Hemp – How It Is Helping Me Recuperate


My self-imposed blogging break has come to an end, and now that my neurons are firing at rapid speed it is time to let the words flow again!

It’s been a challenging month, with a few weeks of health issues – along with that came the emotional and mental turmoil as well. I am now admitting to the world that I allowed myself to get carried away with stress and anxiety which appeared when I was dealing with some significant pain from an injury.

Because I wasn’t feeling well (yes, I know, poor excuse) I did not eat well, both in proportion and quality of foods. So, I’ve jumped back on the bandwagon – more fresh, unprocessed foods, veggies, fruits, and yes…hemp seeds. In fact, at this moment while I am writing I’ve got my bag of Nutiva hemp seeds right next to me.

Yes, I know that I’ve preached about hempseed being anti-inflammatory and good for mental health – for a few weeks I didn’t practice what I preached, and what a mistake THAT was!

I’ll tell you a little of what I’ve been going through, and then will follow that with WHY hemp is so good for that condition. (No, it won’t be a novel, I promise!)

I took a slip in the shower a few weeks ago and wrenched my neck and back. And I did a very good job it it! (I don’t do things half-assed, as a rule.) What followed were daily migraines, cluster headaches, neck and back pain, stiffness, leg pain, and inability to get comfortable, thus resulting in very poor sleep and exhaustion.

Hemp, as I said before, is anti-inflammatory. The Omega 3 fatty acids in hemp (which has the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids for the human body) are the components which work to reduce inflammation by soothing, protecting, and healing the cells.

In addition to the headaches and pain and difficulty moving around, I was also experiencing great amounts of stress and anxiety – resulting in panic attacks almost daily, dizziness, and heart palpitations. I have generally (ok, all my life) been an anxious person. Stress could be my middle name. Now, diet alone will not eradicate stress, but it does HELP, in addition to participating in stress-relieving activities (meditation, yoga, exercise). I had gotten to the point where my mind would NOT SHUT UP. It was a lot of fear-based lack thinking, worrying, and fretting. I was jumpy, emotional, impatient, and just plain frazzled. I would wake several times during the night, either from panic or worry.

Last Friday I was feeling so unwell that I went to the local fire department to get my blood pressure checked. It was 190/110. Yes, I know. Not good. The EMT checked the pressure in my other arm – the result was the same. His partner asked, “Ma’am, are you feeling ok?” I paused, thinking, If I felt ok I wouldn’t be here, right? but I kindly said, “I am not needing an ambulance ride to the emergency room, but I am not feeling really well. I just wanted to try to find a reason for all the stuff that is going on with my body and my head.” They both encouraged me to get to a doctor, but I told them I did not have insurance. I was then sternly lectured. “You do NOT want to wait until this is an emergency and the have to call us, ride in the ambulance, then have a more serious problem to deal with.” They then proceeded to tell me all the signs I needed to pay attention to or look for that would be cause for greater concern.

By this time I was in a panic again and the chest pains and headache had worsened. I drove home; halfway there I decided I’d call my son and have him drive me to the emergency room.

They checked my vitals, blood pressure was still high but not quite as high as when I was at the fire department. They did an EKG, monitored my blood pressure for 30 minutes, gave me Valium, Vicodin, and anti-nausea meds along with Motrin. After a bit they asked me how I was feeling. “The same, no change.”

The doctor came in and checked my neck and back, asked a lot of questions, and then looked at me and said, “Your EKG is fine. I want you to go to the chiropractor as soon as possible, that will help with the pain, and I want you to RELAX. You are fine, you are not having a heart attack, you are not having a serious medical emergency.” They prescribed Valium and Vicodin (which I have NOT had filled) and sent me on my way.

I left feeling somewhat better, because in reality, knowing is half the cure. It was also a reminder to get back on my relaxation exercises and EAT HEALTHIER again.

