There is a mistaken belief that you can get high by eating hemp seeds. Indeed, hemp and marijuana belong to the same plant species (Cannabis Sativa L), but The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has completed its evaluation of three generally recognized as safe (GRAS) notices for hemp seed-derived food ingredients. If you thought hemp and marijuana were the same thing – you are not alone. Let’s explore what hemp is and the history of cannabis to really understand the major differences between hemp and marijuana, or pot.
Can you really get high with hemp seeds?
There is a mistaken belief that you can get high by eating hemp seeds. Indeed, hemp and marijuana belong to the same plant species (Cannabis Sativa L), but they are different strains. Hemp produces not only nutty, fatty, buttery tasting seeds, but also can it be refined into paper, textiles and clothing, biodegradable plastic (cutlery, cups, tableware), biofuel, and even construction material (hempcrete). Yes, you can build a house with it!
The hemp plant is taller and thinner than the stalky marijuana plant. The main difference between the two is the production of the psychoactive compound – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, while the marijuana can be anywhere from 5% to 30% THC. Therefore, it is safe to incorporate hemp seeds into your diet. It has been a staple for many years but recently began gaining global popularity. Additionally, it is regarded as a superfood, thanks to a large number of benefits for your health.
Inconspicuously small but fully packed with essential good fatty acids (Ω-3 and Ω-6) and protein, hemp seeds can replace soybeans, thanks to nearly identical levels of protein. Hemp seeds contain all nine essential amino acids that you can only get from food. An extra benefit is the presence of fibre, especially if you consume seeds with the intact outer hulls, which subdues your appetite and helps you control your weight. The seeds are a treasure trove of vitamins (B and E) and minerals as magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and phosphorus.
Hemp’s pleasureful taste
Tempting nutty notes with palpable pine nut nuance.
Hemp seeds are pure delight for nut aficionados. Nutty pyrazines and pyrroline, also found in coffee, dark chocolate, nut pralines, nuts, sprouted chickpea, and Parmigiano Reggiano, are responsible for the seed’s nutty flavor. Hemp seed is therefore a perfect ingredient for a fluffy mousse or a heavy brownie. You can even smell a resinous pine nut-like undertone. It is the effect of combination of the nutty molecules with woody, spicy / camphoreous, and green notes.
Comforting fatty aftertaste
Hemp seeds feature a well-rounded fatty mouthfeel. It is the favour of different acids and aldehydes, especially (E,E)-2,4-decadienal, that give extra citrusy undertones like what can be found in lime peel, lemon and kaffir lime leaves. It is present in popcorn, pumpkin seeds, and peanut oil, green olive, cooked bulgur, and stewed beef gravy as well.
Pleasant bean-like aroma
You can detect a beany flavor resulting from a combination of bell pepper-like, green, and woody molecules. You can pair it confidently with kaki, plantain, jasmine flower, tucupi, adzuki bean, pandan leaf, cucumbers, green peas, carrots or Indian Pale Ale.
There’s also a subtle hint of maple and caramel aromas, which can be linked to the semi-sweet taste of the hemp seeds
How do you eat them?
The simplest way to eat hemp seeds is to enjoy them raw in smoothies, granola, porridge, yoghurt or sauces for some added crunchiness. You can also enrich your baked goods with hemp seeds. Hemp ‘milk’ is another way to easily incorporate the nutritious seeds into your diet, and the same goes for hemp flour. As the seeds are rich in fatty acids, cold pressed hemp seeds oil is an up-and-coming product.
Although hemp leaves are less nutrient-dense than the seeds, you can eat them raw as a leafy vegetable in salads. The seeds are also suitable for sprouting.
FDA Responds to Three GRAS Notices for Hemp Seed-Derived Ingredients for Use in Human Food
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has completed its evaluation of three generally recognized as safe (GRAS) notices for hemp seed-derived food ingredients. The GRAS notices were submitted by Fresh Hemp Foods, Ltd. The agency has no questions about Fresh Hemp Food’s conclusion that the following ingredients are GRAS under their intended conditions of use: hulled hemp seed (GRN765), hemp seed protein powder (GRN771), and hemp seed oil (GRN778).
Foods containing hemp seed and hemp seed-derived ingredients are currently marketed in the US. Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Although hemp is from the same species as cannabis (marijuana), the seeds themselves do not naturally contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. The hemp seed-derived ingredients that are the subject of these GRAS notices contain only trace amounts of THC and CBD, which the seeds may pick up during harvesting and processing when they are in contact with other parts of the plant. Consumption of these hemp seed-derived ingredients is not capable of making consumers “high”.
The GRAS notices are for three different hemp seed-derived ingredients. The GRAS conclusions can apply to ingredients from other companies, if they are manufactured in a way that is consistent with the notices and they meet the listed specifications. Some of the intended uses for these ingredients include adding them as source of protein, carbohydrates, oil, and other nutrients to beverages (juices, smoothies, protein drinks, plant-based alternatives to dairy products), soups, dips, spreads, sauces, dressings, plant-based alternatives to meat products, desserts, baked goods, cereals, snacks and nutrition bars. Products that contain any of these hemp seed-derived ingredients must declare them by name on the ingredient list.
These GRAS conclusions do not affect the FDA’s position on the addition of CBD and THC to food. As stated on FDA and Marijuana: Questions and Answers, it is a prohibited act under section 301(ll) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to introduce into interstate commerce a food to which CBD or THC has been added.
