Refined Vs. Unrefined: Hemp Seed Oil

Out of all the resources that hemp can be broken down into, the seed has to be one of the most diverse in application.  

Not only can hemp seed be consumed, but it can also be pressed to yield a nutrient-rich extraction that can be best described as nature’s most perfectly blended oil.

However, it can also be taken one more step that people are often unaware of: refinement.  

This week, we’re going to be looking at the differences between the two types of hemp seed oil and what they can be used for.



DID YOU KNOW? Unrefined hemp seed oil contains the compound gamma-linoleic acid that helps in the formation of hormones in the body.

Much like the name suggests, unrefined hemp seed oil has not undergone the refinement process. It is raw, and obtained by a process of cold pressing hemp seeds. Cold pressing is a process in which a hydraulic press is used to extract liquid from fruits, seeds, and vegetables without the use of heat). 

By not using heat during the extraction process, thermolabile constituents like vitamins and physical properties like the color and odor are not affected.  The vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and fats are what make hemp seed oil so good for our skin and bodies.

The chemical compounds in the oil that are so healthy for us are as follows;

  • Essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the body such gamma-linolenic acid which is an omega 6 fatty acid, and alpha-linolenic acid which is an omega 3 fatty acids present in a ratio of 3:1
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids e.g. oleic acid and stearidonic acid
  • Vitamins: it contains Vitamin A, B, and E
  • Antioxidants and 
  • Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc.

All of this nutritional goodness is exactly what makes pure, unrefined hemp seed oil so good for our bodies.  Whether you want to eat it, drink it, or lather it on your skin, you’re going to see all the benefits first hand.  

If you’re consuming it internally, it’s recommended at the dose of 1-2 tablespoon fulls per day.  It can and can be incorporated in the form of a smoothie, soup or in a salad (when the taste is agreeable).

Hemp seed oil also makes  an incredible skincare product. The presence of antioxidants, it is essential in slowing the rate of aging, and giving rise to glowing, radiant skin…  But you can read more about that here!

The unrefined hemp seed oil has a pleasant odor, dark green color, and a nutty taste. It is has a shelf life of 3-6 months once opened, and 12 months bottles. Rancidity can be observed when it is near or has passed the expiration date. This is as a result of oxidation of the fatty acid present in the oil.

DID YOU KNOW? Unrefined hemp seed oil helps to reduce the blood cholesterol level and is perfect for use by people suffering from diabetes.



DID YOU KNOW? The refined seed oil is perfect for dry skin because of its moisturizing and emollient properties.

Oils have many uses outside of consumables and cosmetics, as we know.  The problem with hemp seed oil is that it just contains too much healthy stuff to be viable for commercial uses.  That is, until it’s refined.

To remove the nutritional properties of unrefined hemp seed oil, the oil extracted via cold-pressing undergoes a refining process. The quality of this process depends on factors like;

  • How much of the active constituents are removed
  • The noticeable changes in physical properties like color

The processes involve heating the cold pressed oil, which causes almost everything healthy in the unrefined oil to be destroyed.  The major processes that are employed are: 

  • Distillation: a distillation apparatus is employed separates the matrix and the color based on their melting point, a high temperature ( ≥ 2700C) is employed which results in loss of thermolabile constituents e.g. vitamins. 
  • Decolorization: freshly extracted oil undergoes processes to remove the dark green color using absorbents like CarbonX. CarbonX has the advantage of reducing the removal of active constituents. 
  • Winterization: winterization removes the wax and triglycerides that can lead to greasiness. it involves mixing the oil with an ethanolic solution, heating to remove the solvent, and then freezing. Upon cooling, wax and other triglycerides separate out and can be collected through methods such as decantation.

After being refined, the hemp seed oil has a light green transparent appearance, with no odor or taste. 

Refined hemp seed oil still contains major constituents found in the unrefined counterpart, however, due to a high amount of heat employed while refining, thermolabile compounds like vitamins are destroyed.

While many constituents were removed through refinement, is now a great, sustainable raw material for products such as commercial paints, oils, varnishes, and lubricants.  This is due to…

  • lack of odor.
  • Longer shelf life 
  • Less cost. 
  • Less greasy due to the absence of wax, which has been removed using winterization.

