Hemp Oil Benefits for Your Body and Brain
The cannabis revolution in the United States is a reflection of how millions of people are leaning towards natural solutions to enhance their health.
More eyes are turning to hemp, a non-psychoactive plant from the cannabis family. There’s a growing body of evidence supporting hemp’s beneficial influence on the body and brain.
Until recently, the research on hemp has been limited, but as more scientists become aware of the therapeutic properties of hemp oil and CBD hemp products, it becomes clear that the almost 100-year prohibition on the plant has been a huge setback for U.S. citizens.
Fortunately, the hemp industry has just received its second life through the array of hemp medicines and wellness products entering the market each year.
Today, we’d like to talk about the benefits of hemp oil for the body and brain. You will learn how to distinguish between different types of hemp oil, how to dose CBD, and how to use it to tackle specific health issues.
But first, let’s focus on the science behind humans and cannabinoids, the active compounds in all cannabis plants.
Are Humans Hardwired for Cannabis?
Did you know that each of us has an endocannabinoid system (ECS)?
This system is a complex network of receptors and neurotransmitters responsible for maintaining the chemical balance in the body (homeostasis).
Whenever homeostasis gets compromised, the endocannabinoid system starts to produce its own cannabinoids to restore homeostatic balance.
However, when homeostasis is out of control, the amounts of cannabinoids produced by the ECS may be insufficient to repair the damage caused by an illness.
This is where phytocannabinoids come in.
Phytocannabinoids are plant-derived compounds that mimic the structure and actions of the body’s naturally occurring cannabinoids (they’re called endocannabinoids, for the record).
CBD and THC are the most abundant and well-researched phytocannabinoids; they can be sourced from both hemp and marijuana plants.
Which brings us to the next question.
Why Use Hemp Instead of Marijuana?
When people think of cannabis, their thoughts often travel toward marijuana, the psychoactive plant. While hemp and marijuana are both the same species (Cannabis sativa) and share some common benefits, there are fundamental differences between the two.
Marijuana typically has a high THC content and very little CBD, unless selectively-bred for specific medical purposes. The average content in today’s marijuana strains is around 15%.
Hemp, on the other hand, has plenty of CBD inside (5%–30%) and only trace amounts of THC (below 0.3%). Since the hemp plant is almost void of the psychoactive THC, it won’t make you feel high.
That’s great news for people who’d like to benefit from the therapeutic properties of cannabis but find the psychoactive effects of THC overwhelming.
Properly manufactured hemp CBD goods should contain little to no THC. Instead, they come packed with cannabidiol and other beneficial compounds (terpenes, essential oils) to provide sleep support, improve appetite, curb anxiety, improve mood, reduce stress, and fight inflammation.
But, CBD oil is not the only type of hemp oil available on the market. There’s also the hemp seed oil, which proves an invaluable wellness ingredient as well.
Different Types of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil is an umbrella term that can be used to define a hemp seed oil and CBD hemp oil. However, when shopping for hemp oil in a specialty store, make sure to specify which type you have in mind.
Here’s all you need to know about the differences between hemp seed oil and CBD hemp oil.
1. Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is extracted using the seeds of hemp plants. It contains little to no THC or CBD and is extracted for its essential fatty acid content as well as a rich nutritional profile.
Hemp seed oil offers a broad spectrum of benefits for the body and the brain when included in a well-balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. However, the most remarkable benefits of hemp seed oil are associated with its beautifying properties.
Hemp seed oil moisturizes the skin, allows it to breathe easily, and reduces inflammation, is used to prevent conditions such as eczema, acne, skin rashes, psoriasis, dandruff, and other skin conditions.
Hemp seed oil can be like any other cooking oil or added to your foods and beverages as an ingredient in smoothies and salad dressings. But most importantly, it’s second to none when it comes to versatility in making your DIY skin care products.
2. CBD Hemp Oil
CBD hemp oil is sourced from the flowers of hemp plants. These flowers are generously coated with a crystalline layer of resin, also known as trichomes.
Trichomes contain the highest concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes, which is why hemp oil manufacturers prefer to use the flowers where most of the trichomes are produced.
Some cannabis strains are selectively bred to contain exceptionally high levels of CBD and make more potent products. In states where medical and recreational cannabis is legal, residents have access to both marijuana-derived and hemp-derived CBD oil. Other states allow only the CBD oil that comes from hemp plants.
High-quality CBD oil products are extracted from organic hemp using CO2 extraction. This method allows manufacturers to achieve the highest level of purity and potency of the end product.
CBD hemp oil can be found in cannabis dispensaries, specialty hemp stores, wellness centers, and local head shops, but if you want to experience the true freedom of choice, we recommend buying CBD oil online.
The Most Important Benefits of Hemp Oil (CBD & Hemp Seed Oil)
While hemp products are rarely used for recreational purposes, the list of their medical benefits seems to have no end.
That’s because of two major factors: the omega-3 and omega-6 content (hemp seed oil), and high concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD hemp oil).
