Guide to Choosing Cruelty-Free

Cruelty-free lifestyles are becoming very popular, which is great news. Animals are sentient beings and feel pain and suffering just like we do. However, if you love animals as much as we do, you’ll also want to use products that aren’t tested on them.

It’s pretty common for rabbits to be shaved just to pour chemicals over them and in their eyes. Animals can also be force-fed substances, and what is really horrible; they can be used to see what dose of a chemical causes death. Even if they’re not killed during the experiments, they usually are afterwards.

In this guide we’re going to show you how to choose cruelty-free products.

What are the Alternatives to Animal Testing?

Animal experiments are cruel and the results very rarely apply to humans, we are different species after all. For example, what causes a rash on a rabbit doesn’t necessarily do so on a person. There is no need to test on animals as there are plenty of ways to test products that don’t involve animals.

  • In-vitro testing
  • In-silico testing
  • Human volunteers or microdosing

The first method is in-vitro testing. This uses donated human tissue or cell cultures which mimic the function of human organs. Cleaning products, cosmetics, chemicals and drugs can easily be tested using this method. It is even possible to test on donated human corneas which can be taken from eye banks.

Other methods include in-silico or computer modelling and maths simulation programs. Computer models have been formed which replicate human biology. There have been plenty of studies done and it has been shown that these models can predict how drugs and chemicals react with the human body. They can show if the product causes irritation or is toxic. With the ability to do this there is absolutely no need to test on animals.

Microdosing, which is research with human volunteers, is another alternative. In this, the volunteers are given a very small dose of a drug just one time and then their responses are recorded.

How Can Consumers Work out Which Products are Tested on Animals?

The easiest way to determine if the product has been tested on animals is to read the package to see if it says that animals haven’t been used.  However, just because it says it hasn’t been tested on animals doesn’t mean that it doesn’t contain animal products.

You may think that because a product is called vegan-friendly it hasn’t been tested on animals, but this isn’t always the case so beware. A good idea is to research the product online.

There are also cunning little ways to determine if the product has been tested on animals. If the packaging says something like ‘do not swallow’ or ‘avoid contact with eyes’ as it can be an indication that the product was tested on animals. Again, it’s best to be proactive and do your own research on products that you buy.

In addition there are three main organizations which certify that a product is cruelty-free.

  • PETA
  • CCF (Choose Cruelty-Free)
  • Leaping Bunny

Again, however, just because a product has certification from one of these companies, it only means that the product hasn’t been tested on animals – It could still contain animal matter.  Again it’s best to do your own research online. It does make you think how did we manage before the internet, right?

It is quite rare, but beware of this; Some companies will use one of the ‘cruelty free logos although they haven’t been certified. Look up the company on the organization’s website. In addition, other companies may put a bunny on the product to fool you into thinking that’s it’s cruelty-free when it isn’t.

On the other hand, some companies won’t have the logo, but they have been certified by either the CCF, PETA or Leaping Bunny. As you have to pay to have the logo and not all companies can justify the extra cost. Again, always do your own research.

The Law in Australia

In Australia, the law doesn’t say that testing animals for cosmetics is required, companies just have to show that the product is safe. On the other hand, it doesn’t say that it’s illegal. However, currently there is no testing of animals for cosmetics, but it does happen for other things such as cleaning products.

Thankfully there is a trend globally to stop testing on animals. The European Union, India and Israel are leading the way.

The great news is that there will be Commonwealth legislation on July 1st 2020 which will ban any testing on animals for cosmetics. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go quite far enough as it is only for cosmetics and not cleaning products, medicine, agricultural research or for experiments in school science labs.

The Three Rs

However, it isn’t all bad with non-cosmetic research. The international approach is to follow the 3 Rs.

  • Replacement – finding alternative means of testing without animals
  • Reduction – using fewer animals if possible
  • Refinement –  finding ways to reduce the pain that the animals suffer

The 3 Rs are part of the Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes.

You may spend extra time in the supermarket or on the internet checking if a product is cruelty-free, but it’s worth it to know that no animals have suffered to make the product you are going to use. I hope that this guide has given you food for thought and gives you a good idea of how to live a cruelty-free lifestyle.

Margaret River Hemp Co has been a member of CCF – Choose Cruelty-Free, for over 7 years and is 100% vegan. No animal products used!!

