Edible seeds haven't been this popular since our hunt-and-gather days. Here's everything you need to know before you dig in There are definite benefits to combining pumpkin, spice and cannabis and many ways to combine the benefits of pumpkin, spice and cannabis. We've all heard of using apples as bongs but have you ever tried a pumpkin? Click here to read our pumpkin bong tutorial and a great THC pumpkin seed recipe.
The Truth About 6 “Superfood” Seeds
W hen it comes to nutrition-dense superfoods, seeds are having a bit of a moment. But do they deserve their health halo? “There is an obsession with healthy fats, protein and fiber—it’s like the trinity—and seeds have all three,” says Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian in Chicago, Illinois. Of course, shortly behind every health food trend are enterprising food companies quick to sell you packaged foods that contain them—making it tough to tell what’s truly good for you and what isn’t.
Here’s a quick primer on six seeds that will help you separate the hype from truth:
What’s good: Chia’s evolution from punch line to power food has finally earned the tiny seeds some respect. Packed with 10g of fiber and nearly 5g of protein per ounce (just under 3 tablespoons), the seeds — which come from a plant in the mint family — can absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, making for a fun addition to everything from puddings (think tapioca without all the sugar) to pancakes. Chefs at the Cleveland Clinic even add the seeds to meatballs for extra bulk and flavor, says Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian at the Ohio hospital. Sold both in big bags and small, single-serve packets for mixing into smoothies, the seeds are also a good source of calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids and phosphorous.
What’s not: Assertions that this ancient seed can lower blood pressure and make you lose weight have not been proven. Chia doesn’t come cheap either: At $12.99 a pound at my local market, it costs more than twice as much as most other seeds.
What’s good: Hemp is a variety of cannabis plant, but the only high these seeds will give you is a nutritional one. They’ve got more protein (about 10g per ounce) than any other seed we can think of, making them a great alternative to animal protein. “For adding protein to a smoothie, I am going to go for hemp seeds,” says Blatner. And because protein takes longer to digest than carbs, they may help you feel full longer. Bonus: Each ounce contains three-quarters of the daily recommended Vitamin E and nearly a third of the recommended zinc to help boost your immune system.
What’s not: Search on “cannabis cures cancer” and you’ll find a large and ardent contingent who believe that cannabis, particularly in its oil form, is a magic elixir. Not only is this claim not proven by scientific studies, but the cannabis oil promoted is not the same as the oil made from hemp seeds, which is commonly found in health stores.
What’s good: An ounce of these slightly nutty seeds contains nearly 8g of fiber along, 12g of fatty acids, and more than a quarter of your daily recommended magnesium, which helps boost energy. The fiber helps with digestion, and there’s also some evidence that flax seeds can lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. Available in either brown or golden varieties, both are equally nutritious.
What’s not: Unlike other seeds, just sprinkling a handful of these bad boys on your yogurt won’t yield their full benefits. As Blatner notes: “Flax seed is best in its ground form so we can get the nutrients out of its shell.” Due to flax seeds’ high oil content, you should refrigerate ground seeds (as well as flaxseed oil).
What’s good: For a tasty snack you can enjoy a la carte, roasted pumpkin seeds – also known as pepitas – are the hands-down winner. But where pumpkin seeds really shine is in the kitchen: found in everything from pesto to pipian verde, they’re one of the most versatile seeds you can buy. The green seeds are high in fat (14g per ounce) and relatively low in fiber (2g), but make up for it with nearly 10g of protein and a slew of minerals, including half or more of the daily recommended doses of copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorous. They’re also a close second to hemp when it comes to zinc. Pumpkin seed oil has also been shown to relieve symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate – a common condition for men over 50.
What’s not: Pepitas are so delicious that it’s tempting to eating too many. Kirkpatrick, RD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute recommends no more than a handful a day, which contains about 160 calories. If you’re worried about your salt intake, consider buying a mix of salted and unsalted pepitas, then mix them together – and enjoy!
What’s good: “They’re kind of overlooked because people don’t know what to do with them,” says Kirkpatrick, “but they’re high in zinc, which helps immune health.” Per ounce, the seeds, which are also known as benne seeds, have 5g of protein, 4g of fiber and contain more than a third of the recommended copper (which we need for energy and collagen production) and manganese (which supports bone health). They’re also a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron.
