What is hemp oil? Hemp oil is said to have major anxiety and pain management properties, but let’s first set this straight now before diving in: hemp is not marijuana. So what is it, and what are the benefits of hemp oil?
WHAT IS HEMP OIL?
Industrial hemp and “marijuana” are two separate classifications of the Cannabis plant. Under federal law via the 2018 US Farm Bill, industrial hemp contains no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) while Cannabis plants above 0.3% THC are classified as “marijuana” (1). The psychotropic activity of marijuana is uniquely due to the activation of CB1 receptors by THC. Hemp oil consists of phytocannabinoids and terpenes that are non-psychoactive, and it does not result in feelings of euphoria and will not get the user “high.”
Hemp oil does not work in the body in the same way as other addictive species from the Cannabis sativa plant (2). While cannabidiol (CBD) is the most popular of phytocannabinoids, the benefits of hemp do not stop with just CBD. A whole-plant, full-spectrum hemp extract contains various phytocannabinoids and terpenes that work synergistically to provide many health benefits compared to CBD alone (3).
PHYTOCANNABINOIDS AND TERPENES
Phytocannabinoids are naturally-occurring cannabinoids found mainly in hemp and other plants. They may help support healthy stress response and immune response. Terpenes are fragrant oils common to human diets found in pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and many other plants and spices, which have been shown to contribute to hemp’s beneficial properties by interacting with the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the most complex regulatory system involved in many aspects of physiology, including healthy stress response, the immune response, food intake and appetite regulation, and neurological health. The ECS is the body’s primary regulatory system. This system consists of receptors, endogenous cannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes. Endocannabinoids are “messengers,” produced and released on demand from the brain and peripheral tissues and activate their targets only when and where needed.
Most of the biological properties related to phytocannabinoids rely on their interactions with the ECS in the body. Phytocannabinoids have been identified to act uniquely on cannabinoid receptors separately and simultaneously and/or to inhibit or activate receptor function. Also, phytocannabinoids can affect the tissue levels of endocannabinoids. This means that phytocannabinoids display unique therapeutic effects by supporting a healthy stress response, pain modulation, digestive health, and promoted immune function, among others.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HEMP OIL
● Helps support a healthy stress response by modulating key neurotransmitter pathways, therefore assisting in anxiety and stress management
● Promotes digestive health
● Helps support body function and general health
● Preclinical models suggest phytocannabinoids may play a role in mechanisms that support digestive system health and intestinal integrity
● Preclinical data shows that phytocannabinoids may support neurological health by acting on diverse central nervous system pathways
● Contains antioxidant properties to fight inflammation and help relieve pain
● Supports immune response via modulation of biochemical pathways associated with the immune system
● May defend against Alzheimer’s and be useful in Alzheimer’s therapy (4)