Wait, What!? I Thought Hemp and Marijuana Were the Same Thing!
If you thought hemp and marijuana were the same thing – you are not alone. When it comes to understanding the difference between hemp and marijuana, it can get a little confusing and details are often improperly explained. With a greater amount of hemp products in the market, from supplements to beauty products, it is important to understand the exact nature of what you are buying. We aim to deconstruct this confusion and explain to you what hemp really is and dive a little into the history of cannabis, so that you can choose wisely and confidently.
Understanding the Difference: What Is Hemp? What Is Marijuana?
Before we lay out all of the differences between hemp and marijuana, it is important to note that one of the big similarities that probably leads to the confusion between the two is that they are both derived from the Cannabis plant.
Both hemp and marijuana are, in fact, taxonomically the same plant. This means that they are different names for the same genus, which would be Cannabis. But while marijuana comes from both the cannabis indica or cannabis sativa plant, hemp belongs solely to the cannabis sativa family.
A Brief History of Cannabis
The history of cannabis has been a turbulent one, and one that still faces confusion and misunderstanding. Due to how closely related the plants are, the government outlawed hemp and hemp seeds at the same time marijuana was made illegal. Cannabis was an early target of the “War on Drugs” in the 1970’s, and led to the misconception around hemp, lumping both hemp and marijuana into the same conversation.
Hemp was legalized in the United States in 2018 through the Farm Bill, which lifted the provisions on hemp that were previously classified as a drug on par with heroin. In the Agricultural Act of 2018, the definition was further changed to describe the non-intoxicating forms of Cannabis that is used specifically for its industrial uses. Hemp can produce essential resources in everyday textiles, industrial textiles, building materials, as well as health and body care. Because hemp is mostly the fiber of the plant, there is evidence of its uses throughout history up to 10,000 years ago. Early evidence shows hemp in rope and other industrial materials.
Today, hemp affords many legalities that marijuana does not. For instance, products made from hemp – including medicine , wellness , clothing and body care – can be purchased almost anywhere in stores and online. In fact, hemp is now known to have over 20,000 different applications, with a ton of innovation expected over the years to come.
Does Hemp Have THC?
A key difference between hemp and marijuana lies within – meaning, within their chemical composition. The cannabis genus is made up of over 110 known cannabinoids and hemp and marijuana’s cannabinoid profile is characteristically different. The greatest determination for whether the plant is hemp or marijuana depends on the spectrums and concentrations of psychoactive compound , THC .
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the chemical responsible for the intoxicating effects of marijuana, otherwise known as a high. So while marijuana is mostly made up of THC (sometimes reaching as high as 30%), hemp is made up of less than 0.3% THC. In other words, hemp won’t produce a high, which is great if that’s something you’d prefer to avoid.
Benefits of Hemp
Hemp is incredibly versatile and the entire hemp plant can be used in a myriad of ways . Follow along as we deconstruct some of the most popular uses of hemp.
Hemp Stalk: Using Hemp for Fiber and Hurds
The hemp plant’s stalk, also referred to as the stem, provides fiber and hurds. Fiber is used to produce textiles, rope, plastics and even building insulation. Hurds are used to create paper, fiber boards, and organic compost.
Hemp Seeds: Using Hemp for Food and Beauty Products
One of the most common uses is hemp seed oil, which is full of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals. You can use hemp seed oil in salad dressings and other cold dishes – we don’t recommend using it for cooking as it has a very low smoking point.
Other uses for hemp seeds are sprinkling them as is on protein bars, in smoothies, even sneaking it into your baked goods! You can have hemp milk, hemp butter, flour and protein powder. Why should you give hemp seed products a try? Because they’re incredibly rich in dietary fibers, protein, vitamins and minerals!
Hemp-derived CBD vs Marijuana-derived CBD
Now that we’ve established you will not get high from hemp, let’s shift focus to the properties of hemp that give way to CBD. While the CBD compound is the same from both marijuana-derived CBD and hemp-derived CBD, they differ in the amount of cannabinoid content and effect profiles.
Cannabinoid Content and Effect Profiles
Hemp-derived CBD extract typically consists of a higher concentration of CBD and a THC level of 0.3% or less. Marijuana-derived CBD can come with significantly higher amounts of THC, going from 5% to as high as 30%. Bottom line: if you want CBD without any THC, hemp-derived CBD is your best best.
Those wishing to avoid THC should go with a CBD isolate product made from hemp rather than a full-spectrum CBD. A CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD – it contains around 99% cannabidiol without any additional cannabinoids, terpenes and plants components. In contrast to isolates, full-spectrum CBD retains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and has its own set of benefits such as the “entourage effect”, arguing that THC, even in small amounts below 0.3%, can help increase efficacy thru the bond with CB1 and CB2 receptors. To simplify, the “entourage effect” says that the plant works best as it was naturally grown. With all the different types of CBDs, it’s ultimately up to you to decide which is your preferred choice.
Though there is still some confusion around hemp and marijuana, it is important to understand that there is in fact a great difference in their application, usage, and chemical components. To put it simply, marijuana will get you high and hemp will not. Hemp also is an incredible utilitarian plant used all over the world and noted for its nutritious benefits. To confuse hemp and marijuana would be akin to confusing lemons and oranges. Understanding how they are dissimilar can be critical in helping inform you on how you use hemp and marijuana products in your life.
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