Can cannabis seeds really improve your health? Everything you ever wanted to know about cannabis seeds
We’ve all heard about cannabis or marijuana seeds and the supposed benefits of using them. In this article, we aren’t talking about the recreational use of cannabis seeds. We are going to look at the reported health benefits of cannabis seeds.
It can be hard to know whether or not to believe a lot of the hype surrounding ‘miracle’ medical cures. So in this article I’m going to delve into the reputable research surrounding cannabis seeds, using genuine results and scientific studies to help you to decide for yourself if cannabis seeds can help improve your health.
What’s the difference between hemp seeds and cannabis seeds?
Hemp and cannabis (or marijuana) are essentially the same plants, they are both form of the cannabis Sativa plant. The only difference between them is that cannabis has higher levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which is the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that makes people high.
Due to their high healthy fat and protein content, hemp seeds are frequently used in birdseed and fishing bait. Growing hemp plants are perfectly legal. In fact, hemp is a pretty useful plant and can be used in food, clothing, fuel and building products. Sometimes cannabis is referred to as recreational hemp and the plant with nominal levels of THC is known as industrial hemp.
Some people who use cannabis recreationally even add cannabis seeds when they smoke marijuana. However, research shows that cannabis seeds do not contain any measurable amount of cannabinoids. The THC levels only come out when the plant has grown, meaning that cannabis seeds and hemp seeds are pretty much the same things until they mature into plants.
Amazing health benefits of hemp seeds
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are known for their health benefits, especially in regards to cardiovascular health and lowering blood cholesterol. Hemp seeds have a 3:1 balance of omega-3 (alpha-linoleic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid), which put simply means that they are fantastic sources of these EFAs (essential fatty acids).
They are also an excellent source of GLA (gamma linolenic acid) which is an essential omega-6 fatty acid that is known to balance hormones. Studies show that GLA can reduce PMS symptoms and also symptoms of the menopause.
As well as these healthy plant-based fats they are also rich in other nutrients, including proteins, Vitamins A, E, D and many B vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, live enzymes and a variety of minerals. In fact, high-quality protein forms 25% of the total calorific content of hemp seeds, and over 30% comes from healthy fats.
Minerals in hemp seeds:
The best part
There is no denying that hemp seeds (and cannabis seeds) are packed full of essential nutrients. They also have very strong anti-inflammatory properties which are especially useful in muscle and tissue repair after exercise.
Hemp seeds are a complete protein. In fact, they are the only natural source of edestin, the amino acid that shares a similar structure to our own DNA.
Making hemp the closest source of protein to our own human amino acid profile. Most plant-based proteins don’t contain the amino acid, lysine but it is present in hemp seeds.
Quinoa is another example of a plant-based protein that also contains lysine. However, quinoa is not something that is easy to eat on a daily basis. Hemp seeds can be easily incorporated into a variety of different meals throughout the day. We’ll explore how to eat hemp seeds later on in this article, so keep reading.
Hemp seeds are easily absorbed and easy to digest, meaning more energy reserves are available for regenerating muscles and metabolising fats. In fact, the protein from hemp seeds is even easier to digest than the protein that is found in most nuts, grains, pulses and legumes.
That’s not all!
Another of the amino acids that are found in hemp seeds is arginine, which produces nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate, which (according to a recent study) eventually results in lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Other studies have reported that hemp seeds (or hemp seed oil) can:
- lower blood pressure
- prevent blood clots from forming
- help recovery after a heart attack
- help with skin diseases
- help with eczema and dermatitis
Are cannabis seeds illegal?
Growing cannabis seeds into plants is illegal in many places in the world, in the UK for instance. In parts of America, you are allowed to grow medical marijuana if your doctor or physician has advised it.
Many people find that growing their own plants ensures quality, as well as being a cheaper and safer alternative than buying from dealers. As the nutritional value of hemp seeds and cannabis seeds is the same, it is advisable to buy hemp seeds.
They will not only be cheaper and easier to get hold of, but they also mean you will stay out of trouble with the law. It is becoming increasingly easier to buy cannabis seeds online. This could mean that you are at risk of breaking the law, but it also means that you cannot always guarantee the quality of the product. Hemp seeds are much more recognised, easier to obtain and accepted – meaning that is much easier to find reputable companies that sell hemp seeds.
Ways to eat cannabis seeds
Due to the exceptional nutritional qualities of cannabis seeds, it makes sense to eat them. You can eat hemp seeds raw, you can bake them or you can even lightly toast them. It is all about personal preference.
You can add them to cereal, sprinkle them in yoghurt or mix them up in your salad. Some people like to use them in healthy smoothies. They can be added to dressings and sauces, they have a light, nutty flavour that means they are perfect for adding a little interesting slant to a simple pasta dish.
