Hemp, Health & Wellness, Living with Hemp

What is Hemp Oil | Benefits and How to Use?

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Hemp oil comes from cold-pressing seeds of the hemp plant. Typically, it is unrefined and varies from dark to light green in colour. The colour variation manifests in its taste. The darker the colour the grassier the taste.

Refined hemp oil, on the other hand, is clear and colourless. Primarily, refined version is used in body care products such as soaps, shampoos, and detergents.

Unrefined oil has more of a use in paints, lubricants, inks, fuels, and plastic. However, some people use it as a cooking supplement too.

What is the difference between Hemp and CBD Oil?

The CBD industry often uses these phrases interchangeably. However, these are two very different products.

Hemp oil comes from the seeds of the plant where the aim is to retain the nourishing purity of the seeds.

CBD oil vs hemp oil
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CBD oil comes from the parts of the plant that contain specifically high amounts of CBD. These include leaves, flowers, and stalks of the hemp plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound present in hemp (and other plants of the cannabis species) that has many therapeutic properties.

While CBD oil is extracted particularly for high amounts of CBD, hemp oil (because it comes from the seeds) contains little or no CBD content.

Because of this difference in CBD content, the two oils are used for widely different purposes.

How to differentiate?

The easiest way to tell them apart is to look at the list of the ingredients on a product packaging.

Typically, hemp oil will have labels similar to hemp seed oil, unrefined, cannabis sativa seed oil etc. Whereas CBD oil will have a clear label identifying cannabidiol as the prime component. It will also provide a list of other cannabinoids (if any) present in the product.

Essential Components of Hemp Oil

Because it comes from the seeds of the plant, it retains majority of the nutrient and nourishment quality of the seeds. Hemp oil, therefore, has essential fatty acids, protein, fibre, vitamins, and plant cholesterols among other natural ingredients.

Essential Fatty Acids

Hemp seeds, and therefore oil, is a great source of essential fatty acids especially omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3, 6, and 9 are the most important fatty acids that need to be regularly consumed for a healthy body.

It contains omega-6 and omega-3 in a ratio of almost 3:1. This is considered to be the ideal ratio for a human body. Moreover, its composition is similar to our skin’s fatty acids. This makes hemp oil an excellent moisturiser for dry and dehydrated skin.

Omega 3 and omega 6
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This 3:1 ratio also plays a vital role in reducing inflammation thus providing great relief over irritated skin.

The major omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in hemp oil are Linoleic Acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) respectively. These two fatty acids play an essential role in the human diet ranging from blood clotting and inflammation response to regulation of the immune system.

Ideally, the daily consumption of fats in a human diet should not be more than 15-20% of calorie intake. And about 1/3rd of these fats need to be essential fatty acids in their proper ratio.

That is to say, for a 2500 calories per day diet, LA and ALA intakes should be 9-18 grams per day and 6-7 grams per day respectively. 3-5 tablespoons of hemp oil make this goal easily achievable.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E
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Vitamin E is a combination of tocopherols and tocotrienols. These are famous for their antioxidant properties. Hemp oil contains a higher amount of tocopherols than most other edible oils.

The makeup of Vitamin E in hemp seed oil helps the body in fighting a number of degenerative conditions. The antioxidant properties help combat the power of the free radicals that can lead to cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer.

Natural Components

Because hemp seed oil is unrefined, it also contains some amounts of chemical compounds that are naturally present in the seeds. These include:


CBD in hemp oil
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Yes, hemp seed oil can contain CBD. However, the amount of CBD present is negligible in comparison to CBD oil. Nonetheless, CBD present in hemp oil continues to give it the anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant, anti-epileptic, and anxiolytic properties. In comparison to a refined CBD extract, these properties are virtually ineffective.


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Terpenes are the chemical compounds that often give essential oils their respective aromas. The most prominent terpenes present in hemp oil are myrcene and beta-caryophyllene. In addition to odour, these also contribute to anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective activities of the oil.

Plant Cholesterol

You may have heard the terms good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Cholesterol in the human body is of two types—good and bad, yes but also high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). High levels of LDL often lead to cardiovascular diseases.

