The Properties and Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp oil or hemp seed oil is a by-product of the hemp plant and manufacturers create the oil by cold pressing the seeds. Hemp oil is often confused with CBD oil, however hemp seeds are highly nutritious, packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and do not contain any cannabinoids.
Hemp seeds have been used as food for centuries, experts believe that hemp could have been the first commercial crop (1). We have evidence of hemp plant playing a major role in building the most expansive civilizations in history (2).
Cannabis prohibition has demonized anything related to THC, even the production of hemp seed oil. Before cannabis prohibition hemp was a common cash crop, now that the tides have turned, we are seeing the many applications of hemp being utilized once again.
Hemp Oil Vs. CBD Oil
The rise in access to CBD products has allowed unethical retailers to take advantage of new CBD users. Hemp oil is often marketed by some unethical companies as a CBD oil, most commonly online. Understanding the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is vital to becoming an educated consumer. Both have health benefits and can promote overall wellness.
What is Hemp Oil?
Hemp seed oil is commonly referred to as hemp oil, has been used for thousands of years orally, topically and to cook with. It is packed with nutrients and easy to produce due to the simple extraction process.
Hemp seeds are a superfood worthy of the name as they are unusually dense in protein by weight and have nearly the same amount of protein as beef or lamb. Only 2-3 tablespoons of raw uncooked hemp seeds contain 11 grams of protein. (3)
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is one of the chemical compounds derived from the flowers of the hemp plant. When it is extracted, the result is either a distillate (full/broad-spectrum) or fine crystalized power (isolate).
CBD drops contains both CBD (distillate or isolate) and a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil which are commonly sold in small glass bottle. Oil and water don’t mix; therefore a carrier oil is necessary, however advances has also led to the production of water soluble CBD drops. CBD manufacturers most commonly use MCT oil or seed oil to mix with CBD distillate or isolate.
It is important to note that only the flowers contain cannabinoids, however all parts of the plant can be purposed for an impressive variety of industrial uses (4).
How is Hemp Oil Created?
Hemp oil is created by cold pressing the seeds using an oil seed press machine. Raw seeds are crushed by the press, extracting their oils which are then collected. Cold pressing seeds serve as a pure, natural way to create hemp oil, the same method is used to produce: olive, peanut and grape seeds oil. (5)
Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp oil can be used topically and orally. Each hemp seed is packed with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, gamma-linolenic acid, and other healthy antioxidants. Hemp seeds also contain other vitamins and minerals essential to overall wellness, such as vitamin C, vitamin B, calcium, iron, arginine, and magnesium. (6)
Consuming antioxidants is believed to lower the risk of many diseases. According to Better Health Channel, ‘antioxidants scavenge free radicals from the body cells and prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation.’
One of the most common reasons why people use CBD is to reduce inflammation. A 2011 study suggests that adding healthy fats like omega-3s to one’s diet could also help balance the immune response. A placebo-controlled, double-blind study was conducted to test if adding omega-3 to diets of healthy young adults could decrease proinflammatory cytokine production and depressive and anxiety symptoms. The results included a 14% decrease in production molecules associated with inflammation and a 20% decrease in symptoms of anxiety. (6)
A diet with a healthy ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 could lower the risk of skin disorders. Hemp seeds have a ratio of 3:1, which falls in the optimal range(7). Diets consisting largely of trans fat and unsaturated fat have a ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 that is considered unhealthy. Adding hemp seed oil to your diet can keep your body in balance, reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and stroke (8).
Vitamins and Minerals
Along with healthy fats, hemp oil also contains a substantial number of vitamins and minerals. The array of nutrients present in hemp seeds is impressive, including iron, zinc, and B vitamins. They are especially dense in vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorous, and potassium.
Uses of Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp Seed Oil For Skin and Nails
While hemp seeds offer a tremendous source of nutrition for our bodies, hemp seed oil has been shown to have great benefits for our skin and nails. This is due to the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that also include omega – 3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The great thing about hemp seed oil is it contains the “perfectly balanced” 3:1 ratio of these fatty acids that we should be consuming daily. This, plus the anti-inflammatory gamma linoleic acid (GLA), can potentially aid in skins inflammation and various skin conditions. These include acne, eczema and psoriasis.
