Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is an ancient plant which has been cultivated for millenniums for its oil-rich seeds and durable fibres. Hemp seeds and the oil obtained from the seeds contain an optimal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids for human consumption.
Hemp seeds typically contain up to 35% oil and have the ideal ratio (3:1) of omega-3 to omega-6 essential fatty acids for the human body. The best known essential fatty acids in hemp oil are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA). The protein content in hemp varies from 25% to 35%, and most of it (65%) is well absorbed. It contains edestin, which is a protein known to play an important role in the functioning of human cells. Hemp seeds contain several minerals, including significant amounts of potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur and calcium as well as micro-nutrients zinc and iron.
Regular consumption of hemp oil helps lower the LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) level in blood and minimises the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and neurodermatitis without causing side effects. The diet of pregnant and lactating women should provide a sufficient supply of essential fatty acids to ensure proper development of the foetus and infant, including normal brain development.
Hempseed oil contains a significant amount of uncommon omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is important for the production of fat-soluble hormone prostaglandins for women. Prostaglandins are involved in the regulation of hormonal balance and the menstrual cycle; they help minimise the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstrual pain. In addition, administration of GLA is used for planned pregnancies because it improves the uterine lining. GLA also has a positive effect on immune disorders, inflammations, skin diseases and allergies.