What is Hemp Extract and What are the Benefits?
With more states legalizing the sale of cannabis, whether medical or recreational, patients and users are finding there’s more than one way to experience the benefits of this versatile plant. Whether it’s smoking the leaf, eating infused candy, or applying topical lotion, it seems each person prefers their own method of use to treat their ailments. One of the many products found in dispensaries as well as grocery store shelves is hemp oil, or hemp extract. Contrary to popular belief, hemp oil and cannabis oil are not the same substance.
Where Does Hemp Extract Come From?
Since hemp oil comes from a special variety of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% of THC, it is not considered a psychoactive medication and is regularly used in consumable goods. Hemp oil extract is usually produced from the stalk of the plant and will contain phytocannabinoids such as CBD. Hemp seed oil is taken from the seed and will not contain any phytocannabinoids. However, hemp seed oil does have fatty acids and is often used in cooking. You can think of it like olive oil or coconut oil. It’s nutritionally helpful, but not necessarily medically helpful. If you do purchase hemp seed oil, remember to look for cold-pressed and unrefined oil to fully benefit from the nutrients. Refined oil is usually stripped from many of its useful properties.
Hemp oil and CBD oil are terms that are often interchanged because they can both come from the stalk of a hemp plant. Remember, these oils do not contain an amount of THC high enough for one to feel the effects. In fact, many of the oils on the market have nearly 0% THC because consumers wish to avoid it. Even though there is little to no THC in the oil, there are various other chemical compounds that are beneficial for a range of medical conditions.
What is Hemp Extract Commonly Used For?
Before using hemp oil products, it’s important for you to consult your doctor, especially if you are on any medications or suffer from any medical conditions. Before exploring what hemp oil can be used for, it’s important to understand why it works for so many people.
The human body contains nerve receptors all over the body that are activated by the molecules called endocannabinoids that the body naturally produces. CB1 receptors are found mostly around the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are found throughout the immune system. The phytocannabinoids found in hemp oil are similar to the endocannabinoids in the body and bind to the same receptors. When the endocannabinoid system becomes dysregulated, products such as hemp oil containing phytocannabinoids may help restore regulation to the system.
Because of this system, hemp oil can help with the following:
Inflammation. Many patients suffering from joint pain due to inflammation or surgery have used hemp oil to alleviate the pain. There are CB1 and CB2 receptors in or around joint tissue and bone to support this observation. Eczema sufferers have also used hemp oil in topicals to improve their skin condition.
Multiple-Sclerosis. A recent study found that CBD oil supplementation can help reduce the effects of M.S. in mice, and further human trials need to be conducted before confirming this benefit. If this ends up approved as a viable treatment option for M.S. patients, it will open up a whole world of opportunity for those suffering with the debilitating disease.
Epilepsy. The FDA recently approved CBD oil based medication for those suffering with severe epilepsy. This is great news for concerned family members everywhere, especially for those in which conventional treatment options were not working.
Blood Pressure and Heart Health. Hemp seed oil contains omega-3s and omega-6s, which have been proven to decrease blood pressure with regular intake and improve overall heart health. This study researched further on this topic as it related to hemp seed in particular.
As legality of hemp and cannabis continue to loosen, more U.S.-based studies on the effects and benefits of hemp oil are sure to confirm what many already know about this useful plant. Soon, more people will have options when it comes to their healthcare and self-care besides the traditional western medication practices. We look forward to the day when those seeking treatments for their chronic ailments can find a solution in safe, pure, and regulated hemp products.