On Sunday 12th November, hemp seed foods were legalised for Australian human consumption. Yay! This is a massive win. I’m going to explain why hemp is a sustainable superfood. But, before I go into this, I’d like to identify the key differences between hemp and marijuana. There seems to be a lot of confusion around this.
Cannabis. It’s one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout the ages, different varieties have been grown for a number of uses. Mainly, industrial and medical. There are different strains of the plant Cannabis. It’s really important to note that, while hemp and marijuana are both strains of Cannabis, their genes set them apart.
Dependant on the ratio of THC– tetrahydrocannabinol (the stuff that makes you high), and CBD – cannabidiol (doesn’t make you high, and has some incredible health benefits), cannabis can be separated into psychoactive and non-psychoactive varieties. It’s relevant to note that hemp is a non-psychoactive agent. Mainly due it its fairly low THC:CBD ratio, as compared with marijuana: a psychoactive (1).
THCA is the precursor to THC; our psychoactive agent. Heat stimulates a process called decarboxylation. High temperature transforms THCA to THC. Confused? To put it another way; in the presence of certain temperatures i.e. smoking, THC is activated and you get high.
Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) found hemp seed foods to be low in THC. As a result, it was deemed safe for human consumption (2).
On a side note, did you know that consuming raw marijuana leaves (rich in THCA) poses some excellent health benefits? It’s thought to be anti-cancer, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory. Amazing! Moreover, the benefits CBD oil can have on successfully treating epilepsy and anxiety disorders, to name a few.
OK, back to hemp.
Here are 5 great reasons why hemp is a winner in our eyes.
Hemp is a superfood
4 tablespoons (42g) gives you a whopping 15g of protein. An excellent source and balance of essential fatty acids including omega-3 & 6. Therefore, making this a must for vegetarians and vegans. Hemp seeds are high in vitamin E. A potent antioxidant. It’s protective against cardiovascular disease and excellent for skin health. It is a hormone modulator, and anti-cancer. Wow. Finally, a great source of soluble fibre. This aids in balancing blood sugar levels, and promotes a healthy gut. This is done by providing nutrients to beneficial bacteria in our large intestine.
Hemp don’t need no pesticides
Hemp grows like a weed. In fact, it is naturally resistant to most pests. Therefore, it doesn’t require the use of herbicides or pesticides (3).
Hemp is environmentally friendly.
Hemp is a fast-growing crop, and grows tightly spaced. As a result, land use is decreased. It improves the health of soil, so farmers can grow food crops immediately after harvesting. It can also grow in a variety of different climates (3).
Hemp makes for a durable and sustainable fabric
It is comparable to linen in texture and it requires half as much land, and half as much water as cotton does to thrive (3).
Hemp can make carbon-neutral buildings
Hemp fibre can be mixed with lime to make carbon-neutral building supplies such as insulation, pressboard, flooring and wall construction. It’s energy efficient, non-toxic and resistant to mould, insects and fire (3).
You can see why hemp is a sustainable superfood. There is an abundance of brands using hemp that we all have access to such as skincare, makeup and clothing. Your local health food or bulk whole foods store will likely have hemp seeds, oil and protein. Get on board!