Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) strains of the plant Cannabis sativa. In modern times hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, health food and fuel. Hemp seed’s weight in oil is 30-35% which consists of 80% unsaturated EFAs linoleic acid (omega 6) and linolenic acid (omega 3). The 80% EFAs in hemp-seed oil is the highest total percentage among the common plants used by man. Flax comes a close second at 72% EFAs.
The nutritional benefits of hemp seed oil are mainly due to the perfect ratio of Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains between 1-4% gamma linolenic acid.
Hemp seed has served as a primary famine food in China, Australia, and Europe as recently as World War Two. Hemp is now legally grown in many countries across the world including Spain, China, Japan, Korea, England, France, Africa, North Africa, Egypt and Ireland.
Over-heating through cooking can destroy essential fatty acids in foods. Frying is the worst method as the extremely high heat of the oil accelerates free radical oxidation, destroying the essential fats. They may also be leeched out of the food and lost.
Oxygenation of the oil will turn it rancid through free radical production. Products containing unstable oils should be nitrogen flushed to prevent air in the packaging oxygenating and damaging the oil. Alternatively, antioxidants should be added.