A wonderful source of protein, amino acids, vitamins and fiber… maligned.
I found a very enlightening and comprehensive paper on Hemp and its history.. defining which types do and don’t contain THC, uses and legal issues, Read full article here: Purdue University Agriculture: Hemp: A New Crop With New Uses for North America:
“Hemp is one of the oldest sources of textile fiber, with extant remains of hempen cloth trailing back 6 millennia. Hemp grown for fiber was introduced to western Asia and Egypt, and subsequently to Europe somewhere between 1000 and 2000 BCE. Cultivation in Europe became widespread after 500 ce. The crop was first brought to South America in 1545, in Chile, and to North America in Port Royal, Acadia in 1606.
The hemp industry flourished in Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois between 1840 and 1860 because of the strong demand for sailcloth and cordage (Ehrensing 1998). From the end of the Civil War until 1912, virtually all hemp in the US was produced in Kentucky. During World War I, some hemp cultivation occurred in several states, including Kentucky, Wisconsin, California, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Kansas, and Iowa (Ehrensing 1998). ‘
The second world war led to a brief revival of hemp cultivation in the Midwest, as well as in Canada, because the war cut off supplies of fiber. Until the beginning of the 19th century, hemp was the leading cordage fiber. Until the middle of the 19th century, hemp rivaled flax as the chief textile fiber of vegetable origin, and indeed was described as “the king of fiber-bearing plants.
Nevertheless, the Marihuana Tax Act applied in 1938 essentially ended hemp production in the United States, although a small hemp fiber industry continued in Wisconsin until 1958. Similarly in 1938 the cultivation of Cannabis became illegal in Canada under the Opium and Narcotics Act. Hemp, grown under license mostly in Canada, is the most publicized “new” crop in North America.
Until very recently the prohibition against drug forms of the plant prevented consideration of cultivation of fiber and oilseed cultivars in Canada. However, in the last 10 years three key developments occurred: (1) much-publicized recent advances in the legal cultivation of hemp in western Europe, especially for new value-added products; (2) enterprising farmers and farm groups became convinced of the agricultural potential of hemp in Canada, and obtained permits to conduct experimental cultivation; and (3) lobby groups convinced the government of Canada that narcotic forms of the hemp plant are distinct and distinguishable from fiber and oilseed forms.”
Essential Amino Acids
The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls hemp protein “high quality.” To be more specific, the hemp seed is that extremely rare plant-based nutritional source that offers a complete protein. Unlike most other plant-derived foods, hemp protein contains all the essential amino acids required in the human diet. What’s more, according to author and researcher Lynn Osburn, hemp contains those essential amino acids in precisely the ratio required by humans, a feature no other plant food source can claim.
The USDA also says hemp protein is readily digestible. According to Living Harvest, a hemp product producer, hemp protein is more readily digestible than soy protein because it does not contain enzyme inhibitors or phytates. Hemp-derived protein powders are also high in fiber. The THC Club maintains that hemp protein is easily digestible because it is similar in composition to human blood plasma.
Another major attraction of hemp protein products is the content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to Living Harvest, hemp seeds contain both of these essential fatty acids in abundance. According to the USDA, hemp seed contains the perfect 1:3 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 linoleic acids—the precise ratio that would be found in a nutritionally balanced diet. These fats are proven to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and hemp has them in the optimum ratios, making it superior to flaxseed as a source of essential fatty acids. Unlike animal protein sources, the complete protein of hemp seed is rich in heart-healthy fats.
Hypoallergenic and Vegan
Hemp protein is also ideal for those with peanut and soy allergies, says Living Harvest, which maintains that no known allergens are present in hemp. Peanuts and soy, however, are both considered among the most allergenic food substances by the Food and Drug Administration. Hemp protein is gluten-free and kosher. It is also appealing to vegetarians and vegans, who generally can only find complete proteins through food combinations.
While hemp protein is certainly a healthy and convenient foodstuff, it is not the only component of the hemp seed that has nutritional value. Hemp seed oil contains large amounts of hemp protein itself, as well as beneficial fatty acids such as omega-3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid. Hemp seed oil contains high levels of the antioxidant vitamin E, making it an incredibly nutritious and healthy food source. Consuming hemp protein in the form of hemp seed oil is even more beneficial to your health than consuming hemp protein alone.
Hemp protein is legal to import and possess in California, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Hawaii, Wyoming and Alaska—the states presided over by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the 2004 case of the Hemp Industries Association v. the Drug Enforcement Administration, the federal appeals court ruled that hemp products are exempt from the Controlled Substances Act that makes marijuana illegal. The legality of hemp products is less certain in other states.