A Beginner’s Guide to Hemp Seeds and Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp: An Overview
Now being termed a ‘superfood,’ hemp seeds have managed to clean its image in the last couple of years. And the credit for this goes to the latest advances in healthcare technology. The role of the global health fraternity has also been critical and has helped discover the next ‘miracle’ food. Due to its close association with the notorious cannabis or marijuana, hemp’s multifaceted benefits were long overlooked by the scientific community despite the fact that hemp has been an integral part of various cultures across the globe since time unknown.
Interestingly, both hemp and cannabis are derived from the same plant species—cannabis sativa. The only difference is that they belong to different strains. However, this difference is enough to distinguish them as two different products with different uses and applications.
Historical Licensed Canadian Hemp Acres. Source: Health Canada
Both hemp and cannabis contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a compound that gives a high, and cannabidiol (CBD), which diminishes or obliterates the psychoactive effects of THC. However, unlike cannabis, hemp has extremely low concentrations of THC (usually below 1%) and high levels of CBD—a fact that significantly contributes to its medicinal properties and popularity in recent times.
Hemp is particularly cultivated for a plethora of industrial and medicinal applications. While its seeds and oil are believed to be highly nutritious and healthful, parts of this plant are used in the production of a range of commercial items. These include paper, clothing, textiles, biodegradable plastics, insulation, paint, food, biofuel, and animal feed.
What is Hemp Seed
Popularly called ‘hemp hearts,’ hemp seeds are nothing but seeds extracted from the hemp plant.
In the light of recent research, it is no hidden fact that these seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients. Once used as bird and animal feed, they are now the preferred choice of health-conscious people around the world. And, its popularity, as well as consumption, is consistently growing worldwide.
Source: Savage Cabbage
Are Hulled and Dehulled Hemp Seeds Fit for Consumption?
Both hulled (whole) and dehulled (shelled) hemp seeds are good for consumption as a supplement. However, hulled ones are considered better due to their high fiber content—both soluble and insoluble—which is good for digestive health.
The seeds can be consumed in raw form or grounded into hemp meal. Sprouted and dried sprout powder are other ways to consume hemp seeds. These seeds can also be converted into liquid form to be used as beverages (hemp milk or tisanes) or for baking purposes. Hemp seeds contain roughly 30% oil. Let’s have a look at the nutritional profile of 28 gm(1 ounce) of hemp seeds:
|Total Fat||12.3 gm|
|Vitamin E||15.4 mg|
A 100gm serving of hemp seeds can offer 64% and 20% of daily value (DV) of protein and dietary fibers respectively. Around three-fourth of energy that comes from hemp seeds is available as fat and essential fatty acids like alpha-linolenic acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Interestingly, the amino acid content of hemp seeds is comparable to that of much-known protein sources like eggs, milk and soy.
Hemp vs Cotton: Which is Better?
A 2005 study titled ‘Ecological Footprint and Water Analysis of Cotton, Hemp and Polyester’ which compared ecological footprints of five textiles—polyester, organic cotton, cotton, organic hemp, and hemp—concluded that cotton system is the least productive one, whereas traditional organic hemp is the best for ecological sustainability.
The cotton plant occupies around 3% of the total crop production land but utilizes almost 35% of the world’s total insecticides and pesticides. On the other hand, hemp works as its very own pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer, and has the ability to pull toxins off the soil. If employed in crop rotation practice, this crop can significantly improve the soil quality while helping agriculturists grow other crops too.
In terms of versatility in usage, nothing can beat hemp. Cotton produces textiles to wear, corn produces food to eat, and wood produces a paper to write. Surprisingly, hemp can do all of these and even more. While its seeds can produce oil, bread, milk, grain, and other nutritious food products, its fibers can be used to manufacture eco-friendly clothing along with ropes, paper, biodegradable plastics, and building material. So hemp beats cotton hollow.
