Hemp is often the underrepresented and underappreciated member of the Cannabis Sativa family. Historically cultivated for its industrial uses, hemp is distantly related to the cannabis that we are most familiar with at the dispensary. Industrial hemp may be used as a material, turned into an oil or even consumed raw as a food. Native to more northern regions, the hemp plant is tall, slender and has long fibers. In comparison to other crops, hemp typically requires less land and pesticides. This makes it extremely easy and sustainable to grow.
While hemp is potentially an environmentally friendly replacement for other materials, it still carries some stigma. Due to this long-standing aversion to anything cannabis-related, the United States has yet to fully legalize farming industrial hemp. It’s a complicated issue; if you’re interested, you can read more about the legal ins and outs of hemp here. In the U.S., we most often import hemp from Canada, China, Romania, Hungary, and India. It is totally legal to purchase and use at home.
Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil?
A common misconception places hemp oil in the same group as CBD oil. These products are not the same, for a couple of reasons:
- Hemp oil, while high in omega and fatty acids, contains extremely low amounts of cannabinoids. CBD oil on the other hand, of course, can provide high dosages of CBD, THC and other cannabinoids to the consumer.
- Hemp oil is wonderful as a kitchen ingredient. We recommend CBD oil as more of a medicinal supplement.
- Health food and grocery stores often supply hemp seeds and oil.
- CBD oil will be more helpful than hemp in treating pain, nausea, anxiety and other conditions. Nonetheless, hemp is still a healthy and delicious ingredient to incorporate into your diet.
Hemp is, to be completely honest, kind of a magical food. This is for a couple reasons. One, In its seed format, hemp delivers an ideal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to support cardiovascular health. Two, considered a “perfect protein,” hemp seeds contain all 20 amino acids. Finally, they deliver a robust dose of protein, fiber, and vitamins to keep you energized throughout the day.
Hemp contains potent antioxidants, too. With a diet rich in antioxidants, your immune system will effectively fight off pathogens. This can also assist in preventing degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, sclerosis or arthritis. If you’re interested, you can read more about the health benefits of hemp here.
Most recipes can seamlessly incorporate hemp. The seeds are able to deliver a pleasant, nutty flavor and crunch. Also, these are a great substitute for folks who are allergic to nuts. Here are a few tips on picking out the best hemp seeds to consume. We’ll explore some of the best ways to use hemp seeds below.
Hemp Seed Smoothie
With the height of summer delivering sweltering temperatures, there’s nothing quite as luxurious as a cold, fresh smoothie.
Smoothies are also an effective way to ingest required fruit and veggie servings for the day. The addition of hemp seeds makes your classic smoothie more substantial. We recommend enjoying this smoothie for breakfast—a delicious andenergizing treat to begin the day right.
What you’ll need:
- Milk (whether conventional dairy milk or a milk substitute. Even better, hemp milk!)
- An assortment of fruits and vegetables
- Hemp seeds
- Other add-ins including chia seeds, honey, or cacao nibs
A couple of our favorite fruit & veggie combinations include:
- Bananas & blueberries
- Kale, strawberries & pineapple
- Pear, celery & spinach
- Banana, peach & spinach
- (Here are some more great options for smoothie combinations.)
Blend all ingredients together, adding more liquid if needed, until a smooth consistency. Top with raw, unblended hemp seeds, raw chia seeds, or the cacao nibs.
Hemp Seed & Kale Pesto
Another great option to make this summer is a fresh, green pesto. Pesto is versatile — serve it on crackers, on pasta, on sandwiches, or add a generous dollop to soups and salads. You can do pretty much anything with a good pesto. Furthermore, the addition of hemp seeds makes this pesto even healthier.
What you’ll need
- 1/4 cup olive oil (infused, if you want to add in some THC)
- 2 cups of curly kale
- 2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
- 1/2 cup hemp seeds
- 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove
- Salt & pepper
Blend the hemp seeds and garlic in a food processor. Gradually add in the kale, until the mixture begins to smooth. Then, add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and the Dijon mustard. Finally, drizzle the olive oil, optionally medicated, on the top. Blend again until all ingredients are fully mixed.
Keep refrigerated in a sealed, clean jar for future pesto needs!