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Healthy chocolate sounds like a concept meant for fairytales. Although it has not reached the level of quinoa or kale with respect to health status, research has started to come to light that the right chocolate could actually be good for you – with moderation in mind!  For example, an increasing number of studies suggest that it is good for heart health… And then there’s hemp.

Industrial hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that contains undetectable amounts of the psychoactive compounds found in other strains. Production of the plant has many eco-friendly uses and its seeds can have their oils extracted. Hemp seed also comes with a variety of health benefits.

You put the two together and you have one of the tastiest ways to consume hemp – in chocolate!

Since we started making it, we’ve become what you could call ‘enthusiasts’ about hemp chocolate.  So, we want to talk a bit about why we like to call hemp chocolate the healthiest chocolate in the world.

 

Can chocolate be healthy?

Research suggests that chocolate is good for your heart because of a compound found in cocoa beans known as ‘Flavanols’.  These are among the most promising nutritional components due to the apparent potential to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Aside from its cardiovascular benefits, chocolate is also said to be high in antioxidants. Some say that antioxidants can help protect cells against ‘free-radicals’, which in turn is said to prevent ‘negative’ cell development – everything from signs of ageing to cancer. Some studies suggest that antioxidants reduce cholesterol levels and help prevent dementia.

But before gouging your face with commercial confectionery, it’s important to think about the different types of chocolate and how they vary in nutritional content.  Before we get started, let’s look at what makes chocolate, chocolate.

 

Chocolate liquor

Also known as unsweetened chocolate, it forms the bases of the other types. It is made from cocoa nibs found within the seeds. The nibs are finely crushed and heated to a liquid. This liquid can then be shaped into bars or chips.  This is then known as 100% cocoa. 

When subjected to high pressures, it separates into two layers: cocoa butter and cocoa powder. 

 

Milk Chocolate vs. Dark chocolate. 

Milk chocolate

This is the chocolate most of us knew of since childhood. It possesses a creamy texture, milk flavour and light brown colour. It is a combination of chocolate liquor, sugar and milk. Sometimes it includes soy lecithin as an emulsifier. 

The FDA defines milk chocolate as containing at least 10% chocolate liquor and 12% milk. It is seen as the middle ground between the very soft and sweet white chocolate and the harder, more bitter dark chocolate.

Since it contains less cocoa products and more dairy and plenty of  sugar, it might not be the best choice for people who want the best health benefits out of chocolate. 

 

Dark chocolate

This is known for its deep, dark colour – and is not a favourite among kids.  Why?

Dark chocolate is not as sweet as milk chocolate. Recently, there has been an increase in the popularity of this type of chocolate because of the health benefits we mentioned earlier on. Since it has a relatively high content of cocoa, the benefits that come from this compound are also magnified. On top of that, dark chocolate will have a lower refined sugar concentration.

It is made up of only two components, chocolate liquor and sugar. High-quality dark chocolate does not contain any added dairy and this makes it a good choice for vegans. The FDA requires it to contain at least 15% chocolate liquor, but it usually contains up to 50%

 

Bittersweet chocolate

It is basically a darker, more bitter, firmer dark chocolate. It has a chocolate liquor content of 35% and above. This usually is more than 66%.

 

Ruby Chocolate

This was discovered in 2017 by a Belgian chocolate maker, Barry Callebaut. It possesses a red-pink hue that sets it aside from other chocolate and is only obtained from a specific species of cacao. 

There is no FDA requirement yet since it is new. It has an intense fruity flavour that distinguishes it.

So, what do we use?

Dark chocolate… but even less processed than your average dark chocolate.  Allow us to explain!

 

What is the difference between raw and dark chocolate?

The main difference between raw and dark chocolate is that raw chocolate has enzymes that are preserved due to being exposed to less processing. The extra enzymes leftover are good for the heart and improve digestion. Aside from enzymes, raw chocolate is richer in vitamins and minerals.  

Another difference is in the sugar and milk content. Most dark chocolate contains added sugar and milk (though minimally). Raw chocolate will have less, or none at all. Despite this, the taste is not very different.

Raw chocolate is also free of mycotoxins because it is made through a unique processing method that does not result in these undesirable byproducts. Mycotoxins are produced by fungi, and found in fermented foods. They are associated with food allergies and reduced immunity. 

 

3.0 What’s in our hemp chocolate

We only fill our hemp chocolate with the highest quality Australian hemp seeds and organic cacao.  Loaded with the health benefits of omega 3,6 & 9, antioxidants, magnesium, and more… Our specialty hemp chocolate has been ticking all the boxes for a healthy treat since 2017.

