Mention hemp, and one of the first things that needs clarification is that hemp is not marijuana. Hemp, marijuana’s benign cousin, is having a renaissance. While hemp and marijuana are varieties of cannabis that look and smell-alike, they are chemically and structurally different. Each is selectively bred for a distinct purpose: Hemp for its fiber and seeds, and marijuana for its narcotic components. What sets them apart is their levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the chemical in marijuana that gets people high. Hemp has virtually no trace of THC, while pot has around 10 percent with super potent strains containing as much as 27 percent THC.
Hemp has an impressive backstory. People made clothes from hemp in China starting in 2nd century BC. The Vikings used hemp fibers to make rope, boat caulking and sails. In fact, the word canvas can be traced back to the Greek kannabis and Latin cannabis. Many historians claim America’s first flags were made of hemp cloth.
Since the mid-1990s, there has been a resurgence of interest in the United States in producing industrial hemp. The North American Industrial Hemp Council estimates that hemp can be used to make more than 25,000 products from paper to hempcrete, a building material for homes.
NOW Foods Real Food Organic Toasted Hemp Seeds
Want an easy way to add more protein to your diet? Hemp seeds, which are technically a nut, are a surprisingly abundant protein source—more than 25 percent of their total calories are from high-quality protein. Hemp seeds, with their deliciously nutty taste, can be added to yogurt, as a salad topper, in cookies, on vegetables or alone as a snack. $7.55, vitacost.com
Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein
Start your day with a scoop of hemp protein powder mixed into your smoothie. Hemp protein made from raw hemp seeds boasts 20 essential amino acids, both essential and non-essential. Another perk of hemp protein is that it’s easy on your digestive system. Hemp contains two types of proteins, edestin and albumin, which are both quick dissolving globular proteins. In contrast with soy protein, for example, globular proteins are much more bioavailable and cause less gas and bloating. $13, vitacost.com
Windy City Organics Dastony™ Hemp Seed Butter
Update your PB & J staple with yummy hemp butter. Hemp seed butter is packed with benefits, including being an excellent source of dietary fiber. Whole hemp seeds contain both soluble (20%) and insoluble (80%) fiber. Fiber is a boon to digestive health, helping food and waste pass through the gut more quickly. $16, vitacost.com
Manitoba Harvest Unrefined-Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp also comes in oil form, perfect for drizzling over salads, rice and grain salads, or dips. (It’s low smoke point means the oil is not suited for cooking.) The oil found in hemp seed is rich in gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a nutritious unsaturated fatty acid that’s also found in breast milk. Hemp seed oil is also rich in other omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, making it a health-savvy alternative to many other vegetable oils. $7, vitacost.com
Earthly Body Hemp Seed Hand & Body Lotion Nag Champa
Slather some hemp lotion on your skin to provide an instant hydration boost. Hemp oil works well with most skin types as it moisturizes without clogging pores. The omega fatty acids in hemp have an anti-inflammatory effect on your skin, helping balance and regulate your skin’s oil production. $8, vitacost.com
Earthly Body Hemp Seed Leave In Conditioner & Detangler
Does your dry, frizzy hair crave moisture? Hemp oil is full of moisturizing lipids and fatty acids that adds luster to your locks. This leave-in conditioner lets you tame and detangle your hair without any added parabens or phthalates. $12, vitacost.com