The brain is composed mainly of fatty acids, and when there is a deficiency it can cause depression, headaches, dizziness, and a reduced ability to handle stress and anxiety.  Hemp’s Omega fatty acids help restore balance in the brain, bringing about calmer thinking and improved sleep.

So, as I sit here writing and munching, I realize that I am feeling better, more rested, in less pain – and I am again reminded of the wonderful plant that really IS an amazing medicine.

Autism – Can Hemp Have A Role In Treating Symptoms – Or Preventing It?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, 1 in 88 children has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Autism is a range of neurodevelopment disorders. Autism covers a range of conditions – classical autism, Asberger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, and childhood disintegrative disorder.

Most scientists agree that there is not a single definitive cause of autism; it may be the result of genetic and environmental factors.

Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain.  Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain.  These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function.” (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

A 2007 study by the California Department of Public Health found that women in the first eight weeks of pregnancy who live near farm fields sprayed with the organochlorine pesticides dicofol and endosulfan are several times more likely to give birth to children with autism. The association appeared to increase with dose and decrease with distance from field site to residence. The study’s findings suggest that on the order of 7% of autism cases in the California Central Valley might have been connected to exposure to the insecticides drifting off fields into residential areas.” (Wikipedia)

Studies also suggest the following:

  • Children born to older parents are at slightly higher risk.
  • A small percentage of children who are born prematurely or with low birth weight are at greater risk for having ASDs.
  • Some harmful drugs taken during pregnancy have been linked with a higher risk of ASDs; for example, the prescription drugs thalidomide and valproic acid.” (www.cdc.gov)

Some scientists suggest that autism can be the result of low levels of Omega 3 fatty acid.

University of Alabama researcher Dr. Yasmin Neggers, a professor of human nutrition and hospitality management, found a possible lipid metabolism disorder in children with autism. “Many studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids to be neuro-protective because they decrease the risk of neurological problems,” Neggers said.  “We were surprised when we didn’t find studies that looked at omega-3 levels in children with autism.” (University of Alabama News)

As you can see above, there are many possible factors that could possibly be a precursor to autism. What caught my eye was the possibility of low Omega 3 fatty acids as being a cause of autism.

Omega fatty acids are ‘brain food’. The brain consists mainly of Omega fatty acids; an imbalance or insufficient amount of fatty acids can cause many diseases and disorders. Some believe that an overabundance of Omega 6 fatty acids and a low amount of Omega 3 fatty acids may be a reason for autism. This is where hemp comes into play – specifically, the Omega fatty acids in hemp.

Omega-6 is similar to omega-3 in that it is also considered an essential fatty acid and that the body is unable to produce it from other unsaturated fats. Omega-6, however, is much easier to obtain through the diet. In fact, many people get too much omega-6 because it is found in so many common products, such as the butters and oils used in many cooking and baking processes in both home- and factory-prepared foods. Side effects of too much omega-6 cause an inflammatory reaction in the body.” (livestrong.com)

Generally it’s an insufficient amount of Omega 3 that will exacerbate neurological and brain related disorders. Omega 3 is the most important, but it is also a little more difficult to get into the diet.

Hemp has the perfect 3:1 ratio needed by the human body. It is one of the only plant sources that has that perfect ratio.

Can hemp reduce the instance of autism, or treat the symptoms? Some believe so. It has been shown that eating hemp during pregnancy helps healthy brain cells grow, and also increases infant cognizance.

Some government and medical sites clearly state that there is no ‘known cure’ for autism. Perhaps more studies need to be done. In the meantime, it certainly can’t hurt to add hemp to the diet to balance the Omega fatty acids, increase brain health, and aid in the production of neurotransmitters.

Hormones Wreaking Havoc? Eat Hemp!


Many of us have had symptoms of hormone imbalance and perhaps didn’t know they were related to hormones. Hormone imbalance isn’t just a ‘female’ issue.

Hormones are chemical messengers that are released by glands or cells; different hormones have different purposes. Some metabolize digestion, some regulate growth, some regulate the immune system, and others deal with sexual function.

