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There have always been a number of die-hard mary-J users who have said that the plant is misunderstood. From the outside, few people have taken these folks seriously, given that they’re about as scientifically-minded as Picasso’s most vivid dreams. 

But stereotypes aside, our po t-smoking friends who had these claims about their good friend Mary Jane and what she could do, were actually onto something. 

We’re not saying that getting high is the answer to anything. We’re just saying that the plant our smoking friends have held in high esteem actually holds some potential medicinal properties (we have to say potential to keep our good graces with the nice people at the FDA). 

Those beneficial properties exist entirely separately from the elements in the plant that have psychoactive effects. Here’s your stoner friend’s favourite rants about the plant, translated into eloquent English and thoroughly fact-checked by scientific research.

 

The anatomy of the hemp plant

Contrary to what pop-culture might tell you about this iconic leaf, it actually can’t make you high. Yes, it’s a popular icon that’s adorned by its fans (not as subtly as they might have hoped, back in the day). In fact, no part of the plant, other than the buds, can cause psychoactive effects. 

This is because the compound in the plant that changes your state of consciousness is actually quite difficult to develop. 

The psychoactive element is a crystalline substance that grows on the buds of the female plants only. It can only form if the female plants are not pollinated, because once pollinated, they go to seed. Growers who want to achieve higher levels usually grow their plants indoors to shelter them from accidental pollination to increase the potency of their plants. 

Here’s what science tells us about the rest of the plant.

 

Understanding the beneficial compounds

The psychoactive element is one of the compounds found in the plant. But when you consider that there are 540 chemical substances in this plant, and these compounds make up nearly 85 of them, and the psychoactive element is only one of those, you realise that it is hardly the plant’s dominating element. Maybe just its most famous. For now. 

  • The chemically active compounds occur in the flower-bearing limbs of the plant and these are elements that can instigate change in our bodies. 

  • Each compound has its own set of effects, most of them are highly beneficial to our bodies. The reason they affect us so drastically is that they mimic the naturally-occurring compounds that are produced in our bodies. 

  • Our immune systems and our nervous systems are equipped with certain receptors and these receptors interact with witht eh compounds in a way that’s almost poetic, like a perfect match. 

What we know for sure about the compounds in hemp

  • Arthritis - hemp has been studied as a possible treatment for a number of conditions as part of medical research programs. The European Journal of Pain released a study that suggested hemp compounds can reduce the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis when it is applied topically (as a concentrated extract in oil form).
  • Chronic pain - Another research program suggested that hemp compounds can help people who suffer from neuropathy, which is one of the most stubborn forms of chronic pain to treat. Hemp's compounds inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, bringing relief without side effects.

  • Anxiety -One study of 24 people with social anxiety disorder found that they had less anxiety in a simulated public speaking test after taking hemp extract than after taking a placebo.-source

  • Epilepsy -Hemp's compounds has been studied (more research is needed to truly get to the bottom of the benefits) which suggests it is helpful for conditions like  Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome. It also benefits those who have any form of epilepsy belonging to the category of illnesses called Epileptic encephalopathies. 

  • Glaucoma - Hemp, used a whole plant (with natural levels of psycoactive compounds present), can lower pressure levels in the eye. Interestingly, when it is applied directly to the eye, pressure levels increase.

Other conditions that hemp extract has a positive effect on include sleep disorders, and when we fix poor sleeping patterns we can improve productivity and relieve the depression and anxiety symptoms that are often a knock-on effect. It is a great mood enhancer, it’s used to treat PTSD with some promising effects, other neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and even bowel diseases like IBS.

 

A plant with potential

The fact remains that there haven’t been nearly enough studies on the potential health benefits the cannabis plant might hold for people. What we have discovered has been promising. Another area that’s begging for scientific attention is consuming the actual plant as a whole. Many people use the whole plant as part of their morning smoothies, enjoying the anti-inflammatory effects of the whole, raw enzymes in the plant.

Hemp in your back pocket

The best way to enjoy the benefits of hemp? You don’t have to be a botanist to access the health benefits of this incredible plant. Try a high-quality hemp oil(that was extracted by actual scientists in actual science labs). A few drops a day is all it takes. 

Not keen on oil? Try vegan gummies.  They’re packed with the nourishing elements of this powerful plant. These products are super-safe, they’re designed to fit into your pocket as part of your busy life. Take them on the go to improve your productivity, or use them in the evening to help you switch off and unwind.