Late in 2017, a monumental event happened in Australia. After consultations, the ANZ Food Standards Code was changed to include a unique new item – Hemp.
Specifically, food that is made from hemp seeds. The first thing to remember when talking about hemp is that it has nothing to do with its slightly more notorious relative – Cannabis Sativa. Cannabis Sativa contains a mind-altering substance named tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which has made the strain infamous under the name Marijuana.

Hemp, on the other hand, has a low level of THC, so hemp produce does not have any unwanted surprises in store for you! Since the law has changed in Australia, a number of startups have popped up to stack shelves in Australia with hemp seeds, hemp oil, hemp protein powder, hemp seed oil and even hemp milk!

Hemp: The Golden Crop

Hemp is a wonder crop with a proven array of industrial uses. Hemp plants can be converted into paper, textiles, biodiesel, concrete mix and used for soundproofing cars. Hemp can even be roasted to make something of an equivalent to brown coal. Even as a source of food, the range of products that can be envisioned are many. The extracts from Cannabis Sativa have a variety of wellbeing and medicinal benefits. Hemp extracts, however, do not have the same therapeutic effects, as a critical enzyme called cannabidiol (CBD) is missing. The Cannabis Sativa variety, which is also known commonly as ‘Marijuana’, is different from the hemp variety. Hemp only has a very low level of a compound named tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is THC that gives Marijuana its mind-bending and physically-altering effects.

Even from ancient times, hemp has been cultivated throughout the world. Since the mid-1990s hemp has been grown in Australia and NZ under a licensing system. Since those times, hemp has found industrial use as a textile and building product. Owing to the omega fatty acids in hemp seed oil, it is a natural, plant-based product for treating some skin diseases. A University of Connecticut study into the use of hemp seed oil as biodiesel found that there was a better conversion efficiency than other diesel types. A crop that was used in Australia as a source for paper production, cloth and building materials is now available as protein powder, hemp seeds and hemp oil. On a global scale, hemp products now make up a $4 billion industry.

Hemp Food Types

At a glance, the most common hemp-based foods are:

  1. Hemp Seeds – The seeds of the hemp plant are an excellent source of protein that are a non-GMO, lactose-free, paleo-friendly and nut-free snack.
  2. Hemp Oil – A key research hotspot because of the presence of a particular enzyme called cannabidiol (CBD) that can impact the endocannabinoid system of human beings and alleviate a host of diseases and relieve pain and anxiety. Hemp oil is made from the stalks and stems of the hemp plant and the Cannabis Sativa plant. As any extract from the Cannabis Sativa plant is against the law in Australia, hemp oil is still illegal in Australia.
  3. Hemp Seed Oil – An oil that is taken from hemp seeds, the oil is legal in Australia as it has very low levels of the psychoactive substance THC. The oil is an excellent source of omega fats and protein. The oil is extensively used in cuisines all over the world.
  4. Hemp Protein Powder – Made by pressing hemp seeds together and removing most of its healthy oils and omega fats. As a plant-based protein powder, it also boasts the distinction of being non-GMO, non-dairy and having no nuts.
  5. Hemp Milk – A beverage that is made by cold-pressing hemp seeds under cold water and then mixing in a host of ingredients, to get milk that is dairy-free and a source of plant-based protein.

Hemp in Australia

Many Aussie startups have responded adequately to the massive buzz in the Australian market regarding hemp-based food products. Today those startups are researching and innovating to find new varieties of the most integral part of the hemp food movement – hemp seeds. Currently, Australian farmers are working with hemp seeds that have a low-THC content.

Including hemp crops into Australian farms during a crop rotation makes sense for the following reasons:

  1. Hemp fibre increases the nutrition in the soil.
  2. Harsh conditions cannot affect the hemp crop, and the plant can grow in various temperatures.
  3. Hemp is an all-season crop that can grow in any climate.
  4. Common pests that harm traditional crops do not usually damage hemp crop, meaning that pesticide use is significantly reduced.
  5. Hemp can grow in tightly-cramped spaces which means that farmers only need to use a little land to cultivate hemp.
  6. Hemp grows at a fast pace which means that farmers can make their farms highly productive.