The refined oil is employed to manufacture other products such as;

  • Plastics: Plastic manufactured using hemp seed oil are eco-friendly; they are not pollutants during or after use because they are biodegradable. You can read more about hemp bio-plastics on our other blog post here!
  • Bio-fuels: The refined hemp seed oil can be further refined to produce fuels such as ethanol which is an additive to gasoline and is used as fuel for some aircraft.  You can read more about hemp bio-fuels here! 


So now you know. 

There’s a lot, isn’t there?  And we didn’t even get into all the different uses for the physical hemp seed itself yet – this is just the oil!

Are you beginning to see why we truly believe that hemp is the most diversely applicable plant on earth?

We’d love to hear any uses for hemp seed oil that we missed.  If you can think of any, drop a comment below!

The History Of Hemp Fabrics

It’s not an exaggeration when we say that hemp is one of the oldest crops used by humans… And as we begin to utilize it once again, we think it’s important to have a better understanding of our history with this incredible plant…

Hemp, commonly known as industrial hemp is a low-THC strain of the Cannabis sativa plant that is cultivated for its variety of uses.  With accounts of use that stem back as far as 29,000 years, it’s earned itself the title of one of the oldest crops to be grown and utilized by humans. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most notable discoveries that have demonstrated the use of hemp fabrics in civilizations’ past.  

DID YOU KNOW? Hemp creates what is known as Carbon sequestration due to its high affinity for CO2, this process reduces the occurrence of global warming 


29,000 Years Ago…

The oldest hemp item that has been recovered belonged to a civilization called the Gravettian people, who lived in what is now known as Spain and Russia. The peoples themselves were first noted around 33,000 years ago and only ended 12,000 years later, which means that they were a very well established society for those times.

The Gravettian people made use of nets and traps in hunting rather than exploiting their speed and strength, they needed a material with the tensile strength to be used in making traps and nets, this they found in hemp. 

In the year 1993, Olga Soffer and James Adovasio recognized the imprints of textiles on four clay fragments, Adovasio detected that the impressions found on these fragments were created by fabrics which were woven from plants such hemp. When the fragments were carbon dated, they were dated to around 26,980 and 24,870 years ago. This demonstrates that the Gravettian people knew how to make textiles from fibrous plants like hemp – and did so to survive.  

Isn’t it amazing to think that such an old civilization could have been one of the first to use hemp for these purposes?  What’s more incredible is that they probably weren’t the first… they’re just the oldest we know so far.  

DID YOU KNOW: Growing of hemp is eco-friendly and it helps to enrich the soil due to the long taproots it has which helps to aerate the soil


10,000 Years Ago

In Ancient Mesopotamia, a geographical location now known as Iran and Iraq, remains of cloths which were woven with hemp fibers were discovered by archaeologists excavating the area. Upon carbon dating it, it was revealed that the artifact was from around 8,000BCE – That’s around 10,000 years ago! 

It was only around 1200 BC that the use of hemp came back around to Europe.  From there, the whole world very quickly came to know about this incredible plant.  It became the major crop in the middle ages, which prompted the then rulers to create acts that enforce their citizens to plant it.

Examples of this can be seen in the United Kingdom in which King Henry compelled all owners of lands via an act released to sow a quarter of an acre or else be fined.  There have also been similar laws in colonial America!

DID YOU KNOW? A sustainable environment is achieved by using hemp in the form of processes such as Phytoremediation by which hemp removes toxic materials from the soil


300 Years Ago

Some of the most interesting hemp history comes from the age of sail, when it was required in order to clothe armies, make sails for ships, and craft strong rope.  In particular, Russia (Formerly U.S.S.R) had a massive hemp industry. In fact, it was so large that it’s surprising that the history is not more well known. The history of Russia regarding the cultivation of hemp is a very unique one. 

As of the eighteenth-century, Russia was the most extensive and most important producer of hemp on earth.  According to statistics, around the 1740s they dominated the line by producing more than 80% (≥80%) of the world supply of hemp.

The hemp produced by Russia was mainly imported to the rest of Europe, as well as Great Britain. They produced so much that in 1812,  French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was provoked to start what would go down in history as the ‘hemp war’. We won’t go too far into it, but this was a war due to broken trade agreements to do with Russia’s export of hemp to Britain. 

Other countries that are into the cultivation of hemp are Yugoslavia which ranked second, Hungary which ranked third, Poland which ranked fourth and Romania which is ranked fifth. Other countries outside Europe that are recognized as important in the production of hemp are Korea and Turkey.

