any other plant with such a wide range of uses as hemp. Whether as a superfood, raw material supplier or medicine.
In our large hemp test 2021 we would like to inform you comprehensively about why the hemp plant and its extracts are becoming more and more popular and show you which health-promoting effects can come from hemp and how you can also integrate the products into your everyday life.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Hemp: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for hemp
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about hemp answered in detail
The most important facts
- The hemp plant is said to have numerous positive effects on the health of the human body. For example, hemp tea has a calming effect on body and mind and can bring your inner balance into equilibrium. Hemp seeds are known as a superfood because they contain a lot of vitamins and proteins.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are active substances found in the hemp plant and are classified as cannabinoids. CBD is known for many health-promoting properties. THC has an intoxicating effect on consumers, while CBD has no psychoactive effect.
- Medical hemp is mainly used as an additional medicine for patients with permanent chronic pain and diseases in order to positively influence the course of the disease as far as possible and to alleviate pain.
The Best Hemp: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for hemp
To find the right hemp products with the best possible effects for your needs, you should plan enough time. Experiences and reviews from other consumers can also be helpful in finding a high-quality product.
When buying hemp products, we recommend that you pay special attention to the following criteria:
The purity of the product is of particular importance. It is important that no chemical additives, pollutants or pesticides were used in the production process.
The label "GMO-free" can serve as a guide.
Products made from high-quality hemp plants are 100% organically grown.
Also, make sure that the plants are cultivated in Europe, because the standards of organic cultivation are guaranteed here.
In addition, the conditions in the EU are much stricter. So you can be sure that the hemp plants do not contain pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals or other harmful substances.
It is becoming increasingly common for suppliers to sell contaminated products that can do anything but promote health.
This is usually due to the cultivation method or the extraction process. Therefore, pay attention not only to the origin of the hemp plants, but also to how the CBD was extracted.
Cannabinoids are extracted from the hemp plant using various extraction methods, but can also be produced in a laboratory. A corresponding note on the product packaging will tell you whether it is a natural extract that contains pure cannabidiol.
When buying CBD products, you will certainly often come across the term supercritical CO2 extraction. This is the safest and most frequently used extraction, which we would like to introduce to you briefly:
With the help of CO2, the CBD is gently extracted from the hemp plant. CO2 extraction delivers pure CBD and is free of chemical solvent residues.
This method works with carbon dioxide, which reaches the so-called supercritical state by heating and simultaneously massively increasing the pressure, in which the properties of CO2 lie between those of gases and liquids.
The carbon dioxide thus functions as a solvent and in this way extracts the active substances from the hemp plant. This method is particularly convincing in that the CO2 immediately becomes a gas again and evaporates as soon as the temperature and pressure return to normal.
This ensures that the extract remains without residues. This method has become particularly established in the industry because it is extremely efficient (1).
With CO2 extraction, there is no chance of harmful solvents being left behind, making it the cleanest of the extraction methods.
Full spectrum or isolate
A distinction is made between two CBD extracts. There are isolate products with 99 percent pure CBD and full-spectrum extracts that are not only rich in CBD but contain numerous other cannabinoids as well as terpenes and flavonoids found in the hemp plant.
In the following, we would like to go into more detail about both extracts and explain the difference:
- Full spectrum extracts: By removing fibres, large proteins and cell structures from inside the hemp plant and leaving only the medicinal compounds in the extract, full spectrum extracts are obtained. A significant difference between the two extracts is the so-called entourage effect in the full-spectrum extracts. The term refers to the synergistic interaction of CBD with other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. This creates an effect that is much stronger than the sum of its parts (2). Thanks to the other therapeutic compounds found in the cannabis plant, full-spectrum extracts produce a stronger effect. The wide range of cannabinoids elicits a much stronger effect than CBD alone.
- CBD isolates: These are obtained in the same way, but they go through additional stages to separate CBD from all other components and obtain pure CBD.
A mixture of many different cannabinoids should be used with caution when consumed regularly, as traces of THC may have a positive influence on a drug test.
Although CBD products are not allowed to exceed the THC value of 0.3 percent, permanent consumption can cause even slight traces of THC. So if you want to avoid THC at all costs, CBD isolate is the better option for you.
