Hemp seeds are comparable to sunflower seeds, and may be used for food and milk, tea, and for baking, like sesame seeds. 30–35% of the weight of hempseed is oil containing 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs), linoleic acid (LA, 50-70%), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 15–25%) and Gamma-Linolenic_acid (GLA, 1–6%). The proportions of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in hempseed oil meet human requirements for EFAs. Unlike flax oil and others, hempseed oil can be used continuously without developing a deficiency or other imbalance of EFAs. Unfortunately the unsaturated fat makes the oil rancid quickly, unless it is stored in dark coloured bottles or mixed with chemical preservatives. This makes hemp oil difficult to transport or store. The high unsaturated fat content also makes the oil unsuitable for frying. This severely limits hemp oil's potential on the food market, although some marketing potential exists as a nutritional supplement.
Hemp seed is a highly nutritious source of protein, better tasting and more digestible than the soybean. Hulled hemp seed are a healthful component of baked goods, snack and protein bars, granola, sauces and dips. Very versatile, hulled hemp seeds can even be processed into milk, cheese, ice cream, margarine and other foods. Hemp also produces an oil seed that contains between 25 - 35 % oil by weight, which is high in essential fatty acids.
Hemp has 3 unique nutritional factors. It has an ideal balance of Omega 3 and 6 for sustainable human health, it has a full amino acid spectrum meaning it provides complete protein, and it has a massive trace mineral content - truly one of nature's superfoods. Consumption of hemp oil and hemp seed is ideal for people with low essential fatty acid intake, and also perfect for athletes. It is of course particularly valuable to the veggie population, and even more so for veggie athletes, who are always looking for complete protein sources. Other benefits of hemp seed oil include its effect on the skin and the hair, nourishing both on a cellular level. Hemp oil is easily absorbed by the skin and those EFA's go straight to work.