Many people are familiar with marijuana and the stereotypes around it, but hemp, which is derived from the same cannabis sativa plant, is a lesser-known substance that holds a lot of benefits itself! Hemp is a different strain entirely, which dates back as far as eight thousand years to Mesopotamia, where it was used for making fabric. While marijuana, with its many medical benefits, may be the more famed sibling, hemp’s potential has made its presence known throughout the ages in a variety of different products. Both strains have their similarities, but the higher concent
ration of cannabidiol and the lower concentrations of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in hemp make it a product with less psychoactive qualities than marijuana.
What is Hemp Seed?
According to the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), the total retail sales in the United States for hemp products in 2015 was $600 million, a number that includes everything from food and body products to clothing and auto parts.
Hemp seeds, or hemp hearts, are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Technically a nut, these small, crunchy seeds are safe to consume and contain only traces of a psychotropic chemical, called THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis which is known to cause euphoria. These seeds have a soft, creamy filling which has a mild, nutty flavor, and they are usually eaten raw. Hemp is the common term for a variety of plants in the Cannabis family. This beneficial and versatile plant can be turned into fibers, oil, wax, resin, cloth, fuel, and a wide range of other useful products. Hemp grows all over the world, as it is a very resilient plant which can grow in a variety of environmental conditions.
The main concern that people have with edible hemp products, is that it comes from a cannabis plant. However, hemp seeds that are sold for consumption have less than 0.5% THC and are safe to eat. Idaho CBD Oil Legislation in 2018 would have regulated all products containing CBD by requiring a doctors note in order to purchase any products with CBD containing "less than .3% THC". Since .3% or less THC is naturally occurring in hemp products, this could limit ability to purchase for Idaho citizens. See John Green public testimony regarding this point. It is very important to realize that the INTENT of the bill was to give CBD oil access to the families with medical need, however the unintended consequences actually LIMITED and REGULATED it use across the board. Words have power and the phrase "less that .3% THC" encompassed all hemp based products. - More on Idaho Regulations on CBD, THC
Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seed food products are also considered more allergy-free than many other seeds. Hemp seeds contain the perfect balance of essential amino acids for sustaining good health. In addition, hemp seed oil contains necessary fatty acids, also known as good fats. Not only can hemp seeds provide valuable nutritional benefits to people, but they can also be used in pet foods and taste good too.
Full of Nutrients
Hemp may be a lot less prominent than marijuana, but it has a lengthy history for good reason. With cultivation of the plant going back thousands of years, hemp has long been used as a food and a medicine, particularly in ancient Chinese culture. Not only is it high in fiber, it’s rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are responsible for its status as a superfood. 1
Helps Prevent Heart Disease
In addition to their bevy of benefits, hemp seeds also contain the amino acid arginine, which produces nitric oxide and leads to lower blood pressure and reduced heart disease risk. According to a 2005 study of more than 13,000 people posted by the National Centre for Biotechnology, this amino acid led to decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a protein that can lead to heart disease.
Because hemp seeds also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been proven to reduce inflammation, it is suggested that this plant can assist in fighting the causes of disease and age. Studies show it reduces
- chronic fatigue syndrome
Given the presence of plant sterols and alcohols in hemp, there are many ways hemp seed and CBD oil benefit the body!
Rich in Antioxidants
From blueberries to pecans to decadent dark chocolate, there are a variety of foods that are rich in antioxidants, which protect the body from damaging free radicals. Fortunately, you can add hemp seeds to this list of foods, too! With a high concentration of vitamin E and phenolic acid, hemp is ideal when it comes to getting in much-needed antioxidants!
Improves Skin Issues
Hemp seeds may be rich in many vital minerals, but the presence of omega-3 fatty acids also means that they can work to improve problem skin and conditions like eczema. According to a 2005 study, “Dietary hempseed oil caused significant changes in plasma fatty acid profiles and improved clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis,” a claim which is backed up by the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in hempseed oil.
Balances Bad Cholesterol
We already know that omega-3 fatty acids are found in hemp seeds, but so are omega-6 fatty acids, and this balance actually assists in speeding up your metabolism. Hemp seeds contain more than 30% fat from both linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). As a result, there’s less of an opportunity for cholesterol to build up on the arteries.
Combats Degenerative Disease
According to the American Chemical Society, hemp seed contains a high concentration of a-linolenic acid, which “provides it with a high pharmaceutical value for degenerative chronic diseases.” Potentially, this means that hemp seed can be ideal when it comes to treating cancer, cardiovascular ailments, and even debilitating illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease.
Provides Plant-Based Protein
When it comes to protein, hemp seeds actually contain a high amount, with 2-3 tablespoons providing about 11 grams of protein per serving. Surprisingly, hemp seeds are one of few protein sources that are plant based and still manage to provide all of the amino acids the body needs to maintain health.
Helps with Digestion
Fiber may be found in foods like beans and brown rice, but it also has quite a high concentration in hemp seeds, which makes them ideal for maintaining digestion. Because hemp seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, they are a good dietary solution for providing balance to the body. It’s just important to ensure that you’re keeping the shell on if you’re eating hemp seeds for digestive issues, because this is where the proteins are found!
Where do you purchase your hemp seeds? Locally or online? How do you eat them smoothies or salads? Share your favorite recipe below!