What’s not: Although seed allergies are fairly rare overall, sesame seed allergies in particular are on the rise, with an estimated 0.2% of the population (about half of those who are allergic to cow’s milk) affected in areas where the seeds are available. Chances are you and your kids will be fine, but use caution when introducing the seeds to those who have never tried them.
What’s good: Native to Southwest Asia, nigella seeds are popular in Indian cuisine but have also been used for centuries as a traditional treatment for a broad range of ills, including pink eye, the flu, colic and congestion. Commonly referred to as black seed, kalonji or black cumin, the seed is also sold in an oil form at stores like Whole Foods. An ounce contains 11g of fiber, 5g of protein and 4g of fat, and is a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron.
What’s not: Nigella has been touted as “a remedy for everything but death”—including Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. But as dietitian Amy Jamieson-Petonic points out, “Some limited research has been done, but more needs to be completed before concrete recommendations can be made.” What’s more, the oil form does not contain the dietary fiber or protein found in the whole seeds, so if you want the full benefits you need to eat the whole seed.
Is There a Relationship Between Cannabis and Pumpkin Spice?
Many of us grew up with the familiar scent of pumpkin pie around the holidays. The fragrance and taste of pumpkin and spices that enhance it has evolved into a significant market in the USA, especially during the fall months. You can find pumpkin spice products in just about every corner of your local store. Most of the appeal comes from terpenes, or the chemicals that give plants, fruits, and vegetables their appealing aroma and taste. Like pumpkin, cannabis also contains terpenes; they give the plant and flower a distinctive smell and flavor based on which ones are present in a particular strain. Each terpene has specific properties that can help medical cannabis patients treat their health conditions more effectively. Visiting one of our Florida Medical Marijuana Doctors to receive your recommendation can help set you on the road to treating your health conditions more effectively. Take a 5-minute eligibility survey to see if you pre-qualify for a Florida medical marijuana recommendation today!
Long before stores began mass-marketing pumpkin spice products, lots of Americans grew up knowing the smell and taste of pumpkin pie in the fall. The combination of pumpkin, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and clove creates a familiar and somewhat comforting fragrance that lifts our mood and helps us relax. Terpenes give off an unmistakable odor and create the taste we recognize year after year.
- Limonene , the most abundant terpene found in pumpkin, has shown anti-inflammatory, stress-relieving, and anti-oxidant properties. It can also help lift your mood and may help provide protection from anxiety and cancer growth. In addition, it has been found to help with the absorption of other terpenes, particularly those found in cannabis. (1)
- Pinene (α-pinene and β-pinene) acts to help us focus and stay alert. It influences the part of the brain responsible for regulating depression and mood; has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties; helps prevent the growth of cancer cells; acts as a bronchodilator; and can decrease oil production in patients with overly oily skin. (2, 3)
- Linalool has proven pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties as well as the ability to increase the effectiveness of anti-microbials via the entourage effect. In addition, it helps relieve stress and acts as a sedative; and is an effective mosquito deterrent. Linalool also has the ability to act as an anti-convulsant, proving to benefit people with seizure disorder. (4)
- Myrcene, found in nutmeg, has a sedative effect as well as helping relieve chronic pain and inflammation. It is also a muscle relaxant and can help increase the absorption of cannabinoids in the body. (5, 6)
- Carophyllene is a unique terpene because it has the ability to bind to and activate CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Present in cinnamon and cloves, it is helpful in treating anxiety, inflammation, and depression. It also has antioxidant properties and has shown potential in helping treat alcohol addiction. (7)
- Camphene, found in cinnamon, is a powerful pain reliever, acting both on the body’s response to and perception of pain. This terpene also demonstrates potential as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory, particularly when the inflammation is located in the lungs. It is important to note that camphene is highly combustible and can release carcinogenic smoke when brought to a high temperature, so it is best consumed in a tincture or used as part of a topical preparation. (8)
- Zingiberene is a terpene native to many plants including ginger. It provides the ability for these plants to resist insect infestation and can actually be toxic to certain pests. -gingerol, which transforms into zingiberene, has been shown to limit the growth of colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer cells. (9)
- Bisabolol, also a component of ginger, has many benefits. It acts to help decrease inflammation and pain, lessens irritation due to injury or illness, and has antimicrobial as well as anti-oxidant properties. (10)
There are definite benefits to combining pumpkin, spice and cannabis. Pumpkin contains complex carbohydrates as well as vitamins B and E, which have been shown to help improve mood and boost serotonin production in the brain, helping to ease symptoms of depression or the blues. Avoiding too much protein intake when eating pumpkin will help limit protein’s tendency to block serotonin production. (10) When consumed alongside cannabis, pumpkin can stimulate the mind and energize the body while helping your body relax.
