• With some 25,000 uses and 50,000 available products, hemp must be the most diversely used family of plants on earth.

    Hemp greatly benefits both planet and man:

    Needing very little water (10% of cotton production) and no pesticides / herbicides, it can grown in very adverse conditions the world over. Its deep roots break hard grounds making it more fertile a well as increasing the soil’s water retention, hence aiding de-desertification. These are crucial factors as we face accelerated climate change, more extreme weather and a global increase in floods and droughts.



    Hemp played a crucial role in the daily life of many civilizations providing nutrition, medicine, clothing, paper, building materials, ropes, canvas, sails for ships... even the original material of our ubiquitous ‘blue jeans’ stems from it.

    Eating or drinking hemp (juice, seeds, oil, butter, milk, tea, drops etc), provides you with the full scope of 20 amino acids necessary for the body to create proteins. This includes the 8 ‘essential amino acids’ the body cannot produce itself.

  • A body cell needs to have a full stock of all 20 amino acids before it sets its protein production in motion. Hemp is nutrition’s amino acids – one-stop-shop for all... facilitating and encouraging cell repair and body maintenance. This is one of the factors I imagine why hemp is so helpful when dealing with cancerous illnesses.

    The next beauty is that this hardy plant grows in a variety of climates and unlike your avocadoes won’t have to be imported from Peru. Instead, you can find it on your doorstep, like I did, discovering the Hempen Cooperative in Oxfordshire by way of meeting Dima, one of the directors of Hempen at London’s Marylebone Farmers Market.  


    “The Hempen Cooperative branched off from a local eco community in 2015 when we were able to convince a local, friendly organic farmer of the economic, agronomic and ecological benefits of hemp.”

    "He agreed to sow an experimental crop in order to test its viability. The following year 27 acres of hemp were grown on the same farm, producing a bumper harvest. That endeavor has fed the development and test marketing of a range of high quality health supplements, cosmetics and vegan foodstuff. Initially 6 core members constituted the cooperative but now we are about 13 all together including long term volunteers living here at the beautiful farm. Short term volunteers come to help mainly in harvest time. We work with local farmers rotating the fields.”


  • Brilliant: That way the hemp production improves the soil quality of the fields — a win / win situation for all.

    “Last year we farmed 100 acres, this year we’re working on increasing efficiency with 60 acres. The land is owned by Hardwick Estate, an active supporter of the non-GMO movement since its beginning in the ‘70s. There never has been any GMO on this land, and having been organically farmed on a continuous basis, it is some of the purest farmland in the UK.“


    “The estate’s collaboration supports the cooperative which is set up as a sustainable business and eco community. As not-for-profit, any profit made is redistributed according to input of the members, long- and short term volunteers. Any surplus will be put back in development of the co-op and supporting other ethical sustainable projects.

    “The tall plants you see are for the CBD (cannabidiol) hemp oil production, the short ones are harvested for seeds. Hemp production is extremely controlled. The farmland is certified organic and also has a licence to grow industrial hemp."

    "We [need to] buy in certified seeds every year from accredited European sources to ensure the ratio of lowest THC (0.2%) - to meet legal UK's requirements - versus highest possible CBD 
    (3-4%).”

  • First discovered in the late 1980’s, the endocannabinoid system with its millions of receptors in the body (CB1, CD2) regulates such functions as mood, sleep, appetite, hormone regulation, and pain and immune response.

    “Positive effects of CBD interaction include muscle relaxation; anxiety, stress reduction - the Central Nervous System apart, a particular high concentration of receptors is in the liver. One of the functions is to encourage the cells to detox and renew.”

    The body produces its own endocannabinoids from fatty acids, in particular Omega 3 — which Western diets tend to be increasingly low on.

    “The endocannabinoid system reacts to stimulation. The more it gets activated from different sources the more it takes up.”

    The good news is that we can shop a variety of different totally organic hand produced products right here at Hempen. I have tested the moisturizing variation of the oil over the summer and the sun factor seemed to me far higher than the SPF6 stated on the website?

    “The oil contains Vitamin D which protects the cells form the sun, and as noncomedogenic oil it doesn’t clog the pores. Instead it penetrates the skin the protecting the live epidermis layer, while the skin continues to breathe.“ 



    How then is it best for the body to be able to take up the CBD compound? Skin application or ingestion?
  • “CBD oil is fat soluble. For our CBD oil we blend it with hemp seed oil which is rich in Omega 3-6-9 unsaturated fats or infuse it in coconut oil. Equally high in essential fatty acids the coconut oil acts as binding agent for the CBD meaning you digest it better when it is consumed orally. Ingestion - for example in any warm beverage - or skin application, both are viable ways to absorb the oil.”

    So for anyone who wants to balance or quit a (dope) smoking habit you suggest this intake of CBD rather than vaping?

    “I like to discourage any form of smoking – it associates with the shadow aspect of cannabis and is not the healthiest way to consume it.  Instead we like to pour light on healthy, efficient and sustainable ways of using it or adding it to an immunity boosting diet."  

