Jack Herer, one of the most famous American cannabis rights activists, rightly said:
Hemp will be the future of all mankind, or there won’t be a future.
Herer’s book ‘The Emperor Wears No Clothes‘ cited his efforts to decriminalize and legalize cannabis. It also advocated that the industrial use of hemp should be allowed. This book has been in print continuously for 31 years!
Herer was right when he said that the cannabis plant was a trusted source of:
paper or pulp.
Hemp can grow in almost any part of the world. Its immense economical and medicinal benefits cannot be stressed enough.
Still, no medicine is ‘perfect for everyone’. How it affects the patients and its dosages may vary from person-to-person depending on their:
Metabolism rate, and
Besides, several other things might affect how hemp oil affects you, such as:
Variety of hemp from which it is extracted,
The extraction method of hemp,
How hemp seeds are cleaned, and
Quality of hemp.
People should exercise caution in ingesting or inhaling hemp oil if:
They suffer from digestive issues.
Allergic to a compound that might be present in hemp oil.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding their babies.
Is Hemp Oil Legal?
Hemp is a vernacular term for any cannabis plant. Cannabis sativa is the most popular species grown in the West. Both hemp and marijuana are derived from this plant. Hemp is legal while marijuana is illegal.
Hemp leaves and marijuana leaves look similar because they both come from the same plant. It is important to understand the difference between the two because of the ‘legality’ of the product involved here.
The 2018 Farm Bill has legalized the use of industrial hemp.
Industrial hemp is defined as:
Variety of cannabis plants (and its derivatives) which has less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is one of the several cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant which gives you a ‘high’. It is a psychoactive compound with mind-altering effects. It is the main reason why people abuse marijuana.
Marijuana is still illegal. It is classified under the drug class ‘Marihuana’ under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) since 1970. Marihuana is a commonly used term for marijuana. It can be defined as any variety of cannabis plant which has more than 0.3% THC.
Is CBD Oil Legal?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is another cannabinoid found in the Cannabis sativa plant which has been widely researched and studied. Studies found that CBD is a totally innocent and safe non-psychoactive component. It interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the body to produce a calming effect.
CBD oil has been found to have several health benefits which are explored in detail later in the article.
The CBD molecule remains the same – whether it is derived from the hemp plant or the marijuana hemp plant. Its effects remain the same too. Since the 2018 Farm Bill only provides protection to the hemp-derived products, CBD oil is legal only if it is derived from the industrial hemp plant.
Marijuana-derived CBD oil is still illegal in most parts of the world. Some countries, such as Australia and Canada, allow medical use of CBD oils. But it requires a doctor’s prescription.
CBD hemp oil is safe to use but it is advisable to consult a doctor before you use it.
What Does The FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) Say About CBD And Hemp?
A CBD product derived from ‘hemp’ is protected by the Farm Bill. But it still needs to meet other laws such as the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act. That’s why the legality of CBD products depend on a lot of things, including state laws.
Many CBD based dietary supplements and medicines are being sold online even though they are not approved by the FDA. The only cannabis-derived drug (which contains CBD) that has been approved by the FDA is Epidolex. Epidolex is a purified form of CBD. It is used to treat seizures in patients suffering from hard-to-treat epilepsy such as:
Other drugs approved by the FDA contain synthetic compounds which are similar to THC.
Cesamet (containing Nabilone) which is used as an analgesic for neuropathic pain. It is also used as an antiemetic drug. Antiemetic drugs prevent vomiting, especially in cancer patients.
Marinol and Syndros (containing Dronabinol) which is used to treat anorexia. Anorexia is often the reason for weight loss in AIDS patients.
FDA considers hemp seed-derived food ingredients completely safe. These include:
hulled hemp seed,
hemp seed protein powder, and
hemp seed oil.
Hemp seeds do not contain THC or CBD. Hemp seed products may contain traces of THC or CBD as they come in contact with other parts of the hemp plant during harvesting or processing. These traces are within the ‘safe’ limit specified by the regulatory authorities.
Hemp oil is safe for consumption. Hemp seeds are a good source of proteins and carbohydrates. Hempseeds and their products can be used as:
additives to beverages and food products, and
plant-based alternatives to dairy or meat products.
Naturally, they are highly popular with vegans.
Some of the products in which hempseed oil can be added are:
Nutrition bars, and
Hemp-based products are often used as pet food too.
History Of Hemp Is At Least 10,000 Years Old!
It is astonishing to note that hemp was one of the most significant crops for mankind until the last century. It was one of the earliest plants to yield textile fiber. Archeologists found a remnant of hemp cloth that dates back to 8000 BC!
Chinese Emperor Shen Nung taught his people to grow hemp for cloth in 28th century BC. Europe has been cultivating hemp since 1200 BC. Folk remedies often used seeds and flowers of the hemp plant for treatment of:
Dysentery, and even
Industrial hemp has over 50,000 uses today. It is used for making:
ropes among many other things.
Today, hemp is also used to make eco-friendly fuels such as bio-diesel. It is also used to make plastics, composite boards, and motor vehicle brakes and clutch pads.
