Monetizing the Hemp Plant: Part One

According to statistics supplied by the Hemp Business Journal, US hemp-based product sales are on track to reach $2.6 billion by 2022 – an amount ten times greater than their 2012 level.

But it isn’t just a growing demand for hemp-sourced CBD products and other phytocannabinoids that is driving sales projections upwards.  Also ready and waiting to be monetized is hemp’s amazing arsenal of proteins, minerals, fatty acids, and fibers.

Here are just a few of the many products and ingredients derived from the whole hemp plant (roots, seeds, stalks, leaves and flowers) that are predicted to generate explosive revenues in the natural products marketplace over the next several years:

PROTEIN POWDERS and DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS – Vegetarians, vegans, and meat-eaters can all add a complete plant-based protein which is also rich in fiber (a one-ounce serving has ~14 grams of protein and ~4 grams of fiber). When the entire seed is used to make the protein powder, one gains many of the same perks of hemp seed oil, including 20 amino acids (all 9 of the essential amino acids), and polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

FOOD INGREDIENTS – Often consisting of the seed core (hearts), shells (hulls), and/or hemp oil, recipes containing hemp are generally rich in essential amino acids, polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6), fiber and minerals. Easy digestibility and high protein content make for a rich, plant-based ingredient suitable for many dietary restrictions (i.e. vegans, vegetarians, and those with soy or tree-nut allergies).

BEVERAGES – Hemp drinks are often derived from the hemp seed and range from energy drinks to non-dairy milk substitutes to craft ale beers.  Milk substitutes made from soaked hemp seeds contain the essential amino acids and are great sources of protein for vegans or individuals with soy and tree-nut allergies.

SOAP – For sensitive-skinned folks and vegans alike, hemp seed oil soap is particularly good for bathing because it is rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs), vitamin E, and other polyunsaturated fats soothing to the skin. Additionally, hemp soaps make excellent household cleaning agents because they contain few synthetic ingredients or damaging chemicals

Cosmetics and Skin Care Products – Hemp seed oil is often used in skin emollients and lotions because it alleviates itching, irritation, and soothes dryness. Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (3:1 ratio), it also contains other key amino and essential fatty acids (polyunsaturated). Hemp moisturizers offer an effective, natural alternative to petroleum derivatives, preservatives, synthetic fragrances and dyes.

PAPER – Hemp paper has been found in China dating back to 100 BC. Both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were originally drafted on hemp paper. With 2-to-3 times more cellulose (fiber) that wood, hemp processing uses far fewer chemicals and less water. Deforestation is also mitigated with hemp inputs, as growing global demand strains the energy intensive process of turning wood pulp into paper.

DIAPERS – Although usually blended with cotton for softness and comfort, chemical-free ant-microbial hemp components boost diaper performance with about 8x the absorbency of cotton.

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