There are many ways to combine the benefits of pumpkin, spice and cannabis. Here are just a few ideas:
- Infuse cannabis extract or distillate into butter or oil and use it in your favorite pumpkin pie, or cookie recipe.
- Make a pumpkin cheesecake using canna-butter instead of regular butter or margarine when you prepare the crust. (11)
- Slowly infuse cannabis extract or distillate into milk and use it to make a cannabis/pumpkin spice latte. (12)
- Use canna-butter as an ingredient in pumpkin soup. (13)
- For a new twist on an old favorite, make some cannabis pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. The pumpkin adds moisture to the cookie mix, keeping it from drying out. (14)
While terpenes are an important part of cannabis, they are present in all plant matter. They contribute to the taste and odor of plants as well as helping protect them from insect infestation and destruction. They benefit humans as well by providing protection from cancer, relieving pain and swelling, slowing the process of diseases that attack the nervous system, and improving mobility. In addition, they have proven effective in slowing or stopping the progression of cancer cell growth. Terpenes have also been shown to improve mood, relieve the symptoms of depression, and ease anxiety. They can help patients with respiratory issues breathe more easily by relaxing breathing passages. As time passes and more studies are done, the benefits of cannabis and its components will continue to be revealed. Learning how cannabinoids, terpenes, and other substances present in cannabis and other plants will help us cope better, have less pain, and enjoy a more positive outlook on life. Speak to one of our Medical Cannabis Doctors about the best product, dose and route for your situation.
Pumpkin Bong Tutorial + THC-Infused Pumpkin Seed Recipe
You’ve probably heard of using an apple as a pipe, but how about using a pumpkin as a bong? Pumpkin season is upon us, and we highly recommend giving this smoking apparatus a try. Not only is it an adorable creation to wow your friends with, but it makes for a uniquely tasty smoking experience as well!
Many people associate the flavor of pumpkins with pumpkin spice flavoring–cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.–but if you want to taste the true flavor of pumpkin, try using one as a bong. Shoutout to Nic Bailon at our Salem location for reminding me about this awesome fall festive cannabis craft!
You’ll need a pumpkin, a downstem, and a bowl piece to create your pumpkin bong.
To begin, choose your pumpkin. It should be big enough to accommodate some water and the downstem once it’s all emptied out. Beginners may want to look for a pumpkin on the smaller side so it doesn’t require quite as much lung capacity to inhale the smoke.
Next, carefully carve a lid into your pumpkin around the stem. Remove the lid and set it aside.
Then, the fun part: Don’t be afraid to get your hands messy! And don’t throw away those guts and seeds just yet; you might want them (more on that later)…
Fill the pumpkin with some water and replace the lid.
Next, choose a spot to place the downstem and carve a small hole to fit it. This part can be tricky, because the downstem should fit as snugly as possible–so take your time with it!
Drill or cut out another small hole for air intake (where your mouth will go). Optional: Insert a Moose Labs MouthPeace into the air intake hole for added comfort and a more bong-like experience.
Pack your bowl with the cannabis of your choosing, and light it up!
So what about those pumpkin guts & seeds from earlier? There are uses for both, but first, you’ll have to separate the guts from the seeds. The guts can be pureed in a food processor and used in recipes in place of pumpkin puree. The seeds make a great snack roasted in the oven, but we can do one better: Coat the pumpkin seeds in cannabis-infused coconut oil before roasting them to make a healthy, fall festive edible option!
Remember that pumpkins are biodegradable, so we don’t recommend using your pumpkin bong for any longer than a day or two. Once you’re done smoking out of it, just remove the downstem and it’s all prepped to make a jack-o’-lantern!