13 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are small, dark brown, nutty seeds from hemp plants.

Many people are prematurely scared away by the idea of hemp seeds, since they originate from hemp plants, Cannabis sativa, which are from the same species as cannabis.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that hemp seeds do not contain enough amounts of THC to produce the drug-like effects experiences when using marijuana.

In fact, these seeds are notorious for their large fiber content, which is used in modern production to create fabrics and papers, such as canvas, linen, tea bags, and paper money.

Additionally, hemp seeds contain many nutrients, minerals, and healthy fats that have numerous benefits on the human body.

Below are 13 health benefits of hemp seeds that are proven by science.




Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds


Hemp Seeds are Nutritious


Hemp seeds contain two vital proteins – edestin and albumin.

Both proteins are considered “high-quality storage proteins” and contain nutritionally significant amount of all essential amino acids.

Most importantly, however, hemp seeds contain exceptionally high levels of the amino acid, arginine, which has anti-inflammatory advantages (1, 2).

To add to these benefits, hemp seeds are great sources of Vitamin E and B, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc (3)

Take Home Point: Hemp seeds are filled with lots of protein, as well as healthy vitamins and minerals.




Rich in Fatty Acids


Containing over 30% fat, hemp seeds contain exceptional amounts of two essential fatty acids – linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).

The ratio of these two fatty acids is 3:1, which is considered an optimal amount for a healthy human.

Amazingly, these two fatty acids have benefits ranging from increasing cell growth, regulating the immune system, and eliminating symptoms of skin disorders.

Take Home Point: The optimal ratio of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids found in hemp seeds help regulate many internal processes to keep the body healthy.




Keep Your Heart Healthy


Heart disease is the number one cause of death around the world (4).

Fortunately, the risk of heart disease may be reduced due to several benefits of hemp seeds.

First of all, as previously mentioned, hemp seeds contain arginine, which produces nitric oxide and therefore dilates blood vessels and decrease hypertension (5, 6).

Lower blood pressure correlates to a lower risk for heart disease and/or stroke.

Furthermore, several studies have demonstrated that an increased intake of arginine can lead to decreased levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker for systemic inflammation known in heart disease (8).

Take Home Point: The nitric oxide produced by arginine in hemp seeds results in enlarged and relaxed blood vessels, leading to a decreased risk for heart disease and stroke.




Affect Immune Response


Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids play a key role in immune responses of the body (9, 10).

Such fatty acids affect both the immune system and various autoimmune diseases through gene regulation, production of cytokines, signal transduction pathways, and antioxidant enzymes.

By regulating all these mechanisms, hemp seeds have been known to produce immunosuppressive effects and reduce immune-mediated inflammation (11).

Take Home Point: Hemp seeds’ omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help regulate the body’s immune system.




Help Treat Skin Disorders


The oils present in hemp seed is able to penetrate the innermost layers of the skin in order to promote the growth of more skin cells, alleviating dryness and leading to smoother, healthier skin.

This effect is due to its polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), omega-3 and omega-6 (12, 13).

For example, studies have demonstrated that patients who hemp seed oil to use for their eczema saw increased levels of the aforementioned fatty acids, which in turn relieved their dry skin, itchiness, and decreased their need for medication (13, 14).

Take Home Point: The oils in this specific seed allow skins to become hydrated and healthy due to increased skin cell growth.


Bowl of shelled hemp seeds on wooden background


Contain Ample Protein


It has been said that hemp seed protein content is comparable to that of beef, lamb, or even quinoa.

A mere 30 grams of this seed can provide about 11 grams of protein, which constitutes nearly 25% of its total calories.

Since they provide all essential amino acids, which cannot be produced by the body, hemp seeds are considered a complete source of protein.

Because of this, they are also known as a natural appetite suppressant, since proteins are harder for the body to break down, which keeps you feeling fuller for longer – the key to natural weight loss.

Take Home Point: Hemp seeds contain incredibly high amounts of amino acids, which slow the digestion process and therefore keeps the body feeling fuller.




Naturally Balance Hormones


The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), experienced by over 80% of women of reproductive age, are most likely caused by an imbalance of the hormone, prolactin (16, 17).

However, the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) present in hemp seeds is an essential building block for prostaglandin, which is a hormone that can reduce the physical and emotional effects of prolactin (18, 19, 20).

Because of the high amounts of GLA found in hemp seeds, it is also predicted that hemp seeds can additionally reduce the symptoms of menopause because of the seed’s ability to regulate hormones (21, 22).

