Imagine a plant that can grow in contaminated soil yet thrive and still produce a healthy flower. Better yet, it cleans the soil it grows in. According to a recent study from PLOS One, a peer-reviewed open-access journal, industrial hemp—a low-THC variety of cannabis grown for non-medicinal-related uses—is capable of growing in contaminated and toxic soil and can absorb some of the harmful chemicals.
Through the process of phytoremediation, the roots of the hemp plant dig deep into contaminated soil and absorb harmful chemicals as well as any beneficial nutrients that might remain. The polluting elements are removed from the soil and stored in the plant, usually in the leaves, stalk, or stems. And because hemp reaches maturity within six months, some believe the soil contaminants do not have enough time to effect or harm the plant, leaving the hemp safe for human consumption, though more research is needed to determine these claims. Many CBD brands, such as Antara, only grow hemp on organic farms or by using organic principles for this reason.
“It is incredibly important for hemp and CBD brands to commit to sustainable farming practices because hemp is a bioaccumalator, meaning that it collects pesticides and pollution from the soil. In fact, it’s been used to clean up toxic spills like Chernobyl and other toxic accidents,” says Cord Coen, president and founder of Zents, the makers of Antara. “Although this is an amazing way to clean our earth, it is important that this hemp that cleaned up the toxic chemicals in our earth is never used for us internally.”
In addition to people, pets, and soil, hemp is also helping the bee population. According to a study from the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University, the same industrial hemp that is cleaning the soil also plays an important role in providing sustained nutritional options for bees during cropping season. The study found 20 different types of bees on flowering hemp, proving that hemp in ecosystems can support pollinators, and subsequently bee populations.
As more information surrounding hemp is uncovered, it’s clear why the ingredient continues to create buzz.