Allowing and encouraging domestic hemp cultivation would be a boon for small farmers, especially organic farmers. I’m talking only about industrial hemp, not medical cannabis/marijuana, which continues to prove its merits and gain acceptance.
Industrial hemp’s use should be a no-brainer. But it’s a complex boondoggle of legal and bureaucratic nonsense even without THC, the molecule that leads to “Reefer Madness”.
Reefer Madness (1936) trailer
Industrial hemp commercial cultivation is legal in Canada. But the USA hemp industry was pushed to the side by government connected industry insiders whose monopolies were threatened when it appeared hemp may boom and compete for the very products of their monopolist concerns.
Circa 1937, the hemp industry had been given a mechanical invention gift known as the decoricator machine was invented. It was a machine that was to hemp what the 19th Century cotton gin was. It replaced hand shredding of hemp to glean its fibers, fibers that could be used for textiles, clothing, paper, and plastic.
With the advent of the decoricator, hemp would have been able to take over competing industries in paper, textiles for clothing and other applications, fuel, and plastics. Growing hemp in abundance was easy, and it’s plant to harvest time was no more than six months.
According to Popular Mechanics during that time, “10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average [forest] pulp land.” Then a small number of large businesses with competition concerns used high level government connections to push through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
The ensuing marijuana scares hyped by movies such as “Reefer Madness” brought about more legislation that would prohibit all hemp cultivation, even hemp without THC.
Prior to this, even without the high speed decoricator, hemp was an easy cash crop for small farmers, some of whom were recruited to continue cultivating hemp during WW II to provide hemp fibers for U.S. Naval ships’ ropes as well as other military applications.
And prior to that, hemp was so important during colonial and early American times that farmers were virtually required to cultivate it along with their other crops.
George Washington - “Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”
Thomas Jefferson - “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”
HEMP FOR NUTRITION
Hulled hemp seeds, their powders and cold pressed oils provide all the essential amino acids for easily digested high protein. Hemp is not only very high in omega-3, but it provides an almost perfect ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.
It is truly a super food that you can buy in health food stores or online. The seeds come from Canada, where industrial hemp is legal. Hemp is so nutritionally dense that one could survive on hemp seeds alone during extreme food shortages. If hemp were legal, you could easily grow your own.
HEMP IMPROVES FARMING
Hemp plants don’t need pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, which rely mostly on the phosphate industry. A phosphate industry byproduct is the sodium fluoride that is sold to municipality water works for our poisoned tap water.
The runoff from fields of phosphate fertilizers into waterways that merge with seawater is causing all sorts of nitrogen and phosphorous excesses and imbalances, leading to algae that stifles the water’s ecological support systems.
Hemp’s thick roots ward off weeds, and growing hemp improves the soil’s nitrogen, making that soil better for other crops. They would be useful and lucrative rotation crops for organic farmers.
Hemp plants have a growth cycle of only four months. In mild climates, harvesting hemp two times in one year would create an annual cash cow for farmers. The marijuana taboo is eliminated by allowing the male plants to continually pollinate the female plants. This reduces psychotropic THC to legal levels.
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ELIMINATING TOXIC PETROCHEMICAL PLASTICS
There is a clump of plastic waste residue larger than the state of Texas floating in the middle of the Pacific. A lot of it is expected to decompose, creating a plastic soup in the ocean. The toxins from this plastic soup spread out into other oceanic regions and are hazardous to fish and bird wildlife. This soup could find its way into our kitchens as well!
All kinds of plastics are produced with hemp, from clear wraps for foods to automobile parts. Hemp plastics are durable and heat resistant. And they are bio-degradable. Recently the French auto industry use hemp to manufacture some of its automobile parts. Henry Ford pioneered this in 1941 when he built his “vegetable car” with hemp and flax. It was stronger and lighter than steel cars.
Ford’s hemp-mobile also used hemp bio-diesel fuel, which creates very little pollution. The petroleum industry didn’t want to see or hear that. Hemp seeds were even used to make paints and lacquers in the mid-1930s.
Petrochemical plastics for all purposes could be replaced with hemp plastics that are non-toxic and bio-degradable. Bye-bye BPA!
CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS FOR HOUSING
Amazingly, housing construction materials made from hemp fibers have been discovered to be superior to most cheap materials used in housing construction these days. Ever see a house under construction after its initial framing?
What you’ll usually see before whatever exterior coating is used are sheets of wood substitutes, either pasteboard or particle board or pressboards, some of which are processed and bound with toxic chemicals that can off-gas into interior quarters. It’s cheaper than other materials and used abundantly.
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Inexpensive hemp can be made into various different building materials, hempcrete, fiberboard, carpet, stucco, cement blocks, insulation, and plastic. Those materials are stronger and much longer lasting than what’s being used currently. They are also mold and rot free and more fire resistant. And they are environmentally and ecologically friendly and non-toxic.
MORE TREES FOR TREE HUGGERS
Pulp from trees is used to make paper. But anything wood pulp can do, hemp fibers can do better. It’s said that the original Constitution and Bill of Rights were on hemp paper.
Paper from trees can be recycled maybe three times. Hemp paper can be recycled eight times. Since hemp was effectively banned in the USA since 1937, 70% of the USA’s forests have been eliminated. It takes years for trees to grow. Hemp can be gown and harvested within six months.
It’s estimated that one acre of hemp produces more oxygen from CO2 and methane than 25 acres of forest. One idea presented by hemp advocates is to have inner city hemp plots to improve urban air quality. We wouldn’t need bogus carbon tax legislation.
