Omega-3 and omega-6s have been shown to help treat conditions like atopic dermatitis (a.k.a. eczema), which can leave your skin dry and itchy. GLA in particular has been shown to improve dry skin and eczema. One 2005 study even found people who consumed hempseed oil for 20 weeks had a reduction in oil and reduced the symptoms and appearance of eczema after 20 weeks. But that research is preliminary, Tishler points out.
“It probably should be called snake oil,” says Tishler. (So. save your cash.) Not only does hemp oil not have any real health benefits, but it may contain stuff that’s actually bad for you. “At the moment what you can buy is less regulated than the potato at the supermarket,” says Tishler. When hemp oil is extracted, there’s a risk that pesticides, plastics, and heavy metals could make their way in, says Tishler.
Fatty acids and GLA may also help curb the physical and emotional pain linked to PMS. Here’s why: One of the causes of PMS is a hormonal imbalance that leads to a lack of GLA in the body. Research on GLA has shown to help alleviate the symptoms of PMS by bringing hormone levels back into balance. But so far, studies haven’t found ingesting or slathering on hemp oil itself will have this effect.
So are there any hemp oil benefits—or nah?
CBD is a compound called a cannabinoid, says Jordan Tishler, MD, a Harvard-trained doc who is an expert on using cannabis as medical treatment. It can be extracted from hemp or marijuana, two different plants from the Cannabis sativa L. (“cannabis”) species. The big difference between the two: Marijuana contains higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), the compound responsible for the psychoactive properties of pot (a.k.a., the stuff that makes you high). Hemp, on the other hand, is naturally very low in THC (0.3 percent), says Tishler.
Yes, and no. Hemp itself is an A+plus source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In fact, it has the 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 that research shows is optimal for health. One of those omega-6s is GLA, or gamma linolenic acid, an anti-inflammatory. That’s why hemp-based food products, like hemp hearts and hemp milk, are gaining reps as legit superfoods.
Oh, and that ideal ratio of omegas? Researchers in Spain say that composition makes hemp oil high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). A high ratio of PUFAs to saturated fats has been linked to reductions in cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries). That suggests hemp oil may have the potential to help prevent heart disease, according to the study authors. But again, none of this has been tested in people.
It seems like everyone and her sister (and grandma, and aunt and second cousin twice-removed, and . you get it) is sprinkling CBD oil in her smoothies because of claims it can help with everything from pain to anxiety. But what about CBD’s sister: hemp oil? Are hemp oil benefits legit? Proponents say it can help with sleep and anxiety, balance your hormones, make your skin glow, and protect your ticker. But here’s what you should know before you start drizzling it on top of your food or slathering it on your skin.
CBD may offer an option for treating different types of chronic pain. A study from the European Journal of Pain showed, using an animal model, CBD applied on the skin could help lower pain and inflammation due to arthritis. Another study demonstrated the mechanism by which CBD inhibits inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult types of chronic pain to treat. More study in humans is needed in this area to substantiate the claims of CBD proponents about pain control.
Some CBD manufacturers have come under government scrutiny for wild, indefensible claims, such that CBD is a cure-all for cancer, which it is not. We need more research but CBD may be prove to be an option for managing anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain. Without sufficient high-quality evidence in human studies we can’t pinpoint effective doses, and because CBD is currently is mostly available as an unregulated supplement, it’s difficult to know exactly what you are getting. If you decide to try CBD, talk with your doctor — if for no other reason than to make sure it won’t affect other medications you are taking.
CBD is commonly used to address anxiety, and for patients who suffer through the misery of insomnia, studies suggest that CBD may help with both falling asleep and staying asleep.
The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits
CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.
CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and, in some cases, it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.
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CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a "high." According to a report from the World Health Organization, "In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD."