Hemp seed benefits are constantly in the news. Between the growing legalization of recreational marijuana and the numerous uses of hemp, the plant is seemingly everywhere we turn. In fact, I recently saw this headline: “Hemp seeds bound for Colorado seized at U.S. Canada border.”
Despite its well-known superfood aspects, commercial hemp weighing hundreds of pounds was seized in North Dakota while on its way to Colorado from Canada. I guess this is just one of the unavoidable side effects of Colorado’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana. It appears that anti-pot activists are willing to attack anything and everything related to the medicinal plant.
Differentiating Hemp from Marijuana
I am sure we’re all up to date on the definition of marijuana, so I will skip past that. However, industrial or commercial hemp can be a little more confusing since it comes from the same plant as the drug – Cannabis Sativa L. Even though hemp and pot come from the same source, hemp has a surprising long history of use in America. Sadly, it has been lumped into the same category as the drug since the 1950s. This is because hemp contains trace amounts of the naturally occurring tetrahydrocannabinoids (THC).
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What is THC?
Tetrahydrocannabinoids, or THC, has been extensively researched over the years. What’s important is that science has proven that THC actually has major health benefits with few side effects when it’s not smoked. And I mean MAJOR health benefits. THC has the ability to cure everything from asthma to cancer.
THC can possibly even reverse deadly cancers, such as glioblastoma multiforme (a form of brain cancer), according to the British Journal of Cancer. These results have been confirmed by the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment when it comes to advanced stages of breast cancer and by researchers at the University of Rostock, Germany for lung cancer. This list goes on and on …
Hemp is not nearly as powerful as marijuana, containing only about .03 percent to 1.5 percent THC. Compare that to marijuana, which contains about 5 to 10 percent THC. This is important for two reasons:
- When enjoying hemp seed benefits, you will not experience the same high as smoking marijuana.
- Eating hemp is enormously beneficial.
Still, since hemp is considered pot’s “non-intoxicating” cousin, federal law under the U.S. Farm Bill demands that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) monitor and approve all hemp imports.
Many Uses of Hemp
Hemp has many uses. In fact, it is one of the most diverse crops in the industrial world. Hemp fibers are some of the longest and most durable plant fibers on the planet making it perfect for commercial use. Another benefit is that hemp can be grown without pesticides or herbicides. Here are just a few of the major commercial uses for hemp:
- Health food
- Cleaning products
- Building materials
- Baby care products
Nutritional Hemp Seed Benefits
“Despite its use in our diet for hundreds of years, hempseed has surprisingly little research published on its physiological effects,” according to the St Boniface Hospital Research Centre out of the University of Manitoba and Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. “This may have been in the past because the psychotropic properties wrongly attributed to hemp would complicate any conclusions obtained through its study. Hemp has a botanical relationship to drug/medicinal varieties of Cannabis. However, hempseed no longer contains psychotropic action and instead may provide significant health benefits. Hempseed has an excellent content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.”
Here are a few facts about the benefits of hemp:
- Promotes heart health with a 3:1 balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
- Has both digestible and non-digestible fiber
- Rich in gamma linoleic acid (GLA), which is essential to the fatty acids in egg yolks and vegetable oils.
- Contains not only all 20 amino acids, but the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce as well, making it the “perfect protein.”
The following phytonutrients are also found in hemp:
- Vitamin E (90 mg IU mg per 100 grams)
- Vitamin D (22.77.5 IU mg per 100 grams)
- Vitamin B6 (0.12 mg per 100 grams)
- Vitamin B3(2.8 mg per 100 grams)
- Vitamin B2 (0.11 mg per 100 grams)
- Vitamin B1 (0.4 mg per 100 grams)
- Vitamin A (3800 IU mg per 100 grams)
- Zinc (7 mg per 100 grams)
- Potassium (859 mg per 100 grams)
- Phosphorus (1160 mg per 100 grams)
- Manganese (7 mg per 100 grams)
- Magnesium (483 mg per 100 grams)
- Iron (14 mg per 100 grams)
- Calcium (145 mg per 100 grams)
What Makes GLA Unique
Out of all the anti-cancer treatments backed by the American Cancer Society, GLA is perhaps the most confusing. In addition to being a main element of cannabis, GLA is also found in black currant oil, borage seed oil, and primrose oil. It’s the fact that GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that tricks people into thinking it’s unhealthy. After all, we have been told time and again that omega-6 fatty acids are not good for us and that one of the leading causes of disease is an imbalance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Just because most people don’t consume enough omega-3s doesn’t mean omega-6s aren’t good for us. After all, they are naturally occurring.
The issue remains that people in the United States eat too many processed foods and fast foods that are drenched in commercial-grade vegetable oil, a rich source of omega-6. If only people ate a diet consisting strictly of fruits, vegetables, and nuts, this would be a non-issue. But obviously, that isn’t the case.
What it ultimately comes down to is that we should increase our natural omega-3 consumption, reduce our use of vegetable oil, and eat more GLA and omega-6-enhanced foods, such as hemp seed benefits.
It has been suggested by researchers at the American Cancer Society that too many people fighting diabetes, cancers, and certain allergies suffer from low levels of GLA. This means supplementation could be beneficial for them. Not only has science shown GLAs to help cancer drugs work more efficiently, but they can actually slow or reverse the progression of cancer overall in stand-alone treatments. In addition, GLA-rich foods like hemp can also help with:
- Skill allergies
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Weight loss
- Multiple sclerosis
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy
- Breast pain
5 Key Hemp Seed Benefits
1. Digestive Health
Because it contains elevated levels of insoluble and soluble fiber, hemp offers plenty of substance to keep your gastrointestinal system functioning properly. Moreover, this healthy grouping of fiber nourishes the probiotics in your gut and helps secure a robust immune system.
Hemp is commonly found in high-end cosmetics, such as lip balms, lotions, and soaps. Hemp seed oil is said to infiltrate the inner layers of the skin and encourage strong cellular growth, which is the recipe for soft, smooth skin. Because hemp is also recommended for skin maladies such as psoriasis and eczema, eating at least a few tablespoons of hemp seed benefits every day are important to obtain these benefits.
3. Heart Health
As well as being a strong source of heart-healthy GLA, hemp provides a balanced omega-3/6 ratio. This helps ease inflammation leading to atherosclerosis in your arteries and hypertension.
4. Hormones (GLA)
It was discovered in the 1980s that a hormone-like element known as prostaglandins was integral to our normal bodily functions. Prostaglandins were found to control inflammation and regulate body temperature, smooth muscle contractions, and is essential to other bodily functions. Hemp seed benefits rich GLA is said to be a required building block for prostaglandins, and scholars have deduced that GLA supplementation is essential for good hormone health, which would explain why many women suffering from PMS feel its healing effects.
5. Weight Loss
I know it seems counter to what we know about smoking marijuana, but hemp is a natural appetite suppressant and can actually help you feel full longer. Some connoisseurs say that adding four tablespoons of the seeds to your breakfast can curb hunger all day long.
What are YOUR favorite hemp seed benefits?
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- Guzmán M et al. A pilot clinical study of Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. Br J Cancer. 2006 Jul 17;95(2):197-203.
- Ramer R, et al. Cannabidiol inhibits lung cancer cell invasion and metastasis via intercellular adhesion molecule-1. FASEB J. 2012 Apr;26(4):1535-48.
- McAllister SD, et al. Pathways mediating the effects of cannabidiol on the reduction of breast cancer cell proliferation, invasion, and metastasis. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Aug;129(1):37-47.
- Rodriguez-Leyva D, et al. The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010 Apr 21;7:32.