Hemp Health Benefits
Hemp has been used as a medicine and as a source of food for centuries and historians speculate that it may have been one of the first agricultural crops cultivated. Ancient pharmacopoeias list the medicinal effects of flowers, leaves, seeds and even roots of the plant.
This sun loving plant flourished in Central Asia and Indian Subcontinent where it was used for fabric as far back as the neolithic period in China and Japan. Hemp began as an abundant source of fiber and food before it became a focus for its medicinal properties. One thousand years before Christ, hemp had become one of the largest agricultural crops in the world producing clothing, rope, lighting, oil, paper, incense, and medicines.
Hemp (Cannabis Sativa) is an extremely efficient, strong, and durable crop that can grow as high as 12 to 20 feet in a single growing season. This plant produces a beautiful chemical rainbow of over 200 bioactive cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. There are two subspecies of Cannabis Sativa, one we would consider medical cannabis and the other industrial hemp.
HEMP AS WE KNOW IT TODAY
Hemp became a staple of the early American Colonial economy and by the end of the American Revolution, Virginia produced 5,000 tons annually. Hemp was even used as the paper for the Constitution. By the turn of the 20th century U.S. pharmaceutical firms sold cannabis cures like ready-made cannabis cigarettes for asthma.
1916 : USDA publishes findings that show hemp produces 4x more paper per acre than trees
Congresses’ ultimate Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 slowed the advancement of cannabis use as medicine and began the era of hemp prohibition. The tax and licensing regulations made hemp cultivation difficult for American farmers until foreign supplies became limited during World War II. The U.S. Government suddenly initiates a “Hemp for Victory” program which leads to more than 150,000 acres of hemp production across the Midwest. While Cannabis and Hemp have unique characteristics they became tied together in legal imprisonment in the 1970’s Controlled Substance Act which imposed strict regulations on the cultivation of industrial hemp.
After almost 30 years of being prohibited, the Ninth Circuit Court decided to allow hemp foods and body products to be imported. As hemp fibers are once again being used for clothing and textiles, a big win came in 2007 when North Dakota farmers were granted hemp license for the first time in over 50 years. The Farm Bill was signed in 2014 allowing for hemp cultivation which plays a large role in the accessibility you and I have of hemp seeds today.
HEMP AS A Super FOOD
Most commonly today hemp is used for its rich fiber, nutritious oil and delicious nutty hemp seeds. Hemp oil and seeds are packed with nutrients and healthy fats. Incorporating hemp into the foods you eat is a simple addition that may have a big impact on your way to wellness.
A Nutritional Powerhouse
Hemp hearts have a sweet nutty flavor and are packed with minerals, vitamins and all the essential amino acids making these little seeds a complete protein source. Hemp seeds are loaded with phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper. Magnesium is considered a master electrolyte and controls over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, most of which promote relaxation. Most Americans are deficient in Magnesium and incorporating magnesium rich foods can help with symptoms of constipation, migraines, menstrual and muscle cramps.
Hemp hearts are rich in fiber, healthy fats, and support a healthy digestive tract. The balance of insoluble and soluble fiber of hemp seeds feed the healthy probiotics in your belly helping with proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. In recent studies hemp seeds were found to relieve constipation more effectively than placebo.
Hemp oil is rich in Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, and Omega fatty acids. Both these lipid based molecules are nutrient rich skin food. Vitamin E helps repair the skin while the omega fatty acids boost the skin’s own anti-inflammatory molecules. Cold pressed hemp seed oil can be used directly on your skin - add a few more ingredients and you have a homemade face mask.
Hemp seeds are rich in a Gamma-Linoleic Acid (GLA), an essential building block necessary for proper hormonal health. GLA is a type of Omega-6 fatty acid that the body converts into a hormone like compound called prostaglandins. Prostaglandins regulate the female reproductive system and have sufficient levels may reduce symptoms of PMS.
Add a sprinkle of hemp seeds on top of your salad, veggies or to your smoothie. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy hemp seeds.