CBD isolates do not contain psychoactive THC. If you prefer cheap and effective products with a high CBD content, concentrated CBD isolates are ideal for you. Isolates are especially suitable for people who might be hypersensitive to ingredients of the full-spectrum product.
CBD is available in many different concentrations. Basically, we recommend that you always start below the recommended dosage. This way you can experience how your body reacts to a lower dose until you increase it.
It may even be that the dose is too low for you at the beginning and therefore seems ineffective. This way you can be sure that you don't accidentally take too much and suffer from possible side effects.
Before buying a CBD product, you should definitely pay attention to the CBD concentration. If this is not immediately obvious on the product, we recommend that you look for other products.
Beginners should always start with products with a low CBD concentration. This should be between two and max. 10 percent. After you and your body have become accustomed to the CBD over time, you can slowly increase the dose.
- Medium concentration: If you are looking for CBD products to strengthen your immune system or for general well-being, then you are well served by products with around 10 percent CBD content.
- Strong concentration: For chronic pain, sleep disorders or anxiety and restlessness, it is recommended to choose CBD products with a medium to high CBD content. This should be around 20 percent.
The current highest CBD concentration is 30 percent. However, these products are only suitable for experienced users.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about hemp answered in detail
In the following section, we have summarised all relevant information in order to inform you as comprehensively as possible about the entire topic and to show you the different sides of hemp.
What is commercial hemp?
Due to its properties, commercial hemp is particularly popular in the textile and cosmetics industries. Numerous hemp products such as hemp tea, hemp protein powder or hemp flour have also established themselves in the food industry.
- Textile industry: Clothing made of hemp fibres is becoming more and more popular, as it is more resilient and tear-resistant compared to cotton clothing. Compared to cotton, hemp fibres are softer and offer a very pleasant wearing sensation. No pesticides are usually needed to grow hemp plants, as they are very resistant. Clothing made from hemp is considered a natural product and is particularly suitable for allergy sufferers (3).
- Cosmeticsindustry: Cosmetics made from ingredients of the hemp plant have been developed mainly to alleviate certain skin problems. These products are of natural origin and are ideal for sensitive skin types. Due to the natural ingredients, irritations and dry skin can be treated and cared for well. Cosmetics containing CBD can have an anti-inflammatory effect and prevent breakouts, inflammation and redness due to the soothing properties (4). Hemp cosmetics are particularly mild to the skin and do not irritate it. It has not yet been proven that hemp cosmetics solve serious skin problems, but they can alleviate them very well (5).
Only low-THC commercial hemp varieties are used for the production of commercial hemp. In Germany, only certified seeds are used that have a THC value of less than 0.2 percent.
What is medicinal hemp and when is it used?
In diseases such as Parkinson's or multiple sclerosis, it can be used to alleviate the symptoms somewhat. Medicinal hemp can also have a supportive effect on anxiety (6).
Medical hemp is mainly used in pain therapy for certain chronic diseases in order to have a noticeably positive influence on the course of the disease. Medical hemp is used less for a cure and more for the alleviation of symptoms as an additional medicine.
Medical effects of hemp are primarily due to the ingredients THC and CBD, with THC having an intoxicating and relaxing effect. CBD has an anxiety-relieving effect and can inhibit inflammation. The effectiveness of medicinal hemp has not yet been sufficiently researched.
Some time must pass before medicinal hemp can show its first effects (7).
When is medicinal hemp used?
It is clear that medicinal hemp is not a panacea and cannot cure serious diseases. The following diseases and areas of application are conceivable indications for a therapy with medicinal hemp:
- Chronic pain
- Spasticity in multiple sclerosis (8)
- Nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy (9)
Whether medicinal hemp is an option for you depends on whether and what other treatments would be possible and whether the risk of side effects seems acceptable (10).
What side effects can medicinal hemp cause?
- Fatigue and lack of concentration
- Mood swings
- Dry mouth and throat
- Dizziness and low blood pressure
Life-threatening complications after medicinal hemp use have not been reported so far.
Use can increase the risk of becoming mentally ill and developing psychoses (11).
Consumption over a long period of time leads to the possibility of becoming desensitised to many of its effects. With sudden discontinuation, withdrawal symptoms may then occur.