    “The natural plant has a ration of either 1:1 of CBD / THC – or is high in CBD. The problem we have today is that what teenagers smoke is cannabis genetically modified to be high in THC, hence the effects are extreme and one sided. Without the naturally soothing effects of CBD the body can experience tension which can lead to anxiety, feeling isolated."

    “This is particularly dangerous for teenagers whose body and brain are still in development. Should someone smoke [Skunk], it is highly recommended to counterbalance this with CBD intake to reduce effects of the high THC content. 


     


  • "When the THC is naturally balanced with CBD both body and mind can harvest the therapeutic effect of the wholesome plant. Also, CBD oil can help to be able to ‘come off’ the smoking habit altogether.”

    Hemp has a history longer than mankind, so where does one start...

    “The origin of hemp has been traced to the The Tian Shan mountains (‘heavenly mountains’), which separate China from Europe (Russia - Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan).


    Incidentally the Russian Tian Shan mountains is where Dima was born and raised. It seems heaven-sent that he has come all this way telling the story today and helping hemp’s resurgence.

    “With hemp you have no waste: paper is produced from the white sheath, the outer stem is the fibre... usable for fabric, ropes, building materials – hemp-crete is perfect building material: carbon negative, it is breathable in summer, warm in winter. In ancient China it was the staple raw material for paper production; it is so much more efficient than wood: 1 acre of hemp produces as much paper as 4 acres of wood.“

    And, it grows a lot faster...  “It grows in 3-4 months, and as hemp fixes nitrogen, it purifies the land ... in Chernobyl it has been used to clear radiation." 


  • In India it is revered in a spiritual sense, in Japan the kimonos are made from hemp, under Henry VIII it was obligatory for every farmer to grow hemp. Less for spiritual reasons but for making ropes for his fleet.”

    Thus in Tudor times, hemp was collected as a tax from farmers. The benefits of hemp have hardly been a secret throughout the ages.

    “The first car Henry Ford made was fuelled with hemp-fuel and made of hemp-plastic! There's a film online where a guy hits the car with a hammer - not leaving a dent!"

    Hemp was an important international sales commodity with Russia as top exporter until WWI. Starting in 1906, the sale of cannabis sativa as a drug was subjected to regulations and restrictions (1907/13 the poison act in the US).

    “By renaming it and putting together the two most famous Mexican names “Maria and Juan,” the American government was able to pass through the prohibition law as most people - especially farmers – weren’t sure what 'marihuana' meant, or what the substance was.”

    The outlawing continued step by step, but hemp fibre continued to be produced on industrial scale – in 1933 the US hemp production was stated as 500 tons/year.

    The recent history of hemp and its near-eradication from public consciousness has been subject of great speculation. What is sure is that Marihuana as a drug was bedevilled in the US particularly post prohibition when the national focus shifted from alcohol.

  • The recent history of hemp and its near-eradication from public consciousness has been subject of great speculation. What is sure is that Marihuana as a drug was bedevilled in the US particularly post prohibition when the national focus shifted from alcohol.

    That healthy hemp was banned in the US alongside the ‘evil drug’ may have been the combination of many interests: commercial strategic reasons of some – the whole oil based industry, personal ambitions of another [Harry J. Anslinger / Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics], racist fervour of others. On the basis of implicating hashish with hemp, the USA Marihuana Tax Act passed in 1937 all but killed the hemp industry. 

    Competing industries benefitted: the cotton lobby, woodlogging papermakers, producers of plastics, oil, petrochemicals including manmade fibres (think nylon, acetate), the chemical industry churning out pesticides, herbicides and medicines – in short: the major polluters that have haunted the planet since.

    The effect probably didn’t set in immediately, as Henry Ford presented his hemp-made hemp-fuelled car in 1941, four years after the ban.... but since it has taken its toll. 

    In less than a century ‘healthy hemp’ has been marginalized to a stunning extent. A recently bought, widely distributed 600 page health bible listing every edible plant on the planet manages to omit hemp — whose benefits and uses could take up 1/4 of the book. Why? 

     

  • Hat off to the brave 6-13+ Hempen Cooperative who defy the system:
    - as cooperative disowning the exploitative capitalist model dominating world economy

    - living up to rare ethical standards 

    - growing hemp purely, organically, communally, laboured by hand

    - selling at farmers markets engaging the community

    - boosting the health of the planet and its inhabitants

    - developing sustainable livelihood

    - sharing hemp and the hope it brings

    “Every product you buy from us has passed through several loving, caring hands
    - we all send our blessing.“ 

    Thank you Hempen, we love, feel, taste, know and cherish the difference.
    — Uscha Pohl

    Hempen Cooperative 
    instagram: @hempenorganic    Hempen Organic on FB

    @ London Farmers Markets: Stoke Newington every Saturday, Queens Park every Sunday 
    Marylebone every second Sunday (1st, 3rd and 5th week of every  month)