What is Hemp?

So we bang on about this thing called hemp, but what actually is hemp? Well that’s a hell of a question – one that we’ve dedicated over 20 years to exploring here at Good Hemp. The short of it is this: hemp is one of the most sustainable plants on the planet, with seeds packed full of natural nutrition and a light, earthy flavour (a bit like a cross between a sunflower seed and a pine nut). Here at Good Hemp, we turn these extraordinary seeds into food and drink including a Good Hemp Milk, Good Hemp Oil, Good Hemp Seeds, and Good Hemp Protein.

For the long answer, we’ve tried to break it down for you…

What is hemp?

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species and a crop that has been grown for over 10,000 years. In fact it’s one of the world’s oldest and most sustainable crops, which has been grown to make food, paper, clothing, beauty products, building materials, biofuel (the list could go on).

How do you make food out of the hemp plant?

The first thing to note is that we use the seeds of hemp plants (rather than the leaves) to make all of our foods here at Good Hemp. It’s an important distinction to make for someone who’s struggling to imagine how green leaves become a creamy-white breakfast drink (in short, they don’t). The hemp plant produces seriously nutritious seeds – made up of 35% oil, 25% protein and 29% dietary fibre – which are the base of all of our delicious foods made from hemp. All of our hemp foods are made on our farm in Devon; our Good Hemp Oil is made by cold-pressing whole hemp seeds; our drink is made by crushing de-hulled hemp seeds to make an omega-rich cream which we then blend with water. Through both of these processes, we get our 50% protein and 75% protein powders. Our Good Hemp Seed Hearts are de-hulled hemp seeds, plain and simple.

What happens to the rest of the hemp plant?

The beauty of hemp is that nothing goes to waste. We, of course, use the seeds to make food. Then the fibres and stalks are used in a variety of ways including to make hemp clothing, building materials, paper, biofuel and plastic composites. The flowers and leaves are often used to make CBD oil, a form of alternative medicine for treating the symptoms of conditions including depression and anxiety. As CBD has grown in popularity, we’ve had a lot more questions about it. We’ve answered those here.

What does hemp taste like?

It’s a really clean, light flavour – mix the taste of pine nuts with sunflower seeds and you’re pretty much there.

Why is hemp good for your health?

You’ll often hear us shouting about omegas, that’s because they are the building blocks of cells and aid brain, skin and heart health. We also happen to be jam-packed with them. Hemp also contains all 20 amino acids, thought to improve muscle control and normal maintenance of cells tissues and organs. And while protein is an important component for muscle repair and building, so too are vitamins, minerals, fibre, enzymes, probiotics, antioxidants and a host of other nutritional components – all of which are found in hemp seeds. Read in more detail here.

Why is hemp so great for vegans?

Protein from the hemp seed is one of the only plant-based proteins that contains all 20 essential amino acids that the body needs (including the 9 the body can’t produce itself, meaning it’s a great meat-substitute. The other great thing for vegans is that all our products are packed with Omega 3 which is tricky to get into any diet without oily fish and hemp has 145mg calcium per 100g. How’s that for a match made in heaven? Try these vegan hemp recipes from our hemp community here.

Why is hemp great for people with allergies?

All of our products are totally nut, soya, gluten, and dairy-free. Our hemp drink is especially good for people with nut and dairy allergies (see some customer reviews here, and mums that love hemp here) while our protein powder is great substitute for wheat when baking. Just ask Ginger Vegan who made these delicious sticky toffee pudding cupcakes with our pure protein powder.

Why is hemp good for the planet?

Hemp is basically nature’s purifier. The plant rapidly captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and makes what we breathe much cleaner. In fact, for every tonne of hemp produced, 1.63 tonnes of carbon is removed from the air (which makes hemp a much more effective sequester of Carbon Dioxide than trees). There’s also the fact that it regenerates the soil, supports sustainable farming (growing within just 4 months of being planted, and needing little water to grow) and doesn’t need any pesticides or herbicides to grow. We wrote a whole blog post about the environmental impact of hemp which you can read here.

So where did hemp come from?

One of the first recorded uses of hemp is in a pottery cord dating back to an ancient village in Taiwan. In Ancient Asia, hemp was also hailed as an elixir of life and was blessed with its own protector, the goddess Magu. In Ancient Egypt the plant was included as a medicine in the Ebers Papyrus, one of the most important medical documents in history. Centuries later King Henry VIII of England fined any farmer that did not use his land for growing hemp, while US president George Washington grew the crop on his plantation. He proclaimed: “Make the most of Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere!” And that’s when presidents knew what they were talking about…

When did Good Hemp start making food out of hemp?  

One day back in 1998, our founders Henry and Glyn were strolling through their farm in Devon when they stopped to try a hemp seed. They were blown away by its flavour and even more surprised to learn of its nutritional value. What if they could make hemp a kitchen staple across the world? What started as our original Good Hemp Oil quickly became a family of foods made from hemp, including our milk, protein powder and seeds. You can learn more about our story here.

What can I make with hemp?

The possibilities are endless. We’ve got a whole section of our website dedicated to hemp recipes and you can always follow us on Instagram to see what our hemp community is making.

Why don’t more people know about it?

We’ve found that there’s a general lack of awareness around hemp as a food ingredient (people often picture the leaf rather than the seed, which means they’re not sure what our foods will taste like). Combine that with the fact that many confuse hemp with marijuana (ahem… Facebook) and we’ve got ourselves a few obstacles to overcome. We want to become a hub for all things hemp, but we need people like you to spread the word – about the taste, health benefits and positive environmental impact of this miraculous plant.


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