You can drink hemp oil, mix it into food and beverages, vape it or use it as a topical. There are reasons for using it in different ways, but before we describe them, it’s important to understand just what hemp oil is – and isn’t.
Is hemp oil the same thing as CBD oil?
Hemp oil is not the same thing as CBD oil, although both of them are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant, otherwise known as hemp. The hemp plant has been cultivated for many years and is used to make thousands of different products, including paper, food, textiles, clothing, rope, paint, oil for lighting, biodegradable plastics and medicine.
The differences between hemp oil and CBD oil
CBD oil is made from the stalks, leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, while hemp oil is made from seeds, which are cold-pressed. Unless manufacturers add flavors, CBD oil has an earthy or grassy flavor and comes in colors ranging from gold to brown to black. Hemp seeds, on the other hand, produce a clear green oil that has a nutty flavor.
Hemp’s stalks, leaves and flowers may have a small amount of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) in them which can end up in CBD products. In significant quantities, THC is what causes users to experience a “high.” Hemp oil is generally considered to be THC-free, because hemp seeds have little or none of the compound.
What they do have are lots of essential amino acids, healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, vitamins and fibers.
Hemp oil’s health benefits
Hemp oil is associated with both physical and mental health benefits. It is used to improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, relieve pain, depression and anxiety, treat bipolar disorder and insomnia, support cognitive functions such as memory and learning and reduce the number and severity of seizures suffered by people with certain kinds of epilepsy.
Hemp oil also benefits the skin. The gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation that occurs with some chronic skin conditions. It is effective as an acne treatment for many people because it reduces excess oil production. It also moisturizes dry skin.
Four ways to take hemp oil
As mentioned previously, whether you want to take hemp oil in order to treat a specific problem or you simply want to support your heart health or memory, there are four ways to consume it.
- Drink it. If you plan to take hemp oil orally, you should talk to your doctor first, especially if you are taking other medications. Although hemp oil is a natural, nontoxic substance, more research is needed into whether or not it might interact with drugs and produce undesirable effects. In terms of dosage, one to two teaspoons a day is a good place to start.
- Mix it into food or beverages. Hemp oil can be mixed into almost anything. You can add it to your morning coffee, blend it in a smoothie or pour it over your cereal. I used the word “almost” for a reason: if hemp oil is heated to too high a temperature it will lose it nutrients.
Vape it. This method of consuming hemp oil results in you enjoying its beneficial effects much faster than when you
drink it. That’s because vaping draws it – in vapor form – directly into your lungs, allowing it to bypass the slow-poke digestive system and enter the bloodstream faster. You can buy hemp oil specifically made for vaping. You must use a device that has a tank designed especially for hemp oil consumption.
- As a topical. This is the ideal method for treating skin conditions like acne, psoriasis and contact dermatitis. A few people find that hemp oil irritates their skin, so it’s best to do a test first. Apply the hemp oil to a small patch of skin and leave it overnight. If all is well the next day, you know you can proceed to use it. To use hemp oil topically, wash your skin and apply the oil. Do not remove it right away. Instead, leave it on your skin for several minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.