Edited and published by Wellness Monster Stacie
Hemp oil has a long history of use in Eastern culture and there is a lot of buzz in the wellness industry about using hemp oil to relieve a variety of health complaints. However, there seems to be some confusion over the difference between Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) and Hemp (Cannabis genus), which are plants of the same species but have entirely different properties. Marijuana is best known for its psychoactive ability to produce a “high”, due to the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of its leaves, stems, and flowers. Hemp oil is actually derived from the subspecies plant, Cannabis genus, which contains only trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3 percent).
The Difference Between Cannabis Oil & Hemp Oil
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring plant chemical. Both marijuana (Cannabis sativa) and hemp (Cannabis genus) contain CBD. However, while CBD oil from marijuana contains THC and can make the user “high” CBD oil from hemp contains such minute amounts that there is no possibility of a psychoactive response occurring. CBD oil is made from the extraction of cannabidiol from various parts of the Cannabis sativa and Cannabis genus plants.
However, cannabis oil is derived only from the Cannabis sativa (marijuana) plant which contains both CBD and THC, which could be a problem for those who may be sensitive to the psychoactive effects of cannabis oil while hemp oil is made only from the stalk of the hemp plant.
Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, which have little to no THC or CBD and is generally used for dietary purposes for its essential fatty acid content which can help regulate cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. Hemp seeds have a nut-like flavor while the green-colored oil made from the seeds has a bit of a grassy aroma and flavor. Hemp seeds are widely used to produce products, such as hemp oil, hemp milk, hemp protein powder, and hemp cheese substitutes.
It’s important to note, in states that have legalized marijuana, CBD oil can be made from both Cannabis sativa (marijuana) and Cannabis genus (hemp). In states where cannabis is illegal, CBD oil can only be made from Cannabis genus, which refers to the stalks of the hemp plant. In other words, Cannabis oil containing THC can only be purchased in states that have legalized the sale of cannabis.
What is in Hemp Oil?
The process of extracting CBD from the hemp plant involves the use of solvents. And, there are many different types of solvents used commercially, all of which have drawbacks.
Butane or Hexane Extraction
These solvents remain intact in the final product and are potential harm to lung tissues.
The high-pressure, low-temperature CO2 gas extraction method isolates and preserves the cannabinoids in the oil. The drawbacks are that this method takes more time causing high production costs, which raises the retail cost.
Ethanol extraction is safe and nontoxic but destroys plant waxes, which may have valuable health benefits.
Olive oil Extraction
Olive oil extraction is the safest and most cost-effective method of extraction and adds to the health benefits of hemp oil by helping to boost immunity and reduce inflammation.
How Hemp Oil Works in the Body
When regarding the benefits of the hemp plant it’s important to keep in mind that it’s is the health benefits of the CBD (cannabidiol) that’s actually being referred to. While research is still ongoing, clinical evidence gathered thus far is appealing.
While hemp oil may not work for everyone there do appear to be proven benefits to using it in those it does work for. As previously stated, hemp provides no mind-altering side-effects. The user won’t get “high”. For this reason, it is not habit-forming or addictive. It’s 100% natural and can be used as a substitute for prescription painkillers, such as Percocet, which some individuals are extremely sensitive to. Hemp oil seems to work fairly well for a variety of pain conditions.
Hemp oil can increase cannabinoid receptors and reduce cytokine formation in the body which, in turn, helps to reduce inflammation, which relieves pain and any accompanying symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting. It is reported to reduce muscle spasm and increase mobility, as well as to relieve neuropathic pain. For this reason, it works well for the following conditions.
- Chemotherapy Pain
- Chronic Pain
- Diabetes (prevention)
- Dravet Syndrome
- Healthy Hair
- Heart Problems
- Huntington’s Disease
- Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome
- Menstrual Pain
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Substance Abuse
Hemp Oil for Use in Anxiety & Depression
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the highest ranking contributor toward disability worldwide with anxiety disorders ranking the sixth highest. These disorders are usually treated with prescription medications, such as benzodiazepines, which can be addictive and cause a variety of negative side-effects, including a headache, irritability, sleepiness, drowsiness, digestive complaints, insomnia, low libido, and thoughts of suicide. Anti-depressant pharmaceuticals often lead to substance abuse.
CBD oil from the hemp plant has shown great promise as a treatment for depression as CBD is able to act on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.
CBD oil appears to help to relieve anxiety, panic attacks, and to improve mental function. It has also been beneficial in reducing fearfulness and insomnia associated with PTSD in children. Those living with these disorders and who are sensitive to prescription drugs may find relief in this more natural alternative to prescription medications.
