Hemp is one of the oldest agricultural and ornamental plants in the world. We distinguish between industrial hemp and hemp that is grown for recreational or medical use. It is believed that hemp originated in Central Asia. Today, it is both cultivated and found growing wild around the world in climates ranging from temperate to tropical. Hemp is an annual, herbaceous plant with serrated leaves that have a palm-like shape.
From Wikipedia: “Hemp or industrial hemp (from Old English hænep), typically found in the northern hemisphere, is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products … Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), they are distinct strains with unique phytochemical compositions and uses.”
“100 grams of hulled hemp seeds supply 586 calories. They are 5% water, 5% carbohydrates, 49% total fat and 31% protein. Hemp seeds are notable in providing 64% of the Daily Value (DV) of protein per 100 gram serving.
Hempseed amino acid profile is comparable to other sources of protein such as meat, milk, eggs and soy. Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score values (PDCAAS), which measure the degree to which a food for humans is a "complete protein", were 0.49-0.53 for whole hemp seed, 0.46-0.51 for hemp seed meal, and 0.63-0.66 for dehulled hemp seed.
Hemp seeds are a rich source of B vitamins, the dietary minerals, manganese (362% DV), phosphorus (236% DV), magnesium (197% DV), zinc (104% DV), iron (61% DV) and dietary fiber (20% DV).
Approximately 73% of the energy in hemp seeds is in the form of fats and essential fatty acids, mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids, linoleic, oleic and alpha-linolenic acids.
“Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, or made into dried sprout powder. The leaves of the hemp plant can be consumed raw in salads. Hemp can also be made into a liquid and used for baking or for beverages such as hemp milk, hemp juice, and tea. Hempseed oil is cold-pressed from the seed and is high in unsaturated fatty acids."
Commercial uses of hemp:
“Hemp is used to make a variety of commercial and industrial products including rope, clothes, food, paper, textiles, plastics, insulation and biofuel … Cannabis flower essential oil, also known as hemp essential oil, is an essential oil obtained by steam distillation from the flowers and upper leaves of the hemp plant … Hempseed oil is cold-pressed from the seed and is high in unsaturated fatty acids.”
“Hemp is usually planted between March and May in the northern hemisphere, between September and November in the southern hemisphere. It matures in about three to four months.”
“In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of hemp products, mostly driven by "growing" in demand for hemp seed and hemp oil for use as ingredients in foods such as granola.
In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) treats hemp as a purely non-food crop, but with proper licensing and proof of less than 0.2% THC concentration, hemp seeds can be imported for sowing or for sale as a food or food ingredient. In the U.S., imported hemp can be used legally in food products and as of 2000, was typically sold in health food stores or through mail order.”
"Hemp is possibly one of the earliest plants to be cultivated. An archeological site in the Oki Islands near Japan contained cannabis achenes from about 8000 BC, probably signifying use of the plant. Hemp use archaeologically dates back to the Neolithic Age in China, with hemp fiber imprints found on Yangshao culture pottery dating from the 5th millennium BC."