Hemp won’t get you high. Still, its uses and applications are plentiful. Hemp has been used by humans for centuries to create textiles, fabric, paper, rope, biofuels, and construction materials. But perhaps the most important role it has played is that of serving as nourishment in hemp-based foods. Hemp foods and snacks are everywhere these days, but are they just a fad or a true innovation?
Hemp snacks for healthy outlooks
Touted as a superfood, hemp and hemp seeds appear in plant-based dishes worldwide. They add a boost of protein and fiber to foods of all kinds. A whole cup of hemp seeds can pack up to 60 grams of protein with just 12 grams of fat. And it doesn’t just help with building muscles.
Hemp contains nine essential amino acids, including arginine, which promotes nitric oxide in the body, relaxing blood vessels and strengthening our heart functions. The fiber in hemp pips ( the name for the small, hard seeds) is also great in helping to control bad cholesterol in the body and aiding weight loss.
From the Farm Bill to the snack aisle
In 2018, the government introduced the Farm Bill. This new law states any cannabinoid derived from hemp is legal when cultivated by a licensed grower that abides by federal and state regulations. While the statute discusses the legality of working with CBD, the production of hemp snacks still requires a lot of research and vetting.
“It took us many phone calls to find the correct production partner,” says Orr Izkovich, brand manager at Let There Be Hemp. “Several manufacturers still have a hard time working with cannabis, even if you show them it’s legal to work with cannabidiol.”
Luckily, snacking on hemp is slightly easier than making hemp food for the masses. Still, not everyone has the time or money to research and try out all the hemp snacks on the market. We gave it our best shot by trying each of these hemp-based products twice.
Each one of the following hemp snacks was tried with and without THC in our system – for testing purposes, of course.
Evo Hemp Bars
In 2011, roommates Ari Sherman and Jourdan Samel decided to launch their company to bring the US hemp growing system back to life. Part of their founding mission was to fully support farmers—and they were serious about it. The first thing they did was head to Washington D.C. and lobby in favor of the plant until passing a bill that legally allowed states to cultivate it, allowing citizens to head back to the hemp fields for the first time in six decades.
Sober test: Quite likable at first, but the sugary taste was slightly overwhelming. Let’s just say this is the type of snack you want to down with a big glass of almond, cashew, soy, or, why not, hemp milk.
Stoner test: I could literally be in heaven. I love how syrupy they taste, satiating my sweet tooth. My taste buds are tickling as I type this, and I’m craving one as we speak. Hemp snacks rule.
Let There Be Hemp chips
Move over junk food! There’s a new chip in town, and this one is a hearty hemp snack. Each triangle has cassava flour and pea, sunflower, and chickpea protein, in case you’re low on your daily intake.
If you’re environmentally-aware, you’ll recognize the palm oil in these chips as an ingredient you might usually avoid. But good news. These guys work with Palm Done Right, an organization that only purchases ethically and organically grown palm oil.
Sober test: Way better than I expected them to taste, even though the vegan ranch was a little overpowering. Definitely not a first-date food. After a handful, you already feel the need to drink a lot of water.
Stoner test: I ate a whole bag in one sitting without drinking a sip of any liquid. These chips have what I consider to be the perfect “chomp factor”—hard enough to give you a good bite, yet smooth enough to avoid hurting your palate when swallowing mass quantities. My breath was still very pungent, but nothing a good scoop of gelato couldn’t fix.
Hilary’s Hemp & Greens Veggie Burger
These vegetable patties are packed with nutrients and allergen-free, promising no egg, no wheat, and no mustard. The mix of hemp, spinach, millet, flaxseed, and other organic ingredients pack a lot of flavor and heartiness.
Sober test: After putting it in the oven for about 20 minutes with a dash of olive oil, the vegan burger came out toasted and ready to eat. At first, I liked the earthy flavor, but it became a bit much and reminded me of eating dirt when I was a kid. A dollop of hot sauce masked the aftertaste—but I still had to eat two to feel satiated. A hemp snack, indeed.
Stoner test: The munchies beat me on this one; I doused the patty in olive oil and put it in the oven for 10 mins. I took it out as soon as I picked up a good whiff, but of course, didn’t have the patience to toast it as well as I did when sober. What is time?
I ended up mashing two burgers with some delivery leftovers and some mustard. It took on an Indian-curry flavor that I liked, so I washed it down with some kombucha for an extra probiotic kick.
Thunderbird Real Food Bars
With so many power bars in the market, it’s easy to fall for those that seem healthy, but are actually packed with sugars and preservatives that don’t nurture you. Luckily, that’s not the case with Thunderbird – a paleo, vegan, and grain-free “real food bar” made in Austin, Texas.
Sober test: This is one of the few hemp bars that taste healthy and like you’re doing better than eating a candy bar. Its cool packaging camouflages the fact that it’s the kind of bar you could get at a flower-power co-op grocery store, and reminded me of something that a loved one would make for me to try.
The dates, macadamia nuts, sunflower, and hemp seeds are just a few of the ingredients that this hemp snack a wholesome flavor.
Stoner test: This bar is definitely too thin to help with the munchies. Don’t get me wrong. It’s tasty, but it felt like I ate a quick wafer when instead I needed a whole box of cookies.
The shells of the hemp seeds remained mostly intact, but one of them did stick to my already parched throat. What ensued was a coughing bout that lasted way longer than expected, slightly scaring those around me in the process. Nothing a good swig of kefir couldn’t fix.
Plain ol’ hemp seeds
Last but not least, we’re back to the roots of this article: the noble seed of the Cannabis sativa we’ve been growing as a food staple for thousands of years. Touted as a superfood, these tiny guys are small and delicate, yet quite flavorful. You can turn anything into a hemp snack with hemp seeds in your pantry, benefitting from one tasty treat at a time.
Sober test: Even if I can’t pinpoint exactly what they taste like, they’re the perfect topping for smoothies, salads, and pastries. They taste great when toasted, and I’m almost positive they’ll taste great when baked… ?
Stoner test: I couldn’t help but think about the first person who decided to try hemp seeds. Were they scared? Did they die trying other novel foods? Was it the aliens who gifted them directly to the Egyptians after they finished building the pyramids, aka the ultimate UFO landing spot? Why is there confetti in my acai bowl?!? Oh, right. Hemp seeds.