…And now you know.

There are many kinds of chocolate with differences in nutritional value.  However, there are only a few types that actually leave a positive footprint on our bodies.  Hemp chocolate can offer the benefits and flavour of both cacao and hemp seed alike… But remember, moderation is key to everything.

There’s so many things to know about hemp!

Grown specifically for industrial uses of its by-products, this incredible plant has been cultivated all around the world for tens of thousands of years. Though hemp contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive compound in Cannabis species, the concentration is not high enough to produce intoxicating effects.

On our Instagram page, we’ve been sharing a whole bunch of interesting facts about our favourite plant. We thought we’d take our 9 favorites and put them together in one place!

Here they are…

 

Fact #1 – Hemp Vs. Marijuana – Is There A Difference?

Both ‘hemp’ and ‘marijuana’ come from the exact same plant. In fact, marijuana is just a slang term for cannabis that was coined in the early 1900’s during prohibition. Though hemp and marijuana are referred to as strains or species of this plant, this is a misnomer.

Nowadays, the names are used interchangeably in respect to the THC level. Hemp differs from marijuana by containing at most 0.3% THC by dry weight – this varies slightly by country.

 

Fact #2 – The History of Hemp

Hemp fibre imprints have been found and dated back to as far as 28,000 years ago, which are believed to be the beginning of a trend that developed over the course of time. Several remnants of hemp fabrics have also been found by archeologists, one of which dates back to 8000 BC in modern day Iraq.  The Chinese also became aware of its uses around 2700 BC. Emperor Shen Nung educated citizens on its cultivation and weaving into clothing. It is believed to be one of the first fibers that was used by humans for clothing.

 

Fact #3 – Refined Vs. Unrefined Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil is derived from pressed seeds of the plant. It is gaining popularity around the world because of its numerous health benefits. After extraction from seeds, it can be processed into 2 variants: refined and unrefined oil.

Refined hemp seed oil is colorless and lacks the distinct flavor of hemp. It is added to cosmetic products because it has a long shelf-life and is more chemically stable. However, once refined, hemp seed oil loses many of it’s nutrients and fatty acids – this is what makes hemp seed oil so good for your skin! That’s why we like to say only use unrefined hemp seed oil for skincare, and keep refined oils for production of innovative new products like bio-biodegradable plastics, or sustainable fuel sources.

Unrefined hemp seed oil has a greenish hue with a nutty flavor. This oil is rich in nutrients unlike the refined version. It has heart-healthy components like Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids. It is rich in antioxidants like vitamin E. It is also great for using as a natural skin and hair care product. We use unrefined hemp seed oil in all of our skincare, hair care, body care, and food products!

You can check out our unrefined hemp seed oil products here

 

Fact #4 – Hemp Seed = Hemp Flour & Hemp Protein

Three main consumables can be made from hemp seed. Including the seed itself, hemp flour and hemp protein are also common forms in which hemp seed can be found. Hemp seeds have to be hulled to derive the edible, nutritionally rich inner kernels. Also known as hemp hearts, they can be added into cereals, salads and yogurt.

Hemp flour is derived from raw hemp seeds. This is after the seeds have their oils pressed out. It is also known as hemp bran or hemp powder. It can serve as a source of gluten free flour with just one tablespoon containing 60% of our daily fibre requirement.

Hemp protein is the full ground hemp seed which means it still contains the oil. It is more nutritious than the flour because of the presence of the oil.

 

Fact #5 – Hemp Absorbs Carbon Dioxide From The Air

Carbon sequestration is the process whereby carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by plants. Plants use the energy from the sun to transform CO2 and water into hydrocarbons in a process known as photosynthesis. This essentially means that capable plants are able to remove carbon dioxide from the air, essentially curving greenhouse gas emissions.
Sure enough, hemp is excellent at sequestering carbon. One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb approximately 15 tonnes of CO2. The then formed biomass can be used for several purposes.

You can read more about hemp and carbon sequestration in our blog post about it here!

 

Fact #6 – Well, theory…


Historical documents and accounts show that the large areas of New South Wales may have been intended for more than just housing for prisoners.  Some believe that this land mass was supposed to be used to support large scale hemp production for the British.

This might seem like a surprise to most Australians since they have become used to thinking of hemp as something criminal. Want to learn more? Check out this article!

 

Fact #7 – Hemp Can Make Plastic!

