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.
Queensland has allowed industrial production under licence since 2002, where the issuance is controlled under the Drugs Misuse Act 1986. Western Australia enabled the cultivation, harvest and processing of hemp under its Industrial Hemp Act 2004, New South Wales now issues licences under a law, the Hemp Industry Regulations Act 2008 (No 58), that came into effect as of 6 November 2008. Most recently, South Australia legalized industrial hemp under South Australia’s Industrial Hemp Act 2017, which commenced on 12 November 2017.
In Japan, hemp was historically used as paper and a fiber crop. There is archaeological evidence cannabis was used for clothing and the seeds were eaten in Japan back to the Jōmon period (10,000 to 300 BC). Many Kimono designs portray hemp, or asa (Japanese: 麻), as a beautiful plant. In 1948, marijuana was restricted as a narcotic drug. The ban on marijuana imposed by the United States authorities was alien to Japanese culture, as the drug had never been widely used in Japan before. Though these laws against marijuana are some of the world's strictest, allowing five years imprisonment for possession of the drug, they exempt hemp growers, whose crop is used to make robes for Buddhist monks and loincloths for Sumo wrestlers. Because marijuana use in Japan has doubled in the past decade, these exemptions have recently been called into question.
^ Datwyler, SL; Weiblen, GD (2006). "Genetic Variation in Hemp and marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) sativa plants are taller and less dense. Indica plants are shorter but a lot more dense than sativas. According to Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms". Journal of Forensic Sciences. 51 (2): 371–375. doi:10.1111/j.1556-4029.2006.00061.x. PMID 16566773.
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. 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.
Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa var. sativa is the variety grown for industrial use, while C. sativa subsp. indica generally has poor fiber quality and female buds from this variety are primarily used for recreational and medicinal purposes. The major differences between the two types of plants are the appearance, and the amount of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) secreted in a resinous mixture by epidermal hairs called glandular trichomes, although they can also be distinguished genetically. Oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis approved for industrial hemp production produce only minute amounts of this psychoactive drug, not enough for any physical or psychological effects. Typically, hemp contains below 0.3% THC, while cultivars of Cannabis grown for medicinal or recreational use can contain anywhere from 2% to over 20%.
The process to legalize hemp cultivation began in 2009, when Oregon began approving licenses for industrial hemp. Then, in 2013, after the legalization of marijuana, several farmers in Colorado planted and harvested several acres of hemp, bringing in the first hemp crop in the United States in over half a century. After that, the federal government created a Hemp Farming Pilot Program as a part of the Agricultural Act of 2014. This program allowed institutions of higher education and state agricultural departments to begin growing hemp without the consent of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Hemp production in Kentucky, formerly the United States' leading producer, resumed in 2014. Hemp production in North Carolina resumed in 2017, and in Washington State the same year. By the end of 2017, at least 34 U.S. states had industrial hemp programs. In 2018, New York began taking strides in industrial hemp production, along with hemp research pilot programs at Cornell University, Binghamton University and SUNY Morrisville.
Most health organizations agree that the human body needs a 3 or 4:1 balance of omega 6 over omega 3. Hemp seed is the only seed where this ideal balance occurs. It does not occur in flax, almond, walnut, soybean or olive oil. Daily use of flax seed can lead to dangerous imbalances since flax seed oil has a balance of 1:4 instead of a healthy 4:1 omega-6 over omega-3.
There are many long-term health benefits that can be experienced. Hemp Seed is one of the best balanced sources of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids. Hemp Seed contains only small amounts of saturated and mono-unsaturated fats which can be easily converted to energy. Hemp Seed is also an unsurpassed source of the whole spectrum of required proteins, it promotes vigorous cellular development with diverse health benefits:
A 100-gram portion of hulled hemp seeds supplies 586 calories. They contain 5% water, 5% carbohydrates, 49% total fat, and 31% protein. Hemp seeds are notable in providing 64% of the Daily Value (DV) of protein per 100-gram serving. Hemp seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber (20% DV), B vitamins, and the dietary minerals manganese (362% DV), phosphorus (236% DV), magnesium (197% DV), zinc (104% DV), and iron (61% DV). About 73% of the energy in hempseed is in the form of fats and essential fatty acids, mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic, oleic, and alpha-linolenic acids.
Hemp seeds are one of the best sources of plant-based protein and GLA and have a wide variety of health benefits, including their ability to improve heart health, stimulate digestion, build muscle mass, eliminate insomnia, treat anemia, and aid in weight loss. They also help to stimulate metabolic activity, boost the immune system, reduce symptoms of menopause and menstruation, improve skin and hair health, and build stronger bones.