Hemp oil or hempseed oil — not to be confused with it's wilder, headline-grabbing cousin hash oil — is the nutty, flavorful oil that comes from the raw seeds of the hemp plant. While the health benefits of hash oil are questionable, hemp oil's arent: It's a documented dietary supplement and beauty aid. Unfortunately, the widely reported anecdotal claims that hemp oil does much, much more, health-wise — like miraculously curing cancer and other ailments — are unproven (and likely bogus).
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What Exactly Is In Hemp Oil?
Hemp seeds are rich in protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 6, omega 3 and insoluble fiber. They are a good source of tocopherols, or Vitamin E antioxidants. They're packed with minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus, plus microelements like strontium, thorium, arsenic and chromium.
High in essential fatty acids, Omega 6 and omega 3, hemp oil can be used to increase immunity, counteract aging skin and improve cardiovascular health. Several studies show that the linoleic acid present in hemp oil can slow down the aging process and fight psoriasis.
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Here's Hemp Oil's Most Significant Health Benefits:
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- Hemp Oil Helps Maintain a Hormonal Balance: Hemp is the only edible seed that contains gamma-linolenic acid, which is eventually converted to the protective hormone prostaglandin PGE1 that regulates the hormonal balance and supports menopausal health.
- Hemp Oil Regenerates and Energizes The Skin’s Protective Layer: Due to its high content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, hemp oil has a composition similar to skin lipids, which makes it an excellent natural emollient and moisturizer. It is especially useful for dry, tired or dehydrated skin and nails. It increases the skin elasticity and water retention capacity in tissues. Pure hemp oil can be used to treat dry hair and is often included in hair conditioners.
- Hemp Oil is Great For Vegetarians: Getting the right balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can be tricky for vegetarians and vegans. Hemp oil has the optimal ratio of these acids.
- Hemp Oil Helps Lower Cholesterol: The only vegetable oil to contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (3:1), hemp oil can help lower cholesterol levels by accelerating metabolic processes. With a faster metabolism, fats burn at a quicker rate and are not deposited on the artery walls.
- Hemp Oil Can Be Good For Diabetics: Due to its low carbohydrate and sugar content, hemp oil is can be a great food additive for diabetics. The nutrients present in it can help moderate blood sugar levels.
- Hemp Oil Can Help Prevent Psoriasis: Psoriasis is caused by a deficiency of omega-6 fatty acids in the body. The fatty acids present in hemp oil help improve skin oxygenation and hydration.
- Hemp Oil Can Boost Your Immunity: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also improve immunity and regulate intestinal flora, thus building a natural barrier against microbes and increasing the resilience of the body.
- Hemp Oil Helps Prevent Demyelination Of Nervous System: Essential fatty acids are necessary for a healthy cell membrane structure. They also prevent the demyelination, the destruction of the myelin sheath (a membrane that protects the nerve cells).
- Hemp Oil Can Help Prevent Varicose Veins: Like other compounds high in omega-3s, hemp oil can thin your blood, reducing blood clots and varicose veins.
Precautions To Keep In Mind
Though it has a number of health benefits, hemp oil should be avoided by prostate cancer patients or people who take blood thinners. Here are a few precautions you should keep in mind before using it:
- It's an Anticoagulant: Hemp oil can have an anti-clotting effect on the blood. People who suffer from heart diseases and take blood thinners should avoid it (or at least check with a doctor before use!)
- It Can Increase Prostate Cancer Risk: Hemp oil has been shown to creates the best conditions for the cells to regenerate, which could promote the growth of tumors, particularly prostate cancer cells. While more research is needed, medical professionals advise that you avoid consuming hemp oil if you are at an increased risk of prostate cancer.
- In High Doses, It Could Cause Diarrhea or Cramps: Large doses of hemp oil can cause nausea, diarrhea and/or abdominal cramps. For this reason, hemp oil should be kept out of the reach of children.
- It Should Not Be Heated: High temperatures can denature the unsaturated fats of hemp oil and turn them into saturated fats.
Ready to explore more of hemp oil's health and wellness benefits? Check out these articles on using hemp oil, hemp milk, and hemp seeds in your beauty routine — and even a tasty soup!
What have you used hemp oil or hempseed oil in, and how has it benefited your health, wellness, or beauty? Tell us in the comments!