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According to scientific studies, plants that contain good cholesterol i.e. HDL can help regulate the levels of LDL in the body. Like most other components, cholesterol from the plants is called phyto-sterol.

Now, what we’re trying to say is that hemp seed oil contains bundles of phytosterols. In comparison, its level is higher than that in soybean or sunflower oils. Therefore, 2 to 3 tablespoons of hemp seed oil every day can help you keep cardiovascular diseases away.

Different Types of Hemp Oil

Although a number of terms that are used interchangeably in its reference, when we get technical, different terms mean entirely different things.

The 4 most common phrases are:

Hemp Oil Extract

An oil that comes from the entire hemp plant. These are also famous as whole-plant extracts. That means these contain all the naturally occurring compounds in the hemp plant. These include CBD, THC, CBG, CBN, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds.

Hemp Seed Oil

An oil that comes specifically from the seeds of the lant. The prime purpose for its extraction is to retain the rich nutritional profile of the seeds in an oil form. It is, therefore, a major source of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and dietary fibre, minerals, and protein.

CBD Oil or CBD Hemp Oil

This comes from the leaves, flowers, and stalk of the hemp plant—parts that specifically contain high amount of cannabidiol. The purpose here is to create an extract with high percentage of CBD to be used for its therapeutic effects.

Phytocannabinoid-rich Hemp Oil

This oil also comes from the leaves, flowers, and stalk of the plant but it does not contain a high amount of any one cannabinoid. Phytocannabinoid-rich oil is also famous as a full-spectrum extract.

The hemp, or cannabis plant, at large, contains more than 100 cannabinoids. CBD is just one of those. A phytocannabinoid-rich oil is, therefore, contains varying percentages of all or some of these cannabinoids in addition to essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Cannabis Oil

The term cannabis oil refers to an extract that comes from the cannabis sativa plant. There is no specifying here the type of cannabis sativa plant used. And therefore, cannabis oil, can contain high amounts of THC as well.

THC is the cannabinoid that has intoxicating effects on the body and causes the high.

Uses of Hemp Oil

Because of its high nutrient profile, hemp oil is a wonderful addition to our diet. But it also finds a lot of use in the skin and haircare industry along with promoting pain relief and brain and heart health.

Hemp Oil Benefits
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Healthy Skin

The presence of essential fatty acids and antioxidants make hemp oil a great cosmetic-care supplement. Omega-3 and 6 help in keeping the skin moisturized. It, therefore, helps with dry and irritated skin and conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

In fact, a 2005 study found hemp oil to be more effective in treating eczema than olive oil. A 2014 study concluded that it may potentially be the most potent universal anti-acne treatment.

In addition to skin, its use as a nutritional supplement aids in the treatment of psoriasis.

Less Inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids and CBD present in hemp oil work at reducing inflammation in the body. This helps in managing chronic and localised pain. The anti-inflammatory effects also help in relaxing muscle tension and encourage health muscle recovery. This also proves effective in long-term medical conditions caused by inflammation such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.

Happy Heart

The ALA helps keep your heart health in check. Studies on the subject claim that an increase in the levels of ALA appears to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A study in the Medical & Metabolism journal highlights that compounds in hemp oil reduce the risk of high blood pressure—a prime cause of heart diseases.

How does it work?

Scientists believe that hemp contains chemicals that work on the body to lower the blood pressure, slow down the heart rate, increase heartbeat strength, and regulate urine output.

The proper functioning of these biological processes contributes to a healthy heart and hygiene of the body.

Moreover, hemp also contains terpenes. These are substances responsible for giving plants their distinct odour. However, studies find that terpenes also have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumour properties. Our much beloved aromatherapy is based on terpenes.

Possible Side-Effects

While clinical research to prove these claims is insufficient, some common side-effects include:

  1. Throat irritation
  2. Diarrhoea
  3. Hypertension
  4. Bradycardia
  5. Nausea and Vomiting

Generally, topical use is safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Eating hemp seeds is not as unsafe as ingesting hemp leaves or other parts of the plant. But the high-fat content in the seeds can cause diarrhoea.

