Hemp Seeds: Benefits, Nutrition, Side Effects and Facts

Hemp Seeds: Benefits, Nutrition, Side Effects and Facts

Hemp seeds are produced from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa L. While hemp is commonly confused with marijuana, as it belongs to the same family, the two plants are quite different. Most notably is the level of THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Hemp contains less than 1% of the psychoactive drug while marijuana contains up to 20% or more.

Hemp plants are cultivated for industrial use and harvested for their fibers, seeds, oils, and meal. Industrial hemp seeds are available in different forms. They can be sterilized, toasted, roasted, or cracked. Hemp can be pressed into oil or hulled into meal. Hemp thrives nearly anywhere, tolerating a variety of growing conditions. It's rarely affected by pests or disease, making hemp quite hardy. In fact, the plant provides numerous benefits.

Industrial help has many uses, from paper and textiles to plastic and fuel. In fact, it can even be used in place of traditional paper made from trees, as hemp paper can be recycled more times than that made from wood. Hemp also yields nearly four times as much as trees. Plastic produced from hemp is also biodegradable, making it better for the environment. Hemp seeds can be used in a variety of food products as well.

Hemp seed food products are also considered more allergy-free than many other seeds. Hemp seeds contain the perfect balance of essential amino acids for sustaining good health. In addition, hemp seed oil contains necessary fatty acids, also known as good fats. Not only can hemp seeds provide valuable nutritional benefits to people, but they can also be used in pet foods and taste good too.

While hemp seeds are grown in many parts of the world, its major producers include Canada, France, and China. Hemp has been prohibited from cultivation in the United States since about 1950. Despite its value, the U.S. government doesn't recognize the differences between industrial hemp and marijuana. In fact, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, classifies all varieties of Cannabis as marijuana, making industrial hemp just as illegal regardless of its use.

Considering its popularity from long ago, when even our forefathers appreciated the value of hemp seeds, it seems unusual that the plant would have such a bad reputation today. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp plants in their gardens. Hemp paper was even used for the Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Franklin produced hemp paper at his mill. The environmental advantages and nutritional benefits of growing industrial hemp seem to many to be worth lifting its restrictions.

Hemp Seed Nutrition

Hemp seeds are high in nutritional value and contain 20 different varieties of amino acids and all nine of the essential amino acids (like flax). Some essential amino acids can't be naturally produced by the body and these seeds have the capacity to supplement them in the body. They contain high amounts of protein, which helps in strengthening the immune system, thereby, reducing the instances of diseases, besides helping in excreting toxins from the body. Studies in the recent past have shown that consuming hemp seeds whether raw or in oil form, has the capacity to aid in the healing process of diseases related to immune deficiency. There is no other food substance which contains such high quantities of essential fatty acids found in hemp seeds, higher than even flaxseed and other nut or seed oil as well as containing high amounts of vitamin E and trace minerals. It has a balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fats at around a three to one ratio. This won't help correct your omega balance if it's off, but it gives you the right balance to start with.

Further the protein content of the hemp seed is supposed to be very digestible. Many people noted their personal experience of finding that hemp seed protein did not cause bloating or gas, like some of their whey, or other protein shakes did. And, unlike soy which has super high amounts of phytic acid (that anti-nutrient that prevents us from absorbing minerals), hemp seed doesn't contain phytic acid. At the very least, this makes hemp seed a step up from soy.

Consuming hemp seeds is absolutely safe and there are no known side effects of consuming them. However, you should always remember that excess of anything is bad, so make sure that you consume just enough so as to give you a healthy body. Hope, after reading all the hemp seeds health benefits, you would take good care of your health and start consuming hemp seeds even if you don't like them.

The best way to insure the body has enough amino acid material to make the globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins. Since hemp seed protein is 65% globulin edistin, and also includes quantities of albumin, its protein is readily available in a form quite similar to that found in blood plasma. Eating hemp seeds gives the body all the essential amino acids required to maintain health, and provides the necessary kinds and amounts of amino acids the body needs to make human serum albumin and serum globulins like the immune enhancing gamma globulins. Eating hemp seeds could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed was used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.

Hemp Seed Benefits

Hemp seeds are easily digested by the body and is one of the most nutritious foods available in nature. They contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, essential amino acids and proteins. Hemp seeds are such foods which can sustain our dietary needs, even if you don't consume any other healthy food. There are several hemp seeds health benefits, some of which are listed below.

