Could you live off hemp seed alone?

The main macronutrients of hemp seed; protein, carbohydrates and oil are present in a near ideal profile for human nutrition. The oil consists of predominantly poly-unsaturated fatty acids, 80-90% to be exact. Omega 3 (linolenic) and Omega 6 (linoleic) are present in an optimal ratio of 2:1-3:1. Our ancestors evolved on a ratio equaling 1 whereas modern western diets far exceed optimal ratios at an average range of 15:1-16.7:1. This high ratio indicates the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases (Somopoulos 2008).

Some fatty acids are called essential fatty acids because the human body does not naturally produce them but they are essential for carrying out biological functions. Hemp seeds offer essential and non-essential fatty acids. Hemp seed also contains a non-essential poly-unsaturated fatty acid called omega 9 (oleic acid).  The PUFA's found in hemp seed promote cardiovascular function, build immune health, and protect cell walls. In addition to providing neuroprotective benefits against neurological disorders, omega 3's could also enhance mental function for people with ADHD, bipolar disorder and depression. 

  • One tablespoon of hemp seeds or oil a day will meet your daily requirements of essential fatty acids. 
Figure 1: Nutritional components of hemp seed. 

Figure 1: Nutritional components of hemp seed. 

In addition to the hemp seed's mega omega content, the protein profile is just as unique. Protein percentages vary between cultivars. When the seed is pressed for oil, the byproduct referred to as hemp seed cake, consists of proteins along with other macronutrients and secondary metabolites. These proteins can be isolated and dried into a protein powder. 

Want to know more about Omega 3 DOCOSAHEXAENOIC ACID (DHA) health benefits?

Click the links below:


n-3 Fatty Acids: Food or Supplements?

The Omega-3 Fatty Acid Nutritional Landscape: Health Benefits and Sources

Want to know more about Omega 6?

Evolutionary Aspects of Diet: The Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio and the Brain

The Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio, Genetic Variation, and Cardiovascular Disease

The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases


Callaway, J.C., 2004. Hempseed as a nutritional resource; an overview, Euphytica 140, 65-72.

Schluttenhofer, Craig and Yuan, Ling, 2017. Challenges towards Revitalizing Hemp: A Multifaceted Crop. Trends in Plant Science Vol. 22, No. 11, 917-929. 

Simopoulos, Artemis. 2008. The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases. Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine Vol. 233 Issue 6, 674-688.




Paige Thompson