Hemp was one of the first crops to be cultivated by humans. This type of cannabis had many uses prior to being bred and grown for CBD. Its traditional uses include fabric, paper, rope, and food. Today, hemp seed is still used for more than growing CBD flower. People consume hemp seed or hemp seed oil for its protein, essential nutrients, fatty acids, and fiber content.
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What are Hemp Seeds?
Hemp seeds are the seed of the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis plants are either male or female, so to produce seed, female flowers must be pollinated by male plants. Cannabis that has especially low THC levels is referred to as hemp.
What is THC?
THC is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis (marijuana and very small amounts in hemp). When consumed in substantial amounts it can produce feelings of intoxication. Hemp seeds themselves do not contain THC, only the mature marijuana plant is a significant source of THC. You can read more about THC in our Ultimate CBD FAQ.
What is Hemp Seed Good For?
Protein: Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids you require. Many people forget that plants can be a significant source of protein and fatty acids. The protein in hemp is also very easily digestible.
Fiber: Hemp seed contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water and while they are still an important part of your diet. They get assimilated by the body before being passed. Insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved and pass through the body intact. This kind of fiber is typically lacking in our diets as we do not eat very many food items that do not break down. Insoluble fiber is a very important part of any diet as it aids in gently cleaning out the digestive tract.
Hemp Seed Foods
There are four main hemp seed foods: whole seed, shelled seed (also known as hulled seed or hemp hearts), oil, and products produced from the pressing of the seed for oil.
Whole Hemp Seed
You would consume whole hemp seed for the proteins and fiber and to a lesser degree the oils or shelled hemp seeds. If you are going to buy whole hemp seeds online, the hemp seeds used as a food product should be sterile and not able to be grown. This can do some damage to the oils, but the protein and fiber are left intact. While the shell is quite crunchy, it is not difficult to eat.
Shelled Hemp Seed
Shelled hemp seed is the whole hemp seed without the shell. You do not have to heat this product since by removing the shell, you would not be able to sprout it. This product would be consumed for the proteins and the oils and it really tastes great. The inner part of the hemp seed is soft and has a wonderful nutty flavor. Shelled hemp seed can be used for smoothies, porridge, and other hemp seed recipes.
Hemp Seed Oil (No CBD)
Hemp seed oil is an excellent source of essential fatty acids. These long-chain poly-unsaturated fats are considered “good fats” as they are the building blocks of our immune systems. They are called essential because you have to get them from your diet. A diet lacking in essential fatty acids can contribute to simple items like dry skin but can also become more severe like allergic reactions and compromised immune response.
Be aware that hemp seed oil is not the same as CBD oil. Only hemp products made from hemp flowers are a significant source of CBD. If you look closely at the ingredients used for food products and cheap Wal-Mart CBD products, you will usually see that they are made from hemp seed oil and do not have the same benefits as CBD oil!
Hemp Protein Powder and Hemp Flour
Hemp flour and hemp protein powder are products made from the leftovers of pressing for oil. They are a great source of protein and some fiber. Not all protein powders are the same so make sure you check what percentage proteins are in the powder you are looking at. Protein percentages of less than 35% should be considered hemp flour as there is then more fiber than protein.