If hash oil is the crazy aunt who shows up to your wedding in a miniskirt and snakeskin boots, hemp oil is the tight-bunned cousin in the jumper who escorts her out. Yes, hemp oil – compared to wilder versions of cannabis – isn’t exactly the life of the party. But it certainly adds life to your years because of its health benefits.
Hemp Oil: 101
Hemp oil is a flavorful oil that comes from the hemp seeds of the hemp plant (a plant that belongs to the cannabis sativa family). It tastes a little nutty, even if it doesn’t really act that way, and is used to enhance the tangs of certain dishes. It’s also making a reputation for itself in terms of well-being.
Why Hemp Oil is Healthy
Hemp seeds – and the oil it makes – are full of things that do a body good. They have protein, polyunsaturated fatty acids, omega 6, omega 3, and insoluble fiber (and you thought you were regular before!). They have anti-oxidants as well (like vitamin E) and all kinds of minerals, from calcium to zinc.
Hemp oil offers linoleic acid, an acid that may help slow down the aging process.
For one thing, it reduces inflammation so that you feel and look younger.
It may also benefit people who struggle with weight management. And it’s helpful in fighting a variety of chronic diseases.
But Wait, There’s More
In keeping with the tradition of cannabis (and things related), the health benefits of hemp oil aren’t exactly limited. It lowers cholesterol, accelerates your metabolism, regulates blood sugars, boosts immunity, helps protect the nervous system by reducing demyelination, and helps prevent varicose veins.
For people who are vegetarians, hemp oil offers an easy way to get the optimal ratio of fatty acids (and protein).
You don’t have to eat a chicken…eat a chickpea with some oil sprinkled on top instead.
Adding Hemp Oil to Foods
Hemp oil contains trace amounts of THC but it’s nowhere close enough to get you high (you can stop chugging the bottle now). It is, however, an excellent kitchen companion: have it over for dinner sometime.
There’s a few different ways to infuse hemp oil into food. You can use it as salad dressing (if you dare swap out the irreplaceable, beloved ranch). Or you can use it in baking or cooking.
Hemp oil does have a low flash point. This means that it’ll start to smoke at rather benign temperatures.
And it’s fragile – cooking it at a temperature that’s too high might cause the oil to solidify.
Because of this delicate ego, hemp oil is best used raw. You might throw it into a smoothie, toss it on a baked potato, add it to rice, or dribble it across a plate of pasta.
Other types of Hemp Food
Plain hemp seeds make a nice dining companion too. They can be sprinkled into just about anything – salad, vegetables, yogurt, spaghetti, oatmeal, or Fruit Loops (see, now your breakfast is healthy).
Hemp also comes in protein powder. Some people use it as a simple way to add protein to their diets. Around four tablespoons contain 12 grams of protein, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber, and a slug of vitamins and minerals. But, be warned, while many people find hemp oil tasty, the reviews for hemp protein aren’t as favorable. It’s a lot less “mmm” and a lot more “blah.” This is why it’s usually added to shakes, smoothies, or, who knows, bags of sugar.
Hemp milk is another thing available for purchase.Like rice milk, coconut milk, soy milk, and almond milk, it offers an alternative to people who can’t or prefer not to drink dairy.
It’s a plant milk derived from hemp seeds. It comes in different varieties – unsweetened, vanilla, or chocolate – and, like hemp oil, has a hint of nuttiness.
The Cosmetic Side of Hemp Oil
Ingesting hemp oil is good for you, but using it topically is advantageous as well. You can apply it directly to your skin as a moisturizer, use it for its drying effects, use it to improve water resistance of skin, or allow your face to embrace its anti-aging components. Hemp improves the all-around functioning of the skin by enhancing the composition of epidermal lipids (the fats in the skin’s outermost layer).
Hemp oil is beneficial to your hair too. It’s used for scalp treatments and to reduce the effects of oils in oil-based shampoos. It improves the texture of your hair, making your locks look healthier, shinier, and stronger (your bangs can’t bench press a hundred pounds, but, my goodness, they’ll look like they can).
Hemp Oil’s Legal Status
Hemp oil, like CBD oil, isn’t illegal in the US: you can buy it on Amazon (or out of the trunk of some dude’s car – you choose). It’s available as a supplement over the counter, providing an easy to swallow option of ingestion.
The Federal Drug Administration considers it a dietary supplement, which means you don’t need a prescription to purchase.
Interestingly, hemp supplements are also available for canines. These are formulated to access the terpenes and flavonoids while minimizing the concentrations of THC (but if your dog suddenly eats the entire bag of Alpo….). They’re designed for people who want to treat their animals’ ailments holistically, rather than with conventional veterinary medicine.
Hemp, in a nutshell (in the nutshell that it tastes like), is a healthy, versatile element to add to your dinner, your beauty routine, and, perhaps, your dog’s bowl. The controversy surrounding it only exists because of its relation to cannabis; it’s as silly as giving grapes the side eye because of their relation to wine (I remember his brother, Pinot. He took my class three years ago. Always acted so spoiled).
But hemp isn’t only non-controversial; it’s beneficial. That seems to be a pattern when it comes to cannabis.