There are a few ways in which to enjoy the nutritional benefits of hemp seeds:
- whole shelled hemp seeds (sprinkled on food or blended into smoothies)
- Hemp oil
- hemp protein powder (ground, dried hemp seeds)
- hemp milk
How to make hemp milk
You can make fresh, homemade hemp milk in seconds. It is a great alternative to dairy, soy and nut milk and is especially useful for anyone with specific allergies.
It’s a great way for vegans and vegetarians to get healthy protein into their diet. This is also an easily digestible way to enjoy the superfood!
- Add 3 cups of raw shelled hemp seeds, 3 cups of (filtered) water and a pinch of salt to your blender
- Blend on a high speed for 30-60 seconds (until the seeds have broken down completely)
- Either drink the milk as it is (to enjoy the most nutritional benefits) or strain the milk for a smoother product
- Your hemp milk will keep for up to 3 days in a sealed container in the fridge
If you want to try hemp seed milk but are not keen on the flavour, you can add extra ingredients at the blending stage to keep things interesting. 2 tablespoons of cacao powder, a teaspoon of natural vanilla essence or 2 cups of fresh fruit (such as strawberries or blueberries) would be a good choice.
What are hemp hearts?
As soon as you delve into the world of hemp seeds you’ll stumble across the term hemp hearts. This is the name given to shelled hemp seeds. The health benefits of hemp hearts are similar to those without shells. However, you might find the shelled variety easier to use in recipes.
As a lot of fibre is found in the husk or shell of the hemp seed, hemp hearts will not have the same amount of fibre as unshelled hemp seeds. Hemp seeds contain 20% soluble fibre and 80% insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre is great for levelling blood sugar and regulating cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre is useful in the fight against diabetes, it also helps food and waste to pass through the gut and helps your body to absorb essential nutrients.
Smoking cannabis seeds
The active ingredient (THC) is only present in the cannabis plant, meaning that smoking the seeds will not get you high.
Smoking cannabis seeds results in a harsh, acrid smoke and it also means that you don’t get to reap the nutritional benefits of the seeds.
Eating cannabis seeds is a much better option. Can you get high from eating cannabis seeds? Not at all. As the active ingredient is only present in the plants and flowers of the cannabis plant, you are perfectly safe munching on the seeds.
Growing cannabis seeds
The health benefits of marijuana are different to those of hemp seeds and cannabis seeds. However, as the seeds are so packed with nutrients and considered one of the superfoods, it makes sense to stick to the seeds if you are using them for health benefits. Growing any sort of plant takes care and attention.
Growing cannabis plants are illegal in many countries, it also requires specialist skills and specific equipment (such as heat lamps) which can be tricky to obtain. The growing process starts with germinating the cannabis seeds and the tricky process also involves elements such as feminising them.
Some people like to buy already feminised cannabis seeds, the female plants produce more flowers (which are a draw for some people) and also tend to contain higher levels of THC.
Other medical uses of marijuana
The use of medical marijuana is one that causes a great deal of conflict all over the world. In some countries, the use of synthetic marijuana means that the health benefits can be enjoyed without THC exposure or the side effects of marijuana.
Some people swear by the marijuana detox, others by the oil. On the whole, people seem to think that most plants are harmless but ineffective. Marijuana (or cannabis) is completely natural but the effect is had on people can be quite dramatic.
Nowadays, the difference between hemp and cannabis is pretty well-known. However, there is still a certain stigma surrounding marijuana as it is illegal in so many countries.
Is eating hemp seeds similar to smoking marijuana?
It is important to understand the difference between hemp and marijuana. If cannabis is illegal in your country, then the stigma surrounding this plant is likely to be even greater. Hemp seeds are similar to chia and flax seeds, except that they have even more nutritional benefits.
It is important to remember that if you plant hemp seeds, they will grow into a hemp plant â€“ a plant that is robust and highly useful in many industries- not a cannabis plant.
Both hemp seeds and cannabis seeds have been shown to help with the following conditions:
- high blood pressure
- high blood cholesterol
- heart disease
- muscle and tissue damage
- blood clots
- skin conditions including dermatitis and eczema
They are also packed full of essential nutrients, making them a genuine superfood.
Are hemp seeds worth their reputation?
Every week there seems to be a new miracle food that purports to cure all manner of diseases, however, when it comes to hemp seeds all the research show that they are immensely high in a great number of valuable nutrients.
They certainly live up to their reputation. There are plenty of ways that you can add hemp seeds to your diet. It is advisable to opt for hemp seeds over cannabis seeds, as cannabis seeds may be illegal in some places and hemp seeds will be much cheaper to buy.
Consuming something that is natural but highly versatile is a great way to boost the nutrients in your body and enjoy the health benefits that follow.