My discussion this week will cause me to fish in troubled waters but I will try to be cautious. Few years ago, I stumbled on the page of a Canadian called Rick Simpson who makes oil from the buds of the Cannabis plant. Rick Simpson Oil is not a branded product; that means there is no “Rick Simpson Oil” for sale. On his website, he only explains how to make his namesake oil so that people can do it themselves. The interesting thing about this is that the strain of the cannabis plant he uses has great anti-cancer activity (it is different from the strain used for the CBD oil you all know) and a lot of cancer patients are totally cured. At some point, I sent an email to him and he replied. This was how I got to know that the Cannabis plant is highly medicinal.
While on the medicinal plants series, I had an extremely strong urge to talk about this plant but I had a rethink since its possession is against the law in Nigeria. My hopes are high though that like Rick Simpson has used the oil from the buds to cure cancer and as other countries have legalised its use for medical purposes, our dear country will look into the use of this great gift from nature some day. Today, I will talk about hemp seeds. The seeds are imported into the country and sold around in grocery stores. This gives me the assurance that the law that forbids you from having the plant in your possession is not binding on the purchase of the seeds from grocery stores and the use as food. Besides, they are mostly shelled seeds that you cannot even plant. If you have to make milk out of the seeds, please, do not source for them locally to avoid getting into trouble. I want to say it openly that as a law-abiding citizen of this great nation, I do not have the plant in my possession and I do not know anyone who plants it either.
Can milk from the seed make one feel high? Not at all. It is the smoking of the plant that makes you feel high. Although hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant, they have little to none of the psychoactive compound THC. So, the milk does not produce a mind-altering effect.
The milk is a popular plant-based alternative to cow’s milk which can be used in smoothies, teas and cereal. It is made from whole hemp seeds or shelled seeds and it’s rich in high-quality plant protein, healthy fats and minerals. It has an earthy, nutty flavour and a creamy consistency. Most of the fat in hemp milk is unsaturated essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), which are essential for building new tissue and membranes in your body. As hemp foods have no phytoestrogen properties, they do not have an impact on estrogen levels one way or the other. However, they do have a positive impact on hormonal health since they are chock-full of fibre, minerals, vitamins and essential amino and fatty acids.
From a nutritional perspective, hemp seed milk ticks all the boxes. It’s low in saturated fats. There’s no sugar or cholesterol, it’s high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and provides a really strong source of omega 3,” says Ben Cooper, Good Hemp’s brand manager(Good Hemp is the UK’s first and biggest hemp milk producer). Rebecca Kerkenbush, a registered dietitian, talked about the fatty acids in hemp milk as having cholesterol lowering capabilities. She says that “Linoleic acid (LA or omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA or omega-3) are healthy essential fatty acids (unsaturated fat). Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat can lower cholesterol levels.”
In her remarks, Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet, says, “Hemp milk has joined the plant-based milk scene and is being found to provide some unique benefits that other milk alternatives may not have.”
The milk provides protein that your body can easily digest and use. It is one of few plant-based complete proteins as it contains all of the essential amino acids that humans need from food. Many people do not know that hemp seed is edible, so, I will not be doing justice to this discussion if I do not talk about the seed and its health benefits first. Let us see some of the benefits of the seeds:
A great source of protein: Hemp seeds are considered a complete source of protein as they have all 20 amino acids, nine essential and two semi-essential amino acids. Our body cannot produce these amino acids on its own. In fact, they have the highest amount of Edestin protein in the entire world. Edestin is a highly active digestible form of active protein which results in efficient absorption of nutrients. They have high amounts of albumin protein as well, the same protein that gives eggs their glory.
- May protect against heart disease
.Improves immunity levels
.Reduces anxiety and stress, enhances mood
.Improves brain health and function
.Promotes skin health
.Combats menopause and pms symptoms
In a study titled, “The seed of industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.): Nutritional quality and potential functionality for human health and nutrition,’’ by Farinon et al, the conclusion is that hemp seeds are characterised by the presence of different bioactive compounds, among which are unique phenolics as well as bioactive peptides with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, antihypertensive, antiproliferative and hypocholesterolemic activities.
In a study titled, “Thyroid hormone levels and metabolic changes after treating rats with hemp milk,’’ by Owska et al, results obtained provide the first demonstration that after hemp milk both intragastric and ad libitum treatment leads to the significant reduction of serum triglycerides and cholesterol content, including total, free and esterified forms of this sterol. Moreover, significant decrease of thyroid hormones was observed in experimental rats.
There is whole hemp seed and there is hulled hemp seed (also called hemp hearts or shelled). It is whole when the outer shell has not been removed. It is hulled when the crunchy outer shell has been removed. Much of the fiber in a hemp seed lies in its outer hull or shell. The removal of the shell presents a much cleaner ingredient that is tender, white and with a nutty flavour instead of the green and bitter flavour typically associated with whole hemp seeds.
For good edible hemp seed, Canada is known for the best quality among countries that grow hemp. This is not only because of the taste of the hemp strain that the Canadian farmers use but also because of the strict restrictions that the Canadian government enforces. You may want to check your label for where the hemp seed is grown before buying at a grocery store.
Wash your hemp seeds, put into the blender, add some water and blend. Sieve it. The whitish water you sieved is your milk.