How we pick our products
When shopping, we have become accustomed to products with or made from linseed or chia seeds. The benefits of these products are always that they are very rich in fibre, have great nutritional values and score points with many polyunsaturated fatty acids. Of course, these are advantages that cannot be denied and more and more people are trying to add these products to their diet.
But always having just these two seeds in your muesli or bar is a bit monotonous in the long run. Fortunately, a new type of seed is entering the market that promises something similar: hemp seeds. In our hemp seed test 2022 we present the newcomers and give you tips on how to use them.
- 1 Summary
- 2 The best Hemp Seed: Our Picks
- 3 Buying and evaluation criteria for hemp seed products
- 4 Guide: Frequently asked questions about hemp seeds answered in detail
- Hemp seeds have very good nutritional values, especially in terms of protein and unsaturated fatty acids.
- Hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant, whose two subspecies are hemp and marijuana. Hemp is considered one of the oldest plants in the world and is often processed.
- Most hemp seeds grown under EU guidelines have a THC (=psychoactive ingredient) value of less than 0.2 percent, however, the seeds often come into contact with the THC-containing flowers during processing, which is why not all hemp seeds can be consumed without risk.
The best Hemp Seed: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for hemp seed products
When buying hemp seed products you can pay attention to various aspects, we have listed the most important buying criteria below.
By making the right choice for you, you can save money and also ensure that you don’t add anything to your body that it doesn’t need. Therefore, always look for high quality and, if necessary, ask to see the manufacturer’s certificates.
Hemp originally comes from South Asia. Since the 90s, cultivation has also been legal in Germany. Therefore, you should make sure that the hemp products also come from Germany, for two reasons:
Firstly, in this way you ensure that the hemp has been cultivated at least under EU guidelines, and secondly, the THC content of the hemp seeds is then also legal in Germany. In Germany, hemp products are allowed to have a maximum THC content of less than 0.2 %.
This point plays a particularly important role in protein powders made from hemp seeds: the protein-containing seeds are pulverised for this purpose. Many manufacturers, however, mix the resulting powder with other ingredients that may even be harmful to health.
This is because some of these other substances are not grown under the strict EU guidelines that apply to hemp. However, these additives are usually very cheap to buy and are often used to spice up the hemp protein powder.
Information on the packaging
Probably the most important seal in the food sector is the EU organic seal: this basically always states that the packaged product was packaged under the strict EU guidelines.
Furthermore, it must be ensured that the nutritional information has been correctly interpreted by the packer. The EU Directive 90/496/EEC exists for this purpose. This describes which requirements a product must fulfil in order to be allowed to be supplemented with nutritional interpretations. These are listed here:
- Protein source: When the protein content of a food is at least 12 per cent of the calorific value
- Vitamin/mineral source: only if a significant amount of the respective mineral is contained
- High vitamin/mineral content: at least 30 per cent of the recommended daily intake must be able to be covered by it
In the case of hemp seeds, these interpretations can refer to the following nutritional information:
- polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B6, C, E
- Thiamine, riboflavin, macin, iron, magnesium, calcium
So if there are other claims on the packaging of your hemp seed product, you may not have a pure product in your hands.
To understand this, you have to take a closer look at the origin of this substance. The plant is called Cannabis Satvia, and it is divided into two other plants: hemp and marijuana. However, while marijuana contains mostly the psychoactive THC and only a small amount of CBD, hemp is the other way around.
Modern cultivation methods have now succeeded in removing almost all THC from hemp, which makes hemp seeds legal as such, because CBD is not psychoactive. Nevertheless, it is not impossible that some THC is contained in the hemp. In Germany, a THC content of less than or equal to 0.2 percent is permissible. In these low doses, THC is not psychoactive.
So always make sure that it is stated on the packaging that the THC content is below 0.2 percent, only then can you be sure that you are buying a legal product.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about hemp seeds answered in detail
In order to inform you comprehensively about the effectiveness of hemp seeds and to give you an understanding of the current state of science, we have summarised all the important information in the following sections.
