honey bee would also enjoy hemp

How Does Hemp Help The Bees?

Bees rely on nectar and pollen they get from plants to feed their colony. Without these sources of food for the bee colonies, the colony will be at threat of dying off. 

Often attributed to mass-urbanization with the combination of off-seasons of flowering plants, the bee colony has become threatened. But it seems that hemp has turned out to be of great assistance to the bee colonies all throughout the year! Researchers have found that although containing no nectar, hemp contains pollen that can be a source of food and overall sustenance for the bees. Hemp flourishes during the off-seasons of flowering plants, so they can offer food that the bees may not have otherwise.  

This is a substantial benefit for bee colonies, and in turn, the overall ecosystem on earth.  But why are bees so important?

 

The Importance of Bees to the Ecosystem 

It’s interesting to really look at the importance of bees to the ecosystems, as they are helpful to plants, animals, and humans alike.. 

Here are some critical roles the bee plays in the ecosystem…

  • Bees are the primary pollinators in the world, and they are responsible for the life of one third of all plants in the world. Being a significant pollinator, they have a massive impact on the ecosystem of the globe. 
  • They help in the cross-pollination of nuts and other wild plants. These varieties of plants and nuts are a source of food for a great number of wild animal species
  • The Bees produces honey, which serves as food for humans and animals like birds, raccoons, and insects. The honey is very nutritious and has several health benefits for humans – aside from simply being a source of food. 
  • Bees play a considerable part in the biodiversity of the ecosystem. 
  • By pollinating many plants, they are responsible for the emission of oxygen and other useful elements in the atmosphere. 

Simply based on what we know about bees, we can really start to see the important role they have in our ecosystem. They have widespread significance to humans, animals, plants, and climate change. Due to this (and their cute, mainly-harmless nature), preserving the existence of bee colonies is essential for our ecosystem to thrive!

 

The Danger Faced by Bee Colonies Today

Bee colonies have been in decline at an alarming rate, largely due to the impact humans have had on the environment. Scientific surveys have shown that bee colonies have declined by 16% globally, which poses a massive threat to our ecosystem – and life as we know it. 

There are various factors responsible for the decline in bee colonies, some of these factors include;

  • Urbanization 

With a growing number of the population choosing to live in major cities, and fewer people opting to remain rural, we have experienced an enormous drop in agricultural activities globally. Which leaves less food for bees to feed on and continue with their mutual existence with nature. 

Another effect of urbanization is the land-use effect. With less land being made available for farming due to residential and commercial developments. 

Less pollen and nectar available to feed the colonies due to the effects of urbanization, which is part of the reason the existence of bees have become threatened. 

  • The use of pesticides

With a growing population comes an increased demand for food, which in turn translates to an increase in pesticides used globally. These pesticides are having an adverse effect on the nervous system of our precious bees, which is a major contributor to their declining population. 

It’s about time we start questioning if pesticides that are toxic to bees should be banned to preserve the natural balance of our ecosystem. Awareness and educational campaigns should be used to help educate the advocates of such pesticides about the true environmental risks of their use.

  • The threat of Varroa Mite Infection 

Bee colonies face another huge threat from Varroa mites, which has been a major cause of bee colonies in North America declining. 

Varroa mites are very active and can wipe out an entire colony in two to three years. They stick to the bee, and when deposited in the colony, they can suck the blood of bees, ultimately spreading infection throughout the colony.  Fortunately, Australia is the last continent on earth where bees do not run the risk of transmitting this bug.  However, they are still a large threat everywhere else on earth. 

 

How can hemp help?

Hemp plants do not contain nectar, but the bees can feed on hemp pollen. Bees will look to feed on this pollen when there is a lack of food from other flowering plants in the area, thus, providing a greatly needed food source. The increase in the cultivation of hemp plants will be beneficial to the bee colonies

To top it off, hemp is an extremely useful plant used in the manufacturing of everything from paper to plastics and beyond. Hemp is now legal in Australia under strict licence, and the 2017 legalisation of human consumption of hemp seed has finally encouraged the cultivation of this plant on a commercial scale!  

The importance of bees to the ecosystem – and our survival – is often underappreciated. With the population in jeopardy, there is currently a dire need to create more awareness and encourage people to carry out activities that will help reverse the damage, and ultimately save the bees. 

Now, there’s a whole other reason we should be growing hemp… Because it can help our bees! 

 

Hemp-hemp hooray!!

Hemp Seed Oil For Pets: Health Benefits and Uses

First things first: Anything with an endocannabinoid system can benefit from hemp.

Hemp seed oil for pets is a fascinating topic, especially considering its incalculable benefits. But even though it has such an impressive array of advantages, pet owners are often oblivious to this amazing natural herb… and fair enough, it’s been illegal and misportrayed for so long!  But this is no longer the case, so we want to help spread the word of how everything on this planet can benefit from hemp – not just humans.  

…So don’t worry if you haven’t heard much about it yet.  In this article, we’re going to bring you up to speed on all the benefits of hemp seed oil for your pets – dogs and cats alike!