Hempcrete house

The Environmental Benefits of Building with Hempcrete

Next to the transport and energy production sectors, the construction industry is the third-largest contributor to the environmental threat our world is facing today.  Factoring in transport and energy, 39% of global energy used in production, and nearly 40% of energy-related Co2 emissions come from the construction industry.  This has become a significant contributor to climate change and global warming. The inefficient use of energy, extensive depletion of natural resources, and vast production of non-biodegradable waste during construction are harming our environment. So, it has become vital that we shift our construction policies and methods to more reliable and greener or sustainable choices. 

 

When we say ‘greener’ or ‘sustainable’ choices in construction, we are mainly referring to the adoption of building materials made from renewable resources that have longevity and does not exhaust our natural reserves. Ideally, these green building materials would consume less energy, water, and labor for production, and most importantly, should be non-toxic to the environment. Buildings should be designed and constructed by substituting mineral aggregate materials with bio-aggregates or plant-based renewable materials. This initiative to use eco-friendly building materials can lead to a drastic reduction of the carbon footprint from construction. 

 

Our favourite bio-aggregate building material is known as Hempcrete – a unique bio-fibre composed of three simple components; hemp, lime, and water. It is a lightweight product historically used for timber frame infill, roofing tiles, insulation, renders, and floor slabs. Though it is not load-bearing, it is a highly functional building material with considerable environmental benefits. Read further to understand the benefits of Hempcrete on the environment as a sustainable, eco-friendly building material.

 

Carbon Storehouse:  

 

Hempcrete is a carbon storehouse with a negative carbon footprint or “better-than-zero-carbon”, making it a perfect eco-friendly building material. The amount of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere by hemp farming is higher than the amount of greenhouse gas emitted during the Hempcrete production and application in construction. This sequestration makes it a “carbon-negative” product. Depending upon the type, source of material, and the application technique, the amount of carbon sequestered varies. Estimates show that about two tonnes of carbon dioxide is absorbed from the atmosphere and locked away in a tonne of harvested hemp fibre while the amount of carbon released during production and lifespan of Hempcrete is much less. 

 

A Quick Replenishing Renewable Resource:

 

While there are many other plant-based building materials like timber, bamboo, etc. which are renewable, these take years to produce an adequate yield. In contrast, hemp plants grow tall and fast very quickly, with a plentiful yield of fibre. Once you factor in that hemp can be grown year-round, in some areas, and in around four months or approximately 100 days, where they reach full growth and are ready to harvest – It’s no wonder hemp is now widely being considered an environmental & economical alternative to traditional building materials.

 

The hemp plant can replenish itself every year. It requires little water for growth. It is a low field maintenance crop, making it a dependable renewable raw material that is readily available anywhere in sufficient quantities for production. Its sustainability as an agricultural commodity decreases the consumption of other natural resources in construction, which further benefits our environment by supporting forest conservation of other timber.

 

Non-Toxic and Environmentally Friendly: 

 

These plants require a meagre amount of fertilizers for growth. Further, they are deep-rooted and return their nutrients back to the ground after harvest. This aids in natural soil conditioning, making them an ideal break crop to sow between seasons. They also grow faster than weeds, and hence are a great weed-suppressant. Hemp also acts as a phytoremediator, with purification properties that can remove lead, toxins, radiation, and other contaminants from the soil. Furthermore, as a product, Hempcrete does not release any off-gas, and has no ill effects on the indoor environment. It is a naturally antimicrobial and antifungal material that is mould-resistant and helps in sustaining cleaner surroundings.

 

Energy and Fuel Efficient:

 

Hemp grows all over the world in most soil types where the climate is not too arid. Growing the crop locally ensures savings in the fuel required for the transportation of materials. This is especially true when compared to other conventional building materials which are manufactured using non-renewable resources and fossil fuels that use energy-intensive processes. In comparison, hempcrete production requires low energy consumption by using locally grown renewable materials. Thus, saving a considerable amount of fuel and energy and preventing ‘green-washing’ engaged in the transportation of raw materials and end products across continents.

 

Further, Hempcrete has a low thermal conductivity, allowing it to regulate the temperature and humidity inside the building naturally. Its excellent thermal properties enable reduced heating and cooling requirements of a building, thereby saving fuel and making the construction energy efficient.