Here is the comparative chart of hemp vs cotton:
|In comparison to cotton, it produces twice as much fiber per hectare of land||It needs twice as much land as hemp for the same amount of yield|
|To produce 1 kg of fiber, it needs only 2.12 liters of water||To produce 1 kg of fiber, it needs 9.76 liters of water|
|When dried in the field, hemp is capable of returning nearly 60% of minerals back to the soil||Responsible for water pollution and degrades the land due to a high requirement of chemical-based insecticides and pesticides|
|It can be continuously grown in the same soil for 14 years without affecting the soil quality or yield. Hence, it is an excellent rotational crop.||Cotton production utilizes over 25% of total pesticide used globally|
|A natural weed repellent, it requires no pesticides to grow||Although organic cotton is better, it stands nowhere near hemp in terms of sustainability|
|Relatively, hemp produces fiber that is four times stronger than cotton.||Yields fiber used in textiles|
|Owing to its high protein content, it is a great option for regions affected by a drought-induced famine||No such benefits even with organic varieties of cotton|
What are the Benefits of Hemp Seed?
All the major advantages of hemp seeds are related to health due to its high nutrient content. A research study claims that it has a high nutritional value. It has acquired the status of “perfect protein” not only because it contains all 20 amino acids, but all nine essential amino acids that are not produced in our bodies.
Hemp seed has an excellent 3:1 balanced ratio of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3, which helps boost cardiovascular health. It also contains a good amount of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) that has hormone-balancing effects.
Discussed below are some well-known benefits of hemp seeds:
Benefits of High GLA Content
This biochemical helps produce prostaglandins, essential for muscle smoothening as well as body temperature and inflammation control. It has also been observed to help improve symptoms in health conditions like heart disease, ADHD, obesity, hypertension, etc.
A study showed its anti-arthritic effects. It has the potential to reduce the survival rate and promote the death of MH7A rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synovial cells.
Hemp seeds act a natural appetite suppressant and help you reduce sugar cravings. This effect is mostly due to its high fiber content.
Can improve the immune and digestive systems. A study showed that hemp seeds are effective in offering relief from constipation.
Hair, Skin, and Nails
It works wonders with your skin and hair. Because of its ability to cure dry and flaky skin, it is used in high-end skin care products like lotions, soaps, and lip balms.
Hemp seeds help reduce inflammation and bolster the immune system because of GLA and fatty acid contents. A study found that the seeds have the ability to disrupt metastasis and cancer growth. One more research paper depicted that it can improve symptoms in patients with advanced-stage breast cancer.
What are the Different Varieties of Hemp Seed?
As stated, hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis sativa plant species but both are sourced from different varieties and cultivars.
The varieties and cultivars that are low (usually less than 0.3%) in delta-9 THC—a prominent psychotropic compound—and high in cannabidiol (CBD)—a non-psychotropic compound—are considered as hemp.
These varieties may differ from country to country depending on the applicable laws for its production, sale, and use as well as suitable soil types and weather conditions.
By and large, there are three sub-species of the cannabis plant that are grown worldwide for various purposes:
Cannabis sativa L
As a non-psychoactive form of cannabis. This is basically the industrial hemp plant with THC content well below 0.3%. It is high in fiber and grain.
It has low CBD and high THC content. This sub-species produces poor-quality fiber and is chiefly used to produce recreational and therapeutic drugs.
Native to Russia and Eastern and Central Europe, this subspecies is rarely grown in North America. While it is not usually cultivated for recreational purposes, its short stature restricts its production as hemp despite having high concentrations of CBD.
Shockingly, whether it is a true sub-species of cannabis is still a highly debatable topic among plant biologists.
What Is Himalayan Hemp?
Himalayan hemp is a collective term for organic hemp varieties grown in the Himalayan region of India. Its botanical name is cannabis indica.
The weather, water, and soil in this region are highly conducive to the growth and production of high-quality hemp. The hemp grown in the foothills of the Indian Himalayas gets its nutrition from the mineral-rich soil and water. The weather here supports its growth and development.
The organic Himalayan hemp varieties are largely known for its high fiber and nutrient content and have been cultivated in this area for centuries.
Himalayan hemp is chiefly grown here for its seeds, seed oil, and fibers that find applications in the mass production of commercial products like medicines, food products, eco-friendly clothing, biofuel, bioplastics, and construction material.
How to Get the Best Hemp Varieties?
