Punjab, India — Hemp — the word makes you think of jewelry, rope, hippies, and, let’s face it, marijuana. However, you might be surprised to find out that hemp seed oil is one of the most healthy oils for your body. Hemp seeds are one of the world’s richest sources of a complete protein (second only to soybean) comprising 23% of the seed composition and 34% dietary fiber. In addition, hemp seed oil also contains three other essential unsaturated fatty acids including the super-polyunsaturated Omega 6 derivative gamma linolenic acid (GLA), stearidonic acid and oleic acid.
Hemp is among the oldest industries on the planet, going back more than 10,000 years to the beginnings of pottery. Some believe that the oldest relic of human industry is a bit of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.
Presidents Washington and Jefferson both grew hemp, as a matter of fact Americans were legally bound to grow hemp during the Colonial Era and Early Republic. The first drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on hemp paper. The federal government subsidized hemp during the Second World War and US farmers grew about a million acres of hemp as part of that program.
Hemp grows well without herbicides, fungicides, or pesticides. Almost half of the agricultural chemicals used on US crops are applied to cotton. Hemp produces more pulp per acre than timber on a sustainable basis, and can be used for every quality of paper. Hemp paper manufacturing can reduce wastewater contamination. Hemp’s low lignin content reduces the need for acids used in pulping, and it’s creamy color lends itself to environmentally friendly bleaching instead of harsh chlorine compounds. Less bleaching results in less dioxin and fewer chemical byproducts.
However, it is illegal to grow hemp in the United States. Why, if it is such a valuable agricultural crop? Many people believe this was a conspiracy by a number of major US corporations who stood to lose a lucrative market share of the raw fiber industry for paper and composites. Others feel it was a case of “throwing out the baby with the bath water” referring to both marijuana and hemp as one in the same.
So how can consumers in the US use hemp seed oil? Even though it is illegal to grow hemp here, hemp seed, hemp oil, and hemp derivatives can be legally imported, sold, and consumed in the US. Linda Tabach, owner of The Potomac Soap Co. and manufacturer of handmade natural skincare products, uses hemp seed oil in many of her products. “I find that it is wonderful for the skin. My Lotion with Hemp Seed Oil is smooth and creamy, yet light and moisturizing. Hemp seed oil is high in linoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid essential in nutrition, and also conditioning for the skin.”
Everyone asks the same question and here is the answer — you cannot get high from hemp seed oil, whether using it on the skin or taking it internally. The psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is THC, found at levels of 5-20% in marijuana and only at 0.00030% in hemp seed oil. So feel free to enjoy your hemp seed oil, and know that you are doing something good for your body.
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