 

Completely Bio-degradable Eco-Material:

 

Hempcrete is a fully bio-degradable and recyclable material. It can completely decompose, and hence, when demolished, hempcrete building material will not end up in a landfill polluting our environment. Being a natural and chemical-free substance makes it suitable for recycling multiple times in different ways or decompose to enrich our soil. 

 

Hempcrete is a unique eco-friendly building material that serves as an excellent alternative to traditional concrete and other insulation materials in construction. Boasting a negative carbon footprint, enormous savings in energy and fuel involved in manufacturing, excellent phytoremediation property that enables toxin removal from the soil, the benefits to the environment from this product are vast. Its production and application are harmless to the environment, and most of all, biodegradability ensures it does not harm our world even when demolished. Incorporating this sustainable material in your building can reduce the negative impacts of construction on the environment. 

 

If you’re going for sustainable green building – Choose Hempcrete!  If you have been thinking about using hemp as a building material, or want to learn more, be sure to check out our Hemp Building Company here: Hemp Homes Australia

 

Hemp Seed Oil – Nourishment; Inside & Out

Boasting an impressive array of applications, which includes health foods, skin care and even obscurities like oil paints… Hemp Seed Oil is arguably one of the diverse and useful derivatives from the hemp plant, which has profound benefits to both our internal & external health.

Not to be confused with with Hemp Oil (learn about the differences here), which has its own host of amazing benefits… Hemp Seed Oil is one of nature’s most valuable gifts to humans –  Despite receiving little acknowledgment from health professionals for decades.

So what benefits could you reap from adding Hemp Seed Oil into your diet?  

We’re glad you asked…

What is it?

By this point, you’re probably wondering “what’s the difference between hemp, CBD oil and hemp seed oil”?  You can read more about that in our article Hemp Seed Oil or Hemp Oil – What’s The Difference? 

Hemp seed oil is simply the oil extracted from the seed of the hemp plant via cold press extraction methods.  When unrefined, the oil is dark green in colour, odourless and has a somewhat nutty taste.  Hemp seed oil has a relatively low smoke point (175 degrees Celsius) so it is recommended to only cook with this oil using low temperatures, to preserve its nutrients.

Due to hemp seed oil losing nutritional content after smoking point, it’s important to verify that you’re consuming Hemp Seed Oil that has been cold pressed.

How is it made?

Hemp Seed Oil is considered ‘unrefined’ when no heat has been used in processing. This means that all the wonderful nutrients and naturally occurring compounds remain in tact while manufacturing hemp seed oil.  ‘Refined’ hemp seed oil is extracted using heat, and although it looks cleaner, loses a lot of its nutritional value. 

Can I consume it?

 

 The answer is an ecstatic YES! 

 

You can consume hemp seed oil in a variety of ways such as simply eating hemp seeds whole mixing it in with food, and even drizzling it on salad. For those that are in a rush, some even drink it straight by the table-spoon!

 

Hemp seed oil can also be used as a healthy alternative to common cooking oils when cooking at a low temperature, but raw is the best.  

You can also consume hemp seed oil via capsules, if you want to avoid the taste while still receiving the wide array of health benefits it has to offer!

Internal Health Benefits

Hemp seed oil can be used in a variety of ways to improve overall health

The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids within hemp seeds are maintained when they are cold pressed into hemp seed oil, where they may offer some protective cardiovascular health factors including:

 

  • Reduced Blood Pressure
  • Improved Arrhythmias and resting Heart Rate
  • Decreased chance of Heart Disease
  • Overall promotion of Cardiovascular Health
  • Natural Antioxidant properties

 

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death around the world, so the various cardiovascular health benefits that hemp seed oil offers are more important than ever.

Healthline states that Hemp Seed Oil is a natural antioxidant, which aids the human body in many ways – including reducing the signs of aging and chances of heart disease.  Furthermore, the Science Direct claims that hemp seed oil as the only source that contains the optimal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (a 3:1 ratio).

Hemp seed oil can also Boost the immune system with the valuable nutrients it provides to our bodies. Humans need essential fatty acids to maintain good health, but cannot produce these on their own. There are also many other compounds necessary to maintain good health which are present in hemp seed oil, such as:

  • Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids (overall health promotion)
  • Antioxidants (boosts immune function)
  • Gamma-Linolenic Acid (vital health maintaining acid)
  • Lipase (an enzyme useful for removing plaque build-up in arteries)
  • Vitamin D (essential for calcium absorption) 

Due to the vast benefits, Hemp Seed Oil is widely acknowledged as a natural source of GLA (Gamma-linolenic Acid).  Furthermore, the Lipase content of hemp seed oil is also seen as a great benefit due to its ability to remove plaque buildup in the arteries.  On top of all that, hemp seed oil is said to be the only plant oil offering Vitamin D – a necessary vitamin for calcium absorption.  Hence, it is notably beneficial for those who have made the switch to a vegan or plant based diet.