Here’s a surprising fact.
The US Declaration of Independence is NOT written on hemp paper. This is an urban legend. The final draft, signed by the Congress delegates, was written on a parchment made from animal skin.
The first and second drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on Dutch hemp paper though. Other famous writings that were written on hemp paper include:
The Gutenberg Bible,
The King James Bible, and
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Some of the most famous writers wrote their works on hemp paper. These include the likes of:
Alexander Dumas, and
Hemp Oil Benefits Vary According To Its Type
Hemp oils can broadly be classified into four major categories:
Hemp Essential Oil
CBD Hemp Oil
Full-spectrum Hemp Oil
All of these oils are extracted and processed in different ways. The oil benefits differ on the type of oil you choose.
Hemp Essential Oil and its Benefits
Hemp essential oil is one of the most expensive oils in the world. It comes from the upper leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. It does not contain THC or CBD.
More than 50 pounds of hemp leaves and flowers are steam distilled to make one ounce of hemp essential oil. It is often pale yellow to light green in color. It is the pure essence of the plant and has a distinct aroma.
The therapeutic benefits of hemp essential oil include:
releasing stress, and
relaxing the body.
It is often used in aromatherapy to produce a calming and soothing effect. Its scent is considered usual. It is earthy, somewhat sweet, and has a peppery aroma. It is often used in aromatic candles and massage oils.
CBD Hemp Oil and its Benefits
CBD (Cannabidiol) hemp oil is derived from the flowers and buds of the industrial hemp. It contains CBD but not THC. It is often sold as:
Full-spectrum CBD oil, or
CBD isolate oils focus on the medicinal and recreational uses of CBD. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains several other cannabinoids, terpenes, and phenolics which are good for health.
Normally, purified CBD works best at a medium dose. Studies show that full-spectrum CBD oils are more effective due to the entourage effects of different components it has.
CBD oils work best on:
Cannabidiol is believed to work on more than 65 targets in the body. Some other terpenes and phenolics in the full-spectrum CBD oil have similar effects as CBD.
For example, in the case of anxiety, CBD works on serotonin receptors. Other compounds in the CBD oil might focus on other neurotransmitters. A study on rats shows that CBD is more effective as an anti-depressant when it is taken with SSRI fluoxetine.
It has also been observed that CBD works differently at different combinations. It activates 5-HT1A receptors at moderate doses which relieve anxiety. At high doses, it activates neurotransmitters called TRPV1 receptors which induce anxiety. Some natural flavonoids block TRPV1 which allows CBD to work better in relieving anxiety.
Some other components in the full-spectrum hemp oil (containing CBD) delay the breakdown of CBD molecules in the body. Hence, CBD lasts longer in the body and works more.
Hence, full-spectrum CBD hemp oil can be more effective than CBD-rich oils in many cases.
By interacting with the body’s ECS receptors, CBD hemp oil can help in regulating one’s:
response to pain.
The market of CBD hemp oils is still a grey area. The effectiveness of these oils depends on their quality. So, always buy CBD oils from a trusted and reliable manufacturer.
Hempseed Oil and its Benefits
As the name suggests, hempseed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. Two types of hemp seed oil available in the market include:
Unrefined hemp seed oil, and
Refined hemp seed oil.
Unrefined hemp seed oil
Cold-pressed hemp seed oil is often referred to as ‘unrefined hemp oil’. It is green in color and has a nutty flavor. It is also called the ‘most perfectly-balanced oil’ as it offers all the nutritional benefits associated with hemp seeds.
Unrefined hemp oil is processed n minimal heat. It is not bleached or deodorized. It may also be labeled as:
Pure hemp oil,
Raw hemp oil,
Virgin hemp oil, or
Extra virgin hemp oil.
Hemp oil is mostly known as a rich source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In fact, hemp seeds have the perfect ratio (3:1) of omega 6 to omega 3 EFAs for the human body. It can be a good replacement for fish oils for brain health.
Other nutritional benefits of hemp seeds and hempseed oil include:
High protein content (second only to soybean)
All known 20 amino acids (including 9 essential amino acids the human body can’t produce)
75-80% polyunsaturated fatty acids
Vitamin A, B, B1, B12, D, and E
Minerals (like calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, and phosphorus)
along with many other things.
Hemp protein is free of trypsin inhibitors that block ‘absorption’ of protein by the body. They are also free of oligosaccharides that can upset one’s stomach and cause gastric problems. Only hemp seeds have the protein called Edestin which is the backbone of the cell’s DNA.
Lynn Osburn reports that:
Hempseed has the highest percentage of essential fatty acids than any other plant. It has the lowest percentage (8%) of saturated fats which is bead for the health. No other plant has such a perfect ratio of essential fatty acids (EFA) and essential amino acids for human health and vitality.
It is to be noted that flax oil has 58% linolenic acid (LNA) which is higher than hemp oil. But hempseed oil still trumps the flaxseed oil by having 81% of the total EFA content.
Hemp seed oil should be used as a flavor enhancer. It is not suitable for cooking oil. Heating it about 150ºC (300ºF) can result in the production of trans-fatty acids which are not good for health.
