If you frequent hipster cafes or browse the aisles of health-food stores, you may have seen hemp seeds listed on the menu.
As edible hemp works its way onto mainstream menus across the country, many people are raising an eyebrow and asking the obvious question – will it get me high?
In Australia, it has been legal to consume hemp seeds since 2017, however, other parts of the plant still remain illegal.
Georgina Wilkinson, from Margaret River Hemp Co, and her family grow hemp for use in cosmetics, food, building materials and clothing in the southwest of Western Australia. Wilkinson told the Guardian, “We did a survey about two years ago … I would say probably 60 per cent pf those surveyed still believed the seeds will get then high.”
In Australia, mandated testing measures the THC levels of hemp crops. THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive constituent of cannabis. If crops are shown to be more than 1 per cent THC they are legally unusable. Seeds to be sold and used in food must be below 0.5 per cent THC.
Such small traces of tetrahydrocannabinol will not get you high, however, eating hemp has a number of health benefits. It is high in omega-3 and six fatty acids and protein. It’s also easy to add to your diet, as it can be tossed into salads raw, blended into smoothies, cooked in stir-fries or mixed into your morning granola. For those with a sweet tooth, raw vegan hemp chocolate is also on the menu and some distilleries are also making hemp gin.
Nutritional benefits have also been observed in livestock that consume hemp in their diets. Trent Paola, of Nimbin Hemp Fed Wagyu, says that even his cows prefer to eat the nutritionally high hemp pellets. Research conducted in Canada and Sweden found that cows and chickens fed on a diet of hemp seed and oil produced nutritionally superior milk and eggs. If you don’t drink dairy products, you’ll be pleased to know that vegan hemp milk is also making a name for itself in many health-food stores and some cafes.
It’s important to remember that as demand for hemp ramps up, Aussie farmers aren’t guaranteed to benefit. Most local hemp farmers are only growing enough to sustain the still small Australian market, but fast increases in demand have been shown to cause an influx in international imports from producers in China, Europe and Canada.
To keep the produce and profits local, Ms Wilkinson, who is vice-president of the Australian Industrial Hemp Alliance, wants to see the use of hemp leaves and flowers become more popular among consumers as the seeds and oil enter the mainstream.
So, no, edible hemp won’t get you high. But your body may thank you for other reasons as you sip on hemp gin and indulge in hemp chocolate.
Have you ever eaten hemp? Do you own any hemp products such as clothing or cosmetics? Do you want to see an increase in popularity
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