Interaction with Medications

  1. Cardiac Glycosides: these medications help the heart to beat strongly and slow down heart rate. Because hemp oil also slows down heart rate, the simultaneous use of the two can lead to bradycardia (i.e. extremely slow heart rate).
  2. Diuretics: these medications work to flush fluids out of the body and can lower potassium levels in the process. Hemp oil has a similar action on the body. When the urine/fluid output in increased, potassium in the body may reach dangerously low levels impacting the heart.

How to use Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil is versatile in the sense that there are several ways to use it. The two most common ways of using hemp oil are topical and oral use.

Topical Use

Topical Use
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Hemp oil can directly be applied to the skin, hair, nails, or scalp. This way works best for moisturising the skin and the scalp and to maintain hair and nail health. Topical use is also good in the case of localised irritation and to manage dry patches of skin.

Patch Test

Although it is believed to contain no allergens and generally safe for everyone to use, you can always go ahead and conduct a patch test to check for any unwanted reactions.

  1. Wash and dry a small area of your arm.
  2. Apply a small amount of unrefined hemp oil.
  3. Cover the spot with a bandage and let it sit for 24 hours. Be careful not to get the bandage wet.
  4. If there is any redness, itching, burning, or other irritation on the spot, you can assume you are allergic. In that case, remove the bandage immediately and wash the spot with soap and water.
  5. If you don’t feel any of these reactions, the oil is probably safe for you to use.

Mixing Hemp Oil with other Essential Oils

To enhance the therapeutic benefits, you can mix it with other anti-inflammatory ingredients such as coconut and essential oils such as lavender, or rosemary. This combination can directly be applied to the skin.

  1. Take 1/4th cup of hemp oil.
  2. 2 teaspoons of melted coconut oil (the oil should be completely melted. You can use the average microwave to heat up the oil in 30 second intervals.)
  3. 4 to 5 drops of lavender or rosemary oil
Please note that this mixture (because of essential oils) should only be used topically. Many essential oils are toxic and their ingestion is not recommended.

Oral Use

oral use
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The second way to use hemp oil is to ingest it by mixing it with your foods and beverages. Oral consumption poses less risk of skin irritation or break outs. But the high fat content may cause temporary digestive imbalance.

Ideally, you can have 2 to 3 teaspoons daily. You can take it all at once or divide it into two doses.

Unrefined hemp oil can have a strong odour and taste. If you want to avoid that, you can always add it to one or more of your recipes.

Some food items that you can add it to include:

  1. Smoothies
  2. Oatmeal and cereal
  3. As a nut butter
  4. As salad dressings
  5. Cooking oil (for sauté and shallow fry. Deep-frying is not recommended.)


Exposing hemp oil to air or high temperatures for extended periods of time can cause degradation of its healthy fat content. This could lead to the production of trans-fatty acids which are dangerous for our health and otherwise not present.

It is best stored at cool temperatures away from heat and light. You may want to refrigerate it after opening.


The dosage depends on a number of factors such as age, health conditions, current medications etc. That is why it is important to stick to the recommended dosage.

Where to buy Hemp Oil in India?

The best way to buy hemp oil in India is online through trusted platforms. The guidelines around the cultivation and processing of the hemp plant differ from state to state. It is important to know that the product you buy is authentic and can be trusted.

As mentioned earlier in the article, many careless phrases are used to refer to the same product which can be misleading. So, you must ensure to check the labels and ingredient list carefully.

Its Hemp brings trusted manufacturers from all over the country together at one place to enable you to choose from among the best products. You can browse through our comprehensive collection of hemp seed oils here!

2 thoughts on “What is Hemp Oil | Benefits and How to Use?

  1. jacob william says:

    Great post! Hemp is becoming more common as a treatment for a variety of ailments, including skin problems and stress. It may have properties that help to reduce the risk of illnesses like Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease, but further research is needed.

  2. aneni says:

    Thank you for a nice writing as i like and agree with every word. Keep going!

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