Hemp Seed Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  9 min read
hemp seed benefits and side effects

Want to see hemp seed benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are the pros and cons of hemp seeds and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on hemp seed benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about hemp seed benefits and side effects such as hemp seed health benefits and/or risks, hemp seed water footprint and/or hemp seed carbon footprint, hemp seed sustainability, if hemp seeds are vegan, and more. 

After learning if hemp seeds are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be prepared to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about hemp seed benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Hemp Seed Benefits And Side Effects


Hemp seed benefits for health may include:

Hemp seed benefits also include being…


Water footprint: moderate, it takes 3,685 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of hempseed / 442 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of hempseed

Carbon footprint: unknown

Destruction: low, no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc., hemp grows without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, roots can descend 3 feet or more into the ground, thereby anchoring and protecting soil from runoff, building and preserving topsoil and subsoil structures

Hemp seeds are…


Kills: none, hemp production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, hemp production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from hemp production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Hemp seeds are…


Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Hemp seeds…

Where do most hemp seeds come from? 📍

China is the world’s largest hemp producer and exporter in the world and is responsible for around 20% of total global hemp production.

The world’s top hemp producing country is China, followed by Russia and Chile. France is the largest producer in the European Union).

In the United States, Kentucky is the the top hemp producing state.

The world’s top hemp exporting country is China, followed by Canada, Germany, Paraguay, Austria, Spain, Netherlands, India, USA and Mexico.

Are hemp seeds nutritious? 🥗

Yes! Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats, essential fatty acids, protein and contain high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.

hemp seeds are gluten free.

hemp seed benefits include being gluten free

Are hemp seeds gluten free?

Yes, hemp seeds are gluten free. Hemp seeds do not contain gluten.  

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

hemp seeds are not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Are hemp seeds a common food allergen?

No, hemp seeds are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to hemp seeds but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

hemp seeds have a moderate water footprint.

water footprints of food and products

Do hemp seeds have a high or low water footprint?

Hemp seeds have a relatively moderate water footprint compared to other foods.

What is the water footprint of hemp seeds?

It takes 3,685 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of hemp seeds / 442 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of hemp seeds.

Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!

How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?

We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.

Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

hemp seeds are sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, are hemp seeds eco friendly? Are hemp seeds sustainable?

Hemp seed production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

hemp seeds are vegan.

hemp seed benefits include being vegan

Are hemp seeds vegan?

Yes, hemp seeds are vegan. Hemp seeds are seeds from the Cannabis sativa plant and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

hemp seeds may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Are hemp seeds a product with labor concerns?

At this time there have been no major concerns with hemp production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about hemp seed benefits and side effects.


Hemp Seeds and Plants – USDA APHIS

Seeds, hemp seed, hulled – FoodData Central

Ministry of hemp: top 6 hemp growing countries

Adriane Marie

Hi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.

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