Thursday August 27, 2015
The uses of hemp go far beyond providing clothing and hackie-sack material for hippies. In addition to both industrial and medical applications, hemp can -- and should -- become a regular part of your diet.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is a type of cannabis plant grown specifically for industrial purposes. It differs from marijuana because it contains only trace amounts of THC, or the primary psychoactive component found in marijuana (less than .03 percent).
The stalks of hemp plants can be used to make rope, fabric, fibers, plastics and even solar panels; leaves can be used in topical creams or consumed in salads; roots can be boiled and made into a paste to treat arthritis pain; and seeds (which contain the most concentrated amounts of nutrients) can be roasted, ground into powder or pressed to retrieve the oil (which can be used both as medicine and a tasty salad topping).
The National Legal Status of Hemp
Because the hemp plant so closely resembles marijuana, its legal status has been murky. Though hemp products are technically legal throughout all 50 states, cultivation of the plant is not. Currently, only 22 states have hemp cultivation laws which typically require state registration and the promise to use it for research purposes.
Even without national cultivation, hemp products are legal and readily available throughout the states in places like grocery stores, cosmetic counters and even pet supply stores. Hemp is becoming so popular, in fact, that food and beauty product sales have jumped up an estimated 21 percent since 2013, making the US the biggest importer of hemp in the world.
The Health Benefits of Hemp
Hemp, like marijuana, is a vegetable. The entire plant can be consumed (though some parts are better suited for this than others) for a nutritious snack or supplement. For example, the leaves of the hemp plant can be added to a salad for an extra boost of potassium, fiber, iron and various vitamins.
The highest concentration of nutrients, however, is found in hemp seeds, or hearts. By consuming just three tablespoons of hemp seeds per day, you can add 10 grams of muscle-friendly proteins, a healthy dose of energy-producing iron and immune-enhancing zinc; plus the perfect balance of essential amino acids.
How to Get Hemp into Your Diet
There are many ways to get hemp into your diet. If you're growing your own, for example, just toss a few fan leaves into your salad bowl or a few fresh nugs into your juicer then be on your merry way.
If you don't have your own crop, however, then you'll need to pick hemp foods up at your local grocer. You can find hemp milk in the dairy section (which is perfect for use in cereal or coffee), hemp powders near other nutritional supplements (great for use in smoothies and drinks) and hemp seeds around snack nuts or salad toppings to be consumed as-is or added to salads and desserts for a nutty crunch.
Hemp is the wave of the future. It’s healthy, hardy, environmentally-friendly and can be transformed into any number of amazing products. By adding hemp to your diet, you can turn out amazing, too.