For many years, hemp has been recognised as a safe and healthy food in many regions including the US, UK and Europe. But it’s taken a while for Australia to change its tune.
For many years, the government has rejected calls to amend the Food Standards Code. But finally, health ministers have agreed that hemp is a sage food.
What prompted the change?
A news article credits a Swinburne University study for the reform. It showed it was “highly unlikely the consumption of low-THC hemp foods would result in positive THC readings on oral fluid, urine or blood tests.”
What is hemp?
Hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant ‘cannabis sativa’ – yes, the same one used to make marijuana. But unlike marijuana, it doesn’t have the mood-altering, mind-bending properties (known as THC or delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol).
How is hemp healthy?
Hemp seeds are packed full of goodness. Here’s a nutritional break down:
- Complete vegan protein source, with over 25% of the seeds’ total calories coming from protein.
- More than 30% fat
- High in essential fatty acids, omega-6 and omega-3
- Source of vitamin E
- Packed with phosphorous, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, sodium, calcium, sulfur and potassium
And because hemp seeds and high in omega-3s and omega-6s, they’re seen as great for the skin – and for treating common skin disorders like eczema.
Couldn’t you get hemp in Australia before?
Ah, yes you could. But you probably noticed your hemp products were slapped with a sticker insisting you use the supplement to make soap or a moisturiser. We were only ever allowed to use hemp for ‘external use', not to eat. And of course, none of us did. Promise.
Under the relaxed regulations, cafes will be free to promote hemp foods – and you’ll be able to legally consume them as much as you like.
Is hemp legal to eat now?
Not quite. We have to wait six months before hemp seeds are cleared for consumption.
A release sent by the Forum of Food Regulation said: “The standard will take effect six months after it has been gazetted and ministers acknowledged that there is still a range of New Zealand and State and Territory legislation that currently prohibits the sale of low-THC hemp seeds as a food which will need to be amended.”