Cannabis Nutrition and Immune Support
Not everyone will be open to reading along after they see the word Cannabis in the title. I understand that. Some people are still afraid of what I call the Sacred Plant. “Marijuana” is still illegal in many places across the USA and I always figured it must be for a good reason. My understanding today is that it was not. Of the 1,200 made up names listed at Wikipedia is Pot, Reefer, Grass, Ganja, Marijuana, Loco Weed, Buds, The Devil’s Lettuce and Dope. Cannabis has been its scientific name all along.
I am trying to replace the negative stereotypes with facts about an edible plant and its seeds. At no point in the article will you hear about anyone getting high. There is little risk of getting high from uncooked Cannabis leaves and zero risk from eating the seeds. My name is Tony Walker and I am a Florida R.N. Registered Nurse. I am part of a special group of nurses called the ACNA American Cannabis Nurses Association. Nurses understand that the cannabis plant has been used as a medicine by many cultures for thousands of years and we also understand that the cannabis leaves and its seeds are a Superfood.
This article is primarily about the nutritional and immune benefits of eating raw Cannabis leaves and hulled Hemp seeds. But why in the world would anyone do that?
The thing that makes nurses great teachers is our ability to share scientific facts and medical jargon with our patient in an easy to understand way. Health knowledge is of no use to the person until they can show you that they understand it and can repeat it back to you. I have learned a lot about the Cannabis plant and how it can promote health and wellness. Because I am a Nurse, I would like to get a conversation going with you.
It is June 2020 and the Covid-19 global pandemic appears far from over. Perhaps now is the perfect time to consider if your diet is nutritionally sound and if your body is healthy. Everyone is wondering if their body will be prepared to fight the virus and if it has what it needs to mount an immune response? Have you eaten the foods today that your body needs to function properly and make antibodies tomorrow? It is essential that your body gets certain nutrients from food like Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s). They cannot be made by the body so they must come from the food we eat, and hemp seeds contain all nine of the EFA’s.
In this article I hope to teach you something about how Cannabis and Hemp Seeds can promote your health. Your opinion of the Cannabis plant and Hemp seeds might improve after reading this article, but it is your Nutrition and your Immune health that I want to boost. In this discussion about nutrition, please consider Cannabis and Hemp to be basically the same plant, Hemp just has less psychoactive agent THC, the ingredient that makes you high.
You might not have ever heard of anyone eating it, but Cannabis leaves can be eaten like Kale or other leafy greens and are quite nutritious. They are rich in vitamins and minerals including but not limited to Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, B3, B2, B1 and Vitamin A. The leaves are also rich in Zinc, Potassium, Phosphorus, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron and Calcium. Many people are reporting tremendous health benefits from enjoying blender drinks and Smoothies with raw Cannabis leaves as an ingredient.
If you have tasted a raw cannabis leaf or flower, your taste buds encountered many flavors. Cannabis flowers have Flavonoids and Terpenes which might have beneficial chemical properties of their own. Chemical compounds with names like THCA, CBDA and CBCA are said to be completely non-psychoactive when you eat the raw plant. It is not until the plant is dried and heated or burned that the THCA is converted to THC, the stuff that gets you high. Although, some of these cannabinoids are considered “inactive” in the raw form there is evidence that eating the freshly picked leaves and flower buds have their own unique health benefits.
I find that Cannabis leaves and flowers tastes spicy like kale or mustard greens. You might detect a floral or lemony taste because one of those Terpenes is called Limonene and you can already guess why. Another note you might detect is a turpentine or pine sap flavor. All these compounds are also the medicines. They are said to work better together than they would individually. This is called the “Entourage Effect”. Cannabinoids have been patented by the US Government HHS as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. Type into your search bar the following number 3,630,507.
People who put the raw leaves into a blender or smoothie juicer do not report getting “high”, they report getting healthy. They are making what I call an Antioxidant Super Shake. I have found no evidence that these dietary practices might be harmful to anyone with any medical condition at all. Nurses understand that nutritional health is key to physical well being and eating leafy greens is recommended.
Hemp Seeds are a Superfood
Did you know that hemp seeds can be purchased at Walmart? You might not have eaten them before. I am a nurse, I understand that. The word Hemp still means Drugs to many people and drugs are scary. But please let me help you to understand. Let me be your guide back to nature. Hemp seeds are simply the seeds of a vegetable. You might wonder why I am calling cannabis a vegetable? I think we can all understand more about this miracle plant when we look closely at its seeds.
