Hemp oil, native to Central Asia, has been used in a variety of ways for thousands of years.
What are the properties of hemp oil? In this article, find out everything you need to know about hemp oil and hemp seeds.
History of hemp
Originally from Central Asia, hemp has had a wide variety of uses for thousands of years.
The stalk of the hemp plant is a very important source of fibers that are used to make ropes, sails, but also clothing, and paper. It was on paper made of hemp that the Declaration of Independence of the United States was written and printed.
At the time, hemp was widely grown in North America.
A versatile and ecological plant
The cultivation of industrial hemp for its very resistant fibers offers enormous potential:
- paper of all kinds (printing, newspapers, packaging, etc.) ;
- various textiles ;
- various construction materials (insulation, chipboard, bricks, furniture, mortar, etc.).
- Hemp can also be used to make ethanol, cables, carpets, car parts, animal bedding, etc.
Growing hemp and processing it is less damaging to the environment than producing paper from trees and textiles from cotton. Its yield in fiber per acre is 4 times higher than wood and its transformation into paper is less polluting.
The cultivation of hemp is also much less demanding in terms of pesticides than that of cotton. The oil extracted from the seeds is very popular in the natural cosmetics sector, as it has excellent moisturizing and penetrating properties.
On the kitchen side
Curiously, little is known about the food uses of hemp.
Some sources mention that hemp seeds were fed to poultry and that Shinto followers in Japan consumed it. As well as the populations of Eastern Europe who made grits and “butter” from it.
It is probably the difficulty of shelling hemp seeds that slowed down their consumption.
In 1937, as part of a concerted fight against the illicit use of drugs, the cultivation of hemp was decreed illegal in the United States (Marijuana Tax Act). Canada followed suit in 1938 (Opium and Narcotics Act).
Hemp low in THC
Today, the cultivation of low-THC hemp is permitted in many countries, including Canada, which adopted the Industrial Hemp Regulations in 1998.
The production, distribution, processing, export, and import of low-THC hemp are regulated by Health Canada. They require an annual license and compliance with several regulations, the most important of which is, of course, the one limiting the THC content of the plant.
The maximum content is limited to 0.3% of the weight of the leaves and to 10 parts per million (ppm) in the case of oil and flour produced from the seeds.
Hemp-based food products are so low in THC that they cannot cause positive urine tests, a practice that is in place with some U.S. employers.
In the U.S., a federal bill – The Industrial Hemp Farming Act – was introduced in 2009 and again in 2011 in an effort to legalize low-THC hemp farming throughout the U.S.
About hemp seeds and oil
It is their content of essential fatty acids that make hemp seeds particularly interesting.
In fact, the vast majority of oils and foods consumed in Western countries provide too many omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid) and too few omega-3 fatty acids (ALA alpha-linolenic acid).
This imbalance, about 10 to 30 omega-6 for 1 omega-3, causes conditions conducive to cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders. However, in hemp seeds, the omega-6/omega-3 ratio is 2/1 to 3/1 and corresponds to the ideal proportions for human health established at 1/1 to 4/1 (see our Omega-3 and Omega-6 sheet). Head over to Hemponix Seed Co for more info on hemp products.