Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, which is the name given to cannabis plants with little to no THC. The seeds are cold-pressed to produce one of the most diverse and nutritionally strong oils available. As the seeds are from the hemp plant, they will not produce the famous cannabis ‘high.’ Hemp seed oil is growing in popularity because it provides a long list of health benefits that have been confirmed through an ongoing body of research.
Hemp seeds do not have as many phytochemicals as the plant itself but they have a rich profile of fatty acids, nutrients, and valuable bioactive vitamins and minerals. The oil is well-known for being nutrient-rich and for its general health benefits and is composed of healthy fatty acids, protein, and carbohydrates. The many positive health effects of hemp seed oil are linked to the 3:1 ratio of linoleic (LA) and a-linolenic acid (LNA), two essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that particularly benefit the heart.
Below are some of the health benefits.
1. Hormone Balance
Hemp seed oil contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), which is needed for the synthesis of prostaglandins, compounds identical to hormones, that contribute to many body functions. As scientists have found out, supplementing with GLA may improve hormone health and reduce symptoms associated with PMS such as menstrual cramps. There is subjective evidence (not supported by research) that advocates that hemp seed oil may help to reduce breast tenderness, swelling, and feelings of irritability and depression.
It can also improve hormone health in older women going through menopause and reduce their symptoms such as hot flashes, irritability, and depression. Studies show that supplementation with fatty acid GLA does not cause any side effects.
2. Promotes Heart Health
Hemp seed oil improves heart health through a number of mechanisms.
It contains high levels of the essential fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3 in the ratio 3:1. Studies have found that the ratio should never exceed 4:1, meaning that 3:1 is a very good ratio for our health. These essential fatty acids reduce cholesterol levels in the blood due to their β-sitosterols content and that helps prevents heart disease.
Hemp seed oil is also a good source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) and it is rich in the enzyme lipase, which is an excellent non-invasive chelation treatment for the removal of plaque build-up from blood vessels and the cell membranes. That way it promotes heart health and prevents heart disease.
The amino acid arginine in hemp seed oil contributes to the production of nitric acid which relaxes and dilates blood vessels. This is how it can reduce blood pressure and help prevent heart disease.
Lastly, the GLA in hemp seed oil is known to reduce inflammation which prevents the type of heart disease that is usually caused by inflammation.
3. Assists in Weight Loss
GLA found in hemp seeds can reduce sugar cravings and is a natural appetite suppressant which helps in weight loss as you take in fewer calories.
Since hemp seed oil is rich in GLA which helps to reduce weight by preventing the regaining of weight. One study found that formerly obese individuals taking GLA supplements for a year gained back less weight. It is possible that omega-3s in hemp seed oil also enhance weight loss but this still needs to be studied.
4. Moisturizes and Alleviates Skin Conditions
Hemp seed oil is a great skin moisturizer as it is easily absorbed by the skin and contributes greatly to the skin’s barrier function to prevent moisture loss. Hemp oil is a perfect skin food because it is rich in nutrients, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, which make it an ideal carrier oil for massage and healing treatments. After using it for some time the skin’s appearance can improve greatly.
Hemp seed oil also offers other benefits such as relief of acne, minor abrasions, psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, and itchy skin. The oil also strengthens the skin and enhances its ability to resist viral, fungal, and bacterial infections.
5. Boosts the Immune System
The essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil are required by the body to synthesize endocannabinoids whose function is to strengthen the immune system. That makes it a good idea to regularly take hemp seed oil as an immune-enhancing supplement.
6. Powerful Anti-inflammatory; Eases Arthritic Pain
The gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) found in hemp seed oil is known for its ability to fight- inflammation. This is good news for people who suffer from arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. For example, people with multiple sclerosis (a chronic inflammatory disorder) who participated in a study were given hemp seed oil and evening primrose oil and their symptoms improved. Scientists believe that it may be effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia as well.
7. Pain Relief
Many people use hemp seed oil as a form of natural pain relief because it reduces pain when ingested or applied topically. When this is combined with its anti-inflammatory properties, it becomes a useful ally for injuries, infections or autoimmune disorders that cause pain. Subjective evidence suggests that hemp seed oil is a gentle pain-relieving massage oil that can be rubbed into the muscles after a workout or onto sore joints (due to injury, wear and tear or inflammation). There is hope in hemp seed oil for people who don’t want to take allopathic pain killers for chronic pain.
8. Improves Brain Function
Hemp seed oil contains low levels of cannabinoids that have been found by research to ease anxiety in people who have a social anxiety disorder. It is highly probable that the oil can reduce the symptoms of depression as well. The essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 are already known for improving memory and preventing age-related brain function decline.
A review of a number of studies suggests that CBD and other compounds in hemp seed oil possibly work in a way that protects the brain and the nervous system. It has the potential to relieve or prevent Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, ADHD and childhood seizure disorders.
9. Beneficial for Pregnancy
Because of the omega-3 fatty acids, hemp seed oil is a great supplement for pregnant mothers. One American study found that adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids is crucial during pregnancy since it is one of the building blocks for the development of the fetus’ brain and retina. It also helps prevent perinatal depression and preterm delivery and promotes easier birth and the baby’s lifelong health.
10. Diabetes Prevention and Treatment
Diabetes has been found to be connected to an unbalanced intake of essential fatty acids. As hemp seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids, it has a high potential for the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
11. Enhances Digestive Health
Research on the effectiveness of hemp seed oil for digestive health is not available. However, the DHA and EPA, in the omega-3 essential fatty acid, are known to synthesize compounds called eicosanoids that regulate the secretion of hormones and digestive juices. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that reduce any inflammation in the digestive tract and may relieve some digestive tract problems such as inflammatory bowel disorder.
Lastly, the fatty acids help to promote the good microbes in the gut flora which improves digestion and the immune system. In all these ways, hemp seed oil helps to improve overall digestive health.
12. Enhance Hair Growth
The essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil are known to add moisture and shine to the hair, to promote hair growth, to strengthen brittle hair strands and help the hair to grow thicker. Subjective evidence suggests that applying the oil on the scalp tends to reduce several scalp problems including dryness, itchiness, and dandruff and will possibly treat scalp psoriasis.
Hemp seed oil is a must-have supplement
As the laws surrounding hemp have only recently loosed around the world, the majority of research into the plant is still underway. With all these benefits, and research backing new ones every day, hemp seed oil is one of those supplements that should be taken daily.