If you happen to still be uneasy about the idea of eating Hemp seeds because it comes from the “Marijuana” plant. Nurse Tony says “There is no need to be frightened to eat hemp seeds every day, in fact, once you learn what they are, you might be scared of what might happen if you do not eat them every day”.
Hulled Hemp seeds can be purchased in bulk on the internet at many sites. If you buy Hemp seeds in commercial packaging, I want to prepare you for what you will find when you read the Nutritional label. I want to tell you in advance that a single serving has only 2% of the daily recommended serving of Vitamin C, 5% of Calcium and 10 % of Iron so you might wonder why I am recommending them so highly. Those numbers do not sound particularly impressive. You might like the fact that one serving meets 16% of our daily fiber needs. The next big finding you will see on the label is that each serving has 12% Total Fat.
Whoa! did you say FAT? Do Cannabis seeds have fat? Yes, they do, and here is where I get to tell you about how important those fats are in plain English from a Nurses point of view. You see some of those fats are from what we call “Fatty Acids”. In fact, the seeds contain all 20 amino acids and 9 EFA’s Essential Fatty Acids that our bodies must get from food to make proteins, create enzymes, hormones, and antibodies. The kind of protein in Hemp seeds is an essential ingredient to our health.
Hemp seeds are on average 30-35% protein but they are not the only source of globular vegetable proteins. They can be found in many vegetables. One serving of (tasty) Cannabis seeds can provide 10% of your daily Protein needs and 60-80% of that protein is called Edestin. Described as a “superior antioxidative nutrient”, Edestin is important in supporting the Immune System because it builds the Immune System from the cellular level on up. Edestin is a highly digestible, biologically active “globular” protein most similar to “globulins”. Immunoglobulins are the antibodies which are needed to fight disease. I think most nurses would highly recommend eating hemp seeds. I have not discovered a reason why anyone in any state of health should not.
A discussion of the benefits of eating hemp seeds would not be complete without mentioning GLA or gamma linoleic acid which is an Omega-6 fatty acid. The American Cancer Society backs the use of GLA in anti-cancer treatments and researchers say that too many people fighting diabetes, cancers, and certain allergies suffer from low levels of GLA. GLA can also contribute to hormone health too.
If that is true, then Hemp seeds rich in GLA might help conditions such as skin allergies, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Premenstrual syndrome, Weight loss, Multiple Sclerosis, High Blood Pressure, Heart disease, Breast Pain and ADHD. And since hemp seeds have balanced Omega-3 and Omega-6, they might decrease inflammation which could contribute to atherosclerosis and hypertension thereby improving heart health.
I want people to learn that the seeds are good for your digestive health since they have both soluble and insoluble fiber to keep your gut working properly. I find that eating a couple of teaspoons of hulled hemp seeds makes my stomach feel comfortable and staves off hunger for quite a while. Some people have suggested that they might be useful as a weight loss tool. Others have proposed that a person could survive indefinitely eating Hemp seeds as their only food. The current Pandemic has caused scientists to raise the alarm of possible global food shortages. In a food emergency, cannabis seeds might make a valuable contribution.
Have you heard that it grows like a weed? I know that prime farmland is not needed as the plant can thrive in many environments from wet to dry and hot to cold. I believe that Hemp can not only feed the world, but it can help mitigate global climate change and heal the sick.
Your hair, skin and nails may show signs of better health if you choose products with hemp oil as an ingredient. I have read that the oil can invigorate not just the top layer of skin cells, but it can travel into the inner layers of the skin to boost cellular growth. Many people are also turning to CBD oil as a nutritional supplement which eases anxiety and pain. Some have proposed that some individuals might be suffering from a cannabinoid deficiency.
I am interested in writing about this subject. The goal of my website and Blog is advocacy for health through better understanding. I take pride in finding ways to teach complicated subjects in a way people can understand. Many people have a limited understanding of Science, Nutrition and how their body works. I enjoy teaching what I have learned, that is why I am writing these notes.
Hemp seeds are legal in every state and available in many places. Procuring Cannabis leaves and flowers to eat will depend on which state you live in. The political reality and laws in your state dictate if you will have access to the nutritional benefits of eating and juicing raw cannabis leaves. I am advocating for legalization of the plant. That way our food and medicine might be free. One day we might grow health in our own backyards.
Hemp Farming is now legal in my home state of Florida, but I do not imagine that a customer might be able to buy Cannabis leaves as a foodstuff to eat any time soon. For now, we Floridians must try to get healthy by eating Kale, Collard Greens and Spinach (with a Hemp Seed topping). I recommend adding some to your salad dressing.
Wishing you and your family nothing but health and happiness,