Hemp Oil Benefits: Real or Unfounded?

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Jul 25, 2022

    Hemp Oil Benefits: Real or Unfounded?

    The past few years have seen more countries legalizing medical marijuana. Whereas it used to be viewed as just a recreational drug, marijuana and other over-the-counter products containing cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp oil have been deemed potentially useful for chronic pain and addiction management. Yet more health care professionals have been encouraged to learn more about hemp oil benefits.

    Difference between hemp oil and marijuana

    Modern medical and nutritional research, as well as more knowledge on hemp seed composition, now suggest that there are more uses for hemp oil.

    Its fatty acid spectrum renders hemp oil “a balanced and tasty source of essential and other rare fatty acids for human consumption.” Hemp seeds also supply essential amino acids, vitamin E, and other relevant nutrients.

    Hemp oil for diets and better skin

    Hemp seed oil is a rare source of nourishment for vegetarian diets. It is also beneficial for cardiovascular health, skin, hormonal balance, diabetes, etc.

    Hemp oil also provides significant amounts of the rarer ‘super’ polyunsaturated fatty acids, notably gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA).

    These are not essential themselves, but our body only naturally produces them from the linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) essential fatty acids, respectively.

    Some patients dealing with atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions have also shown improvement upon receiving hemp seed oil with GLA and SDA. Clinical trials of the benefits from ingested hemp oil have been conducted at the University of Kuopio in Finland to assess the extent of these potential benefits. GLA and SDA content in hemp seed vary considerably with variety and this needs to be considered when using hemp oil to treat such symptoms.

    When used topically, skin irritation is often reported. Digestive issues such as upset stomach and loose stools has also been reported on oral supplementation with hemp oil.

    Potential benefits for hemp oil

    Regarding its effect on cardiovascular health, it is inconclusive thus far. A study from 2010 concluded that hempseed has the potential to beneficially influence heart disease.

    However, there are still many questions regarding its cardiovascular effects in order to establish it as a preventive or therapeutic dietary intervention. It does contain the amino acid arginine, however, and that is supposed to help decrease the risk of heart disease.

    Hemp has become increasingly popular as a remedy for a range of conditions including stress. It may contain properties that contribute to reduced risks of illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease. Still, additional research is necessary. Hemp oil may also reduce inflammation in the body.

    Because hemp oil contains large amounts of omega-6 and omega-3 fats (which are two types of unsaturated fat or “good fats”) there is a lot of optimism regarding the health benefits of hemp oil. All nine essential amino acids are also present in hemp oil, which means the materials your bodies use to make protein are also present.

    As it stands, one benefit that hemp oil is being credited with is for treatment of chronic pain management. Investigation into potential therapies such as CBD and hemp oils is a promising area for the future of clinical pain management for both pain relief as well as addiction management.

    Key takeaways

    With its connection to marijuana, it is easy to mistake hemp oil as just something recreational. Studying it, however, offers more substance. Without the THC that gives marijuana its high, hemp oil has instead been proven to have benefits for vegetarian diets and to treat atopic dermatitis. While its effectiveness in treating cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and inflammation requires further study, hemp oil has been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Martha Juco, MD


    Written by Jason Inocencio · Updated Jul 25, 2022


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