In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs treats hemp as a purely non-food crop, but with proper licensing and proof of less than 0.2% THC concentration, hemp seeds can be imported for sowing or for sale as a food or food ingredient.[19] In the U.S., imported hemp can be used legally in food products and, as of 2000, was typically sold in health food stores or through mail order.[16]
We use cookies and similar technologies to improve your browsing experience, personalize content and offers, show targeted ads, analyze traffic, and better understand you. We may share your information with third-party partners for marketing purposes. To learn more and make choices about data use, visit our Advertising Policy and Privacy Policy. By clicking “Accept and Continue” below, (1) you consent to these activities unless and until you withdraw your consent using our rights request form, and (2) you consent to allow your data to be transferred, processed, and stored in the United States.
Hemp seeds -- sometimes called "hemp hearts" -- are sprinkled on foods, pressed for oil, ground into protein powder and made into milk. Afraid of psychotropic side effects? Don't be. While these small, pale-beige to dark-brown seeds form the edible part of the hemp plant (aka pot, ganja, weed, grass, Mary Jane, doobage), they don't contain THC, the active drug found in hemp leaf.
Queensland has allowed industrial production under licence since 2002,[78] where the issuance is controlled under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986.[79] Western Australia enabled the cultivation, harvest and processing of hemp under its Industrial Hemp Act 2004[80], New South Wales now issues licences[81] under a law, the Hemp Industry Regulations Act 2008 (No 58), that came into effect as of 6 November 2008.[82] Most recently, South Australia legalized industrial hemp under South Australia’s Industrial Hemp Act 2017, which commenced on 12 November 2017.[83]
Hemp was used extensively by the United States during World War II to make uniforms, canvas, and rope.[144] Much of the hemp used was cultivated in Kentucky and the Midwest. During World War II, the U.S. produced a short 1942 film, Hemp for Victory, promoting hemp as a necessary crop to win the war.[143] U.S. farmers participated in the campaign to increase U.S. hemp production to 36,000 acres in 1942.[145] This increase amounted to more than 20 times the production in 1941 before the war effort.[145]
France is Europe's biggest producer (and the world's second largest producer) with 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) cultivated.[88] 70–80% of the hemp fibre produced in 2003 was used for specialty pulp for cigarette papers and technical applications. About 15% was used in the automotive sector, and 5-6% was used for insulation mats. About 95% of hurds were used as animal bedding, while almost 5% was used in the building sector.[14] In 2010/2011, a total of 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) was cultivated with hemp in the EU, a decline compared with previous year.[74][89]
Considering its popularity from long ago, when even our forefathers appreciated the value of hemp seeds, it seems unusual that the plant would have such a bad reputation today. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp plants in their gardens. Hemp paper was even used for the Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Franklin produced hemp paper at his mill. The environmental advantages and nutritional benefits of growing industrial hemp seem to many to be worth lifting its restrictions.
Millennia of selective breeding have resulted in varieties that display a wide range of traits; e.g. suited for a particular environments/latitudes, producing different ratios and compositions of terpenoids and cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, CBN...etc.), fibre quality, oil/seed yield, etc. Hemp grown for fiber is planted closely, resulting in tall, slender plants with long fibers.[citation needed]
France is Europe's biggest producer (and the world's second largest producer) with 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) cultivated.[88] 70–80% of the hemp fibre produced in 2003 was used for specialty pulp for cigarette papers and technical applications. About 15% was used in the automotive sector, and 5-6% was used for insulation mats. About 95% of hurds were used as animal bedding, while almost 5% was used in the building sector.[14] In 2010/2011, a total of 11,000 hectares (27,000 acres) was cultivated with hemp in the EU, a decline compared with previous year.[74][89]

In the early 1990s, industrial hemp agriculture in North America began with the Hemp Awareness Committee at the University of Manitoba. The Committee worked with the provincial government to get research and development assistance, and was able to obtain test plot permits from the Canadian government. Their efforts led to the legalization of industrial hemp (hemp with only minute amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol) in Canada and the first harvest in 1998.[85][86]


Jews living in Palestine in the 2nd century were familiar with the cultivation of hemp, as witnessed by a reference to it in the Mishna (Kil'ayim 2:5) as a variety of plant, along with Arum, that sometimes takes as many as three years to grow from a seedling. In late medieval Germany and Italy, hemp was employed in cooked dishes, as filling in pies and tortes, or boiled in a soup.[114] Hemp in later Europe was mainly cultivated for its fibers, and was used for ropes on many ships, including those of Christopher Columbus. The use of hemp as a cloth was centered largely in the countryside, with higher quality textiles being available in the towns.

Hemp has been grown for millennia in Asia and the Middle East for its fibre. Commercial production of hemp in the West took off in the eighteenth century, but was grown in the sixteenth century in eastern England.[148] Because of colonial and naval expansion of the era, economies needed large quantities of hemp for rope and oakum. In the early 1940s, world production of hemp fiber ranged from 250 000 to 350 000 metric tonnes, Russia was the biggest producer.[130]
Hemp seeds are easily digested by the body and is one of the most nutritious foods available in nature. They contain high amounts of essential fatty acids, essential amino acids and proteins. Hemp seeds are such foods which can sustain our dietary needs, even if you don't consume any other healthy food. There are several hemp seeds health benefits, some of which are listed below.
As of 2011, hemp seeds are not known to cause any interactions with common medications, but you should talk to your doctor or naturopath about any over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking before adding hemp seeds to your diet. Blue Shield of California recommends caution to anyone taking anticoagulant drugs, since hemp seeds inhibit platelets and may pose a bleeding risk.
Hemp seeds are rather oily and high in fat. One tablespoon contains 3 g to 4 g of fat. The majority of this is polyunsaturated fat --- the good kind of fat --- and according to Blue Shield of California, shelled hemp seeds contain both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. However, all this fat can come at a price, and you may experience mild diarrhea when adding shelled hemp seeds to your diet. If your digestive system is sensitive to change, start with small amounts of hemp seed --- say, a teaspoon a day --- and slowly work your way up to the recommended serving of 2 tbsp.
It is sometimes supposed that an excerpt from Washington's diary, which reads "Began to seperate [sic] the Male from the Female hemp at Do.&—rather too late" is evidence that he was trying to grow female plants for the THC found in the flowers. However, the editorial remark accompanying the diary states that "This may arise from their [the male] being coarser, and the stalks larger"[120] In subsequent days, he describes soaking the hemp[121] (to make the fibers usable) and harvesting the seeds,[122] suggesting that he was growing hemp for industrial purposes, not recreational.
One of the most important aspects of hemp seed is its high mineral content, including magnesium, which creates a very soothing and relaxing sensation throughout the body. Magnesium has various stimulating qualities on enzymes and hormones that induce sleep. According to a report published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Serotonin is released when magnesium is administered, and it travels to the brain, where it becomes converted to melatonin. Melatonin is a powerful sleep aid, and insomnia patients have often claimed that magnesium supplementation is the reason. A single serving of hemp seed contains nearly 50% of the daily recommended dose of magnesium, so grab a handful and get guaranteed beneficial and restorative sleep.
×