Biodegradable plastics decompose over time to form water carbon dioxide and biomass. This means they do not persist and clog up the environment . Hemp can be turned into biodegradable plastics through a variety of processes. Once the fibres have been removed from the stem, one of the leftover parts of the plant is cellulose. Cellulose can be used to make a growing number of bio-composites, and is a strong option for sustainable packaging as we move into the future. Hemp grows very easily, which makes it a sustainable means of deriving plastics.

Curious about hemp plastics? We go into more detail here!

Fact #8 – Hempcrete Is Healthier!

Hempcrete is made from a mixture of industrial hemp fibres and limestone. It is very durable and creates a negative carbon footprint. This is due to its ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide. Using hemp for building dates back to ancient eras. Even the Colosseum had some structures made out of hemp. In 2010, the first modern hemp house was built in North Carolina.

At Margaret River Hemp Co, we love hempcrete. In fact, our sister company ‘Hemp Homes Australia’ also does a lot of work with it! Learn more about hempcrete here.

 

Fact #9 – Hemp Can Save The Bees!

Over the years, there has been a rapid decline in honey bee population. This could be terrible for the world’s food supply. Though hemp relies on winds for pollination, it has been found that bees particularly love its pollen.

As bees populations continue to decline, industrial hemp seems like a great option to solve this problem. Hemp is a pest resistant, annual plant so bees can use their pollen and nectar when other crops are not in season.

There’s a lot more to why bees love hemp!

Want to hear what the buzz is about? Read more on our blog post here.

 

Did you enjoy this read?  If so, please share it on your social media to spread the word.  We’d also love to hear any feedback or comments you might have.  Subscribe to our mailing list for more on hemp every week!

As you probably know, we love to talk about the cannabis plant.  So, we’d like to ask: what have you heard about terpenes?

This week, we’re going to go a little bit beyond cannabis. Right now the spotlight is on terpenes. Terpenes are the substances credited with giving smells to most things in nature. The cannabis plant is known to contain over 100 of around 20,000 terpenes that can be found in the natural world.

You may know terpenes as what make the plant smell.  But what you might not know is that many of the effects felt from the plant are actually based on the terpenes within it.  By now, you’re probably asking ” so, what are terpenes and why do I need to know about them?” 

We hope this quick read will lend you some insight!

 

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are organic substances that naturally occur within all plants – and even some insects.  The terpene profile of a plant can change based on many things, from what it is fed to the environment that it exists within.  

Terpenes are actually a protective mechanism that was adopted by plants in order to survive in the environment it was native to.  For example, a plant may take on the smell of a fruit in an area where predators could be more drawn to meats.  

Cannabis contains naturally high amounts of terpenes.  As you’ve probably worked out by now, they are solely responsible for the unique characteristic aroma of each cannabis plant. They influence the taste of the plant and its derivatives, type feeling (high) obtained, and as such, interact with the body in a way that can also provide  potential medical benefits. A well known method of utilising terpenes for medicinal purposes is within the practise of aromatherapy.  

Others may be familiar with the medical and therapeutic benefits of terpenes through their use of essential oils. Terpenes are responsible for the different effects you get when you breathe in the fragrance of lemon skins, or pine – for example. However, as mentioned previously, there are many kinds of terpenes… 

Thanks to the legalization of different kinds of cannabis use, a lot of studies have been done to discover the possible medical uses of this well-known plant. Over centuries, the plant has been recognised for its healing and rejuvenating properties. Terpenes are likely one of the reasons it’s been so notable.

 

So, why’s it so important to look at ‘terps’?

 

So, you understand what terpenes are… 

Now you’re probably wondering how you might identify them, and what benefits particular terpenes might have.  We mentioned earlier that there are over 20,000 of them in the world, and at least 100 within cannabis plants, so we’ll just fill you in on the five most common – which also happen to be our favorites!

Myrcene

Myrcene is the most common terpene in the cannabis species, and can be found in the majority of breeds around the world. It is characterised by a mix of fruity and earthy notes, and is also present in hops and mangos.  Myrcene is known to offer antibacterial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Terpinolene

Terpinolene is a terpene that possesses sedative capabilities, along with anti-fungal, antibacterial and antioxidant effects. It also has a role in promoting apoptosis and therefore reducing the risk of cancers. Its anti-insomnia property is great for preventing and treating this common sleep disorder. It has a smoky, woody smell and can be found in fragrant plants like tea, lilac and apples.

Caryophyllene

Caryophyllene adds spice, and is present in black pepper and cloves.  This particular terpene has the unique feature of existing in both CBD oil and Hemp seed oil. It has been found to work on the endocannabinoid system in our bodies. It has been attributed with anti-anxiety, antidepressant, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Certain neuroprotective functions have also been correlated with its administration.