Despite a dramatic surge in its popularity and consumption as a superfood, cultivation or industrial production of hemp is not legal in some countries. This is chiefly because of its relation to marijuana and THC content. Moreover, the laws governing the sale of hemp seed and oil, and products containing its extracts, vary from nation to nation.
The hemp industry is neither well organized nor strictly regulated for quality assurance even in countries where it’s legal to grow. This poses a great challenge in sourcing when it comes to finding high-quality hemp varieties such as the Himalayan hemp.
How to Buy High-Quality Hemp Seed
Here are a few aspects that need to be addressed before you buy hemp seed and oil from a wholesaler, supplier or importer:
Consider the Source
Being a hyperaccumulator, the hemp plant has a tendency to absorb everything from the soil it grows in. If it is grown on mineral-rich land, the plant will consequentially have high mineral content. You should check the reputation of suppliers who know exactly how to source a good quality hemp seeds. If you have any doubt, we can help you.
Extraction Process Involved
To make more profits, companies often use cheap methods to extract hemp oil, which can be risky for your health. Pharmaceutical-grade ethanol and supercritical CO2 are considered the safest methods for hemp oil extraction. Of these two, the latter is more expensive but yields oil of a higher quality. You can get this information by visiting the suppliers’ websites or talking to them directly.
Quantity of THC
You can directly ask the supplier or check their labels for information on the THC content in the hemp product you are planning to buy. It shouldn’t go beyond 0.3%.
Third-Party Lab Results
Another way to ensure high quality of hemp products is asking for third-party lab test results from hemp seed and oil suppliers and exporters. Such information is usually available on their websites or mentioned on their product labels.
All reputed hemp suppliers, exporters, and importers, including Athena Global, follow these criteria and readily provide such information to their buyers. This helps source quality hemp products.
How to Consume Hemp Seed
The methods of consuming hemp seeds have evolved a lot over time. Its status of being a superfood has not only added to its growing popularity but inspired the health community to come up with innovative ways to consume it, especially when it is about including hemp seeds in the daily diet. Here are some unique ways to consume hemp seeds:
- Add a teaspoon of hemp seeds to your favorite smoothie and blend the mixture well.
- While preparing a new batch of hummus, mix and blend 1-2 teaspoons of hemp seeds.
- Use it to top your salads. Sprinkle them on your bowl of vegetable, fruit, and mixed salads.
- Sprinkle it over any stir-fry veggie, meat or noodle dish
- Mix it with oatmeal
- Along with honey, sprinkle some hemp seeds over yogurt.
- You can mix hemp seeds into grains like brown rice and quinoa
- Hemp seed milk is a great alternative to dairy milk
- Add them to homemade bars, made out of figs, almonds, walnuts, and dates
What are the Benefits of Hemp Oil?
Hemp Seed Oil usually refers to the oil derived from hemp seeds. The active ingredients in hemp seeds or more precisely, hemp seed oil (extracted from hemp seeds) can help keep us healthy and manage various health conditions. Here are some major benefits of hemp seed oil:
The fatty acids and vitamins in it prevent breakouts and keep skin healthy. Hemp seeds offer protection against inflammation and oxidation too. A review study suggested that topical application of hemp seed oil boosts skin immunity. The study also concluded that it is useful in managing skin conditions like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, etc.
The fatty acids in hemp seed oil are good for the brain. A study carried out on animals demonstrated that potent compounds in hemp seed extracts prevent brain inflammation. However, more research needs to be done to reach any conclusion regarding humans.
A 2010 research showed that active compounds in hemp seed extracts have positive effects on cardiovascular conditions like atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Incidentally, some people also consider hemp oil as being ‘full-spectrum hemp oil’, i.e., extracted from the whole hemp plant, including its flowers, leaves, and stalks. It has higher concentrations of CBD and is hence called CBD oil.
Many people use CBD or hemp oil as a natural painkiller, especially if the pain is due to inflammation.
Additionally, hemp oil is effective in preventing acne breakouts, according to a study. Hemp oil may also relieve common muscle stress and tension.
Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil
In general, hemp oil can either be oil derived from the whole medicinal cannabis plant (hemp leaves, flowers, and stalks), known as full-spectrum hemp oil or CBD oil, or the oil extracted from hemp seeds, called hemp seed oil. The basic difference is the part(s) from which both the oils are obtained. Nevertheless, how both these oils are used can also be a distinguishing factor.
Another major difference with respect to chemical composition is that CBD oil has higher concentrations of various cannabinoids, including CBD as well as the psychoactive THC than hemp seed oil. However, the concentrations of THC even in CBD oil are way less than recreational marijuana. CBD oil may also contain some additional active ingredients from different parts of the hemp plant, which may not be present in the hemp seed oil. It is for these reasons CBD oil is majorly used for medical applications.
However, a positive aspect of hemp seed oil is that it is completely free of THC (although it contains trace amounts of CBD) but rich in umpteen nutrients. This makes hemp seed or its oil a superfood as well as an excellent natural supplement that can be consumed daily.
Is Hemp Seed Oil as Good as CBD Oil?
Both are good for their respective purposes. Hemp seed oil is a wonderful natural supplement, whereas CBD oil bears various medicinal properties.
Hemp seed oil is completely devoid of THC and has lesser concentrations of CBD, but is rich in many nutrients, including essential fatty acids, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and more. Due to its capability of fulfilling our daily nutritional requirements, hemp seed and hemp seed oil can act as excellent daily supplements. You can reap a host of health benefits with its regular consumption.
CBD oil, on the other hand, have relatively higher concentrations of both THC and CBD. It contains some other varieties of cannabinoids since it is extracted from different parts of the hemp or cannabis plant. It is not psychoactive at all since it is extracted from cannabis plants with extremely low THC content. It is mostly used for medical purposes, especially for its analgesic, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant properties.
What are the Medicinal Properties of Hemp Oil?
Besides being a natural painkiller, full-spectrum hemp oil or CBD oil has anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. It has neuroprotective properties effects and helps reduce acne. Anti-tumor and antipsychotic effects are some other claimed benefits of CBD oil.
In Pain Relief
Studies have shown that CBD in hemp oil may lower chronic pain by reducing inflammation and interacting with neurotransmitters.
In Reducing Anxiety and Depression Symptoms
In Alleviating Cancer Symptoms
Hemp oil is effective in reducing the symptoms of cancer as well as the side effects of its treatment. An animal study showed that CBD can inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells. A prospective study also found that CBB may reduce nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy.
In Reducing Acne
Research has shown that hemp oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It can control sebum production and is effective in treating acne.
CBD has the potential to prevent neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease, according to some animal and test-tube studies.
In Maintaining Heart Health
Scientists believe that anti-anxiety and stress-reducing properties contribute to the blood pressure-lowering abilities of hemp oil. CBD can possibly help protect the heart. In a study, it was observed that CBD lowered oxidative stress and prevented damage to the heart in mice with diabetes and heart ailment.
How Hemp Can Contribute to Reducing Global Warming
Needless to say, global warming is a serious threat to our environment, wildlife, and the planet on the whole. The combustion of fossil fuels to run cars and factories, and generate electricity, releases significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. This gas is the major culprit behind global warming.
Often regarded as one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly members of the plant kingdom, organic hemp is certainly a new hope in today’s time, when the world has no potential solution to effectively counteract global warming.
The best thing about hemp is that it begins sequestering carbon the moment it is seeded. One ton of harvested hemp fiber is capable of sequestering nearly 1.62 tons of CO2 gas. Another advantage of hemp is that through biosequestration, it captures CO2 from the atmosphere and transfers it to the soil. After harvesting, the crop can be slowly smoldered to produce biochar. This product can be further mixed with several important nutrients and introduced back into the soil.
The construction sector is another major culprit which contributes to almost30% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emission. An efficient solution to this is hempcrete, a fiber-reinforced building material. It comprises hemp hurd, water, and lime.
This is a biocomposite material which is more flexible and lighter than concrete. Its thermal properties and structural strength are ideal for insulation and construction.
Plastic is another big threat to our environment. The natural fiber from hemp is a wonderful alternative to thermoplastics.
A 2003 study showed that 3 tons of CO2can be saved for every ton of thermoplastics by replacing 30% glass fiber reinforcement with 65% hemp fiber.