Below is a short list of hormones that our bodies process, and their functions:

*Insulin: from the pancreas; insulin regulates glucose intake

*Dopamine: hypothalamus (brain); a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, emotions, cognitive processes

*Epinephrine: adrenal medulla; boosts oxygen and glucose to the muscles and brain

*Calcitonin: thyroid; builds bone, regulates blood calcium

*Histamine: stomach; regulates gastric acid

*Thrombopoietin: liver, kidney, muscle; produces platelets

*Orexin: hypothalamus; wakefulness and increased energy expenditure

*Leptin: adipose tissue; decreases appetite and increases metabolism

*Thymosin: a hormone secreted by the thymus – it regulates the immune system

And of course, we know about testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen and other related hormones.

Some causes of hormone imbalance are stress, poor nutrition, disease, cancer, toxic pollutants (many chemicals are endocrine disruptors, and they are found in plastics, cosmetics, chemicals used in hair preparations, pesticides and fertilizers, to name a few), cigarette smoking, and drugs/medications.

The most widely used herbicide in the United States, atrazine is frequently detected in surface and ground water, particularly in agricultural areas of the Midwest. Approximately 75 percent of all U.S. cornfields are treated with atrazine each year.” (environmentalnews.org)

Symptoms of hormone imbalance include hair loss, amenorrhea (a condition in which a woman does not menstruate), fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, low libido, digestive problems, headaches, reduced muscular strength, erectile dysfunction/low sperm count, incontinence, and dry skin.

Natural ways to get the hormones back in balance is through diet, proper nutrition, and, where applicable, lifestyle changes. When working on regulating hormones via diet, it is important to eat enough leafy greens and lean proteins, reduce the starchy carbohydrates, and ensure there is sufficient intake of Omega fatty acids.

Because hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids, it is an excellent addition to the diet. Omega fatty acids help to regulate the hormones. A current problem in the diets of many is they are getting too many Omega 6 fatty acids and not enough Omega 3 fatty acids. Hemp has the perfect 3:1 ratio of the Omega fatty acids needed for optimum human health. Too many Omega 6 fatty acids will cause the body to create an overabundance of inflammatory hormones (insulin, for example) and can cause hypoglycemia.

Sufficient intake of Omega 3 fatty acids will create the regulatory hormones that will keep the inflammatory hormones in check.

  • Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s are required for the development and function of brain and nerve tissue, particularly Omega 3s.
  • Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s stimulate metabolism, increase metabolic rate, increase oxygen uptake and increase energy production.
  • Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s are required for the maintenance of cell membrane fluidity and stability and also for proper cell division and genetic expression.
  • Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s are integral to the action of immune function and in the functions of hormones including those governing inflammatory responses. (www.crohns.net)

They (Omega fatty acids) have a calming effect and regulate mood as a result of the influence that the essential fatty acids have on the hormonal systems.” (www.crohns.net)

Essential fatty acids play an important role in producing hormones, cell membrane function, regulating pain, inflammation and swelling.” (drtorihudson.com)

Hemp oil helps with hormonal balance. Hemp oil is the only edible seed that contains gamma-linolenic acid. G.L.A is the precursor for the production of the protective and calming prostaglandin PGE1 which helps regulate hormonal balance and support menopausal health.” (www.veria.com)

As you can see, hemp is an excellent nutritional addition to aid in balancing hormones and reducing the symptoms caused by the imbalance.

Treating Addiction With Hempseed


Addiction is a physical or psychological dependance on a substance or behavior, despite the negative circumstances. (I should clarify right here, habit is something done by choice; addiction is not having control over the choices.)

Addiction is a brain disorder, and it doesn’t just pertain to drugs or alcohol. Addiction can include ANY substance or behavior – food, sex, tobacco, shopping, hoarding, chocolate – the list can be quite extensive.

