You know what’s a little absurd? A few hundred years ago, when early American colonists were first cultivating the rich, fertile landscape of the eastern United States, may land-leasing farmers were required by law to grow and harvest hemp.
Were they doing this to get high? No. (Well… maybe some of them were).
Rather, they were cultivating hemp for the boundless nutritional components of the seed, and for the construction/textile components of the stalk and stem (hemp fibers were commonly used to make rope, paper, clothes, etc).
Hell, even Thomas Jefferson was once quoted as saying, “hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”
Hit the fast-forward button, and hemp/cannabis is now all but illegal for American farmers to grow and cultivate — even non-psychoactive strains that are “permissible” under the 2014 Farm Bill (which applies mostly to pilot research programs that you need a special permit for).
Even still, many Americans are finding a way to incorporate marijuana seeds into their diet – for the same exact reasons that those colonists did so back in the 18th century.
In this article, we go over 5 key health benefits of marijuana seeds, and why you should be making every effort to establish them as a staple part of your daily nutritional intake.
First Things First: A Brief Background on Marijuana Seeds and Their Uses
To be clear, when we say “marijuana seeds” we are referring collectively to cannabis seeds in general. In terms of basic nutritional benefits, for instance, there is no real difference between a hemp seed and a cannabis seed that produces a potent, high-THC marijuana strain (cannabinoids like THC and CBD do not exist in the seed – only in the flower, stem, stalk and leaves).
In fact, this is why there’s such a big difference in terms of medicinal potential between the seeds of the cannabis/hemp plant, and the actual plant material itself. Most of marijuana’s medicinal properties come from the presence of active cannabinoids (namely CBD and THC), as well as certain terpenes, flavonoids, etc. Since marijuana seeds don’t have cannabinoids, they aren’t really used for medicinal/therapeutic purposes.
However, what they lack in “therapeutic cannabinoids,” they more than make up for in general health and nutritional benefits. Their omega acid and protein content, for example, is nearly second to none in terms of plant-derived foods.
(And on a relative side note, this is also why you can find “hemp seed” products (including actual shelled hemp seeds themselves) in regular health and grocery stores all over the U.S. – they are categorized as “nutritional supplements” and have no affiliation really with medicinal CBD products, which are derived from the flower, stem and stalks of the plant. The same distinction can also be made between “hemp seed oil” that you find on Amazon, and actual therapeutic CBD hemp oil that you can find from the likes of Pure Kana, Green Roads, etc).
Anyway, without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 5 reasons why you should be eating marijuana seeds.
Can You Eat Marijuana Seeds? Yes, You Can… Here are the Top 5 Reasons Why You SHOULD!
1) High in Natural, Easy-to-Digest Protein
Most any self-respecting nutritionist will tell you that plant-based proteins are dramatically healthier and easier for the body to digest than animal-based proteins. In fact, data from a recent study out of the Massachusetts General Hospital observed the health records of more than 130,000 people over a thirty year period, and found that individuals who did not consume animal protein had “substantially lower death rates than meat-eaters,” and that for every 3% increase in plant protein calorie intake, the risk of death was reduced by 10%.
And to be sure, marijuana seeds are one of the best sources for natural, plant-based protein that you can find. This is why farmers all over the world (including those 17th-century American colonists) used to use nothing but cannabis seed “mash” to nourish their livestock (before it was made illegal, of course). It’s also why bodybuilding hemp seed protein powder is becoming more popular, and is (probably) why world-class fighters like Ronda Rousey start their morning off with a dose of hemp hearts before hitting the gym.
2) Can Help You Lose (or Gain) Weight!
Believe it or not, strong cannabis seed-based diets have been used to help people both gain and lose weight. For obese people looking to shed some pounds, marijuana seeds are an excellent way to stay healthy and full throughout the day as they’re chock full of vitamins (particularly Vitamin E), minerals (including potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc), nutrients, and (as we already discussed), protein.
On the flip side, they’re also good for helping to gain weight (in a healthy way), due to these same exact nutritional characteristics.
3) Crucial Omega Fatty Acid Content
Even though they are a vital component of organ health and whole-body wellness, human beings do not naturally produce Omega fatty acids like Omega 3 and 6 – we have to consume them from outside sources.
However, some sources have described hemp seeds as having the most abundant source of natural Omega acids in the entire plant kingdom – more than Chia seeds, more than walnuts, and even more than flax seed.
4) Really, REALLY Good For Your Heart
One of the main reasons why eating marijuana seeds is good for your heart is because diets high in Omega acids have been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower the risk of stroke-inducing blood clot formation, and increase overall cardiovascular function.
Moreover, the presence of arginine (which produces nitric oxide) in cannabis seeds is known to cause blood vessels to relax and dilate, which subsequently lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack, as well as other forms of cardiovascular disease (hemp seeds have also been known to help the heart recover after a heart attack).
Finally, the gamma-linoleic acid that’s found abundantly in marijuana seeds is known to reduce certain proteins that can result in inflammation – particularly inflammation of the heart and surrounding cardiovascular tissue.
5) Disease Prevention and Whole Body Wellness
Taking into consideration all of the above-mentioned health benefits, consuming marijuana seeds regularly can be an incredible way to prevent disease and promote general health and whole-body wellness.
In fact, given that their cardiovascular benefits have been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other psychological conditions, you might say that cannabis seeds have the potential to promote mental health and well-being as much as they do physical.
Oh, and did we mention the fact that marijuana seeds are one of the only plant-based food sources that contain every single amino acid that’s needed for human survival? Maybe this is the reason that Leafly has chosen to describe them as perhaps the most “nutritionally complete food source in the world.”
How Can You Eat Marijuana Seeds?
Ok, so we’ve gone over several of the top health reasons why you should be eating marijuana seeds — but if you want to get on this relatively newfound “cannabis health train,” how do you actually eat them?
Well, it’s really not that difficult – you can eat marijuana seeds raw (i.e. straight from the buds), cooked, shelled, unshelled… pretty much any way your heart desires. They don’t have to be cooked or otherwise processed in order to reap the health and nutrition benefits.
That being said, however, they are a lot more tasty and enjoyable when you make a little ‘meal’ out of them, rather than just eating them plain and raw.
One of our favorite ways to eat hemp seeds, for example, is to roast them and combine them with a nice, crunchy plant-based snack (kale chips make for an amazing combination). A lot of people also like to make a non-psychoactive “ganja tea,” simply by roasting the hemp seeds and then putting them in boiling water along with some of your favorite spices (you can also increase the “nutritional potency” of the tea by including your cannabis stems and dried leaves in the infusion).
And of course, you can sprinkle shelled marijuana seeds on top of all kinds of foods – oatmeal, quinoa, yogurt, hummus, salads, smoothies – in order to “spruce them up” a bit and add a that all-important nutritional kick. You can also press the raw seeds for oil, or grind them up into a fine powder for flour, protein supplement, or milk (though you’d need specialized equipment to do this).
Final Thoughts: Health Benefits of Eating Cannabis Seeds
Again, it’s important to be able to make the distinction between medicinal cannabis-based products (i.e. CBD oils) which contain cannabinoids and come from the leaves, flower, stems, and stalk of the plant, and cannabis seeds, which are consumed purely for their nutritional/health benefits. (In other words, you can NOT get high off of eating marijuana seeds).
So, next time you go to toss out those “useless” marijuana seeds from the nice bud you’re about to grind up into a joint or bowl — stop! Toss them aside and make a nice smoothie out of them, grind them up and sprinkle them over a salad, or hell, just pop them into your mouth and start chowing down like you’re eating some sunflower seeds.
If you make a habit out of this, your body will thank you in the long run!