Hemp seed oil has a 3:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Since the omega-3 have anti-inflammatory properties (1), their presence is responsible for repairing damaged cells in the body and brain, as well as for the production of cannabinoids. The oil is also rich in linoleic acid that helps the brain function at an optimal level.
CBD has a different interaction with the body and brain. CBD’s benefits are mostly linked to its ability to stimulate the endocannabinoid system to produce more of its natural cannabinoids.
Because the cannabinoid receptors can be found throughout the entire body, CBD affects plenty of physical and psychological functions including mood, body temperature, immune function, pain perception, production of new healthy cells, and more.
Hemp Oil Benefits for the Body
1. Reduces Inflammation
One thing you can do to ease inflammatory disorders is to incorporate hemp seed oil into your nutrition plan to benefit from the omega-3 content.
The omega-3 fatty acids will take part in the creation of new, healthy cells and support the body in repairing the damaged tissues, curbing inflammation at the same time. Localized inflammation can be fought with hemp oil topicals, in a combination with other healthy oils and therapeutic ingredients.
Another option is to use CBD hemp oil and stimulate the endocannabinoid system from the inside.
Cannabidiol prompts the CB2 receptors in your immune system to boost immune function and effectively reduce inflammation in the long run (2). As with hemp seed oil, CBD can be mixed in with carrier oils to make CBD-infused topicals that activate the CB2 receptors in the skin.
2. Moisturizes the Skin
Let’s leave the endocannabinoid system aside for a moment. Your skin and hair can take advantage of hemp’s nutrients, too. Hemp seed oil consists of lipids similar to those produced by our bodies, which means it’s not prone to clogging pores like other moisturizers.
On top of that, the rich protein content of hemp seed oil can replenish proteins in the skin like collagen or elastin — which keep the skin strong and resilient.
Over time, hemp seed oil can revitalize worn, dehydrated skin to give it a younger appearance.
3. Works As an Antioxidant
Antioxidants are compounds that work in your body to prevent cell damage caused by oxidative stress. While the short-term oxidative stress is nothing dangerous, the moment the free radicals in your body are winning the battle against the body’s antioxidants is the moment you become exposed to a whole host of ailments.
Add physical and environmental factors such as radiation, air pollution, stressful lifestyle, and poor diet, and you’re one step closer to developing neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular issues, macular degeneration, and even cancer.
CBD hemp oil is known for its strong antioxidant properties (3). When you supplement your body regularly with antioxidants, you may eventually turn the tides in your favor and win the battle against the oxidative stress and excessive cell damage before it’s too late.
4. Supports Kidneys
Kidneys are responsible for ridding our bodies of toxins, but they also produce hormones that increase the red blood cell production and the enzymes that regulate the blood pressure.
Epidemiological studies indicate that in renal diseases, where these hormones and enzymes go out of whack — there is a general lack of omega-3 fatty acids. They also point out to the omega-3 supplementation as a potential solution for preserving kidney health (4).
Hemp Oil Benefits for the Brain
In this section, we will lean toward CBD hemp oil and its neurological effects. As mentioned, CBD supports the production of the body’s endocannabinoids and slows their breakdown in the body and brain. With more cannabinoids being produced, the body can regain the chemical balance much faster.
Here are some of the most popular benefits of CBD hemp oil, backed by hard evidence:
1. Can Be Used to Treat Epilepsy
The CBD hemp oil has been used by patients with severe forms of epilepsy for years.
According to one recent retrospective study from Israel, the use of CBD-enriched medical cannabis significantly decreases seizure activity. In this study, 52% of subjects reported more than 50% reduction in the number of seizures(5).
2. Curbs Anxiety
The anxiolytic properties of CBD have made it one of the most popular and effective anti-anxiety agents among patients.
One of the main reasons CBD curbs anxiety so effectively is that it weakens the activity in the limbic system in the brain, which triggers our “fight-or-flight” response.
In a 2011 study, researchers found that CBD oil remarkably reduced anxiety and cognitive impairment in subjects who were given CBD compared to the placebo group (6).
3. Alleviates Pain
While human studies on CBD for pain are in their infancy, there are some animal studies pointing to improved markers for pain and inflammation with the use of topical hemp oil.
Hemp-derived CBD may be effective in relieving chronic inflammatory pain to some extent, but most of the current data on the benefits of cannabinoids for pain suggest that the combination of CBD with THC is the most effective treatment for pain.
Still, the spectrum of pain doesn’t end at inflammation.
CBD has been shown to activate the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor in the brain, which is directly responsible for pain perception. Once the receptor gets activated, it dampens the painful sensation for the duration of CBD in the system (7).
On top of that, you can use CBD hemp topicals to reduce short-term inflammation and support recovery processes, so as long as hemp-derived cannabidiol helps you, there’s no need to turn to the CBD-rich marijuana products.
4. May Stop the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
CBD is a potent antioxidant, which means it can protect your body against the damage caused by the free radicals and is believed to exhibit neuroprotective properties.
