What are hemp seeds?
The hemp plant is a variety of Cannabis Sativa L., native to Central Asia. A widely cultivated cash crop, the hemp plant is made up of numerous beneficial plant parts which include the leaves, flowers and, of course, the seeds.
Hemp seeds are hard and brown, and they’re often the size of popcorn kernels. Inside their hard outer shells, soft white or light green seeds — popularly referred to as hemp hearts — can be found. These ‘hemp hearts’ are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats as well as a variety of vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamins A, E, C, and some B vitamins;
- Phosphorus; and
- Potassium, amongst others.
However, hemp seeds exhibit very little nutritional value when unhulled. The numerous vitamins and minerals are only accessible when the seeds are hulled.
Do hemp seeds have psychoactive effects?
Simply put, no. When consumed, hemp seeds will not give off any psychoactive effects. This myth is a result of the constant association of hemp and its psychoactive sister crop, marijuana. Both marijuana and the hemp plant are classifications of the cannabis plant. However, they are not the same plant.
There are numerous factors which differentiate each plant from the other, the biggest being chemical composition. Both marijuana and hemp can contain copious amounts of the cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD) — a non-psychoactive chemical compound used for its numerous medicinal benefits. The difference, however, is that the hemp plant contains very minute amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive chemical compound. The hemp plant contains around 0.3% – 1% THC, whereas marijuana contains anywhere between 5-30% THC.
Hemp seeds will not cause individuals who consume them to fail drug tests as well.
What are the benefits of hemp seeds?
Consuming hemp seeds come with several benefits. They are often touted as a superfood and, given the impressive rap sheet of benefits they have, it’s not difficult to see why. Here are some of the benefits of hemp seeds:
1. Nutritional Value
Hemp seeds are very nutritious. They contain over 30% fat, most of which is made of two essential fatty acids — linolenic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). They are also rich in gamma-linolenic acid, which poses several health benefits.
Hemp seeds are also an excellent source of protein. In fact, 25% of their total calorie make-up can be attributed to high-quality protein.
As mentioned earlier, hemp seeds are also a great source of numerous vitamins and minerals, including iron and zinc.
2. Reduced risk of heart disease
The consumption of hemp seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease. Hemp seeds are rich in arginine, an amino acid which produces nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide makes the blood vessels dilate and relax. This phenomenon leads to lowered blood pressure and, thus, a reduced risk of heart disease.
The gamma-linolenic acids present in hemp seeds has also been linked to reduced inflammation, which could also reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Beneficial to skin disorders
Hemp seeds contain copious amounts of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids, making them beneficial for treating skin disorders. Numerous studies suggest that the immune system is dependent on the balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, both present in hemp seeds. They have a 3:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, which is considered optimal in balancing the immune system.
Hemp seeds are often confused with marijuana, but they pose no psychoactive effects when consumed. They are cannabis products, just like marijuana, but they are of the Cannabis Sativa L., and they serve other purposes. Hemp seeds are beneficial to numerous health-related treatments due to their nutritious contents.