Hemp oil is at the centre of a healthcare revolution in the west.
More and more people are becoming curious about the health benefits of Hemp oil, and the fact that it is derived from cannabis only adds to the curiosity.
As the benefits of Hemp oil and cannabis emerge, more and more people are seeking them for their ailments.
But what is the truth?
Is Hemp oil, along with cannabis extracts, just a recreational drug? Or do they have medicinal benefits which should be available to all those who need it
The History – where does Hemp oil come from?
Cannabis, which the Hemp plant is a variety of, dates back thousands of years.
We find records of cannabis mentioned in the ancient greek and Roman scripts.
The Greek historian Herodoutus referred to members of Greek high society using cannabis steam baths, although it is not clear for what purpose.
CBD OIL vs Hemp Oil vs Hemp seed oil
This is always a point of confusion for many. But it is really very simple. Hemp plant is a variety of Cannabis.
Firstly, let’s have a look at what the difference in appearance is between Hemp oil and CBD oil.
Let us explain further.
Cannabis comes in 2 varieties. Cannabis sativa and Cannabis Indica.
The former has psychoactive properties while the latter has a calming effect.
The active ingredient which causes these psychoactive changes is called (-)-trans-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Different types of cannabis will have different levels of this chemical, depending on the type of plant and the conditions it was grown in.
Cannabis plant contains many other compounds; not just THC. And there is one particular non-psychoactive compound, Cannabidiol (CBD)
that is thought to harbour powerful healing properties. And this is the compound in Hemp oil where most of the medical research has been focused.
Technically, Hemp plant is any variety of Cannabis sativa, which contains less than 0.3% THC.
|OIL||WHERE IT COMES FROM||SPECIES||RESTRICTION ON ACTIVE INGREDIENT||LEGAL RESTRICTIONS|
|Hemp oil||From stalk of the Hemp plant||Cannabis Sativa||Less than 0.3% THC||None|
|Hemp seed oil||From the seeds of the Hemp plan||Cannabis Sativa||Less than 0.3% THC||None|
|CBD oil||Entire plant||Cannabis Sativa||No restrictions||Only in countries/states where cannabis use is legal|
|Cannabis oil||Entire plant||Cannabis Sativa||No restrictions||Only in countries/states where cannabis use is legal|
So where does Marijuana come into all this?
Marijuana is just another name for the Cannabis plant.
Medicinal use of Hemp oil and CBD oil is legal in most countries in the western world.
There are off course, a few countries where even medicinal use is illegal.
I recommend you check the relevant countries governmental website for the latest on this.
In the United States, there are now 30 states, which have legalised the use of Hemp oil and CBD oil for medicinal purposes.
In many countries around the world, even though possession of Hemp oil is illegal, the law is often not enforced. Meaning if the police stop you with Hemp oil you are unlikely to face any penalties.
How is hemp oil manufactured and processed?
There are various methods to obtaining hemp oil, so I will outline the main ones.
- Extraction with olive oil.
This method utilizes olive oil to extract the hemp oil. it is safe and relatively clean. But it’s main drawback is that the olive oil is not very stable chemically, and it tends to spoil easily especially if not stored appropriately. This limits the shelf life of the final product.
2) Ethanol extraction.
This method is cheap and relatively clean but it does tend to destroy some of the plant nutrients, which harbour nutritional benefits.
3) Extraction with carbon dioxide
This is probably the most expensive But the cleanest and most efficient method of harvesting hemp oil. The cannabis plant is blasted with carbon dioxide under intense pressure, which helps draw out the Cannabidiol.
If there was one method I would go for it would be this, because it’s so efficient and less destructive compared to the other methods.
4) Extraction with butane
Although this method is very efficient, there will always be a residual amount of the butane left in the final product.
and butane is an irritant and can damage the Airways of the person using the hemp oil. So personally I would avoid any hemp oil extracted with this methods.
Is Hemp oil Safe?
The biggest risk in using Hemp oil comes from toxins, which have been left in the final product during manufacturing.
Like a lot of plants, the Hemp plant accumulates toxins from the soil it grows in. So it is essential the manufacturing process is thorough enough to minimise, and if possible, eliminate these toxins from the final product.
Proven Benefits of Hemp oil
As we highlighted before, the main ingredient in Hemp oil, which is thought to have medicinal properties, is Cannabidiol (CBD). And this compound has been relatively well researched. So let’s summarise the proven therapeutic effects of Hemp oil (CBD).
Treating some forms of epilepsy is probably Hemp oil’s greatest triumph to date.
In fact, in 2018, the FDA (The United States food and drug agency) licensed a medicine based on hemp oil for the treatment of some forms of epilepsy.