…But it’s not just old civilizations that have made good use of our favourite plant.  This trend of upward growth continued well into the 1900’s – that is, until cannabis was outlawed by the world’s largest governments.  As shown in the table below, Russia continued to dominate the hemp trade until around the 1950’s. It would be reasonable to suggest that worldwide prohibition of the cannabis plant drastically reduced demand, and in turn the required output. 

Countries That Produced Hemp Fibre 1800s 1900s


From Reefer Madness To WWII

It clearly was a time of great fluctuation.  

In 1936, the U.S government introduced the Reefer Madness campaign, which is one of the largest contributors to the demonization and criminalisation of this plant around the world.

Reefer Madness was a series of campaign posters, ads, and a movie released to scare the public away from cannabis. It portrayed hyper exaggerated messages concerning the dangers of using cannabis. 

A year later, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 put the nail in the coffin of the hemp industry.  By the time new taxes were slapped on top of a bad reputation, nobody wanted to grow this plant any more.  That was, until the government asked them too.

It’s said that the Japanese cut off fiber supplies to the U.S in World War II, which caused a shortage of resources to kit out their army with.  The military required textiles for parachutes, uniforms, shoelaces, ropes, and more.  

So, the government asked the people of America to step in and fill that gap with the ‘Hemp for Victory’ campaign. This 15 minute video portrayed the importance of hemp as a commodity, and encouraged farmers to grow hemp as a part of their patriotic duty.

Of course, they tried to bury this soon after. Fortunately, you can still find the video here!



Quite a long history, isn’t it?  And we barely scratched the surface!  There are so many incredible stories when it comes to how this plant crossed the globe, and we can’t wait to talk more about some of them.  But as for the history of hemp fabric, did you have any idea that it had been used for so long? Do you think there’s anything else we should add in here?

We love feedback!  Feel free to email us, get in touch on social media, or drop a comment below at any time.  It would be great to hear from you!

Hemp and Sustainability: How Hemp Cleans Soil

Did you know that the cannabis plant is a powerhouse in the field of sustainability?

Our environment is currently hanging in the balance, and the only way to tip the scales in our favor is to start doing more healing the planet than harming it. To us, there’s no surprise in the fact that just when we need it most, hemp is coming through to save the day.  But what does this simple plant offer that’s so critical to our survival?

Aside from being used in the manufacturing of sustainable products and absorbing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, hemp has another use: it can help the soil.

But how?  And are there actual solutions that can be applied on a larger scale here?  Today we take a look.


Hemp Has a Deep Taproot

The roots are where a plant uptakes much of its water and nutrients.  Some plants have shallow roots, and some have deeper roots. Plants with deeper roots tend to be more drought resistant, as they can draw water from deeper in the soil.  But the plants aren’t the only thing that benefits from deep roots…

A deeper taproot can also nurture the soil by turning up fresh soil every harvest…  Not to mention the fact that such roots can help clean contaminants from deeper layers of soil.  

Yes, you heard that right.  Plants can clean the soil. In this case, hemp performs especially well at such tasks!  But how?

It’s called phytoremediation.  Say it with us… ‘phyto-remediation’.  So, what is it?



When the plant is used in the process of cleansing of the soil, sediments and water bodies (whether surface water or groundwater) by removing, transferring or stabilizing contaminating materials, it is known as phytoremediation. This falls under bioremediation, which is the use of organisms to remove contaminating materials from the soil and water. Examples of plant used are hemp, poplar trees, and cotton trees



It depends on what your goal is.  There are different types of phytoremediation, and each has specific application to different types of cleanup projects. These are called phytoremediation mechanisms. 

Different plants display different mechanisms, all of which can help heal soil in their own way. 

Here’s a little overview on what we know…

Rhizosphere biodegradation: The act of using plants to produce nutrients that feed microbes living within contaminated soil. In this mechanism, the microbes being fed do all of the cleaning.  They proceed to break down materials that have polluted the soil.

Phyto-stabilization: Plants feed off the contaminating substances, but do not degrade the compounds.  Rather, it inhibits the movement of the materials and isolates them within the plant.  This is not a degrading process, but the contaminated can be disposed of correctly once the waste has been absorbed.

Phyto-accumulation: This is not a degrading process, either.  Also commonly known as ‘phytoextraction’, this method is primarily for waste containing metals and suitable for use when talking about industrial wastes.  

