Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • May 2018
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Hemp: What it is and how it can benefit your health

There’s no denying that the cannabis plant has been at the heart of countless debates — political, social and economic — over the years. By now, most of us know that the two variations of the plant, hemp and marijuana, are, in fact, very different.

These variations can actually be traced back to early civilizations, where cannabis had two uses. The first was to make an array of foods, oils and textiles like rope and fabric. The plants utilized for these purposes were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.

The second use for the cannabis plant at the time was related to its psychoactive properties. The herbs utilized for this were bred selectively for medical and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that we know today as marijuana. The recreational drug is grown to contain high amounts of the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is credited with causing the “high,” while hemp only contains trace amounts of THC.

Scientists believe that this early separation of cannabis genes led to two distinct types, or species, known as cannabis indica and cannabis sativa.

This article centers on hemp, or cannabis indica, the species with THC levels below 0.3 percent, but high levels of the other 80+ beneficial cannabinoids, including CBD.

Health Benefits of Hemp

No matter where your opinion lies on cannabis, there’s no debating the value and environmental benefits of hemp products. While it is used to make building material, durable paper, fabric, plant-based plastics, rope and more, as well as to clean soil, hemp can also help our bodies maintain a healthy balance!

You may have noticed many hemp-based products on health food store shelves lately; from the seeds and hearts themselves, to products made from them like hemp oil, hemp milk and hemp protein powder — and for good reason. The nutritional content of hemp is linked to a number of potential health benefits!

1. Heart, Joint, Skin and Mood Support

Hemp seeds are a good source of the healthy fats ALA and GLA. These essential fatty acids are not produced in the body, so you need to obtain them from a healthy diet. GLA is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It works to support health metabolism, muscles, nerves, skin, hair, and cholesterol levels (already within the normal range), and may temporarily relieve minor, hormone-related symptoms of PMS. ALA, or alpha linolenic acid, is often used for inflammation and healthy blood pressure support.

2. Support for a Strong, Lean Body

Hemp seeds also provide an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it ideal for vegans and vegetarians. Hemp protein contains all 10 of the essential amino acids, and is easier to digest than some other forms. It’s also another protein option for people who have a sensitivity to soy. Hemp does not contain phytates, which are found in many vegetarian protein sources and can interfere with the absorption of essential minerals.

3. Good Nutritional Support

Hemp is considered a superfood thanks to its nutritional profile. In addition to its healthy fats, protein and amino acids, hemp provides beneficial nutrients like zinc, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sulfur, iron, and vitamin E. Of course, each of these plays a role in a variety of functions in your body. Whole hemp seeds contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which may support digestive health and weight management. As you can see, the nutrients found in hemp products offer many advantages.

4. Support for Sound Sleep and Pain Relief

The cannabinoids in hemp provide a calming effect in the body. CBD, in particular, has been studied for its ability to ease anxiety and, therefore, support quality sleep. It also shows promise for its positive effects on many different forms of pain, including that associated with headaches and joint pain.

There are more health benefits of hemp as well, so take some time to educate yourself more fully about this wonderful, natural product.

Theresa Groskopp, CN

Theresa Groskopp, a licensed certified nutritionist, is the founder and president of Natural Healthy Concepts, which has a retail location at 310 N. Westhill Blvd. in Appleton. She firmly believes that the foundation of health and wellness lies in proper nutrition. To supplement proper nutrition, Natural Healthy Concepts carries a wide variety of pharmaceutical grade supplements, homeopathic remedies and herbs — all of which are derived from the highest quality ingredients. The store also offers a nice selection of natural health products, including nontoxic sunscreens!

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