Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hemp: Why the hell not?


Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, made into hemp milk (akin to soy milk), prepared as tea, and used in baking. The fresh leaves can also be consumed in salads. Products include cereals, frozen waffles, hemp milk ice cream, hemp tofu, and nut butters. A few companies produce value added hemp seed items that include the seed oils, whole hemp grain (which is sterilized by law in the United States, where they import it from China and Canada), dehulled hemp seed (the whole seed without the mineral rich outer shell), hemp flour, hemp cake (a by-product of pressing the seed for oil) and hemp protein powder. Hemp is also used in some organic cereals, for non-dairy milk somewhat similar to soy and nut milks, and for non-dairy hemp "ice cream."


Approximately 44% of the weight of hempseed is edible oils, containing about 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs); e.g., linoleic acid, omega-6 (LA, 55%), alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 (ALA, 22%), in addition to gamma-linolenic acid, omega-6 (GLA, 1–4%) and stearidonic acid, omega-3 (SDA, 0–2%). Proteins (including edestin) are the other major component (33%), second only to soy (35%).

Hempseed's amino acid profile is close to "complete" when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy. Hemp protein contains all 21 known amino acids, including the 9 essential ones adult bodies cannot produce. Proteins are considered complete when they contain all the essential amino acids in sufficient quantities and ratios to meet the body's needs. The proportions of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in one tablespoon (15 ml) per day of hemp oil easily provides human daily requirements for EFAs.

Typical nutritional analysis of hulled hemp seeds
Calories/100 g
567 kcal
Dietary fiber
Saturated fat
Palmitic 16:0
Stearic 18:0
Monounsaturated fat
Oleic 18:1 (Omega-9)
Polyunsaturated fat
Linoleic 18:2 (Omega-6)
Linolenic 18:3 (Omega-3)
Gamma-Linolenic 18:3 (Omega-6)
0 mg
Vitamin A (B-Carotene)
4.0 IU/100g
Thiamine (Vit B1)
1.4 mg
Riboflavin (Vit B2)
0.3 mg
Pyridoxine (Vit B6)
0.1 mg
Vitamin C
1.0 mg
Vitamin E
9.0 IU/100g
9.0 mg
74.0 mg
4.7 mg


Hemp fiber was widely used throughout history. Items ranging from rope, to fabrics, to industrial materials were made from hemp fiber. Hemp was often used to make sail canvas, and the word canvas derives from cannabis. Today, a modest hemp fabric industry exists, and hemp fibers can be used in clothing. Pure hemp has a texture similar to linen.

Hemp stalk showing the fibers

Building Material

Concrete-like blocks made with hemp and lime have been used as an insulating material for construction. Such blocks are not strong enough to be used for structural elements; they must be supported by a brick, wood, or steel frame.

The first example of the use of hempcrete was in 1986 in France with the renovation of the Maison de la Turque in Nogent-sur-Seine by the innovator Charles Rasetti. The Renewable House was the UK's first home made from hemp-based materials. Construction was completed in 2009. The first US homemade of hemp-based materials was completed in August 2010 in Asheville, North Carolina.

Plastic and composite materials

A mixture of fiberglass, hemp fiber, kenaf, and flax has been used since 2002 to make composite panels for automobiles. The choice of which bast fiber to use is primarily based on cost and availability. Various car makers are beginning to use hemp in their cars, including Audi, BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Iveco, Lotus, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Saturn, Volkswagen and Volvo. For example, the Lotus Eco Elise and the Mercedes C-Class both contain hemp (up to 20kg in each car in the case of the latter).


Biofuels, such as biodiesel and alcohol fuel, can be made from the oils in hemp seeds and stalks, and the fermentation of the plant as a whole, respectively. Biodiesel produced from hemp is sometimes known as "hempoline".

Filtered hemp oil can be used directly to power diesel engines. In 1892, Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel engine, which he intended to fuel "by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils, which earlier were used for oil lamps, i.e. the Argand lamp."

Production of vehicle fuel from hemp is very small. Commercial biodiesel and biogas is typically produced from cereals, coconuts, palmseeds and cheaper raw materials like garbage, wastewater, dead plant and animal material, animal feces and kitchen waste.

Biodiesel sample


  1. You never did explain "Why the Hell Not".

  2. There is no reason to not.. 'why the hell' you would 'not' use hemp as a giant reusable resource, does not exist.

  3. pamster54 clearly smokes too much of this stuff.

    1. It's a well known fact that you really can't smoke too much.....

  4. its a well known fact that you must do everything in much of anything is bad for you.

  5. "All things in moderation, including moderation!"