Hemp oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the Cannabis plant. This is the reason why it’s also referred to as 'hempseed oil,' since it’s removed exclusively from the seeds. As you may or may not know, hemp oil doesn’t contain THC; the main psychoactive compound in the Cannabis. The oil containing THC is called cannabis oil or hash oil. As a result, the two oils should not be confused - as one is medicinal and one is nutritional.
Most of the health benefits of hemp oil come from its exceptional balance of the omega-6 to omega-3 ratios which are very similar to what our bodies requires to maintain optimal health and vitality. The oil provides powerful nutrition and it can be used internally as well as topically - as you may have seen hempseed oil based cosmetics and bodycare products on the market, such as Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps. Hemp oil is certainly among the best sources of the omega fatty acids our bodies need.
THE HEMP PLANT
Industrial Hemp is a tall growing plant and has low concentrations of THC - which is why over 30 industrialized nations are currently growing it for food, clothing and the like. The stalks of the hemp plant have been used from ancient times to produce paper and cloth. The long hemp fibres have great strength, both shear and tension strength. Ropes made using hemp fibres are long-lasting, durable and very strong.
Hemp seeds and oil have been consumed for many centuries. However, it’s more recently been shrouded in controversy due to its association with the psychoactive varieties of the Cannabis species.
HEMP OIL TASTE, COLOR AND ODOR
There are several varieties of hemp oil which are produced depending on how it's processed. Cold pressed and unfiltered oil is dark golden green liquid. It also has a nutty flavour which is actually quite pleasant. On the other hand, the refined oil is colourless and lacks the original flavour of the unrefined hemp oil. This refined version also lacks in various nutrients which are naturally present in hemp seed oil.
As a result, from the nutrition point of view, a person should go with the unrefined hemp oil. However, for the topical application purposes, the refined oil is suited because it feels earthy in texture less greasy and it won't turn your skin or cosmetic and bodycare products green.
The odour of the oil can be slightly pungent while its taste resembles other nut oils.
HEMP OIL COMPARISON WITH POPULAR OILS
FLAXSEED OIL VS HEMP OIL
Hemp seed oil and flaxseed oil are both healthy fat choices thanks to their low saturated fat content. Neither of the two is a good choice for all-purpose cooking oils. However, due to their low smoke points, there’s little evidence on whether they’ve got any additional heart-related health benefits over the other oils which are low in saturated fat.
Flaxseed oils contain 18% monounsaturated fats, 75% polyunsaturated fats and 7% saturated fat. Hemp oils are similar in composition with the same percentage of polyunsaturated fats but a high saturated content of fats. The lower saturated fats and higher monounsaturated fat content of flaxseed oil make it a nutritious choice.
Both flaxseed oil and hemp oil contain the essential omega-3 fats in the form of the alpha-linolenic acid as part of the polyunsaturated fat contents. Flaxseed oil is a good source of these fats, with 7.2 grams/tablespoon. Although hemp oil is a little lower in the omega-3 fats, it’s still a great source.
OLIVE OIL VS HEMP OIL
Whether you use the oils to cook or to drizzle over soups and salads, the right oils usually add good fats that are necessary for many bodily functions. Hemp oil and Olive oil are two oils which you can find in the unprocessed state which means that you get the most nutrients available. There are a few differences between these two oils, so including each oil in your diet may help your health on various levels.
Both olive and hemp oil are green in color. However, their taste varies. Olive oil has a vegetable-like flavour that’s reminiscent of olives whereas hemp oil tastes a bit earthy and nutty - more like a sunflower seed oil.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)
The essential fatty acid makeup of hemp seed oil and olive oil differ even though both are good sources of these fats. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat meaning it is high in EFA omega-9. N the other hand, hemp seed oil is more balanced oil in terms of EFAs, containing a 3-1 ratio of the omega-6 to the omega-3. Since few foods contain omega-3s, that are important for skin and brain function, hemp oil in certainly a beneficial addition to the diet.
HEMP OIL VS FISH OIL
Hemp seed oil is composed of almost 85% essential fatty acids alone and it offers the richest and most balanced natural plant-based sources of EFAs. As a matter of fact, the amount of linolenic acid and alpha-linolenic in 15 ml of hemp seed oil provides more than the required daily EFAs suggested by the FDA. In addition, hemp oil is lower in the saturated fatty acids as compared to other similar oils. It is also easily digested and can also alleviate symptoms of atopic dermatitis and even psoriasis.
Hemp seed oil also has the highest total antioxidant activity and phenolic content compared to other plant-based oils (except pumpkin seed oil). The naturally occurring phenolic compounds are well-known to play an important role in reducing the risks of cancer, acting as a very powerful anti-oxidant, relieving systemic inflammation and also promoting free radical elimination.