One of the most important hemp seed benefits is its high quantity of proteins. Moreover, there are a range of vitamins and minerals in hemp seeds, besides omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids are not synthesized by the human body naturally, and this is what makes hemp seeds an excellent food source of essential fatty acids. If you want to keep your heart healthy, you should try and consume a lot of hemp seeds, as they are rich in essential fatty acids. You can reduce the chances of a fatal cardiac arrhythmia or a heart attack if you substitute saturated fats with foods like hemp seeds, as they contain healthy fats. Moreover, it produces phytosterols, which help in reducing the amount of cholesterol in the body, thereby removing fat buildup in the arteries.

Hemp contains:

  • All 20 amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids (EAAs) our bodies cannot produce.

  • A high protein percentage of the simple proteins that strengthen immunity and fend off toxins.

  • Eating hemp seeds in any form could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. This conclusion is supported by the fact that hemp seed has been used to treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis, a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.

  • Nature's highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, with more essential fatty acid than flax or any other nut or seed oil.

  • A perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid – for cardiovascular health and general strengthening of the immune system.

  • A superior vegetarian source of protein considered easily digestible.

  • A rich source of phytonutrients, the disease-protective element of plants with benefits protecting your immunity, bloodstream, tissues, cells, skin, organs and mitochondria.
    The richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids.

You can press hemp seeds to extract polyunsaturated oil, besides making seed cakes out of it. Oil extracted out of hemp seeds can be mixed with other foods like breads or salads or even eaten plain. You can use grind hemp seed cakes to hemp flour and use it while baking. Another important hemp seeds health benefits is, that oil extracted out of hemp seeds can also be used as an ointment to regenerate and nourish the skin. Hemp oil can penetrate the skin quickly compared to other oils. This helps in preventing skin from sagging due to aging as essential fatty acids completely penetrate the outer skin layer, thereby, encouraging healthy moist skin.

Can Hemp Seeds Make You High?

In short, no. To grow marijuna you have to have special seed that grows a plant high in THC, the property responsible for the drug response. Commercial hemp seed or hemp seed oil contains very low amounts, plus they contain a substance that counteracts THC.

Reality: Hemp oil is an increasingly popular product, used for an expanding variety of purposes. The washed hemp seed contains no THC at all. The tiny amounts of THC contained in industrial hemp are in the glands of the plant itself. Sometimes, in the manufacturing process, some THC- and CBD-containing resin sticks to the seed, resulting in traces of THC in the oil that is produced. The concentration of these cannabinoids in the oil is infinitesimal. No one can get high from using hemp oil.

Hemp Seed Side Effects

Shelled hemp seeds are becoming a popular dietary supplement because of their high protein content and healthful fatty acids. Hemp seeds come from the same plants, Cannabis sativa or C. indica, that produce marijuana, although the plants are cultivated and processed differently so that hemp seeds contain very low levels of psychoactive cannabinols such as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Shelled hemp seeds are generally safe, but some people may experience some undesired side effects.

Oils and Digestion

Hemp seeds are rather oily and high in fat. One tablespoon contains 3 g to 4 g of fat. The majority of this is polyunsaturated fat --- the good kind of fat --- and according to Blue Shield of California, shelled hemp seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, all this fat can come at a price, and you may experience mild diarrhea when adding shelled hemp seeds to your diet. If your digestive system is sensitive to change, start with small amounts of hemp seed --- say, a teaspoon a day --- and slowly work your way up to the recommended serving of 2 tbsp.

Medication Interactions

As of 2011, hemp seeds are not known to cause any interactions with common medications, but you should talk to your doctor or naturopath about any over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking before adding hemp seeds to your diet. Blue Shield of California recommends caution to anyone taking anticoagulant drugs, since hemp seeds inhibit platelets and may pose a bleeding risk.


Eating shelled hemp seeds will not produce the same effects as smoking marijuana. According to David P. West Ph.D., a plant researcher who has studied hemp extensively, the compound in marijuana that produces its psychotropic effect, THC, is only produced in the flowers, buds and leaves of the cannabis plants, not the seeds. However, since the seeds come into contact with the rest of the plant, some residue may remain on the seeds after processing and shelled hemp seeds may contain extremely low levels of THC. The exact levels vary by brand, so if you are very sensitive to THC and happen to buy a brand with higher-than-average levels, you may experience euphoria or hallucination. It is also highly unlikely --- although not impossible --- to get a positive drug test result after consuming large amounts of shelled hemp seeds.

Buying, Storing and Using

Look for shelled hemp seeds in the refrigerated section of natural food stores. Since the oils in hemp seeds can quickly go rancid, they are best kept cool and used quickly. Heating hemp seeds will destroy the nutritional benefits of the fatty acids, so add hemp seeds to foods after cooking.

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