You can wear it, you can paint with it and you can eat it too. Say ‘hello’ to pot’s cousin, hemp.
Hemp, a variety of Cannibis sativa, is usually called “industrial hemp” to prevent confusion with its medicinal and recreational varieties. Industrial hemp has low THC (the chemical which gives users a high), unlike the variety known as marijuana.
Hemp as an agricultural product in general has become sort of a boogeyman, a strange circumstance which was well described in the documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High.
Hemp was once a wonder product grown in America since its Colonial days until it was outlawed by more than half of America’s states by 1931 amid unfounded fears about violence from marijuana use. The plant saw a resurgence in the 1940s, according to PBS, but stayed on the fringe into modern-day.
However, hemp is inarguably awesome, as it has uses in paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, paint, insulation, biofuel, food and animal feed. It’s one of the greatest sustainable and all-purpose plants.
In short: you can write on it, you can wear it and you can eat it!
Society’s opinions have somewhat improved thanks to recent legislation de-criminalizing, legalizing and approving high-THC marijuana for medical use.
Today we’re here to talk about food.
You’ve probably seen Hemp Hearts (a Canadian product) on the shelves at your local grocery store or maybe on a jaunt to the Vitamin Shoppe. Trader Joe’s also sells their own variety, (also from Canada). It’s illegal to grow in the U.S., but not to import and sell.
Lucky for us though because…
Hemp seeds as a food item are high in Omega fatty acids (a type of polyunsaturated fat), which are essential to controlling heart disease, but it’s also a godsend for those less-enthusiastic about fish.
Omega 3s (and 6s) are generally found in fish like salmon and mackerel. Even if you’re into the less-than-sexy, crunchy flax seed, your omega options are limited since your body cannot produce these essential nutrients.
The good thing about (shelled) hemp seeds is they are easy to chew, delightfully nutty and decidedly not fishy.
You can spoon feed yourself the hearts from the bag, stir them into your yogurt or smoothies or enjoy them in this beautiful little bar form.
However, they’re calorically heavy at 180 calorie per serving (3 tablespoons). It’s almost like eating a serving of nuts.
Hemp Hearts brand hemp edibles are verified non-GMO (genetically modified organism). Their bars are also vegan.
Their vanilla bar, which I sampled on my own, was a delightfully sweet treat. Nutritionally, it was more like a meal replacement (240 calories). It’s not for every day unless you’re apt to skip breakfast, but for its flavor and 10g of polyunsaturated fat, I’m not really complaining.
For further study on the politics of hemp and marijuana, go down the rabbit hole with this documentary. Or, stream a higher quality version straight from the source at theunionmovie.com.
Should Americans be allowed to grow their own hemp?