Hemp seed oil also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties which carry some of the following health benefits;

 

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Easing pain (arthritis, migraine)
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improves blood circulation

Skin Health

We know that skin health starts from the inside out, and diet plays a major factor in this, so in addition to helping boost your skin out through your diet, Hemp Seed Oil also has a host of topical uses that we’ll also cover..

Its skin healing qualities are ideal for any skin type, as it helps with moisturisation and balancing out the oils within the skin. The properties of hemp seed oil allow for moisturisation without clogging or irritating pores, which assists in balancing oily skin types through hydration and regulation of the skin’s oil production.

Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) is one of the many amazing nutrients of Hemp Seed Oil and is one of the Omega-6 fatty acids that hemp seed oil contains. Including its’ powerful anti-inflammatory properties and simultaneous encouragement of healthy skin and regeneration of cells; it also:

 

  • Alleviates symptoms of dry or irritated skin, for example, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis
  • Reduces inflammation and irritation of acne 
  • Promotes the health and growth of nails, hair and skin
  • Moisturises and balances the oils within the skin without clogging or inflaming pores
  • Allows for maximum hydration and regulation of the individuals skins oil production

 

When applied topically to the skin, the nutrients like gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) enables skin cells to repair and regenerate, thus reducing skin irritation. GLA is one of the many reasons that Hemp Seed Oil is so beneficial and is able to promote the moisturisation of the skin without clogging or irritating pores. Because of these properties, hemp seed oil can be very beneficial in clearing the skin of acne. When ingested, the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) can have immediate health benefits and reduce the inflammation of skin, promoting rapid skin regeneration.  

 

You can read more about how hemp seed oil benefits your skin here!

Hemp Seed Oil is AMAZING!

To us, the benefits of Hemp Seed Oil are so remarkable due to the diverse range of health benefits it offers us. As well as it being widely beneficial for its body care, nutritional, and medicinal properties, it can also seriously aid in reducing inflammation, supporting healthy metabolism, promoting skin repair and cell regeneration, and so much more.  As one of the only plant sources of Vitamin D, that also contains the optimal ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids, it’s a wonder that it isn’t a staple-food across the globe.

 

If you want to see these benefits first hand, you can try our 100% Australian grown and made hemp seed oil here!

 



 

 

 

 

Hemp Vs. Marijuana – What’s the Difference?

Throughout it’s extensive history, various breeds of cannabis sativa have been given many labels – Including, Weed, pot, hemp, Marijuana, Kush – and of course, just plain old cannabis… I’m sure you can see why this has led to a bit of confusion! 

…And recently, things have actually gotten even more confusing.
Today we want to take a deeper look into the two most prominent terms used to describe the main varieties of this plant; Hemp and Marijuana. 

So what are the differences, and why are people still getting them mixed up?  

 

What Is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a high-potency breed of the plant species cannabis Sativa, and is restricted in most countries.  If cannabis is high in the psychoactive compound ‘THC’, it is lawfully classed as ‘Marijuana’.  The THC levels that cannabis must exceed to be labelled as ‘Marijuana’ vary from country to country, but is usually around or under 1%. However, to feel a ‘high’ from consumption, THC content usually has to exceed 7-15% 

 

The term ‘Marijuana’ entered the U.S lexicon via Mexico, but there are other speculations on the actual origins of the word. According to the book ‘Cannabis: A History’, written by Martin Booth, the word Marijuana could have been passed down from an ancient Aztec language.  There is also speculation that it may have originated from soldiers’ slang for “brothel” – Maria y Juana.

 

The word Marijuana became popular in the Reefer madness campaigns of the 1930s. Fuelled by racism, fear, and greed, these smear campaigns were a key factor in the criminalisation of cannabis around the globe. By the 1950’s, the world was so afraid of a select breed of cannabis that they chose to overlook what was once dubbed the ‘Billion Dollar Crop’.  After the campaign, the global hemp industry was decimated – and synthetic alternatives to hemp products flooded the market.

