Paul Benhaim– With an ever-changing need worldwide for different products over the centuries, agriculture moves on with demand. Reduced demand for some crops, and other circumstances led to agriculture reducing production; one such victim of reduced demand was the Hemp plant, where governmental policy affected the market. This easy to grow, fast maturing plant was the mainstay of many agricultural areas from the UK to China and everywhere in between. Hemp production was banned for several decades in many countries and resulted in a big gap in the fiber market, so alternatives were grown and cotton gained popularity.
One of the reasons is that hemp was once viewed as a dangerous psychoactive drug and its other uses were ignored. Confusion reigned even though there are two types; one is hemp a non-THC variety, the other is marijuana the THC active version causing governments to blanket-ban the hemp plant regardless of its psychoactive (THC) content.
Hemp Turned Out to be a Lot More Benevolent than They Realized!
Psychoactive varieties of hemp (medical marijuana) turned out to be a valuable symptom treatment for some serious disorders; and the predictions of its destructive and addictive potential were far over exaggerated. In fact, opium (heroin base) and cocaine, crystal meth, tobacco and alcohol turned out to be the real problem and still are today. When they banned cannabis in the 20th century, opium was still openly available!
There is a different view from the medical profession these days.
Now that seed and fiber production are seen by governments as a valuable cash crop for farmers, production has been encouraged again. Farmers are realizing the potential of hemp crops so production of non-THC hemp is on the rise. This sea-change of attitudes has led to a lot of research and development in the hemp industry and now this versatile plant can be used as composites in building construction, industrial fiber, plastics and many other consumable products, plus a crucial component of the hemp crop – Hempseed.
Hempseed is Extremely Important
There are good reasons as to why hempseed stands out ahead of crops such as flaxseed; Seed is required to propagate the following year’s crop, but hemp seed is very special for several reasons; from the high quality proteins and EFA’s available, to the generous amount of oil produced.
Let’s investigate this a little deeper:
To get a better understanding of the importance of hempseed, we can break down its components and immediately see what the fuss is all about.
Hempseed is rich in oil which can be easily extracted. The actual ratio of oil to mass is very high – usually around 30% of the weight of the seeds is hempseed oil!
The components of the oil itself turn out to be very important nutritionally:
Hempseed is high in protein, around 25% – and a desirable protein too!
Hempseed protein is 65% composed of the globular protein known as edestin. Similar to globulin, edestin is in the same protein family as this important blood plasma component. This fact makes it an easy digestible foodstuff for the human body. Our bodies use edestin to produce toxic agents that reduce toxins in the body – particularly good for those with kidney problems.
Another hempseed protein is albumin. This is an easily absorbed protein that reduces free radicals. Sports enthusiasts see hemp protein as a top performer when it comes to choosing their protein.
The 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (mostly polyunsaturated fats with only 10% saturated fats) matches the body’s natural ratio of omega EFA’s. Hempseed oil is unique in this respect – with no alternative natural food that contains this “golden” ratio and of all the fatty acids that the human body needs, these are the most essential.