Hemp oil, or hemp seed oil, is extracted from the hemp plant’s seeds. This process is typically done using cold-pressing, in a manner that is much like how olives are cold-pressed to create olive oil.
The hemp plant is not the same as the one that produces cannabis or marijuana. Both of these plants belong to the Cannabis sativa L family but are both different plants entirely. That’s important to know because the difference in composition directly impacts the function and benefits of each plant. The biggest difference is the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) present in each. THC is the component of the cannabis plant that creates the feeling of euphoria or “high” that many seek.
The cannabis plant has high THC levels – up to 28 percent. However, the hemp plant does not. It does not contain more than 0.3 percent of THC. It, therefore, doesn’t create the high that would be expected when using marijuana. Yet, hemp has many benefits.
Hempseed Oil in a Nutshell
Through cold-pressing, growers and manufacturers can pull out many of the nutrients from hemp plant seeds so they can be used for various goals. For example, hemp seed oil has a high level of polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
There are many health benefits to using hemp seed oil. Still, it’s also important to point out its numerous other uses, including working as a component of the production of plastic flooring, varnishes, and coating materials. It’s also been used for centuries (dating back to the Greeks) for clothing and fabrics. It’s still used in this way today.
Focusing on hempseed as a food and oil source, though, shows just how exceptional it can be. Hempseed is a rich source of digestible protein and unsaturated food oil. It has a significant amount of dietary fiber in it, which comes from the hull and oil-soluble vitamins and trace minerals. In addition to having healthy fats and nutrition, hempseed oil – a good quality of it – tastes good, too. It’s easy enough to simply toast the seeds themselves to toss into a salad, but the oil can be used as a dressing or cooking oil.
Health Benefits of Hemp Oil
The health benefits of hemp seed oil come from the polyunsaturated fatty acids contained within it. That includes linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, and gamma-linolenic acid. In addition, it has a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. That ratio is considered ideal for humans. So, what can it do?
The use of oral hemp seed oils can help to improve eczema. In addition, the fatty acids may help treat other conditions, including cradle cap, acne, and psoriasis. It can also help to strengthen the skin to make it more resistant to infection and inflammation.
The use of hemp seed oil may help with:
- Reducing inflammation of the skin
- Protecting against oxidation of the skin
- Reduce the symptoms of aging
- Improve conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis
- Reduce symptoms of lichen planus
Reducing Blood Pressure
Taking hemp seed oil may help a person to see their blood pressure lower. This, too, is due to the omega-3 fatty acids found in the oil. For people with high blood pressure or hypertension, the consistent use of hemp seed oil may offer a lowering effect. It may not replace the use of blood pressure medications but may enhance their effectiveness.
Promoting Heart Health
Hemp seed oil is also rich in linoleic acid, which is very important for overall heart health. Linoleic acid reduces total cholesterol and LDL, commonly known as bad cholesterol. Lowering these numerous is critical for reducing the risks associated with stroke and heart disease.
A study found that the alpha-linolenic acid (commonly called linoleic acid) found in hemp seed oil is specifically helpful in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, including the development of atherosclerosis.
Boosting Brain Health
The fatty acid content in hemp seed oil may also help to promote healthy brain function. The brain needs a good source of healthy fat to operate at its best – and those just happen to be the oils found in hemp seeds.
Studies show hemp seed extract contains compounds that reduce and prevent brain inflammation. This is brought on by the polyphenols present in the oil. This may help in improving cognitive function and keeping the brain healthy longer.
The use of full-spectrum hemp oil is also helpful. This mixture contains CBD. When used together, this type of product may help with the reduction of stress in the body, including reducing muscle tension that builds up as the stress hormone races through your bloodstream.
The addition of CBD allows for anti-inflammatory benefits to occur. That means the CBD is able to encourage the immune system to reduce its attack on the muscles, reduce stress, and improve recovery times. Some find the use of this mixture ideal after an intense workout, for example. For those with tight muscles from tension, applying hemp seed oil directly on the muscles may also provide some relief, especially when combined with CBD.
Another example of how full-spectrum hemp seed oil may be helpful is in providing a type of natural pain relief. Pain that’s related to inflammation is most likely to benefit. Inflammation is the body’s response to “something that’s wrong.”
For example, a high amount of bacteria may lead to an inflammatory response in the immune system as it tries to fight off what’s occurring. Often, inflammation worsens the problem and leads to health complications. The use of full-spectrum hemp seed oil may help to relieve this.
Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) is found in hemp seed oil. It aids in the reduction of inflammation. This can be any type of inflammation in the body. That may include providing some pain relief from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), multiple sclerosis (MS), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
This may help with acute and chronic pain relief. For those who are using over-the-counter medications or prescription pain medications, the use of a good quality hemp oil may offer a better solution. It may offer the same level of pain relief without the side effects that these drugs can create.
Another way that hemp seed oil may be beneficial occurs in pregnant women. The omega-3 fatty acids found in the oil may help support the rapid changes happening in pregnant women and the developing fetus. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for eye and brain development in the fetus. Also, they support pregnant women’s brain health – helping to minimize the risk of conditions such as depression.
Are There Any Negatives to Taking Hempseed Oil?
There are numerous health benefits to using hemp seed oil in various forms. However, there are also a few warnings to consider.
Hempseed oil may lower blood pressure. In those who have high blood pressure, that’s a good thing. However, for those who have low blood pressure, such as from significant blood loss, medications, or heart problems, taking hemp seed oil may lower blood pressure too much.
Others who may wish to be careful with use and dosing include those who have hormonal imbalances, allergic reactions to products like this, or those with nutritional deficiencies. Those facing severe infections, including septic shock, may also not want to use this as it may lower blood pressure too much.
How to Take Hemp Seed Oil
There are various options available for hemp seed use. As noted, it is possible to simply enjoy the seeds whole. However, most of the nutrition and health benefits come from the oil itself. In that way, it may be beneficial to use it in other ways.
- It is possible to purchase hemp seed oil for salad dressings or other food products. When purchasing this type, be sure to choose a high-grade product.
- Topical products are available, too. This may allow for the direct application of the oil to the skin where muscle tension or pain is.
- Hempseed oil supplements are also common as a tool to support health benefits. Some are sold just as hemp seed oil, while others may contain CBD (if they are full-spectrum).
In all cases, it’s best to focus on a high-quality product. Be sure to speak to your doctor about dosing if you are at risk for any of the health concerns listed above.