 

What Is Hemp?

Hemp is a low-THC cultivar of the plant species cannabis Sativa.  However, the true definition of hemp can be confusing… mainly because different countries have different laws.  Contrary to popular belief, hemp is not ‘the male cannabis plant’. Rather, it is a crop of female cannabis plants that have been pollinated by a male plant.  Once pollinated, the flower of the plant will begin to produce seed.  

 

In Australia, a licence to grow hemp only allows for industrial varieties of the plant to be grown. Here, ‘industrial Hemp’ is grown for seed, fibre, and roots & the cannabis plant must not exceed a THC content of more than 0.3% in most states. The only exception is Western Australia, where edible hemp is allowed to reach 1% THC, and seeds for new crops must not exceed 0.5%.  Other countries have similar classifications, which is where a lot of the confusion stems from.  

 

According to The Atlantic, it’s estimated that hemp is currently used in over 25,000 commercial products around the world.  Once, it was speculated that hemp has over 50,000 possible commercial applications. Here are a few groundbreaking uses for hemp:

    • Hemp Clothing
    • Hemp Building Materials
    • Hemp Skincare Products
    • Hemp Beverages – From Beer to Water
    • Hemp Foods
    • Medicinal Hemp Extracts (Hemp Oil/CBD Oil)
    • Hemp Plastics
    • Hemp Biofuels

…And plenty more.

 

Most countries created their own cannabis laws after it was criminalised… But ultimately, the majority ceased production of the species altogether.  India, China, Vietnam, Russia, and a select few European nations were among the small number of countries that continued hemp production after this point.

 

Why Do Hemp and Marijuana get Mixed up?

The simplest way to explain the reason that hemp and marijuana get mixed up is because they are the same plant; only bred differently.  

 

A common misconceptions about hemp is that it is defined by having male reproductive organs… this is not quite true.  The primary purpose male cannabis plants serve is pollinating female plants to stimulate the production of seeds – they are not very useful for anything else.  In fact, male plants can be quite a nuisance to those growing for medicinal or recreational purposes. 

 

According to Eileen Reyes from CBD Energy Labs, a female cannabis plant will lose 30% of its cannabinoid content and 50% of its total mass once pollinated by a male. Instead of flower, the energy is directed to producing seeds. These seeds can then be planted, consumed, or cold-pressed to make hemp seed oil.  After pollinating the females, male plants soon die off.  However, male plants can still be processed through a decorticator to yield fibre and hurd.  The best way to sum all this up is by saying industrial hemp is simply a pollinated female cannabis crop that went on to produce seed.  After the seed is harvested, the rest of the plant can be processed for fibre and hurd. Therefore when you’re trying to grow cannabis for hemp seed, it’s critical to have male plants existing in the crop.   

 

It gets a bit confusing here, because even some cannabis that hasn’t been pollinated is still called hemp.  It’s all to do with the THC content! But we’ll get to that soon…

 

If you’re growing to yield medicinal or recreational flower, you’ll want to grow a crop of female cannabis and get rid of every male in the field.  As stated previously, cannabinoid content dramatically decreases once pollinated by a male plant.  Therefore, male cannabis plants will ruin a medicinal or recreational crop. When female cannabis ‘buds’, it produces a cannabinoid-rich flower that can offer a wide variety of effects.  Due to the varying types and concentrations of cannabinoids, hobbyists and scientists set out to naturally manipulate the genetic profiles of cannabis to achieve a desired outcome. Want CBD flower with no THC?  They’ve done it – and of course, they’ve done it the other way around too.

 

When it comes to medicinal and recreational cannabis, the crop has a different label depending on one sole factor – THC content of the flower.  Like we spoke about earlier, every country has a different THC threshold at which point ‘hemp’ becomes ‘marijuana’.  In Australia, cannabis with THC content above 0.3% is classified as ‘Marijuana’. In America, the Farm Bill of 2018 states that the threshold is 1%. 

 

So… here’s a round-up.

 

Female cannabis plants that have been pollinated by a male: Hemp

Female cannabis plants with under 0.3% THC (not pollinated): Hemp

Cannabis plants with over 0.3% THC: Marijuana

 

Hopefully this clears up any confusion around the differences between medical, recreational, and industrial strains of cannabis.  If you want to learn more about hemp, check out our related articles!  

 

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