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What Are the Benefits of Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil, or hempseed oil, is a popular remedy. Its advocates claim anecdotal evidence for curative properties ranging from improving acne to treating cancer to slowing the progression of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Some of these claims haven’t been proven by clinical research.

However, data suggests that hemp oil may be able to help certain health issues, such as inflammation and skin conditions. This is primarily because of its essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including omega-3s and omega-6s.

Fatty acids, which we obtain from food, are vital for the normal operation of all body systems. Hemp oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of 3:1, which is proposed to be the ideal ratio.

Hemp oil is also a rich source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid.

A 2011 study suggests that adding omega-3s, such as those found in hemp oil, to your diet can reduce inflammation. Inflammation can contribute to diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Research indicates that the omega-3s and omega-6s in hemp oil may be effective in treating a number of skin conditions, including:

  • Acne. A 2014 study concludes that hemp oil (nonpsychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol) is a potent and potentially universal anti-acne treatment. The study states that clinical trials are needed to fine-tune ways to best take advantage of its benefits.
  • Eczema. A 20-week study in 2005 concludes that dietary hemp oil resulted in the improvement of eczema symptoms.
  • Psoriasis. A 2015 study indicates that omega-3 fatty acids, as a nutritional supplement, may be beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis. The study suggests they should be used in combination with topical vitamin D, UVB phototherapy, and oral retinoids.
  • Lichen planus. A 2014 article indicates that hemp oil is useful for the treatment of the inflammatory skin condition lichen planus.

The 2014 article also suggests that hemp oil can contribute to stronger skin that is more resistant to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.

A 2011 study suggests that the physical or emotional symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome are potentially caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin that may be related to low prostaglandin E1 (PGE1).

Hemp oil’s gamma linolenic acid (GLA) assists in the production of PGE1.

The study showed that women with PMS who took 1 gram of fatty acids that included 210 mg of GLA experienced a notable decrease in symptoms.

Menopause

A 2010 study of rats indicates that hemp seed helps to protect against complications of menopause, most likely because of its high levels of GLA.

A 2017 study , hemp oil’s antibacterial properties inhibited the activity of various types of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus is a dangerous bacteria that can cause skin infections, pneumonia and infections of the skin, bone, and heart valve.

Research suggests that hemp oil has health benefits. We'll take a look at just what makes hemp oil beneficial and which conditions may improve from using it.

Hemp oil benefits list

Hemp oil can refer to a full-spectrum oil from the Cannabis sativa plant or hemp seed oil, which is oil that comes from just the seeds of the hemp plant.

There is very little risk of intoxication from hemp oil as all forms of hemp oil come from food-grain strains of hemp. The authors of a study in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research note that food-grain strains of hemp must contain less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound that causes the so-called “high” of marijuana.

Hemp oil is not the same as cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The production of CBD oil uses the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant, which contain a higher concentration of CBD, another potentially beneficial compound in the plant.

Hemp seed oil comes from the small seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. The seeds do not contain the same levels of compounds as the plant itself, but they still have a rich profile of nutrients, fatty acids, and useful bioactive compounds.

Full-spectrum hemp oil that also contains plant matter may add other effective compounds, which may help with certain health issues, such as inflammation.

Share on Pinterest Hemp oil contains fatty acids that can benefit skin health.

The oil from the hemp seed is highly nutritious and may be especially helpful for the skin.

The vitamins and fatty acids in this oil may help keep the skin healthy and prevent breakouts.

A 2014 study looking at the lipid profile of hemp seed oil found that it is rich in healthful oils and fatty acids.

The abundance of fatty acids may make the oil an excellent choice for nourishing the skin and protecting it from inflammation, oxidation, and other causes of aging.

The authors of a 2014 review note that the topical application of hemp seed oil strengthens the skin and makes it better able to resist infection. The authors also suggest that hemp seed oil may be a helpful treatment for a range of skin issues, including:

  • eczema
  • dermatitis
  • psoriasis
  • varicose eczema
  • lichen planus, an inflammatory skin condition
  • acne rosacea

These benefits are likely to be due to the high quantity of beneficial fats and other helpful compounds in the oil.

The fatty acid content of hemp seed oil may also be good for the brain, which requires plenty of healthful fats to operate properly. Hemp seed oil is also rich in other compounds that may help protect the brain.

A recent study in mice found that a hemp seed extract containing these active compounds was able to help protect the brain against inflammation. The authors note that hemp seed oil contains polyphenols, which may play a role in protecting the brain.

Although these initial results look promising, scientists need to carry out studies in humans to confirm the benefits of this oil.

The comprehensive nutrient profile of hemp seed oil means that it may also be good for the heart. However, much of the information that is currently available comes from older studies or research that uses animal models.

An older study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism highlights the nutrient profile of hemp seeds and notes that they might have a positive effect on various health issues, such as high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and cholesterol levels.

A 2014 review concludes that an increase in alpha-linolenic acid, one of the fatty acids in hemp oil, appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. This fatty acid, which doctors call linolenic acid, is also present in fish oils and flaxseed oil. However, the researchers call for more clinical trials to confirm these results.

Full-spectrum hemp oil also includes plant matter, which adds additional compounds, such as CBD.

Although hemp seeds contain small amounts of these compounds, a higher concentration may bring some additional benefits to the body.

Natural pain relief

Many people use hemp or CBD oil as a form of natural pain relief, especially if the pain is a result of inflammation.

Those who do not want to take over-the-counter or prescription pain medications may turn to a high-quality hemp oil for relief.

A 2018 review notes that CBD, one of the main compounds in full-spectrum hemp oil, and other cannabinoids show promise for the treatment of many types of pain.

However, most of the research to date is on mice.

While the current research suggests that CBD may be a helpful natural treatment for pain, more human studies could give these results more credibility.

The fatty acids in hemp seed oil may help balance the skin and prevent inflammation that can result in acne. The addition of CBD from the plant matter may also help clear acne.

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigationfound that CBD may affect the sebum glands in people with chronic acne, leading to reduced sebum production and potentially helping clear or prevent acne breakouts.

Muscle tension

Full-spectrum hemp oil that contains CBD may also help with general stress and tension in the muscles.

Like fatty acids, CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which may help relieve the tension that many people carry from stress and promote recovery from exercise.

Rubbing a bit of hemp seed oil or full-spectrum hemp oil into tight muscles may help release tension and relax them.

The research on hemp oil is still relatively new, particularly in the United States and other places where restrictive laws have prevented researchers from fully exploring the potential of cannabis plants until recently.

As CBD comes into more common use in an increasing number of areas, research into the potential benefits of full-spectrum hemp oil may expand. As a result, scientists may find more evidence to support the potential benefits of the plant or even reveal new benefits. In any case, the future of research on hemp oil looks promising.

There is also still a small risk of THC getting into the system, even from hemp seeds, which normally contain no THC. The THC could be present as a result of contamination with other plant matter. The results of a 2017 study show that some commercial brands of food-grade hemp seeds can have a THC concentration that is as much as 1,250 percent higher than the legal limit.

It is essential to ensure that hemp seed oil comes from a reliable manufacturer. The seeds and oil should be free of plant matter that may add additional compounds, such as THC.

Last medically reviewed on February 14, 2019

The potential benefits of hemp oil include improved heart, skin, and brain health. Research is ongoing, and it might uncover additional benefits. Learn more about the benefits of hemp oil here. ]]>