- "Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country."
- Thomas Jefferson
Aside from the whole soy controversy, hemp might just be the other topic tied for number one as being the most misunderstood thing to consume! I am constantly receiving questions about hemp, what it is exactly, where it comes from exactly, what the health benefits of it are exactly, etc. So hopefully I can clear up some things for you with today’s blog…
The Elephant in the Room
Let me go ahead and answer the question that popped in your head when you first found out you’d be reading about the benefits of hemp today. No, you cannot get “high” from eating foods containing hemp! Part of the confusion is that some assume hemp and marijuana are one in the same, so let me explain. I know you’ve seen hemp products everywhere, (hemp milk, hemp protein powder, hemp beer even), and yes, these all come from the same plant that provides marijuana (Cannabis sativa L). However, the seeds contain only trace amounts of THC (the psychoactive component of hemp resin). So again, food products made from hemp seeds and their oil will not get you high or cause a positive reading on drug tests.
Still confused? Let me break it down another way. Marijuana has an extremely high THC content. It is this elevated amount of THC that causes the “high” feeling/experience. Marijuana, however, is low in cannabidiol (CBD) content. It’s CBD that carries the medicinal properties. Sooooo, hemp is basically the exact opposite…high in CBD and low in THC…aka no “high”.
Health Benefits of This “Superfood”
The most nutrient dense portion of hemp, much like most any plant, is the seed and the oil. Those who know me, know that my diet goals include eating as plant-based as possible. Since I do not eat meat, I’m always trying new plant-based sources of protein, and hemp is definitely one of my favorites thus far. Coming second only to soy, hemp contains a highly-concentrated surplus of proteins!
For anyone battling chronic inflammation of any kind, high blood pressure, heart disease of any kind, high cholesterol, low energy, decline in cognitive functioning, hair, skin and nails issues, digestive issues, cancer and/or weight management, hemp is here for you. Hemp contains a balanced 1:3 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids (this amounts to more than any fish and most fish oil supplements)!
Hemp is high in fiber, minerals, antioxidants, vitamins; and also helps to reduce nausea and vomiting, control anxiety and depression, fight off cancer cells and tumors and control seizures.
Sources of Hemp
You can buy and consume hemp in many different ways…
You can drink it as a plant-based milk option; you can put a scoop of its ground up seed powder into a smoothie or juice to drink as a protein shake; you can eat the seeds raw (they are slightly sweeter than sunflower seeds), you can have hemp butter as another nut butter alternative; etc. Apart from these, feel free to have fun with hemp and get creative! Look up some recipes and enjoy everything from hemp muffins to hemp pancakes. Enjoy!
- Katherine Igah-Phillips, MD, MHA
- Returning to Nature, LLC. | www.returningtonature.com
- Mind Body Spirit Wellness, Inc. | www.mbswellness.org
- Balance U, LLC. | www.abalanceu.com