Hemp is a variety of cannabis that is grown for the fiber and seeds. Hemp is a very hearty plant and grows very quickly in very diverse soil conditions. Cultivation of hemp for industrial purposes has been done by many civilizations for over 12,000 years. Industrial hemp was the desired fiber used to manufacture rope, canvas, paper, and clothing until alternative textiles and synthetics for these purposes were discovered. It is illegal for anyone to grow hemp in the United States as hemp is illegal under the marijuana prohibition act so all hemp is imported.
In addition to providing useful fibers, hemp seed is becoming highly prized for its nutritional value. The hemp seed is not actually a seed but a fruit. Hemp seeds are extremely nutritious and are made up from 25% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 15% insoluble fiber. The hemp seed contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A, and is our best vegetable source of the essential fatty acids, containing Omega 3 linoleic acid (55%) and Omega 6 linolenic acid (25%) in a near perfect ratio, and even containing the rare nutrient gama linolenic acid.
Hemp seed can be used to make hemp milk and be added to many vegan, raw recipes to increase the nutritional value. It can also be used to make hemp protein powder which is a great vegan way to get added protein into your diet. Hemp seeds can be pressed to yield hemp oil which is prized for its fatty acids as mentioned above.
Dr. Sal’s Thoughts:
I am a huge hemp fan. I use the seeds to make hemp milk. I use hemp protein (3 tablespoons, 15g of protein) when I want to add protein to meal. On salads I use hemp oil in place of olive oil.
The hemp seeds and oil I usually get at Whole Foods but the hemp protein (which I use a lot of) I buy in bulk through Amazon.