Day 55: Superfood: Hemp
Historical Superfood, Hemp for Victory, A History of Hemp
Welcome to Day 55!
Hemp is American as Apple Pie.
Of all the nuts and seeds we eat, hemp seeds are at the top of my list in taste and nutrition. Hemp seed mylk is delicious, and blending hemp seeds into blended soups or using the seeds in salads is a delectable treat! While growing hemp is unfortunately illegal in the U.S., Canadians and many European countries are allowed to grow it, and the seed is delivered all over the world.
Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally complete foods on the planet earth. They contain all nine essential amino acids in a favorable ratio. They also contain the essential fatty acids omega 3 and omega 6, and they are heavily mineralized.
In addition, the nut contains vitamins, particularly the tocopherols and tocotrienols of the Vitamin E complex, phytosterols and trace minerals. Overall, hemp main nutritional advantage over other seeds lies in the composition of its oil, i.e. its fatty acid profile, and in its protein that contains all of the essential amino acids in nutritionally significant amounts and in a desirable ratio.
Most oil seeds contain plenty of linoleic acid (LA), an essential fatty acid (EFA) from the omega-6 family, yet they offer little alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the other EFA from the omega-3 family. Health agencies around the world agree that humans should ingest these EFAs in an omega-6/3 ratio of about 4. Since seed oil and fats in meat, both low in omega-3, account for most of our fat intake, Western diets typically have omega-6/3 ratios of 10 and more, which is far too rich in omega-6. Recent clinical research continues to identify this imbalance as a cofactor in a wide range of common illnesses: cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, diabetes, skin and mood disorders. A 1999 workshop by the U.S. National Institutes of Health demonstrated the impressive benefits of a balanced omega-6/3 ratio in our diet: reduced risk of atherosclerosis, sudden cardiac death and certain types of cancers, decrease in the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, mood improvement in bipolar disorders, and optimized development in infants.
In clinical studies, these benefits are often achieved using omega-3 rich fish and flaxseed oil supplements. A more holistic approach is to shift our general dietary fat intake towards nuts and oil with a better omega-6/3 ratio. Hemp nut and oil offer, varying somewhat with plant variety, omega-6/3 ratios of 3 and less. This exceeds the target ratio of 4 and compensates in part for omega-3 deficiencies in the rest of our diet.
Hemp Protein (Edestin)
Shelled hemp seeds consist of 36.6% protein, making them, by weight, the highest protein food on Earth, with the exception of algaes. 65+% of hemp-seed protein is in the form of globular edestin. The globular fonn of this protein gives hemp seeds a high protein content without the abrasiveness found in most high-protein foods. This makes hemp seeds uniquely beautifying, in that they are softly, yet quickly, nourishing and strength-building.
Hemp seeds contain an amazing quantity of raw protein, that include the sulfur-bearing amino acids: methionine, cysteine, and cystine. These can be immediately utilized to build strong hair, nails, skin, muscle, and connective tissue.
Many people are allergic to abrasive protein foods such as dairy, soy, whey, or peanuts. No allergies to hemp protein have yet been reported to me. Hemp seeds are free from trypsin inhibitors found in certain seeds, such as soybeans that interfere with protein digestion.
Hemp for Other Purposes
Hemp is also a valuable crop for uses other than food. Even the US Government knows (or knew) that. Hemp for Victory is a black-and-white film produced in 1942 by the USDA outlining a plan to distribute 400,000 lbs. of cannabis seeds to American farmers with the goal of producing 350,000 acres of cannabis by 1943 — all for the war effort. The USDA even went as far as to urge 4-H clubs to grow at least half an acre, but preferably 2 acres of cannabis. All American farmers were required to see the film, sign a paper saying that they had viewed the film, and read a booklet on the matter. Farmers who agreed were waived from serving in the military, and all their family members were also exempt. They received farm equipment at a discounted price, and sometimes for free.
However, before and after the war — the same plant was considered “demon weed” and the killer of the same kids that were pressed into service to grow it during the war. Furthermore, the USDA and Library of Congress denied the creation or existence of such a film until 2 copies were found and sent in to the Library of Congress.
What about smoking cannabis?
We don’t suggest it, except in the case of truly medicinal use. Here are some resources on this, and then our commentary on recreational use.
