Considering its popularity from long ago, when even our forefathers appreciated the value of hemp seeds, it seems unusual that the plant would have such a bad reputation today. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp plants in their gardens. Hemp paper was even used for the Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Franklin produced hemp paper at his mill. The environmental advantages and nutritional benefits of growing industrial hemp seem to many to be worth lifting its restrictions.
Industrial hemp seeds are available in different forms. They can be sterilized, toasted, roasted, or cracked. Hemp can be pressed into oil or hulled into meal. Hemp thrives nearly anywhere, tolerating a variety of growing conditions. It’s rarely affected by pests or disease, making hemp quite hardy. In fact, the plant provides numerous benefits. 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.
Both hemp and marijuana are Cannabis plants and contain many common cannabinoids. But their main difference lies in the percentage of the psychoactive substance tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is higher in marijuana that goes by the scientific name Cannabis indica. Selective breeding has produced marijuana plants containing THC in excess of 20%. Hemp, on the other hand, is Cannabis sativa, and contains negligible amounts of THC, less than 1% in most cases. It has higher amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) instead, which suppresses the expression of THC.
While hemp seeds, or any other part of the hemp plant, do not produce the narcotic and pain-relieving effects of marijuana, they have several other amazing health benefits. Here are some very good reasons to include hemp seeds in your diet.
Hemp seeds are high in nutritional value and contain 20 different varieties of amino acids and all nine of the essential amino acids (like flax). Some essential amino acids can’t be naturally produced by the body and these seeds have the capacity to supplement them in the body. They contain high amounts of protein, which helps in strengthening the immune system, thereby, reducing the instances of diseases, besides helping in excreting toxins from the body. Studies in the recent past have shown that consuming hemp seeds whether raw or in oil form, has the capacity to aid in the healing process of diseases related to immune deficiency. There is no other food substance which contains such high quantities of essential fatty acids found in hemp seeds, higher than even flaxseed and other nut or seed oil as well as containing high amounts of vitamin E and trace minerals. It has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats at around a three to one ratio. This won’t help correct your omega balance if it’s off, but it gives you the right balance to start with.
Consuming hemp seeds is absolutely safe and there are no known side effects of consuming them. However, you should always remember that excess of anything is bad, so make sure that you consume just enough so as to give you a healthy body. Hope, after reading all the hemp seeds health benefits, you would take good care of your health and start consuming hemp seeds even if you don’t like them.
Hemp Seed Benefits
Hemp seeds are easily digested by the body and is one of the most nutritious foods available in nature. They contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, essential amino acids and proteins. Hemp seeds are such foods which can sustain our dietary needs, even if you don’t consume any other healthy food. There are several hemp seeds health benefits, some of which are listed below.
- All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.
- A high protein percentage of the simple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.
- Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.
- Nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil.
- A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.
- A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible. Consuming hemp seeds regularly can have a heart-protective effect.
- High amounts of Arginine in hemp seeds may be another reason for their cardiovascular benefits. This amino acid increases the production of nitric oxide that acts as a vasodilator. It helps lower blood pressure.
- A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
- The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.
Can Hemp Seeds Make You High?
In short, no. To grow marijuna you have to have special seed that grows a plant high in THC, the property responsible for the drug response. Commercial hemp seed or hemp seed oil contains very low amounts, plus they contain a substance that counteracts THC.
Reality: Hemp oil is an increasingly popular product, used for an expanding variety of purposes. The washed hemp seed contains no THC at all. The tiny amounts of THC contained in industrial hemp are in the glands of the plant itself. Sometimes, in the manufacturing process, some THC- and CBD-containing resin sticks to the seed, resulting in traces of THC in the oil that is produced. The concentration of these cannabinoids in the oil is infinitesimal. No one can get high from using hemp oil.
Hemp Seed Side Effects
Shelled hemp seeds are becoming a popular dietary supplement because of their high protein content and healthful fatty acids. Hemp seeds come from the same plants, Cannabis sativa or C. indica, that produce marijuana, although the plants are cultivated and processed differently so that hemp seeds contain very low levels of psychoactive cannabinols such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Shelled hemp seeds are generally safe, but some people may experience some undesired side effects.
- Oils and Digestion
Hemp seeds are rather oily and high in fat. One tablespoon contains 3 g to 4 g of fat. The majority of this is polyunsaturated fat — the good kind of fat — and according to Blue Shield of California, shelled hemp seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, all this fat can come at a price, and you may experience mild diarrhea when adding shelled hemp seeds to your diet. If your digestive system is sensitive to change, start with small amounts of hemp seed — say, a teaspoon a day — and slowly work your way up to the recommended serving of 2 tbsp.
- Medication Interactions
As of 2011, hemp seeds are not known to cause any interactions with common medications, but you should talk to your doctor or naturopath about any over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking before adding hemp seeds to your diet. Blue Shield of California recommends caution to anyone taking anticoagulant drugs, since hemp seeds inhibit platelets and may pose a bleeding risk.
Eating shelled hemp seeds will not produce the same effects as smoking marijuana. According to David P. West Ph.D., a plant researcher who has studied hemp extensively, the compound in marijuana that produces its psychotropic effect, THC, is only produced in the flowers, buds and leaves of the cannabis plants, not the seeds. However, since the seeds come into contact with the rest of the plant, some residue may remain on the seeds after processing and shelled hemp seeds may contain extremely low levels of THC. The exact levels vary by brand, so if you are very sensitive to THC and happen to buy a brand with higher-than-average levels, you may experience euphoria or hallucination. It is also highly unlikely — although not impossible — to get a positive drug test result after consuming large amounts of shelled hemp seeds.
- Buying, Storing and Using
High-quality hemp seeds are oily, of greenish-gray color, round, 2-5 mm in diameter, similar to black pepper peas. Look for shelled hemp seeds in the refrigerated section of natural food stores. Since the oils in hemp seeds can quickly go rancid, they are best kept cool and used quickly. Heating hemp seeds will destroy the nutritional benefits of the fatty acids, so add hemp seeds to foods after cooking.
The recommended daily dose of hemp seeds is 1-2 tablespoons.
Hemp seeds are useful in combination with other seeds and fruits in raw porridge. To cook porridge, pour water, add hemp seeds, flax, sesame and sunflower seeds and leave for a night and in the morning blend them thoroughly in a blender and whip together a fruit that you like.The density can be adjusted by adding small amounts of water. This way you get a cocktail. You can also add honey and spices (such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and others). Hemp seeds can be added to delicious porridges cooked with water or milk. Milk can be used cow or soy, almond, coconut and others. Grind in a coffee grinder hemp seeds that can be used for cooking hemp porridge and be used as protein or vitamin and mineral supplements to soups, side dishes, dairy products, and smoothies. The hemp flour may also be used in the cooking of a vegetable cutlet or breaded in a natural thickener for various sauces. Hemp flour can be added to the batter for pancakes and fritters. In addition, hemp seeds can be brewed and drunk as tea. A hemp flour can be added to the cocoa beverage. Hemp seeds can be eaten in the fried form, just like sunflower seeds.
This tiny plant has no equals among other plants in the world. Proper nutrition and daily consumption of hemp seeds will help your body heal from many diseases. You will be able to prevent health problems such as high cholesterol level, high blood pressure, diabetes type II, problems with the skin and hair, depression, and the list goes on and on. Hemp seeds are safe for those who suffer from allergy to nuts.