What types of hemp are there?
|Hemp seeds||Contain a lot of essential nutrients and vital substances and are an ideal food supplement. They contain important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and sulphur, which are essential for various functions and processes in the body and must be supplied with food.|
|Hemp seed oil||Hemp seed oil is one of the highest quality edible oils because it is rich in essential fatty acids. The fats in hemp seed oil are present in an optimal ratio so that the body can process them optimally.|
|Hemp tea||The leaves and flowers of the hemp plant are used for the production. Hemp tea can reduce stress and inner turmoil.|
Hemp seeds can be called a real superfood, because they are a true source of essential vitamins. Vitamins are chemical organic compounds that perform many tasks in the organism.
They control and influence biochemical processes in the body and are responsible for the undisturbed functioning of many life processes (12).
The proteins edstin and albumin contained in hemp are very similar to human proteins and ensure that they are better absorbed by the body than many other proteins.
Hemp seeds are characterised by their slightly nutty-sweet taste and therefore go well with both sweet and hearty food.
Hemp seeds are especially good as a topping on salads, bowls and spreads, but can also be mixed into muesli in the morning. Furthermore, they go perfectly with smoothies, yoghurts, pastries and baked goods.
Hemp seed oil
Hemp seed oil can be used both internally and externally.
Hemp seed oil does not have any psychoactive effect and does not have any intoxicating effects, so that children and pregnant women can also consume hemp seed oil without hesitation.
Hemp seed oil can be optimally integrated into a balanced diet and is particularly suitable for people who want to avoid meat and fish products, but still want to supply their body with all the necessary nutrients.
Hemp oil can be used as a vegan alternative to fish products because it is a rich source of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and is therefore considered an ideal source of energy. This oil is not suitable for frying or deep-frying, as the fatty acids already decompose at a temperature of 165°C and above (13).
Combining hemp seed oil with foods rich in vitamins helps you absorb the nutrients better.
It is best to start with a very small dosage to get your body used to taking it. If you experience side effects such as stomach problems, you should reduce the amount or stop taking the oil.
Hemp seed oil is one of the few vegetable oils that contains the valuable gamma-linolenic acid. Gamma-linolenic acid can have a very positive effect on inflammations such as neurodermatitis or psoriasis.
Hemp seed oil moisturises the skin and can help to relieve itching and rashes. You can apply the oil to the affected areas or soak compresses in the oil. You can repeat this procedure several times a day.
For best symptom relief, we recommend both internal and external application of the oil.
When applied externally, allergic reactions such as redness or pustules are not entirely untypical. If you experience any adverse effects, you should stop using hemp seed oil.
The scent and taste is very aromatic and intense. The aroma can be intensified by steeping the tea for a longer time. If necessary, a little honey, lemon or milk can be added.
Hemp tea can improve mental performance and provides inner balance. Hemp tea ensures that stress symptoms and inner turmoil are reduced and a balancing and harmonious mind is established.
In addition to the calming effect on body and mind, hemp tea can also help strengthen the immune system (14). Anti-inflammatory ingredients can help relieve cramps and contribute to the relief of aches and pains.
What are the alternatives to hemp?
CBD can be helpful for many diseases and alleviate pain with the help of anti-inflammatory substances. Its benefits have been proven in various clinical studies. When taken regularly as a dietary supplement, CBD oil can have a positive effect on chronic pain.
CDB can also be effective in schizophrenia (15). CBD oil can improve inflammations such as acne or psoriasis through its soothing effect.
CBD oil can also be a good choice for stress and sleep disorders. The cannabinoids contained in CBD oil can help reduce stress and have a calming effect on problems falling asleep or sleeping through the night. CBD oil can also bring about improvements in depression and anxiety (16).
In cancer therapy, CBD oil is successfully used to combat side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and vomiting. Cannabinoids also limit the viability of tumour cells and their proliferation and growth.
What does hemp cost?
|Hemp tea||approx. 9-15 euros/100 grams|
|Hemp seed oil||approx. 14-19 euros/500 ml|
|Hemp seeds||approx. 7-11 euros/1 kg|
Before buying hemp products, you should be aware that hemp food supplements are more expensive than other food supplements.
We recommend that you always go for the more expensive products, as the quality of the product will definitely convince you. For your health, you should always be prepared to spend a little more money.
Image source: Schweitzer / 123rf
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