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Hemp Seeds: Are They Good for You?

In this Article

In this Article
In this Article
  • Nutrition Information
  • Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
  • Potential Risks of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are a rich source of nutrients. Part of the hemp plant, these seeds are technically a nut that can be eaten raw or used to make milk, oil, cheese substitutes, or protein powder.В

While related to the cannabis plant, hemp seeds have little to none of the psychoactive compound THC found in marijuana. For centuries the seeds have been used for oral and topical applications to treat and prevent certain health issues. A growing body of modern clinical research is backing up many of these claims.В

Hemp seeds’ nutty flavor and versatility also make them a great substitute for the levels of protein, essential fatty acids, and other nutritional benefits found in meat and dairy products.

Hemp seeds can be:

  • Eaten raw, roasted, or cooked
  • Shelled as hemp hearts
  • Cold-pressed to produce hemp seed oil
  • Used for non-dairy hemp milk and hemp cheese

Nutrition Information

A 30 gram serving (three-tablespoons) of raw hemp seeds contains:

  • Calories: 166
  • Protein: 9.47 grams
  • Fat: 14.6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 2.6 grams
  • Fiber: 1.2 grams
  • Sugar: 0.45 grams

Hemp seeds are also good source of:В

Hemp seeds also contain high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.В

Studies have shown that the ideal ratio for the fatty acids in hemp seeds is 3 to 1. At this ratio, these fatty acids help to support healthy cholesterol levels, immune system function, and may help regulate your metabolism.

Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They contain all nine essential amino acids, and research suggests that hemp’s protein content is well-absorbed by our bodies.

In addition to this protein load, hemp seeds history is tied to their potential health benefits. Many modern studies have backed up several of these claims.В

Hemp seeds’ health benefits include:В

Heart Health

Hemp seeds are a great source of magnesium, which helps regulate your heartbeat and is linked to the prevention of coronary heart disease. They also contain Linoleic acid, which one study found reduced participants’ cholesterol levels by 15% and may act to reduce blood pressure.

Continued

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

One of the omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seeds is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA,) which may have anti-inflammatory effects similar to drugs like ibuprofen. One study found a 75% reduction in arthritis-associated pain in participants after nine months of GLA supplementation.

Skin Conditions

Hemp oil can be used in cooking to add nutritional benefits to your meal, and it can also be applied topically to the skin. Studies have found that hemp seed oil can relieve the symptoms of eczema and improve dry or itchy skin.

Research is ongoing, but hemp seed oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects may also help to treat acne.

Brain Health

The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in hemp seeds is the optimal level for nutritional benefit. This balance supports both heart and cognitive health and is often lacking in most diets..

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.

Potential Risks of Hemp Seeds

While the fat content in hemp seeds comes primarily from its healthy essential fatty acids, eat them in moderation to meet your recommended daily consumption of fat. High fat intake can also cause nausea or diarrhea. В

Other things to consider before adding hemp seeds to your diet include:В

Medication Interference

Hemp seeds may interact with certain medications including anticoagulants.В

Studies have shown that hemp seeds reduce blood clotting, which can interact with blood-thinner prescriptions.

Pregnancy Concerns

There is not enough clinical research to show that hemp is safe either orally or topically for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so it is not recommended.В

Cannabis Dependence

Hemp seed shells can contain trace amounts of THC, the active psychoactive compound in marijuana. People with a previous dependence on cannabis may consider looking for an alternative.В

Digestive Problems

The fiber content in hemp seeds can cause digestive discomfort like bloating, nausea, or constipation in large amounts. Make sure to drink plenty of water when eating hemp seeds to help avoid gut problems.В

Sources

Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. “Cannabis sativa (Hemp) Seeds, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and Potential Overdose.”

Biochemical Education: “The action of vitamin K and coumarin anticoagulants.”

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: “Evaluating the Quality of Protein From Hemp Seed (Cannabis sativa L.) Products Through the Use of the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score Method.”

Journal of Dermatological Treatment: “Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis.”

Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostatis: “Dietary hempseed reduces platelet aggregation.”

Oilseeds and fats, Crops and Lipids:“A short review on sources and health benefits of GLA, The GOOD omega-6.”

Mayo Clinic. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.”

Nutrients: “Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies.”

Nutrition & Metabolism: “The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed.”

Plant Science: “Terpenes in Cannabis sativa – From plant genome to humans.”В

PLOS One: “The ameliorative effect of hemp seed hexane extracts on the Propionibacterium acnes-induced inflammation and lipogenesis in sebocytes.”>

The British Medical Journal (BMJ): “The importance of a balanced ω-6 to ω-3 ratio in the prevention and management of obesity.”
The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behaviour Letter: “FDA on CBD in pregnancy and breastfeeding”

USDA FoodData Central: “Seeds, hemp seed, hulled.”

Find out what the research says about hemp seeds, who should have them, and how they may affect your health.

10 hemp seed oils

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Hemp seed oil is a cold-pressed oil that comes from seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp seed oil is a rich source of protein, fatty acids, and other essential nutrients.

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) plant.

A hemp plant contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the high sensation associated with using cannabis.

However, hemp seed oil, as its name implies, derives from the seeds of the plant and not the plant itself. Therefore, hemp seed oil typically contains no THC or CBD (cannabidiol) at all.

It is important not to confuse hemp seed oil with:

  • hemp oil, which people often use as a carrier oil for CBD oil products
  • CBD oil, which contains high quantities of CBD — a compound found in abundance in the leaves and flower of the cannabis plant, but not in the seeds

This article looks at 10 of the best hemp seed oil products available for purchase.

Please also note that the writer of this article has not tested these products. All information in this article is research-based, and we do not intend to recommend certain products over others.

Share on Pinterest Hemp seed oil contains essential nutrients and may improve skin conditions, among other possible benefits.

Hemp seed oil contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and essential acids, such as omega-6 and omega-3. In a 2016 study, researchers identified a significant number of polyphenols in hemp seed oil. Polyphenols are micronutrients that contain antioxidants.

A 2018 study in mice indicated that the rich nutrient profile of hemp seed oil might protect the brain from chemical-induced learning and memory problems. Other benefits may include:

  • improving digestive health
  • promoting heart health
  • reducing inflammation
  • improving chronic skin conditions

People considering adding hemp seed oil to their diet may want to consider the following high-quality hemp seed oil products:

Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Oil

According to Nutiva, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)-has certified this organic hemp seed oil that contains a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. The manufactures recommend adding their hemp seed oil to smoothies, salads, and sauces.

However, they warn against frying hemp seed oil because it has a low smoke point, and the heat may breakdown the essential fatty acids.

Manitoba Harvest Natural Hemp Seed Oil

This cold-pressed hemp seed oil is non-GMO, gluten-free, and suitable for vegans. According to the Manitoba Harvest website, one tablespoon (tbsp) or 15 milliliters (ml) of their product contains 12 grams (g) of omega-6 and omega-3.

Foods Alive Organic Hemp Oil

According to the Foods Alive website, USDA has certified this non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan product. A single serving of this hemp seed oil contains 3 g of omega-3, 8 g of mega-6, and 2 g of omega-9.

Foods Alive Hemp Seed Oil comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 4 ounces (oz) to 1 gallon.

Hemp seed oil is a cold-pressed oil that comes from seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. Read about 10 great hemp seed oil products here.