Pulping trees for paper creates more waste, pollution, and consumes more energy than most enterprises. This industry consumes more water than almost all others. It is the fifth largest industry consumer of energy, and it emits a good deal of toxicity in the process.
“Why use up the forests which were centuries in the making and the mines which required ages to lay down, if we can get the equivalent of forest and mineral products in the annual growth of the hemp fields?” — Henry Ford
Anything the petrochemical industry can produce, hemp can do better without toxic environmental and human consequences. Deforesting could be a thing of the past if hemp became the major source of construction materials and paper. Heavily pesticide and herbicide sprayed or GMO cotton wouldn’t be necessary, nor would toxic synthetic fibers.
Amazing how such an easily cultivated plant with so many beneficial applications has been so efficiently suppressed by the one or two percent for their purposes while too many among the 98% agreed with that suppression.
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6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
1. Hemp Seeds Are Incredibly Nutritious
Technically a nut, hemp seeds are very nutritious. They have a mild, nutty flavor and are often referred to as hemp hearts.
Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
They also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been linked with several health benefits (1).
Hemp seeds are a great protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein.
That is considerably more than similar foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds, which provide about 16–18%.
This is what whole and shelled hemp seeds look like:
Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc .
Hemp seeds can be consumed raw, cooked or roasted. Hemp seed oil is also very healthy, and has been used as a food/medicine in China for at least 3,000 years.
Bottom Line: Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids. They are also a great protein source and contain high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
2. Hemp Seeds May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide
Interestingly, eating hemp seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease via several mechanisms.
They contain high amounts of the amino acid arginine, which is used to produce nitric oxide in the body.
Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that makes the blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease .
In one large study of more than 13,000 people, increased arginine intake was linked with decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is an inflammatory marker linked with heart disease.
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The gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp seeds has also been linked with reduced inflammation, which may decrease the risk of diseases like heart disease.
Additionally, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack .
Bottom Line: Hemp seeds are a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been linked with a reduced risk of heart disease.
3. Hemp Seeds and Oil May Benefit Skin Disorders
Fatty acids may affect immune responses in the body .
This may have something to do with the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
Hemp seeds are a good source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids. They have about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered in the optimal range.
Studies have shown that giving hemp seed oil to people with eczema may improve blood levels of essential fatty acids.
It may also relieve dry skin, improve itchiness and reduce the need for skin medication .
Bottom Line: Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats. They have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which may benefit skin diseases. In some cases, this may provide relief from eczema and its uncomfortable symptoms.
4. Hemp Seeds Are a Great Source of Plant-Based Protein
About 25% of calories in hemp seeds come from protein, which is relatively high.
In fact, by weight, hemp seeds provide amounts of protein similar to beef and lamb. 30 grams of hemp seeds, or 2–3 tablespoons, provide about 11 grams of protein .
They are considered a complete protein source, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are not produced in the body and need to be gotten from the diet.
Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom, as plants often lack the amino acid lysine. Quinoa is another example of a complete, plant-based protein source.
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Hemp seeds contain significant amounts of the amino acids methionine and cysteine, as well as very high levels of arginine and glutamic acid .
The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good — better than protein from manygrains, nuts and legumes .
Bottom Line: About 25% of the calories in hemp seeds come from protein. Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source.
5. Hemp Seeds May Reduce Symptoms of PMS and Menopause
Up to 80% of women of reproductive age may suffer from physical or emotional symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS) .
These symptoms are very likely caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin .
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found in hemp seeds, produces prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of prolactin .
In a study of women with PMS, taking one gram of essential fatty acids (including 210 mg of GLA) per day resulted in a significant decrease in symptoms .
Other studies have shown that primrose oil, which is rich in GLA, may be highly effective in reducing symptoms for women who have failed other PMS therapies.
It decreased breast pain and tenderness, depression, irritability and fluid retention associated with PMS .
Because hemp seeds are high in GLA, several studies have indicated that hemp seeds may also help reduce the symptoms of menopause.
Exactly how this works is unknown, but it has been suggested that the GLA in hemp seeds may help to regulate the hormone imbalances and inflammation associated with menopause .
Bottom Line: Hemp seeds may reduce symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and may also positively affect symptoms of menopause.
6. Whole Hemp Seeds May Aid Digestion
Fiber is an essential part of the diet and is linked with better digestive health .
Whole hemp seeds are a good source of both soluble (20%) and insoluble (80%) fiber .
Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the gut. It is a valuable source of nutrients for the beneficial digestive bacteria, and may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels .
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to fecal matter and may help food and waste pass through the gut. Consuming insoluble fiber has also been linked with a reduced risk of diabetes .
However, de-hulled or shelled hemp seeds (also known as hemp hearts) contain very little fiber, because the fiber-rich shell has been removed.
Bottom Line: Whole hemp seeds contain high amounts of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which benefits digestive health. De-hulled hemp seeds have had the fiber-rich shell removed, and therefore contain very little fiber.
Take Home Message
Although hemp seeds have not been popular until recently, they are an old staple food and people are now realizing their excellent nutritional value.
They are very rich in healthy fats, high-quality protein and several minerals.
However, hemp seed shells may contain trace amounts of THC (< 0.3%), the active compound in marijuana. People who have been addicted to cannabis may want to avoid consuming hemp or hemp seeds in any form.
Overall, hemp seeds are incredibly healthy. They might just be one of the few superfoods that are actually worthy of their reputation.
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Ways hemp can change the world:
Relegalize hemp site:
Ocean plastic soup:
Comparing hemp paper to tree paper:
Hemp Plastic website:
Naming names of those behind banning hemp:
How hemp as a cash crop can help our economy:
Paper on the industries behind banning hemp:
The decoricator machine