“Addiction is Habitual psychological or physiologic dependence on a substance or practice that is beyond voluntary control.” (medicalnewstoday.com)

Now, I am sure you are asking, “So, what does hemp have to do with addiction?”

Addiction, being a brain disorder, can be helped by substances that ‘feed’ the brain, in this case – Omega fatty acids from hemp. When addiction is the result of psychological imbalance, hempseed or hempseed oil can help.

The brain is composed mainly of fatty acids. When we have a deficiency of Omega fatty acids we can experience addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, even Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

So, let’s get back to the addiction aspect. When the brain has an imbalance or deficiency in Omega fatty acids, it can wreak havoc on our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Johanna Budwig suggests that EFAs have been helpful in treating addictions to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and sex-and-violence patterns. EFAs enable a person to manage stress better: nerve and brain functions stabilize, and the electric currents across the brain’s cell membranes increase, inducing a person to feel calmer and more focused.” (innvista.com)

Better brain function – in this case, stabilized brain function – can help with addictive behaviors.

Hempseed has the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body. It is also an excellent source for other important nutrients. It is, in fact, one of the most nutrient rich and nutrient dense plant sources available to us.  The Omega fatty acids are in the hempseed as well as the hempseed oil. Daily intake of hempseed is a super way to get the daily recommended amount of essential fatty acids.

*This post is strictly for information. I do not (and cannot) recommend anyone stopping their prescribed medications, if they are on them. If you DO have questions, or want to discontinue your meds, please contact your health care provider.

Industrial Hemp For The Prevention And Treatment of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder


According to the PTSD Alliance, more than 13 million Americans suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (approximately 5 percent of the population).

PTSD (also known as ‘battle fatigue’ or ‘shellshock’) is a severe anxiety disorder. One definition describes PTSD as the invasive recall of the traumatic event/s.

It is characterized by numerous symptoms :

  • Flashbacks of the experience
  • Nightmares/night terrors
  • Phobias
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anger
  • Hypervigilance
  • Easily startled
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Disconnection
  • Avoiding things that are reminders of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Guilt/shame
  • Feeling alienated
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

PTSD can be caused by many factors, such as experiencing or witnessing :

  • Combat/military warfare
  • Death
  • Threat of death
  • Car accidents
  • Sexual/physical/emotional abuse
  • Natural disasters

PTSD has to do with the way the memory stores information, especially traumatic information that is experienced, witnessed, or heard. It also had to do with the overactive adrenalin response to the situation, in turn creating a chemical imbalance in the brain. According to Japanese researcher Yutaka Matsuoka,

“Under the current view, recent memories are temporarily stored in the hippocampus before being consolidated into parts of the prefrontal cortex. An important distinction is that the hippocampus seems to be sensitive to fear responses while the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with executive function and higher reasoning, is not.

If stress-hyped memories in the hippocampus could be toned down before consolidation, chances of developing PTSD might also go down.”

PTSD may alter 3 areas of the brain : the hippocampus, the amygdala, and pre-frontal cortex. The amygdala are deep in the temporal lobes of the brain and are vital in processing emotions with memory. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is continuously creating new brain cells (neurogenesis), and it’s function is memory retention and processing of memories. Because the hippocampus is constantly growing new cells, it is understood that it is the ‘clearinghouse’, by replacing the old ‘memory’ cells with the new ones.

It has been shown that Omega fatty acids (specifically Omega 3) are important in brain health. This is where the hemp comes into play. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body, AND the brain. The brain has a high concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids, and when there is a deficiency in the Omega 3 fatty acids, brain-related disorders may occur. In the case of PTSD, the Omega 3 fatty acids help aid the hippocampus by increasing neurogenesis (creation of new cells). Omega 3s also help strengthen and protect the cells.

~ On a personal note : having been diagnosed as having severe PTSD in the past, I do notice that when I am eating hemp and hemp-based products I sleep better, am less anxious, and tend to startle less easily, as well as have lower incidences of migraines and flashbacks. ~

It is possible that a diet rich hemp and Omega fatty acids may decrease the incidence of PTSD, as well as help in the treatment of PTSD.

