Hemp oil or hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. This oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and is considered extremely beneficial for heart health as well as skin. Hemp oil is also known to promote immune function and brain health.
Some people confuse hemp oil with cannabidiol (CBD). However, these two oils are not the same. While CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, stems and leaves of the cannabis plant, hemp oil is made from the seeds of the plant. In addition, some people also say that CBD oil has a higher THC content than hemp oil. However a study conducted in Canada suggested that hemp seed oil may contain high levels of THC. Therefore, this claim seems a bit controversial at the present time.
THC tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive substance in cannabis. However, the amount of THC is lower in cannabis than in hemp (marijuana). Read on to know about the benefits, harms and nutrients present in hemp oil.
Nutrients in hemp oil
Hemp seeds actually fall into the category of nuts that contain about 30 percent oil and 25 percent protein, and in addition some minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber are also found in it. The oil obtained from hemp seeds is mostly polyunsaturated fat (about 80%). It is particularly rich in linoleic acid (omega-6 fat) and alpha-linoleic acid (omega-3 fat).
In fact, the amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fats found in hemp seed oil are in the right proportions that are necessary for maintaining health. Apart from this, this oil also contains all the important amino acids, especially arginine which is known to be good for heart health. In addition, it also contains terpenes and cannabinoids.
Hemp oil has a low oxidation temperature and therefore cannot be used with processed foods or items with a long shelf life.
Benefits of hemp oil
Not much scientific evidence exists about the health benefits of hemp oil. Most of the benefits associated with this oil are either anecdotal or there are only a few studies to support these benefits. However, here we are telling you about the health benefits associated with the use of hemp seed oil:
Benefits of hemp oil for skin
According to a study published in the journal Pharmacognosy Reviews, hemp seed oil strengthens the skin barrier, which helps prevent infections caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi in the skin. It also helps in treating skin problems like psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, lichen planus and acne rosacea. A randomized control trial in 20 people found that dietary hemp oil can improve itching and dryness associated with atopic dermatitis. This visible effect on the skin was attributed to a balanced intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Hemp seed oil contains small amounts of cannabidiol. A lab study in Hungary indicated that cannabidiol may help manage acne by reducing sebum production and inflammation. Additionally, hemp oil is known to moisturize the skin and reduce the many visible signs of aging on the face, including wrinkles. However, more studies are needed to confirm these effects of the oil.
Benefits of hemp oil for heart health
Hemp oil is also considered beneficial for maintaining cardiovascular health. However, not much evidence exists to substantiate these claims. This oil contains an amino acid called arginine, a precursor to nitric acid that is essential for maintaining homeostasis, blood pressure and the strength of blood vessels. However, the researchers did not find evidence of a significant effect of cannabis oil consumption on any of these factors. One study found an improvement in blood cholesterol levels and a reduction in coronary artery disease when taking hemp oil supplements. More studies are needed to understand the effects of hemp oil for good heart health.
Benefits of hemp oil for arthritis
Arthritis is a condition associated with inflammation i.e. internal inflammation in which the problem of joint pain and swelling is seen. To manage the pain of arthritis, most patients sometimes use hemp oil as an alternative treatment. Animal studies suggest that hemp seed oil, which is rich in anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, may help manage the symptoms of arthritis. However, if you are thinking of using hemp seed oil to treat arthritis, it is best to talk to your doctor first.
Benefits of hemp oil for brain health
Hemp oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3 fats, which can help reduce anxiety and depression. A randomized double-blind trial on 65 people found that supplementing hemp oil with primrose oil was helpful in managing multiple sclerosis and reducing the recurrence of symptoms in patients. Hemp oil polyphenols are believed to be neuroprotective. Animal studies show that hemp seeds contain a compound called phenyl propionamide that has positive effects on memory and cognitive skills. However, more studies are needed to determine whether hemp seed oil actually has an effect on cognitive function.
Many other benefits of cannabis oil
There are many other benefits of hemp oil as well:
- Fatty acids present in hemp seed oil are believed to help improve immunity
- A small study indicated that CBD-rich hemp seed oil may be beneficial for reducing side effects caused by HPV virus (human papillomavirus) vaccines.
- Hemp oil is considered good for improving the moisture content in the hair.
- It is believed that the healthy fat present in hemp seed oil is helpful in preventing diabetes and reducing obesity.
- A study published in the journal Molecules indicates that hemp seed oil has antibacterial potential and can suppress the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. It is a bacteria that is responsible for many minor health conditions – from skin infections to pneumonia.
Disadvantages of hemp oil –
Some of the side effects of using hemp seed oil are:
- Some people may have stomach problems due to the consumption of hemp oil
- Due to the presence of cannabidiol, hemp oil can interact with certain medications such as blood thinners. Do not use cannabis oil if you take anticoagulant medication or are about to undergo surgery
- Not much is known about the effects of hemp seed oil in pregnancy. In such a situation, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding your children, do not consume hemp oil without consulting your doctor.
- If you have any kind of chronic disease, then definitely talk to your doctor before adding hemp oil to your diet.