What Is Hemp Oil?
The passing of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018—commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill—has sparked a modern-day oil boom. Hemp oil is available in many different formats, including hemp seed oil and CBD oil, each of which is accredited with various therapeutic properties. While these terms are frequently used interchangeably, this article will differentiate these oils as well as discuss some primary therapeutic benefits.
WHAT IS IT?
As the name suggests, hemp oil is an oil that has been extracted from the hemp plant. A close relation to cannabis (marijuana), both plants trace their lineage to the cannabis sativa L genus. While hemp contains virtually no THC—the sedative or otherwise intoxicating element unique to the cannabis plant—hemp oil is a natural source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, terpenes, essential nutrients, and proteins.
TYPES OF HEMP OIL
Hemp oil has become somewhat of an umbrella term. It is used frequently to describe any extracted byproduct of the hemp plant, including hemp seed oil and CBD oil. But it’s important to note that these are not all the same.
- Hemp Oil: A byproduct extracted from the stalks, stems, and leaves of the hemp plant, primarily for its cannabidiol (CBD) content. Hemp and its extracted oils are required to contain less than 0.3% THC by law.
- Hemp Seed Oil: As the name suggests, this byproduct is extracted from hemp seeds through a process commonly referred to as “cold pressing.” While hemp seeds contain virtually no THC or CBD, they are primarily utilized for their polyunsaturated fatty acid profile. Hemp seed oil is predominantly infused into soaps, lotions, and other skincare products, or used as a cooking oil.
- CBD Oil: Refers to hemp oil that has been specially cultivated to contain a high concentration of cannabidiol (CBD). Typically extracted from the hemp plant for legality purposes, CBD can also be derived from the cannabis plant in parts of the nation in which it is legal to do so.
Hemp oil has a rich profile of essential fatty acids, nutrients, and many beneficial bioactive compounds that are each accredited with numerous therapeutic benefits, including:
Hemp oil is extremely nutritious and profoundly helpful for the state of one’s overall skin health. Its abundance of polyunsaturated fatty acids makes it an ideal compound for providing nourishment to the skin and protection from oxidation, inflammation, and many other direct causes of aging.
Authors of a 2014 review summarized that the topical application of hemp oil could strengthen skin and make it better equipped to resist infection as well as helping to address a wide range of skin issues including:
- Acne rosacea
- Varicose eczema
- Inflammatory skin conditions such as lichen planus
The polyunsaturated fatty acid content available in hemp oil could potentially be beneficial for the brain, which requires an abundance of these healthy fatty acids to function appropriately.
A recent study found that, in a mice model, hemp oil demonstrated an ability to help the brain protect itself against inflammation. Researchers additionally noted that hemp oil contains polyphenols, organic chemical compounds that are potentially able to act as neuroprotectants.
A study published by Nutrition & Metabolism notes that the comprehensive nutrient profile of hemp oil could potentially have a positive effect on various health conditions, including cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis.
A review published in 2014 concluded that a direct increase in alpha-linolenic acid—one of the many fatty acids present in hemp oil—demonstrated a reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. However, despite these promising results, researchers have demanded more clinical trials to confirm these findings.
HOW IT’S MADE: EXTRACTION TECHNIQUES
There are several techniques currently used to extract oils from the hemp plant. While supercritical CO2 extraction has become the gold standard, other methods exist as well.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction
This extraction method exposes hemp to low-temperature, high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) gas. While this process helps preserve and isolate any cannabinoids present in the oil, its high production cost and slow extraction time typically yields a more expensive product.
While ethanol extraction has been deemed safe and non-toxic in small amounts, this process destroys hemp’s natural waxes, which many have claimed to have additional therapeutic benefits.
Hexane or Butane Extraction
Hexane and butane are both excellent cannabinoid extractors. However, this process leaves many cannabinoids behind and could be potentially dangerous and harmful to the lungs.
Olive Oil Extraction
This procedure is accredited with several additional health benefits such as providing anti-inflammatory properties and an immune system boost. It is additionally cost-effective and considered an exceptionally safe process. Unfortunately, this procedure produces considerably lower yields, making the possibility of a company utilizing it virtually non-existent due to its labor-intensiveness.
WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS ARE AVAILABLE?
Hemp oil is often incorporated into a wide variety of delivery methods. It can be applied topically, administered sublingually or buccally, or simply consumed orally. Here at Hempindica, we offer an extensive selection of best-selling CBD-infused hemp oil products, including isolates, capsules, gummies, topicals, and many other great options. Browse our site by category to find your ideal supplements today!