 

Hemp Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil for Pets… What’s the Difference?

Hemp oil (also known as CBD oil) is a medicinal product that’s manufactured from the flower of the female Cannabis sativa plant. It’s quite high in cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids, and can contain THC, the compound that is reported by Wikipedia to be the principal psychoactive in cannabis. This is one of the main ‘medicinal cannabis oils’ that we’ve been hearing so much about recently!  As it seems, it’s becoming widely used for pain relief for humans and pets across the world. Hemp Oil is essentially a concentrated extract of the medicinal compounds of the cannabis plant, and therefore contains high amounts of cannabinoids. 

Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is the oil extracted by cold-press from the seeds of the same cannabis plant.  Legally speaking, hemp seed and hemp seed oil in Australia should have less than 0.3% THC to be sold. This oil contains only slight traces of THC and CBD. Therefore, you can legally use hemp seed oil without a prescription for yourself or your pet animals in Australia. The composition of hemp seed oil is perfect for pets. In fact, it’s one of the only natural food in the world that has Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) like Omega 6 and Omega 3 in the optimum ratio of 3:1.

But that’s not all. With a newfound interest in this often-neglected plant, researchers seem to be finding more about the diversity of its benefits every day. Let’s take a look at a few ways that pets can benefit!

Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil for Pets 

Hemp seed oil can truly be a life-saver for your pet. But that doesn’t mean you need to use it only in times of distress and sickness. In fact, hemp seed oil could – and should – be used in your pets routine diet. Here’s a few reasons why!

Improved skin and coat

Hemp seed oil can improve skin health in both dogs and cats, leaving them with a fluffy, irresistibly cuddly coat. As mentioned above, hemp seed oil has the perfect composition of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) like Omega 6 and Omega 3 in the ratio of 1:3. Omega fatty acids are one of the most important factors for skin and coat health in animals. 

Hemp Out Agency mentions in their article that the unbalanced composition of Omega 6 and Omega 3 in your pet’s diet can cause major upsets in its health. With extra Omega 6, your pet’s body would further reduce its Omega 3 levels. Similarly, with an excess of Omega 3, the body would cut back on Omega 6. This can lead to serious instabilities in your pet’s body. As a result, other unbalanced sources of Omega fatty acids like fish oil can not be relied upon.

The fact that it is a perfectly balanced source of Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids further magnifies the importance of incorporating hemp seed oil in your pet’s diet. 

Treating Skin Allergies

Any oil that is so perfectly balanced with Essential Fatty Acids would certainly work well for skin allergies and diseases. A 2005 research noted that Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) patients experienced reduced allergic symptoms with the dietary use of hemp seed oil. 

…And that’s just getting started!  There are many other notable benefits of hemp for pets, which you can read more about here

Safe use and dosages of Hemp Seed Oil for Pets 

We often hear questions like, “how much hemp seed oil should I give my dog?” 

Hemp seed oil is comparable to sunflower oil – and is perfectly safe for your pets. It does not contain any psychoactive compounds like THC, and includes minimal amounts of CBD as well. So, you can even incorporate hemp seed into your cat or dog’s meal without fear.  The general rule of safe dosage is 1ml – 5ml depending on your furry friends weight.

On the other hand, CBD oil (or hemp oil) is used as medicine and only a vet can prescribe a proper dosage for it. Unfortunately, not much research has been conducted on safe levels of concentrated CBD oil for pets.

Will Hemp Seed Oil Get My Pet High? 

No. Hemp seed oil will not get your pet high. The psychoactive chemical in Cannabis that gives the sensation of being “high” is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). With that said, there’s virtually no THC in hemp seed oil. Therefore, our furry friends would have to get into a lot of hemp to get high – just like humans!

All in all, hemp seed oil for pets is not just safe – but highly beneficial as well. 

Australian History With Hemp

Did you know hemp was as important to trade and exploration in the 17th century as oil is to us now?

It all started thousands of years ago, when hemp originated as a food crop in ancient China and India. Later, it was domesticated as a robust fibre crop for textiles and paper across the Asian continent. However, archaeological studies have shown evidence of hemp fibre usage dating back to around 8,000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia, present-day Turkey. During the middle ages, sea traders and explorers went on to use hemp fibre for rope and sails. With this, cultivation grew over Mediterranean Europe, and the fibre gained an indispensable value as a commodity for trade and development around the world.

So, how and when did this prized crop reach our country on the other side of the earth?

Today, we’re exploring the history of Hemp in Australia, and the current laws governing the cultivation of this wonder-crop!

How did hemp make its way to Australia?

Were you taught that the colonization of Australia was because there wasn’t enough space for convicts in Britain? Well, some records suggest that this was merely a ‘detailed cover story’. 

This is of course, a theory based on findings from the time that it was all happening.  Here’s how the story goes…

Historian John Jiggens claims to have found evidence that the invasion by the British was actually due to a vision of a ‘hemp colony’. Upon settlement, Australia would be intended to supply fibre for ropes and sails to British naval fleets. In his book ‘Sir Joseph Banks and the Question of Hemp, there are journal entries and accounts from the 18th century that suggest  this theory holds more merit than one would imagine.