On the other hand, fish oil which is obtained from tissues of “oily” fish (like sardines, anchovies, salmon and tuna) contains omega-3 fatty acids and two other fatty acids called DHA and EPA. Oily fish don’t naturally manufacture the omega-3 fatty acids but they rather accumulate the oil in their tissues by feeding on other fish which have stored certain amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids as well as sea phytoplankton.
Although studies have revealed that fish oil might help in reducing incidences of cardiovascular diseases, its ability to relieve the other conditions like macular degeneration, depression and cognitive decline as attributed to hemp oil, hasn’t been verified.
Also important to note, fish oil doesn’t also contain the prefect balances of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 acids for the human body. Oils coming from most fish used to cultivate the fish oil capsules (like salmon, anchovies, sardines, herring and mackerel) have around seven times the omega-3 oils as compared to omega-6 oils. On the contrary, hemp seed oil has the optimal 3 to 1 ratio of the omega-3 to Omega-6 required for the bodies use and consumption.
BENEFITS OF HEMP OIL
Hemp seed oil has several applications for personal use much of which have only been understood recently.
Here are some of the significant health benefits of hemp oil:
- Excellent source of the essential fatty acids, including GLA, Omega 3 and Omega 6
- Lowers blood LDL cholesterol levels
- Lowers the blood pressure
- Improves cardiovascular circulation and function
- Improves organ function
- Improves immunity levels
- Increased energy levels and metabolic rate
- Reduces the symptoms of PMS and menstrual cramps
- Reduces inflammation and symptoms of arthritis
- Improves the recovery of muscles after exercises
- Reduces and treats dry skin as well as hair conditions
- Reduces many degenerative diseases by preventative measures
USES OF HEMP OIL
Hemp oil for Hair
Hemp oil can be used in scalp and hair treatments. It can also be used in reducing oiliness of an oil-based shampoo. Using hempseed oil on the scalp is very soothing and nourishing to the hair follicles. Furthermore, it improves the scalp health by providing the essential fatty acids (EFA) directly to the skin.
Using hemp oil in your diet has beneficial effects on acne. Its omega - 3 fatty acids helps the body to reduce skin inflammation. This in turn reduces redness of the pimples and might also prevent the future breakouts. Preventing breakouts using topical solutions may be very tough since many products including natural oils are block pores (comedogenic) and lead to breakouts.
Hempseed oil for Inflammation
People suffering from chronic inflammatory infections should really try the hempseed oil. This oil is rich in omega - 6 and omega -3 fatty acids that are strongly anti-inflammatory. The essential fatty acids are needed by the body so as to lower the systemic inflammation
Hemp Oil for Skin
Filtered hemp oil might be applied directly to the skin. This topical application serves as a moisturizer, has drying effects, Improves water resistance and it’s also has anti-aging properties.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is a rare and dangerous condition in which the nervous system degenerates. Supplementing the diet with hemp oil and the evening primrose oil improves the health conditions of people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.
Hemp Oil For Eczema
According to studies, people taking hempseed have shown to benefit internally from the symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis). Hempseed oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) which are extremely healthy and also have strongly anti-inflammatory properties.
HEMP SEED OIL DOSAGE
The daily recommended dosage of hemp seed oil is 1 to 2 tablespoons (14-28 ml). This dosage provides between 8 to 16 grams of Omega 6 fatty acids and between 3 to 6 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Obviously the best way to consume hemp oil is in a smoothie, soup or salad. However, if you are in a hurry and just want to get it down, you can put it on a spoon and drink it up!
PRECAUTIONS TO KEEP IN MIND
Even though hemp oil has several health benefits, this oil should be avoided by the prostate cancer patients or individuals who take the blood thinners. Below are a few precautions that you should always keep in mind before using the oil:
- An Anticoagulant: Hempseed oil can have anti-clotting effects on the blood and individuals who suffer from the heart diseases and also take blood thinners ought to avoid it.
- Increases the Risk of Prostate Cancer: Hempseed oil creates the best condition for cells to regenerate. This might promote growth of tumours especially for the prostate cancer cells. While more research is required, medical professionals say that you should avoid consuming the hemp oil in case you’re at an increased risk of prostate cancer.
- Can Cause Diarrhoea and Abdominal Cramps: Higher doses of the oil might cause nausea, diarrhoea or the abdominal cramps. As a result, hemp oil ought to be kept out of children’s reach.
- Hemp oil shouldn’t be heated: High temperatures could denature unsaturated fats of the hemp oil and turn theses fats into saturated fats. As a result, they should not heat so as to derive maximum health benefits.