Hemp seeds can be used for a variety of everyday purposes and have been for years. The seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant are highly nutritious and can be found on the shelves of your local health food store. These seeds can be added to smoothies, salads, granola, and any other kitchen concoction you can scheme up in their processed form.
Recent developments regarding hemp and cannabis regulations have expanded hemp from grocery shelves to alternative health clinics and corner stores across the country and beyond. Hemp oil has various uses and benefits (which is why people use cbd lotion, take it as a tincture, and use it in cooking, to name a few), while being the fuel behind the recent boom in the CBD market.
Cannabis seeds, while again technically from the same plant as hemp seeds, are more often associated with the legal cannabis market for medicinal and recreational consumption. Anyone involved within the cannabis industry knows that the key to a high-quality cannabis product starts with the seeds used for production.
The main distinction that separates hemp seeds from cannabis seeds sits in the amounts of certain compounds, called cannabinoids, present within them. The 2018 Farm Bill established a limit of 0.3 percent THC content for any Cannabis sativa plant to be classified as hemp in the US – seeds included. Some local jurisdictions on the state level (and other regions of the world) have their own definition of what distinguishes hemp from cannabis. Still, this 0.3% THC content threshold is quickly becoming an accepted standard.
Fueled by widespread acceptance and removal of regulations, the hemp and cannabis industries are growing rapidly across the globe. They may technically be the same plant from a scientific standpoint, but in lawmakers’ eyes, two classifications exist with their own set of rules and regulations. Understanding the difference between hemp and cannabis seeds is a critical step for anyone involved in these industries – from seed to sale.
Though THC is most prevalent in the flowers, there are many alkaloids, terpenes, and cannabinoids in the rest of the plant too, especially in the small “sugar leaves” surrounding the buds. So cook the leaves and stems down into butter or perform extractions to harness all the good stuff!
Despite originating from the same species, hemp and marijuana have very different uses. Hemp tends to be used for its fibres, as it is grown to be taller and less bushy. The fibres are then used to create a wide range of products, such as clothes and paper.
Hemp and cannabis are legally defined by the concentration of THC present in the plant. In the US and Canada, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with THC levels of under 0.3%. In the EU, hemp is defined as cannabis plants with under 0.2% THC. Many European companies aren’t thrilled about this difference; in fact, the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has called for these rates to be standardised to ensure fair competition.
Can You Smoke Hemp?
If hemp is high in CBD, does that mean that hemp oil is CBD oil? It actually doesn’t. Hemp oil is cold-pressed from cannabis seeds, while CBD oil—or any cannabinoid oil—must be extracted from the flowers. Hemp oil doesn’t contain CBD, but it’s still special—it contains the golden 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, a combination that fights inflammation and helps build your brain. It’s also high in vitamin E, which has been shown to have anti-ageing properties.
It’s not only the whole hemp plant that can be used, but the marijuana plant too (though admittedly this is less common). First, technically the marijuana plant could be used for the same purposes as the hemp plant—it would just provide far less in terms of raw materials. That is because weed plants have been bred to express different characteristics—specifically, cannabinoid-rich flowers. However, assuming you want to enjoy all the compounds from a marijuana plant, don’t just smoke the buds and throw the rest away.
Oils (Mostly CBD)
Hemp and marijuana—what’s the relationship between the two? For decades, cannabis aficionados have been baffled by the question. Does it have to do with plant sex, THC content, or some other arcane factor?
Hemp seeds also contain plant compounds called terpenes. While research is ongoing, studies suggest that terpenes may help protect the brain and prevent tumor growth.
Biochemical Education: “The action of vitamin K and coumarin anticoagulants.”
Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
A 30 gram serving (three-tablespoons) of raw hemp seeds contains:
Hemp seeds may interact with certain medications including anticoagulants.