But why would they need a ‘hemp colony?’

After the American Revolution, North America declared independence, and Britain lost hold of thirteen American colonies that farmed hemp. Throughout the Age of Sail, hemp was as critical to commerce, warfare, and exploration as oil is in our era. Just like the founding fathers of America, Sir Joseph Banks was a hemp supporter. Both he and his superiors acknowledged that there was a desperate need for hemp to ‘fuel’ their empire. As the story goes, a plan was formulated by Sir Joseph, a keen agriculturalist, who was in charge of Britain’s hemp trade policies. This plan was to develop a new supply chain based in India and Australia. 

In 1788, it was under his direct order that hemp seeds landed in Australia with the prisoners on the First Fleet.  Seeds were given as gifts to settlers to promote hemp cultivation. 

Well at least, that’s how the story goes.  If you want to know more about this theory, you can read the book yourself here!

When did Australia Stop Growing Hemp?

At the onset of coal and steam engines, the dependency on hemp started waning, but the plant fibre continued to find its use in food, textiles, and paper. But in the Age of Oil, after the industrial revolution, American companies started producing synthetic fibres made from petrochemicals. These by-products – like nylon and plastic – saw the organic hemp-based products as stiff competition. 

In an inconvenient turn of events, America prohibited the entire cannabis plant with the claim that it was a ‘drug menace’.  After that, they pressured countries trading with them to ban it too. To continue its trade dealings with America, Australia had no choice but to follow the US and stop hemp cultivation. In the year 1937, Australia made hemp a prohibited substance and criminalized its cultivation.  

At this point, it would seem that what Sir Joseph Banks had in mind was squashed – if that story is indeed the case.

The Rebirth of the Australian Hemp Industry

In 1998, the Australian government once again started allowing select farmers to produce hemp. Still though, products remained illegal to Australian consumers. It was legalized only for export to countries which had no ban on hemp.

Under the ‘Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981’, industrial hemp (with approved Tetrahydrocannabinol – THC levels) is still classified as cannabis. Cultivation of hemp without the approval of state government is a punishable criminal offense. With strict regulations and under a license issued by the state government, farmers are allowed to grow hemp by securing the right genetics, or risk having to toss the entire crop.

VIC industrial hemp laws – In 1998, Victoria became the first state to legalize and allow cultivation of industrial hemp under license governed by Part IVA of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

QLD industrial hemp laws – In 1998, Queensland legalized growing industrial hemp under license, and the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld) and the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 (Qld) regulate the commercial production of industrial hemp in Queensland. 

WA industrial hemp laws – The Industrial Hemp Act 2004, in Western Australia, enabled cultivation, harvesting, and processing of industrial hemp under license.

NSW industrial hemp laws – In November 2008, NSW passed the Hemp Industry Act 2008, allowing cultivation and supply of low THC hemp seed production in NSW, under license and strictly controlled conditions.

Throughout Australia, for the past 20-25 years, researchers have revived breeding stock and farming of hemp. Over the years, value addition through research has led to substantial growth in the Australian hemp export industry. 

However, on 12th November 2017, amendments were made to the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code. Australia legalized hemp seed products as ‘food’ and finally conceded that it is “safe for human consumption’”.  This move was the first major step to securing a great future to this versatile crop in Australia. 

Australian Hemp Products

The legalization of production and consumption of hemp seed products has finally encouraged long-awaited interest, and overall growth in the Australian hemp industry. 

Australian hemp seed is now being processed to produce food products like bread, cakes, milk, cheese, ice-cream, flour, hemp-tofu, oil, beer, and health food bars and supplements. High in protein and omega 3, hemp seed products are trending as a superfood on local supermarket shelves.  You can try our Australian grown hemp seed here!

Hemp seed oil, obtained by cold extraction from ripened hemp seeds, contains essential dietary nutrients and is safe for consumption. It is also commercially used to manufacture numerous products like cosmetic oils for humans and animals, biodiesel, paints, and varnishes.  Australia now produces this commercially. You can try our Australian Hemp Seed Oil here, or read more about the health benefits here!

Australian hemp textiles have not seen proper outcomes due to Australia’s decades-long downturn in textile manufacturing facilities. However, hemp fibre produces a versatile textile suitable for clothing, rope, canvas, and bedding.  We still stock hemp clothing though, it’s just not made in Australia yet. But we’re working on it!!You can check out our whole hemp clothing range here!

After being wrapped in red-tape for nearly a century, hemp is still considered a taboo. Unfortunately, due to its similarity with marijuana, people are still uncertain and wary of industrial hemp. The potential of this crop is limitless. So, as a consumer, we encourage you to support the re-birth of this industry!

Maybe the Banks theory was right all along to classify our land for hemp farming. What do you think? 

Leave a comment to share your thoughts. Join us to spread the word about eco-friendly hemp and its benefits!!