Hydroponic Systems: This mechanism works exactly like rhizosphere biodegradation but can be used to clean up polluted bodies of water. 

Phyto-volatilization: A mechanism in which plants absorb the contaminating materials through the root and release them into the air using their leaves. 

Phyto-degradation: This is a degradative process in which plants can be used to absorb contaminating materials and destroy them in their tissues.

Industrial hemp demonstrates ‘Phyto-accumulation’ (also known as phytoextraction), which can be used to clean up heavy metals and industrial waste.



Metals most commonly used with this process are grouped into three based on their availability and they are;

  1.       Readily available: they are easily absorbed by the root of the plants used such as zinc, cadmium, and arsenic
  2.     Moderately available: they are not as readily absorbed e.g iron, manganese

iii.     Not readily available: these are heavy metals and nuclear materials such as lead and uranium 

The availability of the metals can be heightened using boosters on the soil. Examples of boosters used are ammonium nitrate NH4NOand citric acid, which are said to boost the ability to intake the nuclear materials ‘cesium’ and ‘uranium’.

After the total accumulation of the contaminating materials/metal, the plant used must not be consumed. Once the plants have been removed from the site, one two things must be done with them:

  1.       The metal content can be obtained from the plant using heat by smelting the plant, at which point the metal contents can be analyzed for recycling or recovery.
  2.     Depending on the level of contamination and the metals involved, the plants can be treated as high-level waste.  Once signed off on, the plants can be disposed of based on legal guidelines on how to treat the removed substances. This is most suitable when talking about more dangerous pollutants – such as nuclear waste.



There are many plants used in Phyto-remediation. While there are no general properties to take note of, most of them have a very long taproot in common.  As we spoke about earlier, a long taproot can benefit the soil by absorbing the waste within it. Then whether it degrades, accumulates, or release the contaminated materials depends on the physiological properties of the plants themselves. 

So, let’s talk about hemp for a second.

Hemp is basically a modern word to describe low-THC cultivars of Cannabis sativa. Has a lot of purposes due to its unique chemical composition, it is a very good phytoremediator due to its very long taproot. It is used in the removal of heavy metals and nuclear waste



Hemp has been used in numerous areas around the world to effectively demonstrate the phytoremediation properties within plants. Most notably, it was used after the nuclear disaster that occurred in 1986, when more than 100,000km² was labeled radioactive and unsafe to live. The countries involved were Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus – and the contaminated soil could not be used.

In 1998 Phytotech, a company that specializes in phytoremediation, worked in cooperation with the Consolidated Grower and Processors (CGP) and the Ukraine Institute of Bast Crop to conduct an important experiment…

This experiment was testing whether or not it’s reasonable to apply the soil-cleansing abilities of hemp (among a number of other plants) on areas affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It seemed that it was showing promising results, but shortfalls in financing and cases of missing research rendered this experiment ‘lost in the void’.  In ‘Cleaning Soil’, writers actually claimed that Phytotech found hemp to be “most efficient plant useful for eliminating toxins such as metals, solvents, pesticides, residues from explosions, etc. from contaminated topsoil.”

…But we may never know for sure.


It’s certainly disappointing that there hasn’t been more research done into using hemp to clean up our earth… or any plant for that matter!  But we hope this will change soon.

As the word starts to spread about the natural tools nature has given us to survive, we anticipate that cannabis will be a much more common name in the up and coming generation of biologists.  Based on how hemp has been used to clean soil in the past, we think it will certainly play a role in cleaning up our environment in the future…

…And phytoremediation is just the start. 

This industry is going to help the environment in more ways than one.  But we’ll get to some others next time.

If you enjoyed this, learned something new, or have something to add, we’d love to hear from you!  Just drop a comment below, or get in touch with us on any of our social media platforms.

Oh, and don’t forget to share!




cbd oil tincture red wood background

CBD: Health Trend or Miracle Molecule?

CBD is in the spotlight right now! It all seemed to happen so quickly, but what’s crazy is that it took this long at all.. But what’s the hype all about? 

There are claims it can do everything from treating insomnia to reducing the appearance of wrinkles – and a multitude of things in between. CBD is poised to be the next game-changing health product in an industry that is booming across the world. 

But is CBD a miracle molecule or is it just another health trend with an expiry date? Let’s take a brief look at the science behind it.


