Hemp Seed Oil 101

Unlike medical marijuana, which is still a controlled substance and hot topic in the legal community, hemp seed oil is widely available and can be used legally despite restrictions on many other hemp products. You can even find hemp seed oils in your local Walmart. But, why would anyone use hemp seed oil? What are the benefits and does it also work?

The Important Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp?

Before we can delve into the subject of hemp seed oil, we should explore the hemp plant itself. Some people are fooled by mistaking hemp for marijuana and the difference comes down to a simple HPLC test, and we aren’t sure why this truck driver was pulled over and arrested without a proper test result occured?

The confusion is easily made considering that hemp and marijuana are plants from the same genus called Cannabis. Within the category of cannabis plants, there are three distinct types. These are commonly called strains but adequately referred to as cultivars. Hemp is a cannabis cultivar which has comparatively low THC content. THC is the psychoactive substance that makes marijuana popular.

Hemp, or industrial hemp, is cultivated for a wide range of purposes. Hemp is used as the raw material in making a variety of products including papers, cereals, cosmetics, and textiles as well. In other words, hemp is a cultivated commodity like flax, cotton or lumber. Many ancient sailing vessels including large warships were outfitted with miles of rope made from sturdy hemp fibers.

With the invention of the cotton gin, seeds could be easily removed from raw cotton and this expedited the cotton industry. Hemp lost some popularity during this time until the invention of the Hemp Brake allowed the hemp industry to gain some traction in the markets it shared with the cotton and hardwood industry.

This is the point where major corporate owners saw they stood to lose a fortune to the hemp industry which opened the doors for many people to compete and make a good living. This threat to profits simply could not be countenanced, for purely financial reasons hemp was taken from the agricultural commodities list and made a controlled substance under the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act of 1937. Since that date, no other laws would be prepared to control cannabis cultivation until 1970.

Today the country is recovering from years of the stigma surrounding the hemp plant. This was caused by the dissemination of the notion that hemp merely is a drug used for unproductive people to get high and shirk responsibility. As I will explain in some detail, this notion is entirely untrue.

Does Hemp Seed Oil Have Medical Value?

Hemp seed oil is derived from the oily little seeds of the hemp plant through pressing, just like olive oils is taken from olives. Hemp seed oil has an array of high-quality nutrients in bountiful supply and has been extolled as a superfood by health enthusiasts. Hemp seed oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, just like salmon, and has extensive benefits to heart health.

But how exactly will the normal constituents of the hemp seed interact with the human body? Will any of these effects have therapeutic value? Will it produce a psychoactive high?

As mentioned earlier, one of the significant differences between hemp and marijuana is the presence of THC, the psychoactive compound. To give a frame of reference, specially cultivated strains of marijuana today can contain as much as 25% THC to dry content, 20 years ago the highest content available was around 10%. The hemp plant itself may provide as little as .2% and none of this THC exists in the seeds but in the flowers, called buds. In other words, hemp oil doesn’t make you high if you drink it all day –– but don’t! Only small amounts are needed for a full array of health benefits.

Cannabis is not the single oldest plant cultivated for medicinal purposes because it can get you “high.” Cannabis and its cannabinoid content have a variety of health benefits as well. First of all, THC + CBD is one of the most potent and effective natural methods for addressing acute and chronic pain.

Unfortunately, you can’t expect the full spectrum of cannabinoid benefits from hemp seed oils. The type of hemp grown for fiber, and the type of hemp grown for cannabinoids is virtually an entirely different plant. There are techniques used to produced hemp clones which have the exact potential to produce large levels of cannabidiol, and low levels of THC.

Finally, if you will be scouring your markets for a suitable hemp seed oil, don’t confuse this product with CBD oils. CBD oils can be derived from hemp or marijuana, but only those with sufficiently low THC levels are legal nationwide. CBD has extensive benefits for the health as well, but without the full support of THC content, they are somewhat limited in their efficacy.