The cannabidiol (CBD) that we use in our products at 50 Shades of Green is a compound derived from the hemp plant. Hemp has a long history with human civilization, and was one of the first plants grown specifically as a crop. There is archaeological evidence of hemp from at least 8,000 BCE, and considering that human agriculture started about 10,000 years ago, that definitely makes hemp one of the earliest known plants to be cultivated. But when you consider the wide assortment of uses for hemp, it’s not surprising that it’s been popular for thousands of years.

Today, hemp can be used to make a variety of products with commercial and industrial applications. Textiles, rope, shoes, paper, biofuel, insulation: the list of applications for hemp is nearly endless. Historically, hemp as been used for clothing and food, and was especially important to sailors, who used rope and sails made from hemp. In fact, the word “canvas” is derived from the word “cannabis.” And many of America’s Founding Fathers farmed hemp—Thomas Jefferson even wrote a draft of the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper!

Hemp can also be consumed in many ways. The seeds can be eaten raw or ground into hemp meal, both of which are high in fiber, protein, antioxidants, vitamins, and dietary minerals, leading many people to consider them a superfood. Hemp milk and hemp oil are high in unsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6, which are crucial for long-term health. (Note that hemp seed oil comes from pressed hemp seeds, and is NOT the same thing as CBD oil.) Formerly just a staple in health food stores, hemp is steadily making inroads into mainstream supermarkets and grocery stores as more people learn about its benefits.

There are environmental benefits to modern-day hemp cultivation as well. Many farmers use it as a method of weed control, and planting it can help avoid the use of herbicides. Hemp can also be used as a “mop crop” to clear soil and wastewater of environmental pollutants. It can even be processed as a biofuel. One of the biggest benefits of growing hemp as a crop is that it needs less water than other plants which produce similar products. Cotton, for example, requires 14 times the amount of water that hemp does to grow in similar climates.

50 Shades of Green is proud to be a leader in the effort to bring hemp cultivation back to America. We love that it is a great source of CBD, but hemp is an amazing plant by every standard. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized the production of hemp on a federal level, the future of hemp has never looked brighter!