March 29, 2022

Hemp Protein: What To Know

This overlooked source packs a healthy punch

A jar filled with hemp powder

If you’re in the market for a healthy protein powder, you may be overlooking one of the best options available: hemp. Yes, hemp is a powerful plant-based source of protein and fiber, a terrific potential supplement for your diet that doesn’t receive as much attention because of a misconception.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

“Hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant, but hemp has very little tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that causes marijuana’s psychedelic effect,” says registered dietitian Amanda Kusske, RD. That makes hemp perfectly safe to ingest without worrying about any adverse reaction.

In fact, hemp carries several benefits when used as a protein powder, as Kusske explains.

What is hemp protein and how’s it different from other proteins?

“Hemp protein is a vegan, plant-based protein powder that’s made from hemp plants,” says Kusske. “And one big advantage is that hemp protein doesn’t require nearly as much processing as other proteins.”

Other proteins, like soy, require several steps and an extraction process to form a usable protein powder, she points out. For hemp protein, though, it’s simply grinding hemp seeds into a fine powder.

Hemp is also a highly sustainable, low-impact plant, so using it as a protein powder is earth-friendly.


What are the health benefits of hemp protein?

According to Kusske, hemp is one of the few complete protein sources. “This means that it contains all nine essential amino acids that we need in our diet,” she says.

Additionally, it’s high in fiber with one serving — about four tablespoons — containing 11 grams of fiber, about one-third of the daily recommended amount for adults. It’s the only protein powder that packs such a fiber-heavy punch, Kusske notes.

Hemp fiber also contains omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fatty acids that are good for your heart health, as well as your immune system and digestion. Your body doesn’t produce these fats, so getting them in your diet is important. There’s also a good amount of nutrients like iron, magnesium and manganese, which, Kusske says, aren’t always found in protein powder.

And if you are vegan or vegetarian, it’s a perfect fit as a completely plant-based protein source. That’s especially important, as many vegans and vegetarians don’t always get the necessary amount of protein due to a lack of animal protein in their diet.

However you decide to add it to your diet, though, Kusske reminds us that no protein powder should be your only source of protein “It’s important to get as much variety in our diet as we can,” she says, “but for boosting your protein intake a bit, it can be a good addition to your diet.”


Are there any risks to hemp protein?

Unless you’re allergic to hemp, Kusske says there aren’t any risks. Just be sure that hemp protein is used as a supplement, not a replacement for anything in your diet.

What are the side effects of hemp protein powder?

While there aren’t any real risks to hemp protein, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any side effects. For one, that big dose of fiber could have an effect, especially if you’re not used to eating a lot of fiber.

“In that situation, it could cause some gas, bloating and a bit of digestive distress,” explains Kusske, “so it’s best to start in small amounts and gradually build up.”

And, as always, it’s best to consult your healthcare provider first, as they’re best suited to help you make any planned changes to your diet based on your specific situation.

Related Articles

variety of food groups containing manganese and magnesium
November 30, 2023
Manganese vs. Magnesium: Two Important Minerals With Key Differences

They’re both essential minerals but do different jobs in your body

holy basil leaves, known as tulsi, on wooden spoon
November 30, 2023
The Benefits of Holy Basil (Tulsi)

This herb offers different potential benefits from the basil you find in pesto

cool tropical smoothie with straw
November 30, 2023
Recipe: Cool Tropical Smoothie

A zesty thirst-quencher that’s dairy-free and vegan

salmon and broccoli over rice
November 29, 2023
6 Foods To Eat for Healthy Joints

Fish, cruciferous veggies, turmeric, yogurt, ginger and green tea all reduce inflammation

skillet of ground turkey stroganoff
November 28, 2023
Recipe: Healthy Turkey Stroganoff

A hearty dish that’s easy to put together

Top view of a bowl of chili topped with sour cream and jalapeños with tortilla chips for dipping.
November 24, 2023
Recipe Adventure: How To Build a Better Bowl of Chili

From meat to beans, we’ve got some ideas to help you create the perfect-for-you chili recipe

Spearmint tea in a glass see through cup with spearmint leaves scattered on the saucer and background.
November 22, 2023
3 Health Benefits of Spearmint Tea

This subtly minty beverage can help balance hormones and loosen stiff joints

Overhead closeup of cauliflower pseudo mashed potatoes in a bowl on a wooden table.
November 21, 2023
Recipe: Cauliflower Mashed Pseudo Potatoes

A creamy mashed cauliflower that’s sure to please

Trending Topics

group of hands holding different beverages
November 14, 2023
10 Myths About Drinking Alcohol You Should Stop Repeating

Coffee won’t cure a hangover and you definitely shouldn’t mix your cocktail with an energy drink

Person applies moisturizer as part of their skin care routine after a shower.
November 10, 2023
Korean Skin Care Routines: What You Need To Know

Focus on the philosophy — replenishing and respecting your skin — not necessarily the steps

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
November 8, 2023
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try