Hemp derives from the same species of the cannabis plant (Cannabis Sativa) as marijuana. One of the primary differences between hemp and marijuana is that a hemp plant has less than .3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. A marijuana plant can contain from .5 to 30% THC depending on the strain.
There are many different strains of hemp. Some are strictly used for industrial purposes, such as paper production, clothing and textiles. Other hemp strains are primarily used for therapeutic or medicinal purposes. A hemp strain must contain cannabinoids and other healing substances and properties to be considered medicinal quality.
Methods of Using Medical Hemp Oil
• Edible – The most common source for edible medical hemp oil is the hemp seed. Hemp seed oil is an excellent form of protein and essential fatty acids. Hemp seed oil also contains essential amino acids. The medicinal property breakdown of hemp seed oil is as follows:
Linolenic Acid, or Omega 6, makes up 57% of EFAs. Omega 6 is essential for healthy skin and hair. It is also required for healthy liver and kidney function. A deficiency of Omega 6 can lead to serious health conditions and even death.
Alpha Linolenic Acid, or Omega 3, composes about 19% of the EFAs in hemp seed oil. A deficiency Omega 3 leads to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and immune dysfunction.
Essential Fatty Acids are known to restore strength and improve damaged immune systems. Edible oil can be used for cooking and also in mayonnaise and other dressings. Care should be taken when cooking with hemp oil, however. An excess of hemp oil may lead to absorption or digestive concerns.
• Topical – Topical hemp oil is derived from hemp seed or hemp root. Hemp root oil is configured significantly differently than hemp seed oil. Though the plant’s root does not have the EFAs found in hemp seed oil, they are rich in terpenes – such as friedelin which protects the liver and has antioxidant properties, and pentacyclic triterpene shown to have cancer stopping properties. Hemp root oil also contains lipids, sugars, and alkaloids. Alkaloids help fight bacterial infections.
Topical products work directly at the site of the pain rather than sending the brain signals to stop or decrease pain. Topical products work on a cellular level to signal the C2 receptors in the cell’s nucleus to produce a protein which in turn stops the production of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is responsible for the pain and inflammation.
Topical medical hemp oil products are especially helpful in relieving conditions associated with arthritis, inflammation and chronic pain. Topicals should not be used on broken skin or skins with lesions, and they are not useful in treating digestive or pain associated with the GI tract. As with any essential oil, pure hemp oil should not be applied directly to the skin. Hemp oil creams and serums are combined with carrier oils and other ingredients.
Conditions Alleviated with Edible and Topical Medical Hemp Oil
A combination of nutrients, CBD, terpenes and other substances found in medical hemp oil can be useful in treating conditions when used topically. Research supports that medical hemp oil can provide relief of the symptoms of the following conditions:
• Joint pain
When purchasing hemp products, make sure you are dealing with a knowledgeable and reputable company. The cannabis or hemp should be grown by organic licensed farmers. In this day in age, it is also a good idea to look for reviews online.
If there are concerns regarding side-effects or contraindications always check with a medical professional.
Though hemp’s usage for medicinal and industrial purposes dates back thousands of years, the legal battle for cannabis continues, especially in the United States. Medicinal hemp topical products are now legal to buy in the U.S.
President Obama signed legislation into law in 2014 that allows each state’s Agricultural Department and universities to grow hemp for industrial and research purposes. At the state level, of the 32 states that have introduced hemp legislation, 28 allow hemp cultivation and 24 allow medicinal usage.
The legal future of hemp and medical hemp oil at the federal level lies in the hands of the next presidential administration and Congress. As more research and anecdotal evidence demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of hemp and all its byproducts, we hope that legality issues will someday be a thing of the past.