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HEMP FOOD, FIBER, FUEL & MEDICINE

Cannabis Hemp really can provide all the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, clothing and medicine. It has been said that "anything made from a hydrocarbon can be made from a carbohydrate."

Hemp is from the same plant as marijuana--Cannabis sativa L. There are over 400 strains of Cannabis Hemp bred for various uses. The term "Hemp" refers to the industrial use of the stalk and seed. "Marijuana" refers to the use of the flowers as a medicinal or recreational drug. Intoxication requires high levels of THC Tetrahydrocannibinol. Industrial hemp contains less than 1.5% THC. By contrast, medicinal hemp contains 5% 15% THC.

The plant itself is easy to grow in temperate climates, and requires good soil, fertilizer and water, but no pesticides nor herbicides. A hemp crop is usually harvested in 120 days after reaching a height of 10 15 feet. The stalks are then broken down into various grades of raw materials useful for industry.

FOOD

The hemp seed is correctly known as an achene--a nut covered with a hard shell. Hemp seed is used for people and animal food, medicinal preparations, and industrial use.

Whole Seed

The whole seed contains roughly 25% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 15% insoluble fiber, Carotene, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc, as well as vitamins E, C, B1, B2, B3, and B6. Hemp seed is one of the best source of Essential Fatty Acids with a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid to Omega-3 Linolenic Acid, good for strengthening the immune system. It is also a good source of Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA), which is otherwise available only from specialty oils like evening primrose or borage oils. Whole seeds are made into: snack bars, cookies, burgers and porridge, or they may be roasted and consumed alone or in a trail mix. Wild and domestic birds love hemp seeds.

Seed Oil

Hemp seed contains 30% oil, one of lowest in unsaturated fats, making it good for lowering cholesterol levels and strengthening cardiovascular systems. The oil has a pleasantly nutty flavor. Among the foods made with hemp seed oil are: sauces, butter, condiments and pesto.

Processing of hemp seed oil starts with drying the seeds to prevent sprouting. Hemp seeds imported to the United States or Canada must be heat sterilized at 180 F to prevent further sprouting. The seeds are then pressed and bottled immediately under oxygen-free conditions. Hemp seed oil is very fragile, is not suitable for cooking, and must be kept refrigerated in dark, air-tight containers.

Seed Meal and Cake

The meat of the seed is also highly nutritious and versatile as a seed "meal" and may be made into hemp milk and cheese, ice cream and burgers. Left over from pressing the oil is press "cake" high in amino acids and edistin protein. Press cake is a high protein animal feed. It can be pulverized into flour to make breads, pastas, and cookies.

Throughout history, hemp has provided a nourishing food supply to many cultures around the world. In Asia roasted hemp seed is eaten as a snack, like popcorn. In Russia hemp butter was used as a condiment by the peasant folk. Hemp seed was eaten by Australians during two famines in the nineteenth century. The most famous hemp seed consumer is Buddha himself, who ate them during his fast of enlightenment.

CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE -->Written by: The International Hemp Journal


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