Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is an ancient cultivated plant originating from Central Asia with a wide range of applications. The article presents a review of the literature on hemp, its active compounds, biological activity, medicinal properties and potential use in medicine and food. Hemp seeds are widely used in food industry as they are a good source of protein, fibre, vitamin E, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium. Terpene hydrocarbons account for the taste and smell of hemp, mainly β-caryophyllene and α-humulene (sesquiterpenes) and monoterpene, myrcene. Currently the main focus of the industry is the seed-pressed oil rich in tocopherols, phytosterols, carotenoids, polyphenols and phospholipids. Hemp oil contains over 80 % of EFAs, including γ-linolenic (GLA), linoleic and α-linolenic acids, with an optimal 3 : 1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The use of oil in the food technology is limited owing to its intense colour and taste. Other active compounds identified in Cannabis sativa L. are cannabinoids, dihydrostilbenes and spiroindanes. Cannabinoids are characterised by antiinflammatory, antibacterial, analgesic and antidepressant properties. Hemp seed products are additives for tea, coffee, chocolate products, milk drinks, bakery and confectionery products and also beer, wine, honey or products for sportsmen. In the article there are also discussed legal requirements referring to possible uses of cannabinoids in food and introduction of food products containing cannabinoids to the market.
hemp, cannabinoids, THC, CBD, food and medicinal use