We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the cannabis culture is a creative culture. They enjoy few things more than making up slang terms for their beloved wacky weed (which in itself is a slang term). Usually, this isn’t a problem. You can say any of the following and people will know what you mean:
- I’ve got a date with Mary Jane.
- I’m going to fire up a fat one.
- Let’s smoke a doobie.
- We gettin’ our ganja on.
But sometimes, substituting one word for another is bad form and can communicate the wrong information. Case in point: calling a blunt a joint, or vice versa. There are distinct differences between a blunt and a joint, and trying to use them interchangeably will confuse those who understand the differences.
Another prime example is the confusion wrought by the careless use of the term hemp oil. Hemp oil is often used to refer to CBD oil, cannabis oil, and canna oil (just to name a few). But there is a big difference between hemp oil and the cannabis oil to which most people are referring when they use the term.
The experts at Honest Marijuana are here to set the record straight about hemp and hemp oil benefits. Along the way, we’ll address such issues as:
- What is hemp oil?
- How does hemp oil differ from cannabis oil?
- What are the benefits of using hemp oil?
We’ll conclude by giving you the bottom line about hemp oil, and show you how you can begin to use the term correctly. But before we get to that, we have to start at the beginning and answer the most basic question of all: What is hemp?
What Is Hemp?
Hemp is a non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp is non-psychoactive because it contains less than 1% of the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the cause of the “high” that has made marijuana the hotly-debated topic that it is today.
So even though hemp and marijuana come from the same species of cannabis, they are genetically distinct and differ in their chemical makeup, use, and cultivation methods.
Hemp seeds can be processed for inclusion in foodstuffs like bread, cereal, dressings, margarine, and flour. Those same seeds can also be used to produce fuel, lubricants, paint, cosmetics, and body products. Even the stalk of the hemp plant has industrial applications.
Various parts of it can be used in the production of:
- Paper products
Hemp also contains the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), although it is present in much smaller volume than it is in the non-hemp variety of Cannabis sativa. Because of that, hemp can be used to create hemp oil.
But, as you’ll see in the section Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil, it is a low-quality product that shouldn’t really be used for the same purposes. That brings us to our next section which looks at hemp oil specifically.
What Is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil can refer to two distinct products:
- Hemp seed oil
- Cannabinoid-infused oil extracted from hemp plant matter
“What’s the difference between the two?” you ask. Good question. Hemp seed oil is produced much like almond oil or olive oil. In the case of hemp seed oil, hemp seeds are pressed and their oil separated from the solid matter.
Hemp oil can also be used to refer to a cannabinoid-infused oil extracted from the hemp plant matter. This oil is similar to oils produced from more THC- or CBD-rich strains. The extraction process usually involves CO2 or alcohol and results in a highly-concentrated oil that can be used for medicinal or psychoactive effects.
This is where the problem in terminology arises. Hemp seed oil is common to a great many kitchens and is already referred to in many circles as simply hemp oil. The hemp concentrate is, as you’ll see in the next section, an inferior product that really shouldn’t be used for medicinal purposes (really the only purposes for which you would use a hemp extract).
So just because the term hemp has been used in the past as a synonym for ganja, weed, wacky tabacky, and Mary Jane, doesn’t mean that it should continue. Hemp oil should only be used to refer to the oil used in foodstuffs, cosmetics, creams, and other industrial applications.
It should not be used as a synonym for the higher-quality cannabis oil or CBD oil. Here’s why.
Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil
People often talk of about the oil derived from the Cannabis sativa plant using the terms hemp oil and cannabis oil interchangeably. Unfortunately, they are not the same thing and the terms should not be used indiscriminately.
Here’s a comparison of hemp oil versus cannabis oil that will illustrate the differences.
The hemp plant, and the resultant oil, often contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), transfats, and additives
The cannabis plant, and the resultant oil, does not contain any GMOs, transfats, or additives.
2) The Plant Itself
The hemp plant is low in cannabinoid content so a large amount of plant matter is required to extract a small amount of low-quality CBD. Because of the mass quantity of plant matter required, and because hemp is a bioaccumulator that draws toxins from the soil, the risk of contaminants ending up in the oil increases.
Hemp Oil Benefits
From here on out, we will use the words hemp oil to refer to the oil pressed from the seeds of the hemp plant, and not to the oil extracted from the plant matter in order to produce a concentrate.