How Can I Grow Hemp?

Do you own a farm in Australia and were considering planting hemp crop? By extracting hemp seeds, you can get in touch with hemp food startups that use hemp seeds to make oils and protein powder. Growing hemp in Australia is easy if you follow some simple rules. Many Australian startups provide expert assistance to farmers regarding the ideal farming methods and the best financial advice for cutting costs. Every farmer in Australia that wants to grow hemp, needs to get a license issued by a state authority. For farm owners in Victoria, hemp growing licenses are issued by Agriculture Victoria. You do not want to be without a license when growing hemp or you could find yourself in big trouble with the law! When you have a hemp grower license, you earn the right to own low-THC hemp seeds, trade seeds with other farmers and grow hemp on a paddock of your choice.

To simplify the licensing process, you need to:

  1. Designate paddocks on your farm for raising hemp. Try to select paddocks that are secluded and far away from public spaces.
  2. Present your police and medical records for review by the licensing agency.
  3. Present a plan citing reasons why you are growing hemp.

Issues with Hemp

Hemp crop has an interesting feature where it absorbs the poisons in the soil. Because of this, hemp oil that is extracted from the stem of the hemp crop has some quality issues. At the same time, poisons in the soil cannot affect hemp seeds, which means hemp seed oil is safe no matter where you buy it from. If you have a medicinal need, do remember that it is vital to source your CBD-rich hemp oil from a reputable store. As any extract from cannabis is against the law in Australia, hemp oil is not available in Australia and is illegal to purchase other than through a pre-approved doctor for medical reasons. To stay on the safe side, make it a point only to purchase non-GMO and pesticide-free hemp-based oils.

Hemp and Health

Hemp-based foods can affect your health in a variety of ways. Some of the most common benefits of hemp-based foods are:

  1. Hemp seeds are a rich source of protein.
  2. There are high-quality digestive protein and essential omega-3,-6,-9 fatty acids in hemp-related food.
  3. Healthy fatty acids and ample fibre help maintain a healthy heart.
  4. Over 45% of hemp seed is made of omega fatty acids.
  5. Less than 10% of hemp seeds is carbohydrates, making it perfect for a weight-loss diet.
  6. Hemp seeds prevent hormonal imbalances, because of the presence of a particular acid called the Gamma-Linolenic.
  7. Nearly 35% of hemp seed is protein, with almost all of the protein from hemp seed digestible by our bodies.
  8. Fibre and protein in hemp seeds combine to create a false feeling of being full and can help speed up weight loss.
  9. Hemp oils can numb pain by affecting nerve receptors.
  10. Patients suffering from pain after a chemotherapy session can overcome overall nausea and weakness.
  11. Mental depression and frequent anxiety attacks can be treated through the use of hemp oil.
  12. Hemp oil can reduce the chances of contracting diabetes, boosting heart health.
  13. Seizures and epileptic attacks can be treated with hemp oil.

Jump On The Hemp Bandwagon!

Interested in the global hemp movement that has just landed in Australia? Hemp can add nutrition to the soil and allows farmers in Australia to cultivate other crops as soon as the hemp harvest is finished. Australians will be pleased to know that hemp pulp could be a proven alternative to wood pulp in producing paper. Astonishingly, the Declaration of Independence of the USA is drafted on hemp paper. By the outright adoption of hemp for food production as well, the benefits for our planet are growing by the day. Hemp-based foods are delicious and are a wholesome source of plant-based, non-GMO, dairy-free, nut-free protein. For Australians that are increasingly adopting inclusive lifestyles that move away from animal-based diets, the rise of hemp foods is a huge boost. Today Australians can enjoy hemp as a sustainable source of nutrition. Don’t wait another second! Get your first taste of hemp seeds sprinkled over a salad, hemp protein powder blended into a smoothie or hemp seed oil drizzled over your avocado toast! Hemp is the future, and the future has taken Australia by storm!