Authors: Leyva, D.R., McCullough, R.S., Pierce, G.N.
This chapter appraises the nutritional value of hempseeds and their effects on platelet aggregation. Cannabis sativa L. (hemp) is a mono and dioecious annual plant in the Cannabaceae family, rich in linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA), proteins, vitamin E, and minerals. Dietary hempseed contains omega-6 fatty acid, LA, omega-3 fatty acid, and ALA in a 4:1 ratio. This ratio has been found to be ideal for a healthy diet. Based on the close relationship between the biochemical pathways of ALA and LA and the capacity of both to be converted into long chain fatty acids, plant sources of ALA have attracted scientific attention for their health-related potential. Not only is the nutritional value of hempseed important, but the effects of LA as an essential fatty acid also demand a better understanding of the appropriate doses and presentation, as well as the group of patients that can obtain better benefits from a hempseed-supplemented diet. The biochemical metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids can produce eicosanoids and stimulate thromboxane A2 synthesis. This can induce platelet aggregation. Available data support the hypothesis that the specific fatty acid composition of hempseed was responsible for its beneficial effects on platelet aggregation. It also emphasizes the potential of dietary hempseed for treating or preventing cardiovascular diseases, like myocardial infarctions and strokes, that have thrombotic episodes as a central feature of the pathology. The THC content of hempseed and hemp food is so low that psychotropic or even pharmacological effects can be excluded with certainty, even if larger quantities of food are consumed. Drug interactions with dietary hempseed are not well known.
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