Alhough more studies are needed, CBD is also thought to have antipsychotic effects and may provide the following health benefits may help individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar, and manic depression by reducing psychotic symptoms
The Nutritional Value of Hemp Oil
Up to about 75-80% of hemp seed consists of an edible oil that contains essential fatty acids, most importantly Omega 3 and Omega 6. While Omega 3 does not prevent heart disease is known for directly contributing toward decreasing the likelihood of chronic heart disease when taken regularly as a part of a healthy dietary regimen. However, it can, in some instances, take up to one year to improve and optimize the body’s lipid profile while taking 1000 mg of Omega 3 each day. The human body cannot produce Omega 6 on its own. Omega 6 helps plays a role in growth and tissue repair. It also helps to maintain optimal health of the entire nervous system. It, along with Omega 3, promotes brain health and improves mental cognition. Some research shows that Omega 6 also has the ability to fight inflammation in the body and brain. The recommended daily dose of Omega 6 essential fatty acid is 6-10 grams each day. The European Food Safety Authority agrees with this quantity.
How to Choose a Hemp Oil Product
When choosing a hemp oil product the hemp plant used to make the product should be 100% organically grown to minimize exposure to toxins. Ideally, it should be extracted using olive oil, CO2, or ethanol. A third-party certificate of analysis can reveal the composition of the hemp oil and any possible contaminants, such as pesticides.
How to Use Hemp Oil
Hemp oil can be applied topically, taken orally (i.e., foods, capsules, gummies), sublingually (drops under the tongue), or vaped, as in smoking via vaporization, with sublingual and vaping methods allowing for the fastest onset of relief. The effects of oral products can take an hour or longer to work.
Topical hemp oil can be directly applied to the body over areas of pain or inflammation where it will be absorbed into the skin to fight inflammation. Pain reducing benefits are reported not to last as long with the topical method.
Vaping is a fast-acting method that enables an individual to feel results quickly. However, there are health dangers to consider when it comes to inhaling vapors. When hemp oil is used with a vape pen, propylene glycol should not be used as a thinning agent. When heated, propylene glycol can create formaldehyde, which has cancer-causing properties.
Also, when CBD is extracted via olive oil the product should be stored in a cool, dark place away from heat and light to prevent rancidity.
Right Hemp Oil Dosages
When it comes to dosing CBD more is not better. Smaller doses can have a more substantial effect than larger ones by maintaining levels in the blood when doses are spaced out. Because every individual is biochemically and genetically unique doses may need to be experimented with to find the best dosage. That’s why there will often be some trial and error to find the perfect dosage. First, it’s important to determine the reason for using hemp oil. Determining why it is being used helps to determine the dosage. If hemp oil is simply being taken for overall health benefits a lower dosage will be required. For more specific health conditions or chronic pain, a higher dosage is often called for.
In every 100 grams of hemp oil, there are approximately 20 grams of Omega 3 and 60 grams of Omega 6. The optimal daily recommended requirement of hemp oil is between 16-17 grams each day, which is a little over one tablespoon. Taking more than this can pose health risks, including obesity, heart problems, and poorer brain function. Unless otherwise prescribed medically, taking more than this safe recommended amount just isn’t healthy and will do more harm than good.
Proper dosage primarily depends on body weight, which is why dosage will vary from person to person. A good rule of thumb in determining the correct CBD dosage according to body weight is to take 1–6 mg of CBD for every 10 pounds of body weight. One should always begin with the lowest dosage and work from there to determine the correct dosage for a specific condition to reduce chances of sensitivity and to minimize the risk of any unwanted and unnecessary side-effects. For example, someone weighing 200 pounds can take a dose of approximately 20-33 mg of CBD depending on the condition CBD is being used for. If the condition is not severe, the dose can be started at the lower end of the recommendation at 20 mg. If this dose is found to be inadequate in relieving symptoms the dose can be increased in segments up to 33 mg.
Hemp Oil Precautions & Possible Side-Effects
Hemp oil is natural and considered to be very safe and highly effective. However, that does not mean there is an absence of side-effects. Potential side-effects are as follows.
- Hemp seeds are high in fiber and may cause stomach cramps and diarrhea when used in cooking or when consumed in large amounts.
- Hemp seeds are also high in fat, so should be consumed within moderation.
- Hemp seeds, in large amounts, can slightly thin the blood and interact with anticoagulant medications, causing a higher risk of bleeding.
- Some proteins, fibers, minerals, and other essential nutrients that are found in hemp seed oil can also cause symptoms of sensitivity or allergy.
- Hemp seeds contain Arginine which may trigger herpes breakouts in individuals living
- Hemp seeds oil produces harmful toxins when heated to 121° or higher which can cause damage to the body’s tissues and organs. For this reason, it is best to use it on cool dishes only.
- Hemp seeds contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. An excess of these fats can lead to an elevated risk for obesity and heart disease.
- Over-consumption of hemp oil could trigger or worsen Parkinson’s disease.
- Some hemp oil products may contain minute traces of THC which may cause feelings of being “high”.
- Large doses of hemp seed oil may result in a positive urine-based drug test.
- High levels of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seed oil may cause bacterial growth within the body.
Individuals with medical conditions, who have low blood pressure, who are pregnant or are breastfeeding, or are on medications should speak with their doctor before using hemp oil. The CBD in hemp oil has been known to negatively interact or interfere with certain medications.
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