So, What Exactly Is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol. This is a chemical compound found in the cannabis Sativa plant genome. CBD is extracted from cannabis flowers, and often mixed with a carrier oil to increase its bioavailability when consumed by humans.

The human body has two cannabinoid receptors, CBD1 and CBD2, most of which are found in the brain. The CBD1 receptors in the brain deal with things like pain, emotions, appetite and mood. CBD2 receptors are found in the immune system and are responsible for pain and inflammation.  Understanding this is important because CBD oil stimulates the body to use more of its own cannabinoids. This can help regulate brain and bodily functions, ease pain, and reduce inflammation in areas that CBD1 and CBD2 receptors are found.


Will CBD Make You ‘High’?

There are so many misconceptions about CBD.  Many people confuse CBD for THC, or believe that because it comes from the same plants as marijuana that it must be psychoactive. 

This is far from the truth!

CBD is not a psychoactive substance, which means that it cannot make you high like THC. Generally, Hemp only contains levels of less than 0.3% of THC.  And while the marijuana has higher levels of THC, it is only legal to sell CBD oil with levels of THC lower than 0.3%. Even then, CBD can be isolated from flowers that contain THC.  So when you’re buying CBD, don’t expect to get high

The psychoactive effects of THC generally only occur when concentrations are higher than 7%, so this level of THC is too low to give you any feeling of being high.  



Both THC and CBD have the same molecular structure but are arranged slightly differently, which results in different interactions with the body’s endocannabinoid system. THC binds with the CBD1 receptors in the brain, which results in the feeling of being high. On the other hand, CBD binds weakly with CBD1 receptors (if at all). This is why CBD is not psychoactive.

Another key difference in effect is that CBD has virtually no side effects, while THC can cause dry mouth, red eyes, increased heart rate, memory loss and slower reaction times.  That’s not to say THC can’t be medicinal, but as you probably know, it can be highly intoxicating.  

Generally, high-THC products are the recreational users choice, and high-CBD products the medical users choice.  A lot of people don’t want to get high!


Is CBD Proven To Cure Medical Conditions?

Some huge claims are being made about the healing properties of CBD oil but how much evidence do we have to prove these claims? While research on the effects of CBD oil is still in its infancy, there have been studies done to determine whether CBD can be used to treat medical conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety and cancer. 



There is strong scientific evidence for CBD’s effectiveness in treating epilepsy. There are many studies which show that CBD was able to reduce or completely stop seizures in patients. In June 2018 the FDA in the United States approved Epidiolex, which is the first prescribed epilepsy medication which contains CBD.  

Although this is more anecdotal evidence, you can also look on YouTube and find videos of seizures stopping almost immediately after high CBD tinctures were administered.



There is growing evidence to suggest that CBD can effectively relieve many symptoms of anxiety. A 2015 analysis of several studies found that CBD can help treat or provide relief for many forms of anxiety including PTSD, social anxiety, OCD, panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. 

Despite seeing many positive outcomes, little research on what effects CBD use can have when treating these conditions with it in the long term. While CBD will not cure the root causes of why someone has anxiety, it is certainly a worthy alternative to mainstream anti-anxiety drugs.



CBD is by no means a cure for cancer, but it can undoubtedly be used to help cancer patients manage symptoms and side effects of their medical procedures. This can have significant impacts on their comfort and quality of life, which can significantly affect outcomes.

There are also now more studies being done to see how CBD can be used to treat cancer. Research is in the preliminary stages, but so far the results look promising. There is evidence to suggest that CBD may reduce tumour growth in and help to improve the effectiveness of other drugs used to treat cancer. Other studies have also demonstrated that CBD can reduce breast cancer cell proliferation, inhibit the spread of colorectal cancer cells, and reduce the risk of bladder cancer.

CBD has the potential to be an incredibly powerful treatment for many kinds of illnesses.


What Is The Legal Status Of CBD In Australia?

Are you dying to get your hands on CBD oil to see how it could improve your life? Unfortunately, it isn’t so simple to get hold of in Australia… but it’s not as hard as it used to be either! While some countries such as the USA, Canada and the UK have made CBD oil easy to access or legalised it entirely, Australia is lagging behind a bit. 

There is only one way to legally get your hands on CBD oil in Australia: To go through the governments’ Special Access Scheme

This scheme gives patients access to drugs that are not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which includes CBD oil.  But now, people can even get through-and-through Australian grown medical cannabis! 

