Hemp seeds, the small, edible seeds of the cannabis plant, have been shown to have many nutritional and health benefits. Although they come from the same plant as the psychoactive drug marijuana, they are without THC, the compound that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties.
One of the nutritional benefits of hemp seeds is its "perfect" ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, identical to that required by the human body, which is considered helpful in the prevention of heart disease, strokes, and other health problems. It also contains a high level of easily digestible protein with a near complete amino acid profile. Other nutrients in hemp seeds include iron, calcium, fiber, copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and phosphorus.
Other non-nutritional health benefits of hemp seeds are widely varied. They contain substances that help the body form antibodies, which help the immune system fight off infection. Hemp seeds have also been said to ward off certain types of cancer, to reduce symptoms of mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression, and to help in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
Because the cultivation of industrial hemp is still illegal in many parts of the world (including the United States), hemp seeds can be difficult and costly to obtain. Online retailers are perhaps the best source for the seeds.