Environmental and wellness advocate Paul Benhaim–founder, Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), and former CEO of Elixinol–believes industrial hemp can make the Earth a cleaner place.
He was first attracted to hemp in the early ‘90s after he learned of the plant’s low environmental impact and high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
At a young age, Benhaim–born in the United Kingdom–traveled extensively. His adventures took him to locales like southeast Asia, the Himalayas, India, Thailand, and Laos.
During his travels, Benhaim fell in love with the seemingly pristine landscapes, only to learn that things weren’t exactly as they seemed.
Worldwide travels lead to nutritional awakening
Despite the fact that many of the countries Benhaim visited are considered by the Western world to be “impoverished,” he noticed that the people of these countries were incredibly nourished and content.
This intrigued Benhaim, and he set out to learn more about why these peoples seemed to be thriving in ways that many Westerners were not. He began by studying the nutritional properties of the foods they ate and found a common thread: a large portion of their foods contained high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Not long after he began learning more about omega-3- and -6-rich foods, Benhaim met the owner of a Canadian hemp store who lauded the nutritive value of hemp. The store’s owner was passionate about all things hemp, including paper, clothing, fuel, and food.
Benhaim was skeptical at first–until his new acquaintance revealed an important link between hemp and the foods he had dedicated himself to studying.
“The hemp-as-food part made me suspect of his facts, so I quizzed him knowing a little about nutrition,” says Benhaim. “He then [told me] about the high content of omega-3 and omega-6 [fatty acids in hemp], and that changed my life.”
Inspired by hemp’s outstanding nutritive value, Benhaim launched himself headlong into the world of hemp foods, developing a hemp snack bar called the 9bar. He launched the 9bar in 1996, and the popular snack is still in production today.
Some of his other hemp food products include bread, ice cream, and milk.
In 1999, Benhaim founded Hemp Foods Australia–which remains a popular brand today. He then delved deeper into the industrial hemp world by helping to develop and launch companies that produced plastic made from hemp fiber, as well as hemp-based skincare and body care products.
Benhaim has also authored nine books about the many facets of the industrial hemp world, including H.E.M.P.: Healthy Eating Made Possible.
Over time, Benhaim’s team at Hemp Foods Australia began amassing customer inquiries regarding their hemp seed oil. In particular, they wanted to know if it could be used as a dietary supplement to support their healthy lifestyles.
Benhaim’s team explained that hemp seed oil wouldn’t serve well as a dietary supplement–but the requests continued to roll in. He realized what his customers actually needed was CBD extract sourced from hemp, and he needed to figure out how to provide it. But first, he had to identify a source.
“I went back to my colleagues in Europe that I had worked with, and we actually found a way to extract hemp CBD from the crops that were being grown in Europe,” Benhaim says.
“And that was the beginning of founding of Elixinol [in 2014], which we soon moved to Colorado in the USA to produce the highest quality form of hemp CBD.”
Today, Elixinol is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of full spectrum hemp CBD extract. With international operations in the United States, Japan, and Europe, Elixinol is considered a world leader in premium hemp products.
In January 2018, Elixinol joined its sister company, Hemp Foods Australia, to form Elixinol Global (ASX: EXL), which is a publicly traded stock on the Australian Securities Exchange with a bright future ahead. As of September 2018, Elixinol is also listed on the U.S. OTCQX under ticker symbol ELLXF.
By sharing his passion for sustainable and healthy change, Benhaim continues to inspire global audiences. He regularly travels to locations like Japan, China, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Poland, Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom, North America, and South America to advise governments on legislative changes involving hemp.
A true “citizen of the world,” Benhaim leads the way in cutting-edge innovation for industrial hemp products worldwide.
“Working with governments who invite me to come and advise them on policies for changing legislation allows me to see into the future that we will have a hemp-friendly world, where we will see more hemp products in different cultures,” Benhaim says. “This excites me for the future of our world.”