Take Home Point: Gamma-linolenic acid, found in hemp, produces a hormone that can reduce the symptomatic effects of prolactin, which is notoriously known as premenstrual syndrome.




Aid in Digestion


Whole hemp seeds are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is an important component of better digestive health (23).

In fact, it is the shell of the hemp seed that contains most, if not all, the fiber found in the seed.

Therefore, de-shelled hemp seeds will incorporate very little fiber into one’s diet.

That being said, the soluble fiber from the shell is a source of beneficial digestive bacteria and can reduce spikes in blood sugar (24, 25).

On the other hand, insoluble fiber helps food and waste pass through the gut and the intestines, and ingesting insoluble fiber has been linked with a decreased risk of diabetes (26, 27).

Take Home Point: With its ample amounts of fiber, the shells of hemp seeds propagate the movement of food and waste through the digestive system.




Help Treat Multiple Sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, leading to physical disabilities and adverse symptoms.

In multiple studies investigating therapeutic methods for MS, hemp seeds were discovered to have beneficial effects for improving clinical symptoms of relapsing MS patients when co-supplemented with evening primrose oils (28, 29).

Furthermore, some studies have even gone as far as saying that hemp seeds and oil may, in fact, prevent multiple sclerosis because of the nut’s improvement effect on mitochondrial and myelin membranes (28).

Take Home Point: Hemp seeds’ improving effect on myelin and mitochondrial membranes supports the theory that this nut can be beneficial in helping MS patients.




Decrease Hypertension


High blood pressure can result in a large risk for strokes or even heart disease (30).

Diet and lifestyle changes have been proven to help decrease one’s blood pressure.

However, lesser-known hemp seed meal protein hydrolysate has also been shown to have similar effects in reducing blood pressure, when compared to control groups, thereby being a possible therapeutic agent for both prevention and treatment of hypertension (31, 32).

Take Home Point: The relaxing effects of hemp seeds promotes dilation of blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure and thereby lesser risks of cardiac problems.




Anti-Cancer Benefits


The THC in hemp seeds, although very minimal, is seen to have a fair safety profile when administering in appropriate doses, as well as also having anti-proliferative properties on tumor cells (33).

Such a characteristic is vital in the attempt to decrease mass growth in cancer patients around the world.

Take Home Point: Hemp seeds have a possible beneficial effect on cancer due to its supposed inhibition of tumor cell proliferation.




Decrease Stress and Anxiety


Like other similar seeds, hemp seeds have very high levels of magnesium, amino acids, and B Vitamins, which makes them a natural antagonist for stress.

Magnesium works to support neurotransmitter function in the brain in order to reduce stress and anxiety.

Amino acids build protein and therefore provide energy to keep the body strong.

However, if the body does not get enough amino acids, it can actually produce large amounts of stress hormones.

Furthermore, B vitamins boost one’s metabolism and regulate the stress hormones that are produced, maintaining the homeostasis of the brain and body.

Take Home Point: The many vitamins and minerals present in hemp makes it a powerful stress reliever.




Reduce Arthritis and Joint Pain


Gamma linolenic acid is an omega-6 fatty substance found in various plant seed oils, such as hemp oil, which reduces inflammation in the body (35).

Needless to say, decreasing inflammation is a main desire for those suffering from arthritis, because in doing so it also decreases the strain on joints and the pain experiences in specific limbs.

The lower ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids seen in early ancestors, such as 2-3:1, is more advantageous in reducing the risk on chronic diseases.

On the contrary, a higher ratio of such fatty acids, such as 20-30:1, as seen in many Western societies, is believed to be closely related to to chronic diseases, like arthritis (36).

Take Home Point: The anti-inflammatory effects of gamma linolenic acid from hemp seeds, when produced in the correct ratio, can allow for joint-pain and arthritis relief.




Hemp seed and its numerous health benefits may have been ignored in the past since it comes from the same plant as marijuana and also contains trace amounts of naturally occurring THC.

Marijuana contains nearly 5-10% of THC, whereas industrial hemp only contains about 0.3-1.5% THC – an amount that has scientifically been proven to not produce the variable side-effects that marijuana use does.

That being said, hemp seeds are actually extremely beneficial to one’s health, as they are filled with numerous vitamins and minerals, not to mentions their large amounts of amino acids, fiber, and fatty acids.

Hemp seeds are so healthy that they have, in fact, been compared to superfoods like quinoa and high-protein meat sources – the highest compliment a seed could ever receive.

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