Hemp Protein: Marijuana's Non-Psychotropic, Muscle-Building Cousin
Even though hemp protein is derived from cannabis sativa and a member of the cannabis family, this particular variety of plant protein can offer fitness enthusiasts and athletes a unique combination of protein, fiber, and amino acids (without any of the psychotropic side effects).
Before we go into some of the benefits of hemp protein, there's one particularly prevalent misconception worth addressing:
Like we've hinted at already, hemp seeds that have been grown, processed, and packaged for consumption (as whole seeds, hemp seed meal, or as a hemp protein powder) have not been found to contain anywhere near enough THC to cause users to test positive for the compound, let alone feel any of its effects.
Hemp Protein: A Muscle-Building Plant Protein Worth Considering
From a complete amino acid profile to a naturally earthy, nutty flavor - here are handful of hemp protein highlights:
Protein Content & Amino Acid Profile
While there may be some differences between the nutritional content of a whole hemp seeds when compared to a brand of hemp protein powder (and some even smaller differences between different varieties of branded hemp protein powder) your typical hemp protein powder will contain all nine essential amino acids (pushing it into the 'complete'* protein family) – though the ratios of these amino acids have been known to vary. That being acknowledged, hemp proteins are generally been found to contain relatively high amounts of L-Tyrosine and Arginine.
Along with having a solid protein/amino acid profile, hemp protein has also been recognized for it's fatty acid content – and more specifically, for having a relatively even balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
*While there's still a preference for 'complete' proteins among many fitness communities, research has shown – on numerous occasions – that a protein does not have to be a complete protein in order for our bodies to benefit from it. What's more, research has also shown that pairing complementary 'incomplete' proteins should be unnecessary for those who are eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Traditional Protein Benefits – Minus the Dairy
Just as we'd mention in our piece on brown rice protein, one of the most significant benefits (of any plant-based protein) is that its naturally dairy free. One of the most common complaints about whey and other milk-based proteins – regardless of how great any potential "gains" may be – are the milk protein "grumbles."
Thanks to the overall lack of lactose (the milk sugar that most commonly triggers digestion issues in humans), most people who rely on hemp protein do so without any pesky stomach issues.
When it comes to flavor, some people absolutely love the nutty and earthy flavor that accompanies minimally processed or unflavored hemp protein powders, whereas others will only take a hemp protein supplement if it's been flavored well. For those looking to try hemp protein for the first time, we recommend starting small and figuring out which flavoring-preference camp you fall into.
Like many plant-based proteins and green formulations, hemp protein has earned a reputation within the dietary supplement industry for being somewhat difficult to flavor. Fortunately for those who are looking to manufacturer their own hemp protein powder, there are manufacturers out there who have an incredible amount of experience flavoring hemp products that taste great.
Like many other plant-based proteins, hemp protein is a great option for those looking to find the best whey/casein alternative to meet there needs. For those looking to manufacturer their own brand of hemp protein, it's important to find a manufacturer with the skills and experience to flavor your product in a way that tastes great.
A Note About NutraScience Labs: While we love working with brand owners to perfect their plant protein or greens supplement, we do not and cannot manufacture products that contain THC or CBD oil.
About the Author: Melissa DellaBartolomea
Melissa DellaBartolomea was the resident Content Marketing Specialist at NutraScience Labs from February 2016 to July 2018. Driven by a passion for the world of written, visual, and digital media, she's dedicated herself to keeping up with all things nutraceutical. From ingredient insights to the latest in contract manufacturing regulations and trends, her mission is to provide our readers (like you) with the stories and knowledge they need to fuel long-term growth and nutraceutical industry success.