While medical marijuana gets all of the media coverage these days, CBD-rich hemp used in a medicinal or therapeutic capacity has also been shown to provide numerous benefits.
Both hemp and marijuana are a derived from the sativa L species of the cannabis plant. Marijuana plants are flowering female plants that contain significant amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, as it is commonly known. A marijuana plant has anywhere from .5 to 30% THC. THC is what gives marijuana its psychoactive properties that cause the euphoric high.
There are hemp varieties cultivated specifically for industrial use. There are hemp textiles, clothing, building materials and more. There are also hemp varieties grown for nutritional and medicinal purposes. Although there are minuscule traces of THC in the hemp plant, CBD, a cannabinoid that has medicinal benefits, exists in larger quantities.
History of Hemp Use
Hemp was first cultivated over 10,000 years ago in what is now modern day Taiwan. It is thought to be one of the first, if not the first, cultivated crop. It was not until approximately 6000 BCE that the Chinese began using the seeds and oil for food.
In about 2700 BCE there are accounts of the Ancient Chinese using it for medical purposes. The entire plant was used, from stem to root, to derive the medical benefits of hemp oil. Hemp grew in popularity throughout Asia in the centuries that followed, and by 1500 Europeans were using hemp for medical purposes.
The New World settlers started cultivating hemp for industrial purposes in the 1600s. The use of medical marijuana began in about 1730s and was used in products in the U.S. throughout the 1920s. Marijuana and hemp were prohibited in 1934 during the U.S. alcohol prohibition.
Hemp can be ingested as a tea using the root or the entire plant including the stalk. The seeds can also be eaten raw, roasted, or cooked. A tincture can also be made of the flowering parts or the root. Tinctures can be added to water, tea, or taken sublingually.
Benefits of consuming hemp:
• Nutrition – Hemp is plentiful in healthy fats such as Omega 3s and Omega 6s, making it ideal for skin and hair. It is also a healthy form of protein.
• Heart disease – Hemp contains the amino acid arginine which produces nitric oxide gas, making the blood vessels dilate and relax.
• PMS and Menopause – Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) help relieve hormonal symptoms like fluid retention, depression, and breast pain.
• Digestion – The high fiber content in hemp helps to facilitate digestion.
Topical Hemp Therapy for Pain and Inflammation
Medicinal topical hemp therapy works at the cellular level. The CBD cannabinoids signal the C2 receptors in the cell nucleus, signaling the DNA to produce a protein which turns off the production of arachidonic acid, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.
Medical hemp oil is also nourishing for the skin and brings with it a warm, comforting feeling. Topical products may include creams and lotions, but the most potent products are made from the oil of the seed or root. Both roots and seeds contain concentrated levels of CBD and other nutrients making them ideal for medical hemp oil.
Massage therapists, chiropractors, and other healthcare professional use the medical benefits of hemp oil to relieve many conditions such as:
• Arthritis – The amount of research being done on medical cannabis as a treatment to arthritis and inflammation pain is promising, and more is being conducted all the time.
• Fibromyalgia – Many forums indicate that hemp oil used as a massage oil, especially when applied to tender points significantly relieves their pain. There is also research backing up this claim.
• Joint pain from exertion or injury – Topical hemp oil is used to relieve pain from sports exertion or injury and for general aches and pains.
• Multiple Sclerosis – Medical hemp has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of MS both orally and topically. Hemp seed oil, especially when combined with essential oils, can be particularly useful.
If you are on medications or have any concerns regarding using hemp for medicinal or therapeutic purposes, it is best to check with a healthcare professional.