What are hemp seeds and how do they work?
|Anti-inflammatory||Compared to other seeds, hemp seeds have a high content of antioxidants(3, 4)|
|Digestion||The high content of fatty acids has a positive effect on the intestinal flora(5)|
|Skin and protein||Hemp seeds provide a very high quality protein, which not only affects the muscles but also hypertension. The high vitamin E content can slow down ageing processes of the skin (6, 7, 9, 10)|
For whom is the intake of hemp seeds useful?
Impairments can follow, especially if you also take certain medicines or alcohol. (1, 8)
Hemp seeds are usually free of THC, as the substance is only contained in the flowers and leaves.
Due to the aforementioned processing technology, hemp seeds are usually free of THC.
The situation is different with hemp oil: here it can happen that other parts of the plant were processed during the pressing of the oil and thus the THC content is higher than actually expected. Overall, risk groups such as pregnant women or children should avoid hemp products(1, 8).
What types of hemp seeds are there?
|Seeds||If you pay attention to your protein/fats, go for the hulled ones, if you prefer to take more fibre, then take the unhulled hemp seeds|
|Powder/capsules||Here you have all the active ingredients of the plant combined in a small amount and can determine exactly how many nutritional values you want to take|
|Oil||Oil is excellent for refining sauces! The seeds are cold-pressed for this purpose|
In the form of powders or capsules, of course, there is hardly any visual connection between the plant and the form of presentation.
You have to decide for yourself which type of delivery form is right for you. Each type has its advantages, but you get the benefits of the plant in each form.
How should hemp seeds be dosed?
Even official bodies such as the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (1, 8)do not make any recommendations on this subject.
What side effects can occur during consumption?
Another side effect has already been mentioned with the dosage:
psychoactivity in falsely THC-free products. If too much of the hemp seeds that come into contact with THC are consumed, psychoactivity can occur. This psychoactivity then resembles the intoxication when consuming marijuana. However, the doses of THC at which this happens naturally depend on the weight, but no more precise information is available from official sources(1, 8).
What alternatives are there to hemp seeds?
Image source: martinak/ 123rf.com
DOI 10.17590/20181108-075209-0Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung
Elisabeth Schweng: Diplomarbeit über Bedeutung von Hanfprodukten, Wien, 2011
Logarušić M, Slivac I, Radošević K, Bagović M, Redovniković IR, Srček VG. Hempseed protein hydrolysates' effects on the proliferation and induced oxidative stress in normal and cancer cell lines. Mol Biol Rep. 2019 Dec
Antal D, Paunescu V, Dehelean CA, Ardelean F, Diaconeasa Z, Soica C, Danciu C. Cannabidiol-from Plant to Human Body: A Promising Bioactive Molecule with Multi-Target Effects in Cancer. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 25
Vispute MM, Sharma D, Mandal AB, Rokade JJ, Tyagi PK, Yadav AS. Effect of dietary supplementation of hemp (Cannabis sativa) and dill seed (Anethum graveolens) on performance, serum biochemicals and gut health of broiler chickens. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2019 Mar
Sapino S, Carlotti ME, Peira E, Gallarate M. Hemp-seed and olive oils: their stability against oxidation and use in O/W emulsions. J Cosmet Sci. 2005 Jul-Aug
Malomo SA, He R, Aluko RE. Structural and functional properties of hemp seed protein products. J Food Sci. 2014 Aug
Yang Y, Lewis MM, Bello AM, Wasilewski E, Clarke HA, Kotra LP. Cannabis sativa (Hemp) Seeds, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and Potential Overdose. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017 Oct 1
NCT03508895; University of Manitoba
Pihlanto A, Mattila P, Mäkinen S, Pajari AM. Bioactivities of alternative protein sources and their potential health benefits. Food Funct. 2017 Oct 18;8(10):3443-3458. doi: 10.1039/c7fo00302a. PMID: 28804797.