Why Use Hemp Seeds?
Although the addition of hemp seeds to our diets seems like a fairly new idea, which is growing in popularity, they’ve actually been eaten traditionally in China for thousands of years.
The benefits of adding hemp seeds and products made from hemp seeds into your diet are plentiful. Hemp seeds are an easily digestible source of protein and essential fatty acids. They are one of the most nutritional foods found in nature.
Naturally high in omegas 3 and 6, they have been shown to reduce high cholesterol, something that affects more than 102 million American adults. Hemp seeds also contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals.
Our bodies use amino acids as building blocks for structural proteins and enzymes, which carry out all of the body’s functions. They’re really important. Hemp seeds have all essential amino acids that the body struggles – or is unable – to make itself.
What makes hemp seeds really special is that 65% its protein is in the form of globulin edestin. This is a protein our bodies need to build immunoglobulins to fight infection.
In addition to these shining health benefits, there is also evidence that taking hemp seed products can have beneficial effects on illnesses and diseases. It has been seen to positively impact diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Huntington’s disease . . . the list is almost endless.
Despite all of these benefits of adding hemp seeds into your diet, hemp is still treated with caution by many. So what are the possible drawbacks to hemp seeds? And do these outweigh the benefits?
What are the Side Effects of Hemp Seeds?
When thinking about the negative aspects, there are three main categories for the possible side effects of hemp seeds.
Oils and digestion:
Hemp seeds are oily and high in polyunsaturated fat. Although this is the good kind of fat, there are still about 3 to 4 grams of it per tablespoon of seeds.
When adding any source of fat to your diet, you are at risk of suffering from mild diarrhea. However, this can be combated by adding hemp seed to your diet in very small amounts, gradually increasing your daily consumption.
A common concern for those considering adding hemp seeds to their diet is the possible THC content. THC is the compound found in marijuana that has psychotropic properties.
Although hemp seeds and other hemp seed products do not contain THC, some experts believe there is a very possible chance that ingestion may cause euphoria or hallucination.
It is known that THC is not produced in the seeds of the plant, only in the flowers buds and leaves. But as seeds come into contact with the rest of the plant where THC is produced, there is a slight chance of the seeds contracting some kind of residue containing THC. This can’t be controlled for, and some brands may have slightly higher amounts than others.
In addition to this, another very unlikely side effect of hemp seeds it that eating them in large quantities may cause you to test positive to a drug test. Although these are possibilities, it should be stressed that these are really hypothetical, highly unlikely scenarios.
Interference with medication
No evidence or data thus far has shown that eating hemp seeds can interact with the function of pharmaceutical medicines. However, if you’re worried, consult your doctor before taking them.
Hemp seeds inhibit platelets in the blood, so caution can be recommended for people taking anticoagulant drugs.
Other than this, there is little to worry about with hemp seeds and medication. Hemp is not medicine; it is a natural supplement, and as yet no interactions with medicines have been discovered.
Other Side Effects
Other than the possible side effects discussed above, there are few other observed side effects of hemp seeds. Due to hemp being naturally highly saturated in omegas 3 and 6, it can be noted that there are drawbacks to ingesting too much food high in omegas, not specific to hemp.
There is some research that suggests that excessive omega consumption can put you at greater risk of illnesses such as colitis.
In the same vein, overconsumption of protein has its drawbacks too. Some suggest that excessive consumption may make you more vulnerable to weight gain and possibly even cancer.
The research is light on the ground in this area, and, again, this is not specific to hemp seeds but to all foods rich in protein.
So do the Benefits Outweigh the Side Effects?
Reviewing the literature covering the benefits and drawbacks of hemp seeds, it is easy to conclude that the abundance of well-documented positive outcomes of hemp seeds outshine the few possible side effects.
On a whole, the side effects of hemp seeds are negligible in comparison to the benefits. The possible side effects discussed are either highly unlikely or unspecific to hemp seeds whereas the benefits of hemp seeds are very impressive.
Hemp seeds are one of the only natural sources of all the essential amino acids, have been shown to have positive influence over illness, and have been suggested to improve general health. They are safe to be taken by those for whom other forms of supplements and or pharmaceutical medicines may not be suitable, including children.
So what do you think about the side effects of hemp seeds? Do you have any stories about how hemp seed products have benefited you? Or have you ever experienced side effects? Please let us know in the comments section.