It can also be leveraged for its unbelievable carbon storing potential. The same study estimated that hemp-based polypropylene composite can store nearly 710 pounds of carbon.
Growing hemp is an eco-friendly process and requires no herbicides and pesticides. Moreover, bio-products made out of hemp can be easily recycled in landfills or compost.
As a matter of fact, most hemp-based products are non-toxic, biodegradable, and renewable.
With such diverse benefits, hemp is truly the perfect answer to the burning issue of global warming.
How is Hemp Fabric Made
We wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know that hemp has been used to make fabric since thousands of years. The stalk of the hemp plant has long strands of fiber. This fiber is used to create hemp fabrics. The fiber is separated from the bark of the plant by a process called retting. Retting is the process of allowing naturally occurring bacteria or fungi to break down the pectins that bind hemp fibers together. Retting can be done with water or by dew. In water retting, the stems of the plant are soaked in water tanks, ponds or streams for around 10 days. The ideal way would be warm water with bacteria. In dew retting, the plants are simply laid on the bare soil for three to six weeks while turning them over occasionally.
Traditional Method of Hemp Textile Production. Source: Recreator
Post retting, breaking is done where the stems of the plant are broken with a breaker or fluted rolls. After breaking, the broken stems are now beaten to separate the desired fiber from the hemp’s woody core which is known as scutching. Now, the last of the woody particles are removed and the fibers are further aligned into a continuous sliver. This process is called hackling. The separated fibers are then spun together to produce a continuous thread that can be woven into a fabric. The entire process used to be very labor intensive but thanks to technological advancement it can now be done without using any chemicals.
How Hemp Plastic is Made
The key element of plastics is cellulose. Presently, most cellulose is taken from petroleum but there is a better way of making plastics than from petrochemical compositions. Plastics can be derived from plant cellulose. Hemp is one of the greatest sources of cellulose in the world containing as much as 75 % cellulose. Thus, it makes complete sense to manufacture plastics from cellulose instead of plastic that will not go away even in a thousand years. Plastic made from hemp cellulose means non-toxic and biodegradable plastic. Hemp can be also made into cellophane packing material which is again a cheaper alternative to Styrofoam.
Cellulose from hemp can also be used to make rayon, cellophane, celluloid and a range of related plastics.
How Hemp Milk Is Made
Hemp milk is made from hemp seeds and is a great source of high-quality protein, healthy fats and minerals. It is also a popular alternative to cow’s milk. It is very easy to make your own hemp milk. This means that you can choose your own ingredients and also avoid any artificial additives and thickeners found in commercial hemp milk. In order to make your own hemp milk, mix ½ to 1 cup (68-136 grams) of raw hemp seeds with 3-4 cups of water. Put everything in a blender and keep blending for 1 minute or more until it becomes smooth. A nut milk bag, a thin towel or a cheesecloth will come in handy for further refining of the milk. If you find it a bit bland to taste, you can add sea salt, maple syrup, honey, dates or vanilla extract to make it tasty. You can store hemp milk up to five days in the refrigerator.
One of the largest hemp seed exporters from India, our seeds are grown in the lap of the Himalayas in one of the most naturally pure regions of the world and in the most organic way possible.
That is why hemp retailers from across the globe have been choosing our hemp seeds.
We are bulk Hemp seed oil exporters catering to clients from across Europe, Canada, New Zealand, and US. Our Hemp Oil is raw, unrefined and cold-pressed to preserve its natural goodness. Whether used as food or as nourishment for skin and hair, our hemp oil is second to none in terms of quality.
We are the best quality of Hemp cloth suppliers in India.
Himalayan Hemp Cotton is naturally chemical-free, more durable than cotton and eco-sustainable.
We craft fashionable attire for all sexes and you can sell them across the world.
- Wholesale supply of pure hemp extracts in different forms
- The best rates for Hemp seeds, hemp seed oil & hemp clothes
- 100% vegan, GMO -free, Organic products which are plant-based
- Quality control of the highest order by highly qualified scientists
- Client-first approach with the ability to supply large orders
- Packaging that meets international standards