What is Hemp Oil? A Guide to the Benefits of Hemp Oil

Evidence based

June 17, 2021

Reading Time: 4 minutes

We at Medterra are always getting questions about the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil. So…we thought we’d put together this amazing guide for you. Enjoy!

Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, has been around for thousands of years. [1]

Often a staple of body and beauty care, hemp seed oil is made by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. [2

Rich in nutrients and fatty acids, it contains many useful compounds while not holding the same sedative properties often believed to be associated with hemp or cannabis-based products. Keep reading to learn more about the many uses and benefits of hemp. 

  • Hemp: one plant, many uses: food, nutrition & skincare
  • Hemp seed oil vs. CBD oil
  • How to tell the difference between hemp oil and CBD 
  • How to read ingredient labels

Hemp: one plant, many uses

The hemp plant can be broken up into all sorts of useful things. This includes stalks, leaves, flowers, and, yes — the seeds. The seeds are highly nutritious which is why they’re able to be found at a grocery that may sell health and nutrition items. If they’ve been shelled, they’re usually called “hemp hearts.” 

Here’s a shortlist of hemp seed oil’s top uses:

  • Food
  • Seasoning
  • Cooking oil (low temp only)
  • Protein powder
  • Natural skincare 
  • General health supplement

Hemp seeds as food

This edible seed can be eaten raw, roasted, toasted or ground for a hemp powder to be added to recipes or smoothies. Either way, they’re delicious!

When pressed, the oil from hemp’s seeds can be used in many ways. It can be used/ingested by itself — like any cold pressed oils — or included in products. This oil can be a base for salad dressings and other dishes. One may try using it as the oil of choice in making homemade hummus or other dips, too.

Because hemp oil has a low flash point (it will begin to degrade and smoke at lower temps than other cooking oils), it is best used as a “finishing oil” and consumed closer to its raw status. [3]

Hemp seed nutrition

Hemp seeds are loaded with fiber, nutrients, high-quality fats, and proteins. Whereas Chia and Flax — additional types of nutritious, edible seeds — average around 18% of their total calories coming from protein, hemp seeds have a fitness-loving amount of 25%. This is why it is a popular base ingredient in many available protein powders or supplements. [4]

These magical nuggets of nutrition also carry an impressive 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Many health studies have shown that a lower ratio of Omega 6 and 3 (such as the one that is in hemp seeds) is helpful for the body in areas of heart health and inflammation. [5]

Interestingly enough, hemp seed’s omega 6:3 ratio means they can indirectly affect your body’s endocannabinoid system. [6]

Hemp seed oil for skincare

In topical forms, such as in beauty products, hemp seed compounds help retain moisture, soothes dry, irritated, and inflamed skin while also stimulating cellular strength. They’re high in antioxidants, too, which are a pretty essential part of any body care routine. [7]

Hemp seed oil can be used by itself as a skin oil or blended with other skin-friendly oils like Jojoba.

Hemp seed oil vs. CBD oil

Hemp seed oil and CBD oil might both come from hemp, they’re not the same thing.

While both hemp seed oil and CBD oil come from the hemp plant, they’re different in their construction and potential usage. Hemp seeds have been available for a multitude of years — much longer than hemp-based CBD products have been available. 

This is because the seeds carry a very low level of CBD, or other compounds, that are found in CBD oils on the market today. CBD-based products are made from the extraction of the other parts of the plant and not the seeds. 

According to the Hemp Industries Association, the level of CBD in the hemp seed is only 25 parts per million (ppm) whereas the amount of CBD in the rest of the plant is around 150,000 ppm. [8]

How to tell the difference between hemp oil and CBD 

With hemp-derived CBD oil products being made available to the masses, it is easy to understand how there may be some confusion as to which is what. A little due diligence will go a long way when it comes to selecting the right product. In a local grocer, the non-CBD hemp oils are most often found with the other recipe oils like Olive and Avocado.

When shopping online, however, being able to differentiate the two can often seem difficult, especially if the consumer is new to learning about hemp and CBD. It is vital to take the time to read the ingredient label and to research the manufacturer.

How to read ingredient labels

If shopping for CBD, the ingredients should state “CBD” or “Cannabidiol”. There should also be a number of milligrams printed on the label — this is the amount of CBD within the product. Under “supplement facts,” usually found on the back label, there will be a breakdown of serving sizes and milligrams per milliliter of CBD that each serving will contain. [9]

Non-CBD products like hemp oil won’t have these descriptors and amounts with them, as they don’t have the cannabidiol element that the rest of the plant’s extracts hold.

When taking the time to check out the product’s manufacturer, a CBD brand will need to be compliant with regulatory bodies and also provide access to their Certificates of Analysis, or “COAs,” as they’re often called. These test results will list the compounds in the finished product as well as their amounts. [10]

If the product is hemp seed oil, on the other hand, then COAs are not necessary.

Summing things up

No matter which type of hemp-based product you’re looking for, there are all sorts of options available!  

Hemp is one of the most diverse plants in agriculture. And with tens of thousands of uses…its popularity is only continuing to grow.

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REFERENCES

Wikipedia contributors. (2021, January 17). History of medical cannabis. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_medical_cannabis#:%7E:text=The%20ancient%20Egyptians%20used%20hemp,cannabis%20to%20treat%20sore%20eyes

Health Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil. (2020, December 23). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-hemp-seed-oil

Sapino, S. (2005). Hemp-seed and olive oils: their stability against oxidation and use in O/W emulsions. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16130045/

The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. (2010). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2868018/

Simopoulos, A. P. (2002). The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12442909/

Interplay Between n-3 and n-6 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and the Endocannabinoid System in Brain Protection and Repair. (2017). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5656721/

Effect οf Genotype and Growing Year on the Nutritional, Phytochemical, and Antioxidant Properties of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Seeds. (2019, October 1). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826498/

Hemp Industries Association. (2018, June 30). Hemp Industries Association Publishes Statement in Response to Misbranding of Cannabidiol Products as “Hemp Oil.” PR Newswire. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/hemp-industries-association-publishes-statement-in-response-to-misbranding-of-cannabidiol-products-as-hemp-oil-266566001.html

How to Read Supplement Labels. (2020). Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-read-supplement-labels

Schmidt, E. (2021, March 24). How to Read a COA and Why It’s So Important. ACS Lab Cannabis. https://acslabcannabis.com/blog/retail/how-to-read-a-coa-and-why-its-so-important/

Jay Hartenbach

Written by:

Jay Hartenbach
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