The Good Seed

“Hemp is just an awesome seed.”

Yes, truer words were never spoken than these, uttered by an L.A.-area Whole Foods worker. Quoted in an L.A. Times article (“Soy’s New Competition: Hemp”), the employee exudes an enthusiasm that seems justified.

In the late 1990s, the hemp buzz was all about the fabric; hemp was poised to cover the world’s clothing needs. But today, the health benefits of hemp seem to be pushing its value as a food above its versatility as a fabric. With a nutritional profile rivaling flaxseed’s, hempseed has “an exceptional ratio, as far as balance is concerned, between omega 6s and omega 3s,” notes Washington State University food science professor Barry Swanson.

And, just like when we found out about the heath benefits of oat bran, food producers are rushing to fill the hemp void in our lives. The aforementioned Whole Foods alone boasts:

[S]everal shelves of hemp shakes and snacks … rows of hemp butter and oil … hemp tortillas … hemp bars, hemp bread and hemp bagels.

And that’s not even taking into account the hemp lattes and “hempacinos” you can make from the soy milk–like hemp milk. It’s enough to give you the munchies. Or it would be, if commercially grown hemp had any THC in it, which it doesn’t, so you can’t get high no matter how many hempseed burritos or hemp bars you eat.

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