The bulk of hemp oil’s benefits are nutritional rather than medicinal or psychoactive. Remember, the main cannabinoids in hemp—THC and CBD—occur at an extremely low percentage (often less than 1%). That’s not enough to feel any kind of psychoactive effect or realize any kind of medical benefits.
So instead of thinking of hemp oil like you do cannabis oil, think of it more like olive oil. Here are some of the benefits it provides.
1) Hemp Oil Provides Nutrition For Your Brain
Hemp oil contains an array of fatty acids that are essential for the proper function and development of your body. One such fatty acid is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is crucial for the overall health of your brain and other organ systems.
2) Hemp Oil Promotes A Healthy Immune System
Recent research has shown that healthy bacteria in your digestive system can keep your immune system running at 100%. That means less chance of infection, cold, and flu. So how can you promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your digestive system? With hemp oil, of course.
The essential fatty acids in hemp oil encourage the proliferation of healthy flora in your stomach and intestines, which, in turn, stimulates your immune system to run on all cylinders and keeps you healthy.
3) Hemp Oil Is A Substitute For Fish Oil
Fish oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids and your body needs these omega-3s to function properly. Above and beyond that, omega-3s also provide some important health benefits such as:
- Lowering blood fat levels.
- Relieving stiffness and joint pain.
- Mitigating the effects of depression.
- Reducing inflammation.
- Protecting against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Lessen the symptoms of ADHD.
But fish oil can be extremely high in mercury which can be toxic to certain individuals. Hemp oil, on the other hand, contains no mercury and provides nearly the same levels of omega-3s.
4) Hemp Oil Moisturizes Skin
Hemp oil acts as a moisturizer to keep water from evaporating off the surface of your skin. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of hemp oil also protect your body against the aging process and soothe dry, damaged skin.
5) Hemp Oil Is Good For Your Heart
We’ve already talked about the omega-3 fatty acids, but hemp oil also contains another essential fatty acid: omega-6. In fact, hemp oil has a 3-to-1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. That particular ratio of fatty acids has been shown to promote healthy cardiovascular function.
In addition, both of those nutrients prevent degenerative conditions in both the heart and other parts of the body.
6) Hemp Oil Is Good For Your Hair And Nails
The omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 molecules in hemp oil contribute to the health and well-being of your hair and nails. They do this by:
- Moisturizing the scalp and nail beds
- Stimulating the production of keratin (a protein that makes up 90 percent of your hair and nails)
- Strengthening hair and nails to prevent breakage
If you’re having problems with brittle hair, brittle nails, or dry scalp, try hemp oil as a remedy before using medications with a long list of side effects.
7) Hemp Oil Helps Balance Hormones
Hemp oil is a rich source of the omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA helps your body balance hormones. Adding a GLA supplement (like hemp oil) to your diet helps ease premenstrual syndrome and reduces the cramping and pain of menstruation.
8) Hemp Oil Acts As A Healing Agent
We’ve mentioned terpenes already in this article, but here’s a review: they’re the aroma and flavor molecules found on the cannabis plant. They don’t produce any psychoactive effects, but they do have numerous health benefits.
The terpenes beta-caryophyllene (pepper) and myrcene (musk) both act like cannabinoids in your body (they interact with cannabinoid receptors). They won’t get you high (like THC) or have quite the same medicinal effects (like CBD), but they will have some significant healing effects.
Beta-caryophyllene, for example, interacts with cell receptors in your body that regulate (strengthen) your immune system. Myrcene has an antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effect on your body.
Myrcene also improves the mobility of molecules across cell membranes. And when molecules can cross the cell membranes quicker and easier, everything from digestion to respiration improves.
The Bottom Line About Hemp Oil
To avoid confusion, we recommend using hemp oil to refer to products from industrial hemp like foodstuffs, creams, and cosmetics. Hemp oil should not be used to refer to medicinal oils derived from the Cannabis sativa plant.
Keep in mind that even though you are using the terms correctly, others may still use the terms interchangeably to refer to any oils derived from the various species of Cannabis plant. That’s okay. It just means you may have to ask for clarification about exactly which product they are referring to.
And don’t be surprised if they ask you for clarification as well. It takes time for the right way to become common knowledge.
For more information about all things marijuana, visit HonestMarijuana.com today. And while you’re there, be sure to check out our Honest Blunts and concentrates made from the finest organic ingredients that Colorado can produce.