Getting access involves getting a government-approved prescription from your doctor which can then only be dispensed from a licensed pharmacy. In most major cities, you can get a referral to a cannabis clinician from your GP.  The first appointment generally costs around $250, and some clinics even offer your first order of medicine complementary with the consultation. 

Being a new industry in Australia, it is still quite expensive to buy these products legally.  However, as access becomes easier, and Australia establishes a domestic industry, this is sure to change.

One thing is for sure… It’s getting easier to access CBD in Australia every day.


To Conclude…

CBD oil has the potential to improve the quality of life for almost everyone on the planet.  What was once just speculation and ‘hippy nonsense’ is now showing scientific results, and backing up the claims made by producers and users. With little-to-no side effects, potential benefits far outweigh any costs. While CBD oil isn’t easy to get your hands on now in Australia, it is likely that the government will soon follow the lead of other countries and decriminalise CBD making it readily available for Australian consumers.

Hemp Bioplastic Is An Eco Friendly Packaging Alternative

What’s So Great About Hemp Plastic?

The use of plastic is one of the most damaging habits we have as humans… Just take a look at the great pacific garbage patch for example.

But it’s not like it all goes there. That’s just where the current takes a lot of it. Unfortunately, our plastic addiction has contaminated all but 13% of all fish in the great barrier reef in our very own home in Australia. Isn’t it just tragic?

As if this isn’t bad enough, commercial plastics used in most packaging all require fossil fuels to be manufactured. A lot of energy goes into making plastics, and the byproducts after making them also takes a toll on the environment So not only are we destroying our oceans, but also contributing to the draining of resources and polluting the rest of the environment around us.

The nail in the coffin?

Most plastics will take at least 500 years to break down. Even then, the microplastics will continue to pollute marine life all over the ocean…

As it is, it’s said the average person consumes around a whole credit card worth of microplastics in food and drink every single week – that’s about 20 grams!

But rest assured, as small batches of composites called ‘bioplastics’ are starting to pop up all over the world, which can offer temporary solutions to our plastic habits as we start to change the way we use them.

Enter hemp – One of the newest kids on the bio-plastic block.

Recently, companies have started to develop hemp plastics and that do not contain any of the toxic chemicals that can cause harm to both humans as well as the rest of the ecosystem we exist in.

Basically, hemp plastic offers a non-toxic, biodegradable, earth-friendly solution to one of humanity’s greatest problems. To top it off, it’s much stiffer and 2x as strong as what we like to call ‘plastics from the past’.

Hemp… what can’t it do?

The Making of Hemp Bioplastics

Hemp is very easy to grow, and grows extremely quickly. It’s one of the fastest growing crops on earth, with an average turnaround of around 3 months. As a fast growing weed, it outgrows competing weeds before they have the chance to break through the canopy, which virtually eliminates the need for herbicides. Chemical pesticides are also rarely required, as hemp is a very pest resistant crop.

One of the coolest things about hemp is something we talk about often… Hemp consumes a LOT of Co2 through a process called carbon sequestration, which can then be locked into the plastics that are made.

Yep, it requires so much Co2 to grow that it cleans our atmosphere. A similar process called phytoremediation also cleans the soil. You can read more about these in our blog about 7 ways that hemp is helping us build a sustainable future.

Once grown, it is harvested and processed, the stems are usually separated and further refined into hemp biomass. Stems are used because they contain anywhere between 70-80% cellulose. From the biomass, the cellulose can then be processed further and used as the basic building block for hemp bioplastics.

Simple – kind of…

Are Hemp Bioplastics Currently In Use?
You may ask when this concept of hemp plastic was made popular in the public eye. It might take you by surprise to hear that it was not a recent development!

In 1941, a pioneer in the automotive industry by the name of Henry Ford went public with a car prototype called the ‘Model-T’. There are unconfirmed stories of this running on hemp fuel, but what is widely known is that the body of the car was made from a hemp-based plastic.

Unfortunately, it was made sure that this was never mass produced. A couple of years later, hemp went from one of the most predominant crops in society, to being outlawed completely. Could you imagine what the world would look like if Henry Ford got this out to the masses? (Read more about Ford’s Model T, and his ideas for Biofuels here.)

However, the period of prohibition in the United States is over. We can grow hemp here in Australia now. And even Thailand just legalised cannabis, and started educating their youth on it. But what does all this mean? It means there’s more progress towards this reality every single day.