Clearing the Smoke: The Benefits, Limits of Medical Marijuana visit: http://video.pbs.org/video/2103797319
One of the reasons that people smoke marjuana is because it gives you a feeling of alkalinity, and an alkaline feeling is a “high” feeling. Let’s look at nutrition. An over-acid person, like many people in the westernized world, is more easily given to agitation and anger. This is the reason we see so much road rage in the U.S. Someone who is over-alkaline would be the opposite: their head is in the clouds. “Whatever, dude,” is more the feeling of being too alkaline. We find this somewhat from persons who do health retreats or programs where there is a lot of wheatgrass drinking. This is not to say there is something wrong with drinking wheatgrass – it is great, but it is very alkalinizing to the system. So, smoking pot makes a person feel alkaline, therefore, most people who are smoking it have an acidity problem in their system, and that is why smoking pot feels good to them. Lastly, neither Katrina nor myself have known anyone who smoked pot regularly/consistently for recreation (several times a week) who did not begin to lose touch with reality, begin to feel a sense of overwhelm, and lose their intellectual edge that they had before.
Eat hemp seeds, make hemp mylk when you are not Juice Feasting, and encourage hemp for clothing, paper, and other industrial uses!
Hemp seed oil, pressed from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant, has been named nature’s perfect food due to its balanced concentrations of omega fatty acids. Hemp used to be consumed worldwide, as it was one of the first cultivated and consumed crops. There is a misconception that hemp contains THC, the principal psychoactive constituent of the cannabis plant. Needless to say, this is false. Although relativity new to the Western Hemisphere, hemp seed oil is now widely available in health-food stores.
The seed of the hemp plant contains some of the most balanced and richest sources of oils on the planet. The ideal 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is recommended by the World Health Organization for optimal utilization.
(National Geographic) Clinical Study: THC Gives Cancer Cells the Munchies, Too by Nick Anthis
A new study by Salazar et al. in The Journal of Clinical Investigation demonstrates that THC causes tumor cells to begin to degrade themselves from the inside (a process called autophagy, i.e. “self-eating”). Although autophagy has been shown to promote cell survival in some cases and cell death in others, the authors show that in this case it causes cancer cells to undergo programmed cell death (apoptosis). Thus, THC activates a series of events within cancer cells, inhibiting tumor growth.
Marijuana offers strong protective qualities against radiation exposure. Since fewer and fewer people have the financial resources to continually purchase all the helpful things they will need perhaps growing weed in our backyard will offer the public one of the best anti-radiation solutions in the long run. Instead of it being just relaxing it might become very necessary to intake marijuana to increase ones defenses against radiation exposure. Might as well get your brownies ready but one has to be careful about radiation getting into everything, even your marijuana plants, which will actually thrive nicely in radioactive environments.
Cannabinoids, the active components of marijuana, inhibit tumor growth in laboratory animals and also kill cancer cells. Marijuana cuts lung cancer tumor growth in half, a 2007 Harvard Medical School study shows.The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread.
Pew Research Center: Public Support For Legalizing Medical Marijuana: Modest Rise in Percentage Favoring General Legalization
With a growing number of states moving to legalize medical marijuana, nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) say they favor their state allowing the sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes if it is prescribed by a doctor, while 23% are opposed. Support for legalizing medical marijuana spans all major political and demographic groups, and is equally high in states that have and have not already passed laws on this issue. You can download the report by clicking here.
Media, Films, & Documentaries
[Documentary] What If Cannabis Cured Cancer? by Len Richmond (Director)
Could the chemicals found in marijuana prevent and even heal several deadly cancers? Discover the truth about this ancient medicine as world-renowned scientists in the field of cannabinoid research illustrate their truly mind-blowing discoveries. “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” explains how we are all born with a form of marijuana already in our bodies, and when pot is consumed, the “endocannabinoids” inside us, along with any cannabinoids we ingest, fit together like a key in a lock. Thereby promoting the death of cancer cells without harming the body’s healthy cells. A powerful and eye-opening film about the future of cannabis, and perhaps even the future of medicine. Narrated by Emmy-winning actor Peter Coyote. QUOTES: “What If Cannabis Cured Cancer summarizes the remarkable research findings of recent years about the cancer-protective effects of novel compounds in marijuana. Most medical doctors are not aware of this information and its implications for prevention and treatment. This documentary presents compelling evidence that our current policy on cannabis is counterproductive and foolish. An excellent film.” -Andrew Weil, M.D.
[Documentary] Go Further, starring Woody Harrelson and Ken Kesey
Get on the bio-fueled bus with actor and activist Woody Harrelson and his band of “Merry Hempsters” as they embark on a 1,300-mile road trip from Seattle to Santa Barbara to promote environmental awareness and “Simple Organic Living.” Pop and counter-culture documentarian Ron Mann (Grass, Comic Book Confidential, Twist) chronicles every leg of Harrelson’s journey, from college campus appearances and encounters with curious onlookers, to a visit with 1960s icon Ken Kesey. With his fellow travelers, including one confessed junk food addict, Harrelson is determined to change hearts and minds, one hemp burger and sweet avocado chocolate mousse pie at a time. Featuring the music of Natalie Merchant, Bob Weir, Anthony Kiedis and Dave Matthews. “It’s all good, dude.”