Studies have shown a reduction of over 50% in the frequency of epileptic attacks in some patients.
The drug is marketed under the brand name Epidiolex, and it is licensed for treating certain types of epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome in patients aged 2 and older).
Although this is a limited licensing scope, it represents a significant milestone in the journey to recognize Hemp oil, and the CBD contained within it, as genuine therapeutic medicine.
Hemp oil has been shown to improve pain tolerance, and there is already a licensed medicine based on Hemp oil extracts for this.
However, most of the research I have come across indicates that for the best pain control, you need the whole plant, rather than just the oil.
As we explained earlier, Hemp oil contains the compound CBD, with very little THC or any of the other compounds in the whole plant. And research suggests you need this cocktail of compounds from the whole plant to achieve significant analgesia (pain reduction).
Hemp oil has been shown to significantly reduce stress and anxiety. We think this is due to its ability to partially shut down the part of our brain that is responsible for our “fight or flight” response.
Research has shown that hemp oil can slow down some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is a cognitive condition that affects mostly the elderly.
It’s symptoms includes changes in personality and reduced cognition.
it appears that hemp oil reduces some of the cognition impairment in Alzheimer’s patients.
But most of this research has been conducted with mice, so we need more research to be done in humans to fully validate these findings.
General health and anti-aging
Hemp oil is full of compounds called antioxidants and flavonoids. These are compounds that detoxify the body by getting rid of reactive free radicals.
These free radicals can cause aging and other damage to the body if they are not cleared quickly. so we think hemp oil has the potential to improve overall health of the body, and in particular when it comes to ageing.
Choosing a brand – Not as easy as you may think
By now, I you are probably starting to be convinced of the medicinal benefits of Hemp oil and CBD.
But all this benefit counts for nothing if the product is poorly extracted or poorly manufactured.
An Italian paper was published earlier this year, where researchers compared the CBD content of 14 commercially available brands.
They just ordered 14 different brands of Hemp oil and compared them.
In 9 out of the 14 samples, they found CBD amount that was lower than what was declared in the product literature.
In 2 samples the team found CBD amounts that were higher than expected.
The researchers also examined the samples for another common ingredient in Hemp oil, called Terpenes.
These are chemicals which are found in the cannabis plant and should be detected in hemp oil (and CBD oil).
There was wide variability in the amounts of Terpenes found. Some samples had virtually none, while others were packed with Terpenees.
Therefore, we can conclude that the issue of inaccurate labelling appears to be widespread among Hemp oil and CBD oil.
In 2015 and 2016, the FDA issued warning letters to 14 businesses about inaccurate labelling information on their products.
Mostly over low active ingredient levels relative to product label information.
It is only fair to mention, that in the Italian study. the brands were purchased on the internet, and not in physical stores.
So you can see that choosing a brand is not that simple.
But there are golden rules that I recommend you stick to when choosing a brand of Hemp oil:
- Make sure it is a licensed brand.
- Look for customer feedback. Read both negative and positive comments to get an overall impression of the brand.
- Visit their website. Get a “feel” for what sort of company they are.
- Ask for certificate of conformity. This document show the chemical breakdown of the product. If a company appears not to have this, I would steer clear.
How should you start using Hemp oil?
- Consult with a Healthcare professional. this will ensure if you are fit to use hemp oil and if you are likely to gain any benefits from it, because each person is different and has different needs.
- follow any recommended doses that appear on the product packaging. the reason you should do this is because these doses have been tested by the manufacturer and are thought to be safe and effective.
- be patient. you may respond to hemp oil better or worse than another person because people are different, so be patient and and do not expect results overnight.
- Start at a low dose and gradually Build up. the human body, generally, does not respond well when overwhelmed by big doses of a new product. it is best to build up the dosage gradually especially in the first week.
- if you experience any side effects, stop immediately. and consult with a Healthcare professional.
Possible side effects
Hemp oil is generally thought to be safe. the clinical data we have suggests that it can be used safely over a wide range of doses.
So far toxicity has not been reported in humans. but that doesn’t mean that you should use it with abandon.
some possible side effects include dizziness, drowsiness and dry mouth. but it is likely this side effects will only manifest at high doses.
Hemp oil has incredible nutritional benefits. and research as shown that it has tremendous therapeutic potential. so there is no doubt that hemp oil works. But the Challenge for the consumer will always be in choosing the best brand.
To get the maximum benefit from hemp oil the consumer will have to choose a brand that has the highest quality ingredients. one that contains organic ingredients and manufactured with skill and expertise.
And as we get more research coming through on Hemp oil, I have no doubt that we will discover it has more benefits and more therapeutic qualities than we previously realised.
I hope you enjoyed the article.
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If you enjoyed this review check out my other review on bee venom cream