What is Hemp and How It’s Different from Marijuana

While hemp and marijuana are closely related, hemp does not contain THC (the ingredient that gets you high), the way marijuana does. What hemp does contain are nutrients…and there are plenty of them.

Did you know that Hemp history week falls in June? And that hemp is one of the most versatile and economical plants, with many uses from food to clothing to biofuel! Even if you weren’t aware of this, you probably are aware of the fact that Hemp is marijuana’s nonpsychotropic sister and they both come from the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. They both contain cannabidiol (CBD), which has medicinal properties. Did I capture your attention yet?

While hemp and marijuana are closely related, hemp does not contain THC (the ingredient that gets you high), the way marijuana does. What hemp does contain are nutrientsand there are plenty of them.

Technically a nut, hemp seeds have a mild nutty flavor and are sometimes referred to as hemp hearts. They contain 33% protein (containing all 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce) and approximately 35% essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 9 and GLA). The importance of this is the ratio, which has been proposed to be ideal for a healthy diet. Incidentally, GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) supports normal function and growth of nerves, cells, muscles and organs through out the body. We all could use extra support given the faced-paced lives we lead!

Hemp seeds are a great source of Vitamin E and minerals including iron, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, sodium, potassium and zinc. Our bodies lack many of these nutrients as a result of the depleted soil around the globe used to cultivate and grow our fruits and vegetables.

As mentioned earlier, hemp seeds are a great source of protein and used by plenty of vegetarians. Incidentally, hemp seeds have more protein than flax or chia seeds, almost 3x as much!

Hemp seeds are more digestible than dairy, meat or other high protein food and bio-available, meaning they not only are digestible, they get absorbed more easily, making this a great source of vegan protein for everyone. Hemp seed oil is also very healthy and has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.

Keep in mind, as with any healthy food, that calories do add up – 2 tablespoons of hemp have 9 grams of fat and 100 calories. Now that being said, as I share with my clients and in my monthly 30 day healthy living groups, it’s about being mindful of where your calories are coming from. So don’t let the calorie count of hemp scare you away from this superfood, but be wise in all of your other food choices!

One thing I would not recommend is that if you do purchase hemp oil, use it as a salad dressing. Heating the hemp oil will oxidize the polyunsaturated fats. This change in its chemical structure will create a more pro-inflammatory state vs anti-inflammatory, and we want to make sure we reduce inflammation, not increase it.

Aside from its versatility, as a result of its wonderful nutrients, hemp seeds promote vigorous cellular development and have remarkablehealth benefits:

  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Reduce blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Benefit skin disorders (from the essential fatty acids – Research suggests hempseed oil may improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis and potentially provide relief from eczema)
  • Reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause
  • Improve digestion
  • Improve circulation
  • Boost immunity

There are so many ways to enjoy hemp. One of the popular ways to incorporate hemp seeds is to add them to your smoothie as your protein source. I would recommend about 1-2 ounces, which would give you 10-20 grams of protein. If you are drinking your shake post workout, you can certainly increase it, depending on how vigorous your workout was. Another favorite is to sprinkle on food and there’s always hemp milk, which is a great alternative to dairy!

This website has some great recipes ranging from granolas, to dressings, to soups to entrees and more, using this versatile ingredient. I’d love to hear how you’ve used hemp. Follow me on Facebook  and Instagram and let me know!

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life. Accept. Appreciate. Achieve. Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I am still working on accepting that I cannot control everything and that I have to learn to let go and be present.

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I have learned to appreciate my health and my strength.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

One of my most rewarding achievements is spiritual growth and awareness. Being able to pause, breathe and realize how far I’ve come.

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth: we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are, your Identity?

Ah…a not-so-perfect way…is feeling that I need to be in control! Still working on that!

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”  

I love my life.

About the author

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Sharon Holand Gelfand

A member of the American College of Nutrition, Sharon Holand Gelfand is a board certified nutrition consultant, lifestyle designer, motivational speaker and author whose mission is to empower women with the tools they need to live healthier, richer, spiritual lives. She’s passionate about helping them create a personal blueprint for success so that they can enjoy more balance and more freedom every day—without the constraints of traditional dieting.

Sharon’s unique perspective on nutrition is infused with real-life insight based on her own experiences managing her son’s Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and Ileitis, all part of Irritable Bowl Disease, an autoimmune disorder. It was only when dealing with her son’s condition that Sharon realized she had her own set of health issues which she had always ignored—hypoglycemia from constant dieting, chronic migraine headaches, anemia, strep, eye inflammation and chronic aches and pains in her neck. But by choosing healthier lifestyle options, she was able to not only help herself, but clear up her son’s chronic inflammation too.

Her philosophy? Eat well, think clearly, and live fully.

You can find out more about Sharon over at www.sharonholand.com