By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
We hear a lot these days about the medicinal benefits of marijuana, which were given hardly any attention just a few decades ago.
We used to treat marijuana as a dangerous drug that either makes its users lazy or encourages them to try harder drugs that are actually dangerous and addicting. While that kind of propaganda is still alive and well, the world is slowly realizing that marijuana can actually be good for the human body.
It would’ve been nearly impossible to get someone to acknowledge or accept this a short time ago, but with the power of the internet and alternative media, knowledge of the health benefits of cannabis has spread to the most skeptical corners of society.
Well-known doctors are coming out in favor of medical marijuana, and people are realizing it was a mistake to ignore scientifically proven facts and countless anecdotal accounts of how the plant has helped people.
The world is changing its stance on marijuana, but for this article, I’d like to put the spotlight on its cousin, hemp. Hemp is not an intoxicant, which means you can’t get high from it, but it’s illegal in the U.S. just like marijuana.
You can buy hemp products that presumably come from other countries, but you can’t grow it here if you don’t live in a state where it’s legal.
Hemp’s illegal status is just as unfortunate as marijuana’s, and like its psychoactive counterpart, it has myriad health benefits.
I’d like to look at some of them here, because the world needs to know that the cannabis plant is not the scourge it’s been made out to be for the last century.
It has a lot to give to humanity, and here, we’ll learn about the benefits of hemp seeds and other hemp-based foods.
Rose Haney at SF Gate tells us that hemp is becoming more popular than ever for its essential nutrients.
“Hemp’s reputation has flourished as its health benefits continue to be revealed. Hemp, which has been consumed for centuries, contains several essential nutrients for the body. One particular benefit of eating hemp is that it provides protein. Consuming hemp protein also offers additional nutritional benefits and, as a result, hemp has become popular with people wanting to improve their health.” (1)
It’s a complete source of protein, which makes it a great protein alternative for vegetarians and vegans.
“Foods can be classified as complete, partial, or incomplete sources of proteins. In order for a food to be classified as complete, it must contain all eight essential amino acids. Hemp is considered a complete protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids in sufficient quantities to meet the body’s needs. This also makes hemp a good alternative source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.” (2)
Hemp protein is easy to digest, unlike soy protein.
“Hemp protein is easy to digest. It contains two types of proteins, edestin and albumin, which are known as globular proteins. Globular proteins dissolve easily so they are readily accessible for the body to use. This is in contrast to soy protein, for example, which can be more difficult for the body to digest. Soy contains inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes that are needed to break down protein. This can often result in unwanted bloating and gas.” (3)
Hemp gives us the protein we need – protein that’s easier to digest than what we get from soy – without the saturated fats we get from other popular protein sources like meat and dairy.
“Dairy products and red meat are good sources of protein. However, they can be high in saturated fat. Hemp protein is low in saturated fat. Furthermore, it contains the essential fatty acids, omega-3 and omega-6, in an optimal three- to-one ratio.
“According to The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health, eating these essential fatty acids in an optimal ratio reduces risks for heart attack. cardiovascular problems, atherosclerosis and certain types of cancer.
“Consuming unsaturated fats is also associated with a reduced risk for dementia. The ‘Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease’ revealed in a 2010 article that elderly people with diets including greater amounts of unsaturated fats had a reduced risk for memory impairment and the later development of dementia.” (4)
Like the miracle plant it is, hemp is even good for the environment.
“The production of hemp protein on a large scale is earth friendly. It grows tall and fast and its dense growth kills weeds. Therefore, the use of pesticides or herbicides is unnecessary when growing hemp. Additionally, Manitoba Harvest, a hemp producer, reports that hemp is a sustainable ‘green’ product even when produced on a large scale. Compared to other crops, growing hemp is more cost effective and less damaging to the environment.” (5)
Sandeep Godiyal at Natural News explains how hemp is good for the heart.
“Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids that can reduce blood cholesterol. This keeps the heart healthy and also prevents plaque buildup in the arteries, which can ultimately lead to heart attack and strokes. Its fatty acids also reduce inflammation that can cause high blood pressure and poor blood circulation. Therefore, hemp can significantly reduce the workload on your heart.” (6)
It’s not just good for the heart; those essential fatty acids help the brain too.
“Your brain has lot of fatty acids found in hemp. Therefore, regular consumption of hemp can prevent diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and can also improve your memory. Hemp seeds can also alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and can improve your mood.” (7)
Apparently, it’s even good for your skin.
“Hemp oil is mostly used in high-end cosmetic products such as skin lotions, soaps and lip balms. This is mainly because this oil penetrates the inner layers of the skin and promotes vigorous cell growth for a smoother and softer skin. Hemp is also good for clearing up skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema and dry skin.” (8)
It can also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, and some people swear by cancer-curing cannabis oil.
“Hemp contains lots of plant sterols and antioxidants that can help reduce risk of colon, breast and prostate cancers.” (9)
Diabetics would benefit from eating hemp seeds, because they help control sugar levels.
“Hemp seeds are also helpful if you are at risk of diabetes, or are diabetic, as they can control your sugar levels. This is mainly due to its healthy fats that help in the quick absorption of glucose from the bloodstream and its conversion into energy. Therefore, your sweet cravings will decrease, and energy levels will increase.
Lastly, you can also add hemp seeds to your smoothies, sprinkle them in salads and cereals, or substitute them for nuts in your baking. They are also best for sprouting, for making refreshing hemp seed milk or to be ground into a meal.” (10)
Hemp’s numerous health benefits might have you wondering why it’s illegal, and more people than ever are questioning why the government forbids its cultivation.
A little bit of research makes it clear that cannabis and hemp are illegal for corrupt and dishonest reasons.
Now that we’re collectively realizing this and our governments are at least somewhat willing to change the laws, we can finally admit the hypocrisy behind them and take cannabis and hemp seriously.
Most people don’t know that wealthy businessmen with investments in resources like cotton and timber were responsible for making cannabis and hemp illegal. They realized early on that hemp, with all of its industrial benefits, would put them out of business.
They didn’t want any competition, because their businesses were already well established thanks to the resources hemp would blow out of the water.
Thus, draconian laws were enacted so the rich could get richer while the average person is thrown in jail for growing or using a plant that’s clearly meant to help mankind.
Fortunately, the laws are slowly changing as people look past the propaganda and discover the benefits of cannabis and hemp, and I think the cannabis plant will become much more important to our society in the next decade.
We’re already realizing how silly it is to demonize cannabis when its positive uses are obvious, and this plant is finally being given its day in the sun.
So before you reject it, consider that it isn’t the devilish weed we’ve been taught to fear. It’s more of a savior, but we won’t know what it can do for us until we open up to it.
Hopefully, more people will open up as cannabis legalization picks up pace and farmers start to succeed in demanding the right to grow industrial hemp without prosecution.
Everyone should be able to utilize this plant, because it has everything detailed above (and more) to offer a society that’s on the brink of destruction and transformation.
Cannabis and hemp can help us mend the damage we’ve done to the planet, but only if we let them.
- “Benefits of Hemp Protein”, by Rose Haney, HealthyEating.Sfgate – http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-hemp-protein-6674.html
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- “Amazing Health Benefit of Hemp Seed You Didn’t Know About”, by Sandeep Godiyal, Natural News, December 13, 2013 – http://www.naturalnews.com/043230_hemp_seeds_health_benefits_blood_pressure.html
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