Why All The Hype About Hemp?
All of a sudden this ‘hemp’ product has shown up on the shelves. Whether it’s in a powder or oil form or in food products. Being part of the Cannabis family, we feel there is a bit of a grey area surrounding the new ‘superfood’ hitting NZ by storm.
What is it, why should we consume it and how does it increase human health?
We have turned to the experts and are asking all the hard questions from our Brothers at Brothers Green.
What is Hemp?
Hemp is the common name for a plant genus called Cannabis Sativa L. There are many different varieties of Cannabis, some strains are much better known than others. The Cannabis Sativa L. Strain is the most commonly used in industrial hemp, it has less than 0.03% THC (the psychoactive substance found in strains which marijuana is made from). Industrial hemp is grown for its many industrial applications. For example, the stalk can be used to make clothing and textiles, it's leaves can make CBD (another beneficial compound mainly used in medicinal cannabis), and the seed is used for nutritious food.
Will hemp give me the same effects as Marijunana because they are from the same plant?
Marijuana comes from a different strain of the cannabis plant genus. These strains have higher levels of THC (the psychoactive substance) and hence is used recreationally to give users a 'high'. Industrial hemp is bred to contain less than 0.03% THC so you would need to smoke joint as big as a telephone pole to get any THC into your system.
What are the benefits of hemp compared to other food crops?
The hemp crop holds many benefits, both from an agricultural and a nutritional aspect.
Hemp can help regenerate our battling environment via it's nitrogen leeching ability, carbon absorption and soil remediation. Hemps long tap roots allows it to remove up to 200kg/ha of nitrogen and allows access to nutrients which are out of reach of typical pasture species. Nitrogen leeching is one of the major limitations of intensive agriculture in New Zealand. Hemp can absorb more CO2 per hectare than any forest or commercial crop. Hemp grows in diverse soil types and conditions without the need for chemical inputs and improves soil structure while also protecting and binding soil. Hemp cleans toxins from the ground by a process called phytoremediation.
This plant will revive depleted soils, mitigate the effects of climate change, and re-establish the desperately needed balance between humans and the environment.
Nutritionally - Hemp seeds are nature's most nutrient dense seed. They contain the perfect ratio of omega 6 to omega 3. The omega 6 component has GLA which is anti-inflammatory. They are high in protein which contains all 20 amino acids. High in fibre for gut health and digestion. Hemp seeds also contain many vitamins and minerals including Vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc and vitamin B.
What are the benefits of hemp protein powder over other vegetable sources such as brown rice protein and pea protein?
Hemp and quinoa are the only plant-based proteins that contain all 20 amino acids. Compare this to brown rice protein which doesn't even contain the 9 essential amino acids. Some pea proteins claim to have the complete range of amino acids but they are very low for example in methionine so cannot be considered a complete protein.
Rice and Pea also contain lectins which are plant proteins that help protect the plants from being eaten by predators, when humans consume lectins it has been linked to issues such as leaky gut and other health issues.
Hemp may not have as high a protein content as rice or pea proteins, but because it contains all amino acids, and the fibre, the protein is better utilised by our bodies. Also, most pea proteins come from Europe and it is quite an intensive process to grow with pesticides etc. Compared to our hemp protein which is locally grown and requires no sprays.
What else is hemp used for other than human consumption, why is it so sustainable?
As stated previously, hemp can not only feed us. It can house us via hempcrete, cloth us by using its stalks to make textiles (check out Original Canvas our hemp clothing company), and it can save our planet due to its carbon absorption ability.
We have also developed a cosmetic range using the hemp seed oil (check out Kōaka), the cosmetic oil has a comendogenic rating of 0 so won't clog pores, it is the same consistency as our skin so penetrates deep down for powerful moisturising capabilities.