But what is the best food? The perfect food?
Cannabis has been grown for food and medicine for centuries. In particular, the cannabis seeds were highly prized. The seeds were most commonly ground into a porridge called gruel. Another method of use was to cold press the seeds into a clear oil. Both methods were common practice in the U.S. until the cannabis prohibition based on “reefer madness” pretty much eliminated such use.
Other parts of the world had no such dramatic reversal of cannabis use as food. In China, fresh hemp seeds are toasted and sold like popcorn in movie theaters and by street vendors. Ancient hemp seed recipes are still shared in the Ukraine. In Japan, ground hemp seeds are used as a condiment and in Poland hemp is an integral portion of holiday pastries.
In Cannabis in Medical Practice: A Legal, Historical and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana, Don E. Wirtshafter (from whom the wisdom of this essay is borrowed) commissioned a nutritional analysis of sterilized cannabis seeds and hemp seed oil.
The seeds were found to contain up to 24% protein. A handful provides the minimum daily requirement for adults. Seeds contained 30% oil by weight with some varieties up to 40%. Cannabis is said to be the most unsaturated oil derived from the vegetable kingdom.
“Hemp oil consists of up to 81% of the polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (EFA’s) that are needed, but not produced by the human body,” Wirtshafter wrote in 1997. Since that time, these words have been proven over and over to be true. Of the dozens of fatty acids that we eat only two “have proven to be essential” in maintaining life. Omega-6 Linoleic acid (LA) and omega-3 Linolenic acid (LNA) are these two life providing substances. Other oils, flax, primrose, borage, black currant all have good quantities of linoleic acid. None have the natural combination of EFA’s that provide humans optimal combination. Hemp oil is unique and does provide such a benefit without alteration of any kind in the perfect match for the human body.
Hemp seed and oil has a perfect 3:1 ratio of LA to LNA. Udo Erasmus, a noted nutritional scientist, has stated hemp to be, the most perfectly balanced, natural EFA-rich oil available.
Another bonus – hemp seeds and oil taste great.
There is a detailed analysis of the minerals, fatty acids, amino acid composition and uses of the oil in other methods of application in Cannabis in Medical Practice. In addition, Mary Beth Augustine, RD, CDN an Integrative Medicine Nutritionist, presented Nutritional Properties of Hemp Seed and Oil that can be viewed in this video.
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