While more research is required, studies based on the use of hemp seed oil for hydration and pain relief have been confirmed. A study by NCBI found that hemp seed oil “is externally applied to relieve pain in itchy skin diseases. Hemp seed oil is useful for the treatment of eczema and a host of other skin diseases like dermatitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis/cradle cap, varicose eczema, psoriasis, lichen planus and acne roseacea. By using hemp seed oil, the skin is strengthened and made better able to resist bacterial, viral and fungal infections.” (9)
When it comes to hemp seed oil and our nails. It’s firstly important to understand that our nails thrive on B-vitamins, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, protein, zinc and healthy fats. What’s great is that while hemp seeds themselves host all of the proteins 10 essential amino acids as well as five of the 8-B vitamins, hemp seed oil contains magnesium, iron, zinc and of course, healthy fatty acids. The Hemp Foundation states that “Hemp seed oil can be used thoroughly on the cuticles and nails to strengthen your nails and prevent them from breaking. Also, it has antifungal properties.” (10)
Hemp Seed Oil For Hair
Dryness, itchy scalp and hair breakage are all a part of unhealthy hair and more common than you may believe. Although not many studies have been conducted on the benefits of hemp seed oil in our hair specifically, studies on the use of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids have been more efficiently looked into. A study in 2015 examined 120 healthy females to determine the effects of hair loss throughout a 6-month trial. They concluded, “A 6-month supplementation with omega 3&6 and antioxidants acts efficiently against hair loss in improving hair density and reducing the telogen percentage and the proportion of miniaturized anagen hair. Objectively measured improvements were confirmed by the subjects' perception of efficacy”(11). Although this wasn’t uniquely a study on hemp seed oil, when we look at the fatty acids present and the perfect ratio, we can see that hemp seed oil could provide positive effects on hair health.
Hemp Seed Oil For Heart
With the density of nutrition found in hemp seeds themselves, it's hard to believe there haven’t been more scientific studies carried out on its further benefits on the human body. With the long list of vitamins and minerals available, we can already guess it can have some great effects on our bodies, specifically our hearts.
In an article published by NCBI, they discuss the excellence of hemp seeds and go on to discuss the benefits that hemp seed oil can have on our heart.
“Hempseed oil contains all of the essential amino acids and also contains surprisingly high levels of the amino acid arginine, a metabolic precursor for the production of nitric oxide (NO), a molecule now recognized as a pivotal signalling messenger in the cardiovascular system that participates in the control of hemostasis, fibrinolysis, platelet and leukocyte interactions with the arterial wall, regulation of vascular tone, proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, and homeostasis of blood pressure“ (12).To put it more simply, hemp seed oil may reduce your risk of heart disease.
On top of this, we can also find more benefits from the polyunsaturated fatty acids in hemp seed oil as it can “inhibit inflammatory responses” (13).
Hemp Seed Oil For Brain Health
Whether in seed format or pressed into an oil, it has become pretty prevalent just how beneficial hemp seeds are for our health. Which makes it more understandable as to why hemp seeds are seen as brain food. Before diving into the scientific information of it all, it is substantial to understand that hemp seeds can not only improve our memory but can aid in anxiety and depression.
This can be due to our connection between our brain and our gut. The gut is considered to represent the second brain. So, while there are always environmental or lifestyle issues to our brain, our gut can also be the reason we aren’t feeling 100%.
In 2011, new research was found on the link between omega-3 fatty acids and the reduction of anxiety symptoms. Medscape Medical News showed that this new research “may lower both anxiety symptoms and proinflammatory cytokines in healthy young adults” (14). This particular study trialled medical students over the course of 3 months. Students showed a “20% reduction in anxiety scores and a 14% reduction in stimulated interleukin 6 (IL-6) production” (15). Interleukin 6 is a pro-inflammatory protein.
On the same note, the brain benefits immensely from B vitamins, and hemp seeds contain a host of those. More specifically, of all 8 B vitamins found in hemp seeds, B6, B9 and B12 are the most beneficial for brain health. Despite most research being focused on these three specific B vitamins, NCBI states “the closely inter-related functions of the eight B-vitamins and marshals evidence suggesting that adequate levels of all members of this group of micronutrients are essential for optimal physiological and neurological functioning (16)”
Another study found that hemp oil may help with optimal brain function and also provide protection due to the polyphenol content (17, 18); however more studies are required in this area.
Furthermore, other minerals found in hemp seed oil can be highly beneficial for our brain. Magnesium: helps with memory, increases learning abilities and aids in healthy brain development. Iron: aids in overall normal neurological function. In particular, the synthesis of neurotransmitters and myelin.
Hemp seed oil for cooking
While olive oil and vegetable oil sit comfortably in our cabinets, we should really be adding another friend to the group, hemp seed oil.
Hemp seed oil is darker in colour, has a little more of an intense flavour and a low smoking point meaning it can’t be cooked at high temperatures.
However, making a creative salad with vegetables, rice or grains, drizzling it over roasted vegetables or pasta, using it as a vinaigrette or diving into a homemade mayonnaise can all be done perfectly with hemp seed oil.
Even with the amazing benefits, adding some to your smoothie or hummus is also a great idea.
A Plant-Based Solution to a Balanced Diet
Hemp seeds are packed with essential vitamins, nutrients, protein, and healthy fats. They are a great option to use as a carrier oil or as an addition to one’s diet. Shifting to plant-based foods is beneficial to an individual and the environment, hemp seed oil is an efficient, organic source of protein, a component that is often missing from vegan and vegetarian diets.
Please note that this article was written by a 3rd-party author who is a specialist on the topic of CBD, hemp and cannabis. Any information or recommendations contained within this article, are independent to the opinion of RUDERALEX CBD and our employees. We make no claims for any of our products, please read our disclaimer for additional information.