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Hemp Oil: Is It Good for You?

In this Article

In this Article
In this Article
  • Nutrition Information
  • Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Oil
  • Potential Risks of Hemp Oil

Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, is made from hemp, a cannabis plant like the drug marijuana but containing little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that gets people “high.” Instead of THC, hemp contains cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical that has been used to treat everything from epilepsy to anxiety.

Hemp is increasingly popular as a remedy for a range of conditions including skin issues and stress. It may contain properties that contribute to reduced risks of illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease, though additional research is necessary. Hemp oil may also reduce inflammation in the body.

In addition to CBD, Hemp oil contains large amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats, which are two types of unsaturated fat s, or “good fats,” and all nine essential amino acids, the materials your body uses to make protein. Here’s more information about nutrients in hemp seed oil and how they may benefit your health.

Nutrition Information

Hemp oil is made from hemp seeds. In one serving of hemp seeds (3 tablespoons), you’ll find the following:

  • Calories: 170
  • Calories from fat: 108
  • Total fat: 12 grams
  • Saturated fat: 1 grams
  • Trans fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 0 grams
  • Total carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Sugars: 1 grams
  • Protein: 10 grams

Hemp seeds also contain these minerals and hemp nutrients:

  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Gamma linolenic acid
  • Arginine
  • Magnesium
  • B vitamins

Many of these nutrients provide the body necessary minerals and also contribute to overall health. Note that hemp seeds contain a significant amount of iron (20 % of your recommended daily diet). This helps prevent iron deficiency, or anemia.

Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Oil

Hemp seed oil is used as a remedy for a range of conditions. Some studies show that its nutrients and minerals can contribute to better skin and heart health as well as reduced inflammation. Here’s a deeper look at what the research says about the potential health benefits of hemp oil:

Improved Cardiovascular Health

The amino acid arginine is present in hempseed oil. Studies have shown that this ingredient contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system. Consuming foods with high arginine levels can help decrease the risk of heart disease.

Continued

In studies, the CBD in hemp oil has been shown to reduce seizures in rare types of childhood epilepsy that are resistant to other treatments, Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Regularly taking CBD can also reduce the number of seizures brought on by tuberous sclerosis complex, a condition that causes tumors to form throughout the body.

Reduced Inflammation

Over time, excess inflammation in your body can contribute to a variety of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and asthma. It has been suggested that gamma linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in hemp, acts as an anti-inflammatory. Studies have also linked the omega-3 fatty acids in hemp with reductions in inflammation.

Healthier Skin

Spreading hemp oil on your skin as a topical application can also reduce symptoms and provide relief for several types of skin disorders. One study showed that hemp oil can act as an effective acne treatment, though more research is needed in this area. In addition, consuming hemp seed oil was found to improve symptoms of atopic dermatitis, or eczema, due to the presence of the “good” polyunsaturated fats in the oil.

Potential Risks of Hemp Oil

Although hemp and marijuana come from the same species of cannabis plant, hemp has little to no THC. This means that consuming hemp is legal in the U.S. and will not cause you to become intoxicated or impaired.

In general, hemp seed oil is safe to ingest or use topically, but there are a few things to note if you decide to start taking hemp oil. Pay attention to the following potential risks of hemp oil:

Some people experience skin irritation when using topical oils containing CBD, possibly due to an allergy. Start with using a small amount to see how your skin reacts to it, and keep an eye on any changes.

Digestive Issues

It’s possible that ingesting CBD-containing oils like hemp oil can cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. Again, when you’re first introducing hemp oil into your diet, start small to see how it impacts you. Reactions may be different from person to person.

Sources

Brain, Behavior, and Immunity: “Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation and Anxiety in Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”

Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment: “Scoping paper on the potential adverse effects of CBD products.”

Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports: “Cannabis for the Treatment of Epilepsy: an Update.”

Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology: “Gamma linolenic acid: an antiinflammatory omega-6 fatty acid.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Hemp Oil.”

GW Research Ltd.: “A Randomized Controlled Trial of Cannabidiol (GWP42003-P, CBD) for Seizures in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (GWPCARE6).”

Harvard Men’s Health Watch: “Iron and your health.”

Journal of Clinical Investigation: “Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes.”

Journal of Dermatological Treatment: “Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis.”

Mayo Clinic Proceedings: “Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils.”

Nutrition & Metabolism: “The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed.”

StatPearls: “Chronic Inflammation.”

The Whole U: “Super seeds: Power up with flax, hemp, & chia.”

USDA FoodData Central: “HEMP OIL.”

World Health Organization: “CANNABIDIOL (CBD) Pre-Review Report.”

Find out what the research says about hemp oil, who should avoid it, and how it may affect your health.

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.

hemp-oil-in-glass-bottle-next-to-hemp-seeds-and-leaves-on-wooden-table

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 Investigation found 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.