A 2010 systematic review of studies on Alzheimer’s and dementia reported cannabinoids — both cannabidiol and agonists such as THC — to be a promising treatment in a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases (8).
Animal studies and preclinical human trials have shown that CBD prevents the development of the social recognition deficit caused by Alzheimer’s, but we still need more in-depth human research to validate the preclinical findings.
How to Choose a Hemp Oil Product
A choice of a hemp oil product should be a well-informed decision. Follow these criteria to know what to look out for:
- The source of hemp: make sure that the hemp plants used to extract your hemp oil products are grown 100% organically to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Extraction: CBD oil should be extracted using ethanol or carbon dioxide (CO2 is the best option). When buying hemp seed oil, look for cold-press extractions.
- 3rd-party lab testing: every self-respecting hemp company will have a third-party certificate of analysis for each batch of their products. 3rd-party lab tests verify the potency and chemical composition of hemp oil on top of checking for contaminants such as heavy metals or microorganisms.
How to Dose CBD Properly
Finding the optimal dosage for your CBD treatment takes some trial and error, but to save you from the most errors, we’ve prepared a short guide on general dosage principles when using CBD oil.
1. Remember that Everyone Reacts Differently to CBD
Each person has their own biochemistry and different genetics, so it goes without saying that you may not necessarily respond to the dose of CBD that has worked for your friend. Don’t take anyone’s word for granted; instead, choose to test which dose works best for you.
2. Start Low And Work Your Way Up the Sweet Spot
Lower doses give you more room for improvements if the initial dose doesn’t get you the desired effect. When using CBD oil, mind the consumption method. Not all products have the same onset time and absorption rates. While the effects from vaporization are felt almost immediately, CBD tinctures need around 15 to 30 minutes to take effect. Edibles and capsules can kick in after around 30 to 90 minutes.
3. Take Your CBD Dose Regularly Throughout the Day
Using up the entire vape pen or swallowing large quantities of CBD oil can elevate the level of cannabidiol in your blood to the point where you might experience some mild side effects. Given this, it’s better to space out your doses — this will help you maintain adequate levels of CBD in the bloodstream.
4. More is Not Always Merrier
In some cases, smaller doses of CBD can have a better effect than larger doses, so don’t rush it. Once again, remember that you’re genetically distinct from everyone else and you have unique cannabinoid needs.
5. Consult With Your Doctor
This point is particularly important if you suffer from any medical conditions and take medications other than CBD. At higher levels, CBD has been shown to interact with common drugs. Also, an experienced CBD-friendly doctor should guide you on your dose of CBD based on your medical record.
Potential Side Effects of CBD in Hemp Oil
Both hemp seed oil and CBD hemp oil are considered safe for consumption and don’t cause toxicity even at high doses.
Still, it’s perfectly possible to experience some side effects when you consume too much CBD oil. These are:
- Dry mouth
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
Fortunately, these effects are mild and short-lived, not to mention the rarity of their occurrence.
Summarizing Hemp Oil Benefits for the Body and Brain
The benefits of hemp oil for the body and brain are innumerable and the hemp plant doesn’t cease to amaze us with its medical potential — this applies both to hemp seed oil and CBD hemp oil.
While all of these may sound extraordinary and unbelievable, the facts are straight and the growing body of scientific evidence only proves that hemp oil is a worthy ingredient to add to your lifestyle.
As always, it turns out that nature provides the best (and simplest) solutions.
Are there any benefits of hemp oil for the body and brain you’ve recently discovered yourself? We’re excited to hear your stories!
- Calder P., C. (2010) Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Processes. Nutrients. 2(3), 355-374.
- Witkamp R., Meijerink J. (2014) The Endocannabinoid System: An Emerging Key Player in Inflammation. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care. 17(2), 130-138.
- Hampson A. J., Grimaldi M., Axelrod J., Wink D (1998). Cannabidiol and Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Are Neuroprotective Antioxidants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 7(05), 8268-8273.
- Hu J., Zuoliang L., Hao Z. (2017) Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation as an Adjunctive Therapy in the Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease: A Meta Analysis. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 72(1), 58-64.
- Tzadok M. et al. (2016) CBD-Enriched Medical Cannabis for Intractable Pediatric Epilepsy: The Current Israeli Experience. Seizure. 35, 41-44.
- Bergamashi M. et al. (2011) Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naive Social Phobia Patients. Neuropsychopharmacology. 36(6), 1219-1226.
- Russo E. B., Burnett A., Hall B., Parker K. K. (2005) Agonistic Properties of Cannabidiol at 5-HT1a Receptors. Neurochemical Research. 30(8), 1037-1043.
- Walther S., Halpern M. (2010) Cannabinoids and Dementia: A Review of Clinical and Preclinical Data. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 3(8), 2689-2708.
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About James Reed
James Reed is the founder and editor-in-chief at iSum. He’s a big advocate of marijuana and spent most of his time writing about these topics, sharing what he learned over the years.