Forbidden Fruits

Psst! There may be illicit substances lurking in your pantry: hemp, poppy seeds and Coca-Cola.

Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant Cannabis Sativa. One is legal and one is not. Both contain cannabinoids, chemical compounds indigenous to this plant. Hemp has a higher content of CBD (cannabidiol) while marijuana contains significant levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). It is the THC that has the psychoactive effect while the CBD inhibits this effect.

Edible hemp comes in three forms: oil, seeds (known as ‘hearts’) and powder. Hemp seeds generally do not contain THC while the oil may contain negligible amounts.

Dietary hemp has a number of nutritional benefits. The oil is rich in essential fatty acids and contains an ideal ratio of Omega 3 and 6. Hemp is one of the few plants complete in essential amino acids which makes it a good protein source for vegetarians/vegans. Hemp also contains fibre and minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron. Suggestions for use:

  • Use the oil in a homemade salad dressing.
  • Use the powder in energy snacks and brownies (yes ole time hippies, just brownies).
  • Add the seeds to a veggie burger or casserole for a little bit of texture.

Poppy Seeds
Papaver somniferum is the Latin name for the opium poppy. This plant contains alkaloids such as codeine and morphine and the seeds are the very same that sit atop your bagel, are mixed with lemon and cake batter and get stuck between your teeth. Other derivatives of the poppy plant include heroin and opium. Though the seeds are not meant to contain alkaloids, poor harvesting and damage to part of the plant from insects may cause some alkaloids to leach onto the seeds.

Poppy profile

Opium the drug

What do these 3 things have in common? Cocaine, Coca-Cola, a remedy for altitude sickness.

The coca leaf. This plant has been altered to produce an illegal drug, an ingredient in a popular soft drink and a remedy in the Peruvian Andes to combat mountain sickness, an illness resulting from lack of oxygen at high altitudes (i.e. from 8000 feet/2500 M and up).

Cocaine is still illegal, the aptly name Coke used coca leaves and kola nuts (hence the name) in its original formulation and coca tea is still reportedly used for altitude sickness in parts of South America.


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