*Nutrition is only ONE aspect of treatment for PTSD and in no way is it intended to completely replace other treatments, (especially in severe cases of PTSD), including prescribed medications and counseling. While some may be hesitant to take medication, it is sometimes needed, even temporarily, to help get the the brain chemicals back in balance.

**The information in this article is from my own personal reading and research and is NOT intended to be medical advice. It is for informational purposes only. I do NOT  recommend going off prescribed medications and using hemp products to replace them. If you have any questions, please contact your health care provider.

Hempseed And Bipolar Disorder


It is estimated that approximately 2.3 million people suffer from bipolar disorder. Because every person is different, there are a variety of factors that may contribute to bipolar. Scientific evidence has shown that bipolar disorder accompanies chemical imbalances in the brain. Varied studies suggest that it can be caused by many factors, such as genetic abnormalities, trauma, illness, drugs, environmental factors, and poor nutrition (consuming highly processed and chemical-laden foods and poor balance of wholesome, natural foods).

Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive illness, is a mood disorder that is characterized by elevated periods of moods and energy levels followed by depressive episodes. Generally in between these mood fluctuations there is a ‘normal’ mood period except in the cases of rapid-cycling bipolar, where the fluctuations are very frequent.

Some common symptoms of bipolar are :

MANIC STAGE

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Easily distracted
  • Poor temper
  • Reckless behavior
  • Elevated mood
  • Rapid speech
  • Little sleep

DEPRESSIVE STAGE

  • Increased need for sleep/fatigue
  • Eating problems
  • Sadness
  • Poor self image
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Isolation
  • Loss of pleasure in activities
  • Suicidal thoughts

There are many treatments available for bipolar, such as medications, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and proper nutrition.

Nutrition plays a very important in mental health. Studies have shown that people who suffer from bipolar disorder have low levels of Omega 3 fatty acids.

Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for brain health and are highly concentrated in the brain. When there is a deficiency of Omega 3, psychological/brain disorders may occur due to the imbalance.

Hempseeds and hempseed oil are considered superfoods and are an excellent way to incorporate Omega fatty acids into the diet. Hempseeds have the perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega fatty acids required by the human body for optimum health. Not only are they an excellent source of Omega fatty acids, hempseeds are also packed with edestin protein (the protein most easily digestible by the human body, as it is similar to human globulin), vitamins, and minerals.

In a 12-week double-blind study, individuals with bipolar were given Omega 3 fatty acids alongside with their medication. The Omega 3 improved their depression. (Frangou, Br J Psychiatry. 188:46-50, 2006)

Another double-blind controlled study that found that 9.6 g of omega-3 fatty acids (6.2 g EPA/3.4 g DHA) helped bipolar disorder depression.

Omega 3 fatty acids enhance brain function and health, as do medication (as needed in some cases), exercise, and proper diet.

~ As someone who has suffered from bipolar disorder, I can certainly attest to the fact that for me, nutrition has been an important factor in treating my condition. I was diagnosed in 2003 and placed on Lamictal. I took the medication for 2 years to get my brain chemicals back in balance, then weaned myself off the chemical prescription drugs. (*I would NOT recommend anyone going off their medication without speaking to their care provider.)

Eating wholesome, raw foods (organic whenever possible) has greatly reduced my symptoms. Incorporating hempseed and hempseed oil (packaged hempseeds and foods enhanced with hempseeds) into my diet has given me more mental and emotional balance, better sleep in most cases, and a sense of well-being. I have noticed gradual memory improvement as well as a better ability to handle stressors. Minor manic episodes have all but disappeared. The depressive symptoms have lessened greatly and the instances are occurring further and further apart.

*Everything in this post is for information only. I am not a physician and do not intend this article to be a replacement for medication/counseling. If you are on meds to control your bipolar, please do NOT stop taking them without consulting your physician.*