Nearly 6,000 years ago homes in China were using hemp seeds and hemp seed oil as staples in their healthy diet. At that time, the rich flavour of hemp seed oil, which resembles walnuts and sunflower seeds, was an integral part of the royal cuisine of emperors. At the end of 2017, the ANZ Food Standards Code was revised to add low-THC hemp seeds, hemp seed oils and hemp seed-based foods to the list of edible items that can be sold or consumed in Australia. Nearly twenty years since industrial hemp made its way to Australia in the form of hemp paper, textiles and concrete formula, hemp-related food were now made available to eager Aussies. For the first time in Australia, the realisation has come across that the hemp plant could be a source of organic, nutritious food. With enough time, it is expected that Australia will enjoy the environmental, wellbeing and economic boost from a domestic hemp production base. With the introduction of hemp seed oil, Australians have access to a delicious ingredient that has made its way to the cuisine in Canada, Japan and Germany. Hemp products which earlier used to mean clothes or paper are now available in the form of hemp seeds, hemp protein powder and hemp seed oil. Aussie consumers will be pleased to know that hemp seed oil is extracted from a plant that is raised free of pesticides, is gluten-free and is friendly to a strict paleo diet.
Hemp Seed Oil in Australia
With the rule change in Australia in late 2017, a host of Australian startups have begun researching and developing a variety of hemp seeds to extract hemp seed oil. Many startups are looking to build a hemp produce base in Australia so as to not rely solely on importers. For making hemp seed oil, producers require a steady stream of hemp seeds as a source. For Australian farmers, looking to introduce the hemp crop during a crop rotation can be beneficial to the health of the soil in their farm. The reason for this is because hemp is a “bio-accumulator” that sucks up toxins from the earth and purifies the dirt. The rich fibre in the hemp crop is what helps soil nutrition. When you consider that hemp can grow in all seasons, all around the year, it is evident that the plant is ideal for a large and diverse nation such as Australia. The high resilience of hemp allows farmers to cultivate it without having to use any pesticides. For farmers in Australia, the hemp crop can be highly productive as the land use of the plant is low as it can be grown in tight spaces.
How Can I Make Hemp Seed Oil?
If you are a farmer that is looking to manufacture hemp seed oil, then you will need to grow hemp crop to extract hemp seeds first. Most hemp local startups provide ample support to the hemp farmers that they source their product from. To give an incentive to more Australian farmers to cultivate hemp on their farms, most farmers are given contracts that guarantee the price they will receive for their crop. By manufacturing with the assistance of these startups, Australian farmers can enjoy access to their expertise in the field. Through these startups, farmers have access to farming experts and economic consultants that can iron out any complications in the production process. In order to raise hemp crops, you need a license issued from the state you are living in Australia. Currently, in Australia, you will receive a lot of help and guidance throughout the licensing process.
The first step to getting a license is to make your police records and credit history available to the state licensing authority. The next step is to assign paddocks on your farm that you think would be suitable for cultivating hemp. Ideally, keep your paddocks away from main roads and public spaces such as schools and hospitals. Additionally, you may have to provide a business plan explaining why you are engaging in hemp farming. Remember that a license is vital for growing hemp as it is illegal to do so in Australia without one. If you live in Victoria, then your license is issued from the office of Agriculture Victoria. A Grower License allows farmers in Australia to own pre-certified cannabis seeds, trade their seeds with other hemp farmers and add multiple paddocks to a particular license. In Australia, a grower license is valid for three years before it comes up for renewal.
Hemp Seed Oil and Health
Hemp seed oil is a plant-based oil that is a rich source of protein. For a growing majority of Aussies that would love to adopt a meat-free lifestyle, hemp seed oil is a valuable source. With the ability to reduce blood pressure and aided by the presence of a variety of omega fatty acids, hemp seed oil is seen as an easy way to maintain a healthy heart. Hemp seed oil has an omega-6 fatty acid to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of about three to one. Nearly 25% of hemp seed oil is made up of protein. The remaining three-quarters of hemp seed oil are made up of healthy fatty acids that are often found in fish oils and some meat types. Researchers from the University of Seville say that the high ratio of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids is what helps hemp seed oil to lower cholesterol. Many studies claim that having hemp seed oil may lead to conditions that are favourable for proper nutrition and by extension lead to the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
The other benefits of Hemp Seed Oil are:
- Lowering blood pressure.
- Reduce arthritis pain.
- Balancing blood metabolism.
- Gamma linolenic acid in hemp seed oil helps balance hormonal levels and help curb menstruation pains.
- The digestive system benefits from hemp seed oil because of the presence of fibre.
- As hemp seed oil helps moisturise skin from within, it can help prevent conditions such as eczema.
- The lipids in hemp seed oil help strengthen hair strands and make hair thicker.
Hemp Seed Oil or Hemp Oil?
If you have ever researched deeply on medical cannabis products, then you may have across the term hemp oil. If you have been researching hemp in cuisine, then hemp seed oil may show up instead. The truth is that hemp oil and hemp seed oil are far from identical. While hemp seed oil can only be made from the seeds of the hemp crop, hemp oil can be made from either the Cannabis Sativa plant (also called Marijuana) or the hemp crop. Hemp is the same species as Cannabis Sativa but has very low quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It is THC that gives Cannabis Sativa its physical and mental state altering effects.
The significant difference between both these oils is merely the part of the hemp plant that these oils are extracted from. While hemp oil is taken from the stalk and stem of the hemp crop, hemp seed oil is refined from hemp seeds. The medicinal qualities of hemp oil arise because of the presence of a compound that is termed CBD (cannabidiol). Many research institutions around the globe claim that there are many health and wellbeing benefits for hemp oil that needs to be looked at carefully. At the same time, hemp seed oil may not have the same medicinal benefits because of low CBD levels, but remains a top-quality source of protein and is a well-loved cooking ingredient.
What Affects Hemp Seed Oil Quality?
Hemp has a property of extracting poisons from the soil it is planted in. Through a process called phytoremediation, poisonous elements of the soil are removed. Hemp can be used in phytoremediation as it can clean up metals, explosives, crude oil or even radioactive waste. The ability of hemp to do so was displayed in the late 1990s in Ukraine, following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The Chernobyl disaster made over 100,000 square kilometres of land poisonous. When hemp was introduced to this toxic environment, however, hemp crops not only survived, they also improved the soil quality in that area. If you were looking to get some CBD hemp oil for medicinal purposes, then ensure that you try to buy from retailers that have a strong reputation and only grow hemp on high-quality soil. To go an extra mile in safety, only buy pesticide-free and non-GMO hemp oil varieties.
As the purity of hemp seed oil is never in question due to soil quality, you can quickly source hemp seed oil from any vendor of your choice. Hemp seed oil, however, has issues with longevity as it contains chlorophyll which can go bad somewhat quickly. In order to slow the process of the oil going bad too fast, hemp seed oil is often kept away from direct sunlight in dark bottles.
Hemp and Nature
By all regards, hemp is a wonder crop for conservation. Many supporters of hemp will point out that hemp needs a lesser volume of water in order to cultivate. As hemp can grow in cramped and tight spaces, it uses up less land than other traditional food crops. Hemp’s fantastic ability to cleanse the earth was aptly displayed in Chernobyl’s nuclear fallout zone. Hemp pulp is a valid replacement for tree pulp in paper production. By raising hemp crops, not only do we benefit from better soil health, but we can also stop cutting too many trees and save the Australian environment from damage.