Related Articles

Hemp Oil - Healthy for the Skin and Immune System

Hemp Oil - Healthy for the Skin and Immune System
Table Of Contents
  1. Hemp Oil is Rich in Essential Omega Fatty Acids
  2. Hemp Oil for Healthy Skin
  3. Alleviating Multiple Sclerosis with Hemp Oil
  4. Hemp Oil is an Excellent Source of Vitamin E
  5. Secondary Plant Compounds
  6. Uses of Hemp Oil
  7. Buying Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is derived from cold-pressed hemp seeds. As a byproduct, a press cake is produced, which is further processed into hemp protein. In addition to its greenish color, hemp oil is characterized by a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids and its numerous secondary plant compounds. Hemp oil is virtually free of THC (a cannabinoid). According to Croatian studies, the THC content in various hemp oil products ranged from 3.23 to 69.50 mg/kg 1.

Hemp Oil is Rich in Essential Omega Fatty Acids

Hemp oil is rich in essential fatty acids - alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid. Together, they make up approximately 84% of the fatty acid content 2. Alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid) is not only known for its anti-inflammatory benefits in the body but also required for the synthesis of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. However, conversion rates are very low, so a slightly higher amount of alpha-linolenic acid is needed to produce sufficient quantities of the other two fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic acid is a component of the brain and retina, while eicosapentaenoic acid is necessary for the formation of eicosanoids involved in immune reactions.

As mentioned earlier, hemp oil also contains higher concentrations of the essential omega-6 fatty acid, linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is a component of the skin and is converted into other fatty acids and eicosanoids.

A good ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids has been associated with the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, cancer, and mental health 3. Most dietary patterns (including vegan diets) are characterized by an excessive amount of Omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp oil typically has a ratio of 2:1 to 3:1 in favor of Omega-6, which is considered optimal for human health 4.

Stearidonic acid, another omega-3 fatty acid, is also present in hemp oil. According to studies, it increases the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) content in red blood cells. 5 6. EPA has anti-inflammatory benefits. Since EPA is scarce in plant-based foods, stearidonic acid could serve as a substitute for EPA with its health-promoting and preventive properties. 7.

Due to the high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which tend to become rancid when exposed to heat and light, hemp oil should not be heated. Storage in the refrigerator is recommended.

Click here for the nutritional table of hemp oil.

Hemp Oil for Healthy Skin

The omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid is abundant in hemp seeds. It inhibits the body's inflammatory reactions and promotes a healthier skin condition in patients with dry skin and mild eczema by strengthening the skin's barrier function. 8 9. It protects the skin from negative environmental influences.

In a 20-week study, the benefits of hemp oil on plasma fatty acid profile and atopic dermatitis (eczema) were investigated. 10 Hemp oil facilitated significant changes in the plasma fatty acid profile and improved the symptoms of eczema. The healthy oil reduced water loss through the skin, improved skin dryness, and reduced itching. At the same time, the need for medication decreased.

According to other studies, hemp oil is also helpful in the treatment of eczema and many other skin conditions such as dermatitis, seborrheic eczema, cradle cap, varicose eczema, psoriasis, lichen simplex, and rosacea. 11 According to scientists, the use of hemp oil can strengthen the skin, enabling it to better defend against bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections.

Alleviating Multiple Sclerosis with Hemp Oil

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the nervous system where the myelin sheath (protective covering of nerve fibers) is attacked and destroyed. Consumption of hemp oil and evening primrose oil has been associated with significant improvement in symptom management and immunological properties in patients with MS, according to studies. 12 13. The researchers also emphasize that components such as phytosterols, terpenes, and tocopherols may act on specific signaling pathways responsible for regulating inflammatory responses. According to the mentioned studies, a restricted diet is also important in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. It should be rich in spicy foods like pepper and low in saturated fats and sugar (low-sugar foods).

Hemp Oil is an Excellent Source of Vitamin E

Tocopherol (vitamin E) is present in the healthy oil with amounts ranging from 80 to 110 mg per 100 g 14. γ-Tocopherol accounts for 85% of it. Tocopherols are important antioxidants that protect the body against free radicals.

Secondary Plant Compounds

Hemp oil contains numerous secondary plant compounds. Studies have shown that cold-pressed hemp oil is rich in secondary plant compounds that are involved in antioxidant, antimicrobial, and acetylcholinesterase-inhibiting activities 15. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are used in the treatment of Alzheimer's and dementia.

Hemp oil has the highest levels of chlorophyll, flavonoids, and phenolic acids compared to flaxseed oil and canola oil 16. The oil also contains vanillic acid (2 μg/100 g), p-coumaric acid (2 μg), ferulic acid (1 μg), and sinapic acid (3 μg) 17. These compounds primarily exhibit antimicrobial, antioxidant, and antibacterial benefits.

According to other scientific studies, the most interesting plant compounds in hemp oil are β-sitosterol (1905.00 ± 59.27 mg/kg oil), campesterol (505.69 ± 32.04 mg/kg oil), phytol (167.59 ± 1.81 mg/kg oil), and cycloartenol (90.55 ± 3.44 mg/kg oil) 18. Other components include β-caryophyllene (740 mg/L), myrcene (160 mg/L), as well as traces of methyl salicylate and cannabidiol (CBD) 19. They are mainly involved in cardio-protective benefits in the body.

Uses of Hemp Oil

The oil's slightly nutty flavor makes it a perfect dressing for salads, much like olive oil. Hemp oil can also be used as an ingredient in smoothies.

Due to its low smoke point, cold-pressed hemp oil should not be used for cooking.

Hemp oil can also be used as an additive in skincare and hair care products.

Buying Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is available in health food stores and organic markets. It can also be ordered online.

Refined hemp oil can be stored better. However, the industrial processing involved in its production leads to the loss of many nutrients and their health benefits. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for cold-pressed hemp oil when making a purchase, which can then be used in cold dishes.