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Cannabis Seed – A Multipurpose Crop With Low Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ContentCannabis Seed – A Multipurpose Crop With Low Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) Content

Cannabis seed  is a multipurpose crop used to produce fibre and industrial hemp products with low delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. The seeds contain a wide array of nutritional and functional properties, and can be processed into foodstuffs of great interest for the food industry, as well as cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.

In 1975, the Italian Republic adopted a law which established an international control system for psychotropic substances derived from C. sativa L. plants, including THC [28]. As a result, the cultivation of C. sativa L. for commercial purposes became strictly prohibited until recently, with the reintroduction of hemp technical fibre production in Canada and then in Europe and the US.

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This new interest for C. sativa L. seeds is mainly due to their high nutritional and functional properties. In fact, it has been discovered that the hempseed contains many bioactive compounds with a pharmacological profile that is of considerable interest for health and cosmetics.

These bioactive compounds are mainly found in the hull of the hempseed, which is rich in polyphenolic molecules, such as the phenolic amides N-trans-caffeolyltyramine and cannabisin B. The lignanamides cannabisin A, cannabisin F and grossamide have also been identified. The phenolic glucopyranosides cannabisin A glucopyranoside and coumaroylaminobutanol glucopyranoside, corresponding to the glycoside of 4-(E)-p-coumaroylaminobutan-1-ol, were found in smaller amounts.

Hempseed is a dioecious plant and the different intended uses of its cultivation have contributed to artificial phenotypic selection. In particular, the cultivars that have a higher THC content are mostly monoecious, while the ones with a lower THC level are predominantly dioecious. This has caused the development of hybrids and varieties with specific phenotypic characteristics, and the emergence of a large number of C. sativa L. genotypes and phenotypes that are not included in the official C. sativa L. list of varieties [1].