[Documentary] The Union: The Business Behind Getting High(2007) with Joe Rogan
Follow filmmaker Adam Scorgie as he demystifies the underground market and brings to light how the marijuana industry can function while remaining illegal. Through growers, police officers, criminologists, economists, doctors, politicians and pop culture icons, Scorgie examines the cause and effect nature of the business – an industry that may be profiting more by being illegal. Cannabis culture, particularly in the medium of film, tends to unintentionally parody and belittle itself by excessively glamorizing the drug and perpetuating stereotypes about its users, but this documentary provides a serious platform for intelligent, well-spoken advocates of legalization to make logical (and not easily refutable) points against the U.S. and Canada’s present drug policies.
[Documentary] Hemp Revolution
Making a hemp advocacy documentary is an uphill cinematic battle because of the unintentional humor that surfaces. It is difficult to keep a straight face when you’re told that hemp can be used to build “anything from a 2×4 to the body of a stealth jet bomber”; or how hemp packaging would allow you to “eat the container for dessert” in fast-food joints; or that commercial hemp could be “the greatest economic engine in the history of the human race.” Of course, the truth is that these assertions are perfectly legitimate. Unfortunately, hemp has become so marginalized in our society that the myriad benefits of the substance appear as ridiculous pipe dreams, when in fact they are achievable realities.
Australian producer-director Anthony Clarke does a commendable job in researching and outlining hemp’s numerous strengths. He loosely divides his work into six sections–hemp for paper, textiles, fuel, medicine, and “inspiration” and the U.S. government’s role in squelching all of these uses–supplying substantial and convincing evidence throughout. Clarke also puts hemp in its proper historical context and examines the combination of dubious forces–DuPont, Hearst, racist groups, and a commissioner of narcotics named Harry Anslinger, who had time (and idle employees) on his hands because of the repeal of prohibition–that led to hemp’s criminalization in 1938. Clarke talks with a range of people to illustrate his points, from well-known authorities such as Dr. Lester Grinspoon and Dr. Andrew Weil to the head of the Netherlands’ drug policy to Everyman hemp-seed chefs and hemp outfitters.
[Documentary] Hempsters Plant the Seed with Woody Harrelson and Willie Nelson
More than a political study of cannibis, HEMPSTERS is a rousing portrait of our country’s most spirited and sensible free-thinkers. After witnessing Woody Harrelson’s arrest for planting four feral hemp seeds in Kentucky, his subsequent trial and acquittal, filmmaker Michale Henning travels across the country in search for the mysterious and deomnized plant’s in United States history. From the Tiospaye clan of Native American Lakota to Julia Butterfly Hill and Gatewood Galbraith, HEMPSTERS is a hyper-paced film with a sizzling soundtrack that gets to the heart of just about evey grassroots issue in America today.
[Documentary] Emperor of Hemp: Jack Herer Memorial Tribute Edition
This is the first marijuana film that weaves a coherent tapestry connecting cannabis, hemp, youth culture and prohibition. And because Producer Jeff Meyers and Director Jeff Jones have a great eye for detail, finely-honed editing and a compelling audiovisual style, the film packs an emotional and intellectual punch that will hit people on all sides of the cannabis debate. Emperor is art, a poetic plea to end the drug war, and a frightening portrayal of governmental and police abuses. You’ll find yourself angry and heartbroken watching DEA agents bust people and street police bust the heads of unarmed protesters. You’ll be moved by the piano interludes that accompany shots of Herer passionately stating that it’s an injustice if even one person is in jail for marijuana. You’ll laugh at clever juxtapositions of quotes from political leaders and activists from different eras, showing the sinister stupidity of drug war propaganda. Emperor of Hemp is a movie that can be shown to your conservative granny, police cadets, or a group of teenagers. They’ll all get the message — delivered with subtlety, fun and classy movie tricks — that cannabis prohibition is a war crime. This compelling film is not just a tool for changing hearts and minds — it’s also an homage to Jack Herer, a mortal with severe health problems whose zeal to legalize cannabis probably endangers his life.
Jack Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes is a short documentary film co-directed by author, Jack Herer and filmmaker, Melissa Balin. The film features celebrities and activists reading excerpts from the eponymous best-selling Hemp book, integrating archival footage, periodicals, and the government propaganda film, Hemp For Victory, to create an educational look into the Truth about Hemp, its history, and its many uses.
The film first premiered in August 2009 at the Laemmle Theatres in Los Angeles for Academy Award consideration, and has since had special screenings and premieres at The Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, The Cultiva Fair in Vienna, Spannabis in Barcelona, and the Hanf Museum during the 60th Berlinale in Berlin.