BY DONALD A. CARROLL OD, NTP
The Hemp Miracle
How One Miraculous Plant Can Heal the Planet and its People
By Carol Merlo M.Ed., copyright 2017, second printing February 2018, ISBN 13:978-0-9814689-7-6
This is a good introductory book to the health benefits of hemp. The author, Carol Merl0, shows the differences between hemp, CBD, and marijuana. They are all from the same subspecies of cannabis sativa which, of course, has precipitated some of the problems with its acceptance. However, hemp is defined as having less than .3% THC.
I found the history of hemp quite intriguing. It makes me sad to see that politics intervened in something that others of note found valuable enough to make hemp growing mandatory. In 1533, King Henry VIII fined farmers if they didn’t raise hemp for industrial use. In 1619, Virginia made hemp cultivation mandatory as well. During the 1800s, hemp oil was prescribed as a general “medicine” for everything from cramps, headache, digestive problems, vomiting, and insomnia, to chronic seizures.
The nutritional benefits Merlo lists are totally amazing. Besides containing all 9 essential amino acids, 65% of hemp’s protein is edistin which is the most easily digested of all proteins. Of course, hemps’ essential fatty acids are one of the highest in expressing a near-perfect omega-6 ratios (omega-6: omega-3, 3.75:1). The other major anti-inflammatory fatty acids, GLA and SDA, are found in hemp as well.
As far as carbohydrates go, Merlo mentioned the non-sugar version called glyconutrients that hemp has. One of which we know we all need and are familiar with is glucosamine plus 12 others. These glyconutrients are metabolized into molecular building blocks for cellular communication called glycans. All living cells are coated with glycan. They are responsible for how well our immune and endocrine systems function and how well they regulate inflammation. So now you can see why hemp is so powerful on just those reasons alone.
The other major components of hemp are the phytochemicals; terpenes and cannabinoids. There are 140 different terpenes which bind to receptors in your brain. Among the various effects are analgesic, antimutagenic, antidepressant, and dopamine activators.
I especially liked her introduction to the Endocannabinoid System that was just discovered in 1990! Only 13% of the medical schools are teaching important relatively new information. It makes you wonder what other systems are yet to be discovered. Maybe omega-6, the “holy grail” essential fatty acid, is just the first part of a whole new system that even taps into higher experiential thought forms such as the 5th dimension. For that is how new systems are discovered – by exploring new ideas. She lists some of the food sources of phyto cannabinoids that were new to me: echinacea, chocolate, and black pepper.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a class of cannabinoids that accounts for up to 40% of the hemp plant’s extract. It activates receptors that play a role in pain perception and inflammation; it also lowers stress, and anxiety, and supports sleep. I disagree with one of her main theses that a CBD deficiency is involved in these ailments. CBD may help these issues but if you look at the root cause of these defects, I think it gets back to the basic building blocks of the nerves and organs and different hormonal systems and that is omega-6.
As a healthcare practitioner, the biggest deficiency I see is omega-6 of which hemp has a significant amount. So instead of extracting CBD from hemp and losing some of the good qualities it inherently has, one could get an organic, cold-pressed hemp seed oil that concentrates all the best ingredients. This oil is delicious alone, yet I like to add a clove of garlic and habanero sauce to it and use it like a dipping sauce or salad or food dressing. Also using the hemp hearts, which is simply shelled help seed, in your food such as smoothies. Many people have a protein shake for breakfast. With hemps’ excellent amino acid profile, which is a complete profile such as eggs possess, why not use the hemp hearts for the protein base? They taste awesome, have the most digestible protein, and all the essential amino acids plus essential fatty acids and much more. Merlot’s book has increased my appreciation for this humble yet vital seed tremendously.
Cannabis has 623 compounds with 483 unique to it. It is so nutritious that people could survive on just it and water. And not only survive but thrive, particularly if the typical American diet is being reduced and the use of hemp in one’s diet increasing in its various forms. Merlo definitely increased my commitment to health and to finding a good organic source of hemp seed and hemp oil to include in my daily diet. I think if you read her fine book, you will come to the same conclusion.