Finally, over the last 10 years, there have been new developments in the field of hemp bioplastics

Some of the most notable companies currently implementing hemp plastics are as follows:

Entwined™ Hemp 3d Printing Filament: 3D printing technology is stirring quietly in the background, quietly making leaps and bounds towards viable, commercial printing options. “But what about eco-friendly options?” you may ask. Well, now there is one – and it’s made from hemp! Entwined™ offers a 3d printing filament that’s based from hemp. It still uses a poly-blend, but we think it’s a massive step forward in this field.

Sana packaging: Made from a blend of 30% hemp and 70% other plants, Sana packaging offers hemp packaging solutions to relevant medical and recreational marijuana industries. They also make plastics using 100% reclaimed ocean plastic. Packaging is a huge issue in the marijuana industry in the U.S.A, which Sana hopes to help address by utilising the very plant that is being sold inside the packaging. We hope that one day, this technology will be adopted by the Australian market in one way or another!

Hemp Plastic Company: The Hemp Plastic Company is a Canadian R&D company that aims to develop commercially viable hemp-based bioplastics that can be used in place of traditional plastics. Currently, they have a range of options available to cater to the needs of customers around all the world.

You can check out their whole range here! You’ll be glad to know that they stock a 100% hemp bioplastic, that you could buy today!


So, hemp plastics are starting to look like quite the breakthrough, aren’t they?

The main reason we wanted to write this was to bring some awareness to the fact that our abuse of single-use plastics is causing exorbitant amounts of damage to our planet. But before leaving on a note of doom-and-gloom, we also want people to know there are solutions!

It’s not just hemp bioplastics offering solutions. Another great example of high-cellulose crops are sugarcane and corn. Basically, anything high in cellulose can be used to make a cellulose based bioplastic. On top of that, you have other bases like bio-resins. It’s all pretty nitpicky stuff, but if it’s what you want to learn more about, we encourage you to do so!

There are also people like Boylan Slat, who are making breakthroughs in cleaning up the plastics currently residing in our oceans! The Ocean Cleanup Project recently completed their first successful prototype, which they will eventually scale, and use to clean up their goal of 50% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years.

So, it’s not all doom and gloom. And there’s lots of solutions – Hemp being one of them.

Do you think hemp bioplastics will take off? What do you think the commercial biggest use of hemp bioplastics will be into the future? We’d love to hear from you!

Hemp Clothing: Benefits & How It’s Made

Clothing? Made from cannabis?  That’s right, and it’s nothing new.  In fact, it’s one of the oldest fabrics known to man.

In modern days, hemp is starting to regain popularity around the world for its medicinal, industrial, and nutritional applications. One of the most notable uses of this plant is the ability to make natural fabrics which can be used to manufacture clothing. Making clothing out of cannabis might sound odd, so let’s all take a look at the benefits of hemp clothing and how the production takes place.

Benefits of Hemp Clothing

Antibacterial properties

Our body produces sweat among many other metabolic byproducts- which are all excreted from the skin.  This gives our clothes a funky smell if care is not taken. However, hemp clothing has properties that can assist the fabric in maintaining integrity through all this. Naturally, hemp fibers act against microbes to keep the cloth clean for an extended period. This prevents our clothes from developing odor-causing bacteria. Because of its antimicrobial functions, hemp clothing tends to be more durable and stronger than any other natural fabric. Garments made from regular fabrics (like cotton) happen to get distorted with constant use, but hemp clothing keeps its shape and lasts longer. 

Mold and mildew resistant

Hemp clothing materials are one of the few natural materials that are resistant to mold. The method with which the fiber is spun ensures that they stay clean, fresh, and vibrant for an extended time.  This results in long-lasting use because the clothing has a greater resistance to mould and mildew. 

Absorbs and dissipates quickly

Getting our clothes to dry can be a bit difficult in some weather conditions … and the wrong choice of material can make it all the trickier.  And although hemp clothing happens to be one of the most absorbent in the market, it also dissipates that moisture rapidly. This absorbency also assists in retaining color dyes, which shows in the durability of the print on hemp clothing.

Extremely strong and durable

Hemp fabrics are one of the strongest money can buy. The resulting materials are up to four times stronger than their alternatives, which are cotton and wool. This means that fashion products designed with hemp can withstand a greater amount of weight before breaking. In fact, some studies have shown hemp to be stronger than steel. They can also go through more rigorous processes without being damaged than other materials can. As such, hemp textiles are ideal for adventurers, travelers, and any type of work – from the office to the construction site. 

