What's the real reason that nutritious hemp and hemp seed oil have
a checkered past? Find out if the benefits of hemp outweigh its historical
Hemp seeds are a nutty food source considered by leading researchers to be one of the most nutritious superfoods on the planet...but US farmers are not allowed to grow them.
So what is all the buzz about hemp seeds and hemp seed oil?
Hemp seeds come from the plant Cannibus sativa L. Sound kind of familiar? In fact, the hemp plant is often confused with the marijuana plant because they are of the same family (Cannibus) and closely resemble one another.
Because of this, hemp has had a checkered past and the debate continues even today.
The hemp "seed" is actually an achene: a simple dry fruit with a hard shell, just like sunflower seeds. It is considered one of the most versatile and economical plants, with many uses from food to biofuel.
Here are just some of hemp's many uses:
Hemp seeds are nutrient-powerhouses containing:
Hemp seed oil has been attributed to helping: increase energy, soften skin, relieve arthritis and normalize blood cholesterol.
So why does hemp carry a stigma?
It's all about the Cannibus species...the controversy is over how much THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient responsible for the "high" from smoking marijuana) is in hemp.
According to the hemp growers industry, industrial hemp grown for food, fuel and natural fibers contains virtually no THC (less than .3%).
In fact, when hemp is processed into hemp seed oil and hemp seed milk, for example, it further reduces the minute amount of THC in hemp.
And yet, there's still a stigma due to the long-standing idea that hemp and marijuana are one in the same. Hemp is actually categorized with marijuana as part of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and is therefore illegal to grow in the US.
A few years ago, because of issues with drug testing, the US Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) actually tried to pass a law banning the sale of hemp
products (that were ingested or applied) in the US. This caused health food
stores, like Whole Foods, to pull hemp products off the shelves. After additional
research from Canada, it was found that drug tests did not confuse hemp and
marijuana, nor did hemp products create the "high" associated with
Therefore, hemp products made their way back onto the shelves in health food stores, with demand ever increasing.
So where do we get our hemp?
Imports...industrial hemp is legal to grow in just about every industrialized country, so the US relies on imported hemp seeds from countries like Canada.
Whether you choose to consume hemp products or not, one thing's for sure: there's nothing that creates a better "high" than optimal health.
Kane, Mari. Basic Uses of Industrial Hemp: Food, Fuel, Fiber.
3Hemp Line Journal, July-August 1992, pp. 14-15, Vol. I No. 1, Lynn Osburn, HEMP SEED: THE MOST NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE FOOD SOURCE IN THE WORLD.
4Czechoslovakia Tubercular Nutritional Study, 1955.
5Hemp is Hip, Hot and Happening, Utne, September-October 2004.
6 Kane, Mari. Basic Uses of Industrial Hemp: Food, Fuel, Fiber.
9VandePanne, Valerie. Hemp Industry on Fire, Exploding marketplace stoked
by DEA. September 24, 2004
10Hemp Line Journal, July-August 1992, pp. 14-15, Vol. I No. 1, Lynn Osburn, HEMP SEED: THE MOST NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE FOOD SOURCE IN THE WORLD.
11 Czechoslovakia Tubercular Nutritional Study, 1955