Health experts recommend it as a daily dietary supplement because other hemp oil benefits potentially include:
Improve cardiovascular health
Improve immunity levels
Increased metabolic rates and energy levels
Lower blood pressure
Lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood
Prevent the onset of several degenerative diseases
Reduce inflammation and pain in joints in arthritis patients
Relieve menstrual cramps
Relieve sore muscles
Treat dry skin and hair
Hemp foods are vegan and plant-based. They are also:
Free of herbicides and pesticides
Free of Peanuts
Usually, unrefined hemp oils have a shorter shelf life. Once you open the packaging or the bottle, you must close the lid tightly and store the oil in the refrigerator. When it gets spoilt, it gives off a foul odor. One should not use a oil bottle if it smells odd.
Refined hemp seed oil
Refined oil does not have any flavor. It is also clear and colorless. It is bleached and deodorized. The downside of this type of oil is that it lacks natural vitamins and antioxidants. It has a longer shelf life though.
It is the presence of essential fatty acids (EFAs) that redeem the refined hemp seed oil. It is often used in body care products such as soaps and shampoos. Refined hempseed oil works as a great moisturizer and can make your skin glow.
Full-spectrum Hemp Oil for Health and its Benefits
Full-spectrum hemp oil is often extracted from the stalks and seeds of the hemp plant. Numerous studies advocate its use for people with chronic illnesses. It is believed that full-spectrum hemp oil can:
Relieve pain and inflammation, and
Provide protection against neuropathic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.
The method of extraction of the oil greatly affects its effectiveness. Exaction method involving harmful chemical solves like hexane or butane can make it neurotoxic. Such hemp oils are detrimental to the immune system.
CO2 extraction method uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperature to produce safe and potent hemp oil. The full-spectrum hemp oil is often considered the same as CBD hemp oil but it might not be true. It depends on the variety of hemp from which it is extracted.
Generally speaking, full-spectrum hemp oil does not contain THC. It may or may not contain CBD. It is safe for people of all ages and is legal everywhere.
Other Hemp Oil Benefits You Should Know About
Hemp oil has a light nutty flavor. It should not be heated. Add it to your salad dressings, soups, and beverages. Ground hemp seeds can be added to bread and oatmeal.
A daily dose of hemp oil is often recommended as a ‘superfood’ for good health, healthy skin, and strong hair and nails.
As a cleanser: Massage a teaspoon of oil on your face. Soak it with a wet cloth for about a minute. Then, wash your face.
As a moisturizer: Wash your face with warm water. Massage in a few drops of oil until they get absorbed into your skin.
As a treatment: It is a great way to treat skin orders like:
Hence, it is often included in beauty products and cosmetics such as lip balms, lotions, and sunscreens.
Five Questions To Ask Before Buying Hemp Oil for Health
The trend of self-medication with hemp oil has become quite popular. And it is backed by hard science. However, the CBD market or the hemp market is largely unregulated. It means that the quality of hemp oils in the market differs widely.
Here are the five questions you must ask before buying oil online:
What is the level of THC in the hemp oil?
Legally, the oil must have less than 0.3% THC. Most companies offer third-party lab test results to show that their products are THC compliant.
If you plan to take a drug test as an athlete or with a potential employer, you must declare beforehand that you have been using hemp oil. In such a case, it becomes especially important for you to use zero-THC hemp oil.
Dogs and some pets do not tolerate THC well. So, if you plan to give hemp oil to your furry friend, you may want to use zero THC oil.
How was hemp oil extracted?
Chemical solvents are harmful to your body. So, if the CBD hemp oil uses hexane, acetone or butane in the extraction process, you must avoid it. Hemp extraction method that uses ethanol is not harmful to the body but it does damage some of the phytochemicals that are good for you.
The CO2 extraction method is the best because:
it does not leave any chemical residue in the oil, and
the beneficial compounds in the oil remain intact.
Which carrier oil does it use?
CBD oils available in the market may use olive oil or MCT oil (coconut oil) as the carrier. Make sure that the CBD hemp oil you choose uses organic hemp seed oil.
As mentioned above, hempseed oil contains a lot of minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.
What is the total mg of CBD extract in the bottle per serving?
CBD is an expensive ingredient. Some of the cheaper oils may contain less of the CBD extract and more of the carrier oil. Hence, always ask for the total mg of the CBD extract in the bottle per serving. This will give you a good idea about the strength of the oil you are using and the value it can offer you.
Is the hemp oil optimized for absorption?
Nano-emulsification technology available today makes it possible for the best pharmaceutical companies to offer oil bottles with microscopic oil droplets. This allows the body to absorb the oil in a faster and more effective manner.
Hemp oil is a powerful but gentle way to take care of your health. A couple of precautions can help you reap its benefits safely and more effectively:
If you are taking it orally, start with a small dose and then increase the amount gradually.
If you are using it for skincare or applying it topically, do a skin patch test first.
People with medical conditions and pregnant women are advised to talk to their doctors before incorporating hemp oil in their wellness routine.