Limonene

Limonene is present in most citrus-y smelling fruits, and is responsible for the lemony or orangey fragrance of some strains of cannabis. It is the ideal terpene for stress relief and mood elevation. Limonene is said to reduce inflammation within the body, and can be used as prevention and remedy for a number of other ailments. Limonene also facilitates the uptake of other terpenes.

Pinene

Apart from cannabis, pinene can be found in conifer trees like pine, orange peels and turpentine. Though research is still scanty, some beneficial properties such as anti-inflammation, bronchodilation and helpfulness in preservation of short-term memory have been attributed to it.

And that’s why it’s so important to know a little bit about your terpenes… 

They’re not just present within our favourite plant, but can be found in many forms all throughout the environment that we live in.  But most notably, they’re contained in particularly high amounts in Cannabis. 

The more we look into terpenes, the more we uncover about their role in our environment, our ecosystem, and even our daily lives.  Whether it’s our mood or our health, the scents we pick up affect us all throughout the day – even if we don’t notice it. So, lets.

Paying more attention to terpenes can lead to healthier, happier lives.  And although research is ongoing, there’s hundreds of years of anecdotal evidence that points towards the effectiveness of using scents to change the state of the human body.

Want to know more?  Feel free to get in touch at any time. If we don’t know the answer, we’d love to help find it!

The claim that ‘Hemp can save the world’ is nothing new, but we are now starting to see it as a bit more than just a saying. Industrial Hemp is surfacing as one of the most rapidly expanding products in the past few decades with several applications that include bio-plastics, sustainable fuel, textiles, food supplements etc. Studies show that it can help the environment through carbon sequestration, land reclamation and by driving the production of eco-friendly consumer products.

 

What’s Thought To Be Causing Climate Change? 

The Earth’s climate has evolved over the space of history with 7 cycles of glacial advance and retreat in the past 650,000 years culminating in an abrupt end of the last ice age 11,700 years ago, ushering us into what is referred to as the modern climate era. Climate change is mostly attributed to relatively small variations in the Earth’s orbit that alter the amount of energy the Earth obtains from the Sun. 

There are a lot of sceptics who doubt the reality of climate change but global temperature rise which has been by 0.9 degrees Celsius since the later part of the 19th century. This is compelling evidence for the reality of climate change. Humanity’s role in this hike is undeniable since the change is proportional to our fast-growing pace of industrialization and subsequent carbon pollution.

The “Greenhouse effect” a product of industrialization, occurs due to the heat radiating from the Earth toward space. Some gases building up in our atmosphere prevent heat from getting out. Examples include:

 

Hemp Absorbs Carbon From The  Air

Industrial hemp has been scientifically proven to absorb more carbon dioxide from the air per hectare than any other forest or commercially produced plant.  Due to this, it is considered to be the perfect carbon sink. The CO2 is bonded to the plant’s fibre, which can then be converted into useful states like textiles, paper and even construction material. 

Industrial hemp comes from the cannabis plant that lacks psychoactive properties due to its negligible concentration of the primary psychoactive compound found in Cannabis known as THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). It grows very easily and thrives in nutrient-poor soil with very small quantities of water. 

One hectare of industrial hemp can absorb 22 tonnes of CO2 per hectare and due to its fast and easy growth (4 metres in 100 days), one hectare can become two in the span of a year. Biomass is produced by the photosynthetic conversion of carbon in the air and its absorption by hemp can be proven each year by the amount by which the plant has grown, by its dry weight yield.

 

Where is it stored?

Carbon sequestration is the capture and secure storage of carbon that would otherwise be emitted to or remain in the atmosphere. It is seen as a major tool in getting rid of the excess carbon being released into our atmosphere particularly from fossil fuel combustion. 

Hemp behind sequestering carbon once it is planted and a minimum estimation of its sequestration ration is 1.5 units of sequestration per unit of hemp produced. It can additionally sequester through a process termed biosequestration. After the absorption into the plant, it can be slow-shouldered instead of burnt to produce bio-char. Bio-char can be mixed with other nutrients and instilled into the soil.

While nothing is going to stop climate change on its own, we have to set goals to reduce carbon emissions in our atmosphere so that our environment can be managed. There are several means by which we can reduce the rate of climate change progression, halt or even reverse it, from recycling to using electric cars but it is important to consider the widespread cultivation of a plant that is not only cheap and easy to grow but is also one of the most efficient at trapping the most vicious greenhouse gas – CO2 and create a negative carbon footprint.

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