As one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans, hemp used to be banned in the United States but returned as a legal crop in 2018. Since then, the United States has become the leading hemp producer in the world. Currently, hemp attracts increasing attention from consumers and scientists as hemp products provide a wide spectrum of potential functions. Particularly, bioactive peptides derived from hemp proteins have been proven to be strong antioxidants, which is an extremely hot research topic in recent years. However, some controversial disputes and unknown issues are still underway to be explored and verified in the aspects of technique, methodology, characteristic, mechanism, application, caution, etc. Therefore, this review focusing on the antioxidant properties of hemp proteins is necessary to discuss the multiple critical issues, including in vitro structure-modifying techniques and antioxidant assays, structure-activity relationships of antioxidant peptides, pre-clinical studies on hemp proteins and pathogenesis-related molecular mechanisms, usage and potential hazard, and novel advanced techniques involving bioinformatics methodology (QSAR, PPI, GO, KEGG), proteomic analysis, and genomics analysis, etc. Taken together, the antioxidant potential of hemp proteins may provide both functional food benefits and phytotherapy efficacy to human health.
Keywords: antioxidant activity; hemp; hemp peptide; pathogenesis-related molecular mechanism; structural characteristic.