Is made from a sustainable crop

Hemp is an extremely high-yielder. When it comes to fiber, it can produce over 2x the amount per acre than it’s most common competitor: cotton. It is naturally pest resistant and outgrows any competing weeds, which means that it can be grown without chemicals like pesticides and herbicides. In fact, hemp can be grown with the use of very minimal resources – in some cases, nothing more than organic fertilizer and rain water.  Once grown, hemp clothing can be manufactured with entirely mechanical processes. This produces the end result of a chemical free, eco-friendly garment that can stand the test of time.  

The best part?  Once you’re done with it, you can discard it without worrying about it harming the environment.  It’s fully biodegradable!

Naturally insulated fibers keep you warmer in winter and cooler in summer

Hemp has a unique structure of cellulose fibers that combines the effect of breathability and insulation at the same time. As a result, garments made from this plant will have the natural tendency to keep you warmer in winter, and cooler in summer.  These characteristics also help maintain a consistent body temperature throughout the day. Due to this, manufacturers of duvets and blankets can also see remarkable outcomes from products made out of hemp.

How is Hemp clothing made?

Grow The Crop

Hemp can survive in the majority of  climates on earth, depending on the genetics.  Different genetic lineages may be more resistant to risks that can come from certain environmental factors based on the geographical origin of the particular breed.  For example, some may be more tolerant of mould, but less tolerant of frost – and vice versa. The best conditions for hemp is in well-drained organic soil and warm weather conditions. You should avoid planting in areas with a high degree of rainfall and saturated soil. Ensure the ground is fertile and has a low weed pressure. It is advised that the soil is tested before venturing into cultivation and planting.  

It is important that you till the soil before planting. This is to loosen the soil for effective root growth of the hemp plant. Ensure that the seedbed is shallow and the depth of planting is consistent across the crop. Seeds should be planted relatively close to each other. Make sure that the bed is properly irrigated – especially for the first six weeks. It can take as little as 108 days for hemp to fully mature if the growing conditions are favorable.

Harvest and Leave to Ret

When it gets to the harvesting season, check for plants whose seeds have begun to develop and harvest the fibers. You can make use of a sickle to cut the stalk and ensure that the cutting is done from the base. If you are farming on a large scale, employ the use of a mower attached with a sickle bar to make uniform cuts.

Retting involves the degradation of the pectineus elements that bind the fibers together. This process is executed by the microorganisms do all the work here – all the farmer needs to do is to oversee and manage the process properly. Retting is done by leaving the harvested hemp stalks on the ground in the field for a few weeks. The actual time Farmers have been known to manually turn over the stems to assist in the process of retting.

Once retted, process the stem to remove the harsher fibers

During this process, a decorticator is employed. This can be as simple as employing a two gear roller-like machine that assists in breaking dried pieces of hemp off the stalk. All you need to do is to pass the dried stalks through the rollers, and it will break the stem apart. It then collects the fiber on one side.  New decorticating technology is coming out every year that continues to make this process easier and more consistent.  

Spin the Fiber

Hemp can be spun with the same materials or tools used for flax. Although the fabric can be coarser than flax, the machines do not encounter any problems with the spinning. In spinning hemp fiber, your hemp fiber strands have a length of between 6 to 10 feet. Depending on the method of preparation, the thread may have a waxy feeling after it has been spun. Spinning is simply adding twists in the fiber strands.

Create clothing from hemp thread

This is the last step involved. After spinning, remove the yarn from the spindle and wash it. Wind the yarn into a series of loops around your thumb and elbow. Submerge in lukewarm water, squeeze out excess water, and dry. The threads can then be woven on a loom to produce the hemp fabric that we’ve all grown to love.

Once you have your fabric, it can be used to make any type of clothing you can imagine.  T-shirts, button-ups, jeans, skirts, dresses, socks, underwear… the list goes on. In fact, we’ve got a whole range of male and female hemp and hemp/organic cotton clothing available here if you’re curious to check it out!

Now that you know about the benefits of hemp clothing, and how simple it is to make it, do you think you’ll go out of your way to fill your wardrobe with garments made from this incredible plant?  Are there any clothing styles that you’d like to see in hemp? Leave a comment or send us an email to let us know!

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!!

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!!