The hemp plant is derived from the same Cannabis genus family. Unlike its cousin, hemp contains virtually no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance that is found in Cannabis. The main product in Cannabis is the flowers. Industrial hemp, on the other hand, refers to the use of stalks and seeds which are refined into products such as hemp seed foods, hemp oil, fiber, paper, pulp, resin, wax and bio-fuel.
Industrial hemp has a history that goes back thousands of years. The Chinese grew and cultivate hemp for textile fiber and food over 4,500 years ago. The plant uses were later introduced to the Middle East, Mediterranean and eventually Europe. In America, hemp was once used to produce rope, textiles, clothing and paper. Today the use of hemp can be found in numerous applications ranging from foods, materials and fuel.
Hemp seeds or achene can be consumed raw, made into milk, grounded into powder or made into oils for various uses. Hemp seeds are considered a high-protein food source. Its amino acid profile is comparable to other protein sources such as meat, eggs, soy and milk. Hemp seeds are also rich in magnesium, iron, zinc and fiber.