Hempseed Oil Health Benefits—from Heart Disease to Dementia Prevention

hempAccording to a recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, hempseed oil—procured from low-hallucinogenic forms of cannabis (marijuana)—is teeming with healthy compounds and may just help promote heart health and prevent dementia, among other health conditions. Researchers at the University of Seville, Spain isolated and analyzed a portion of hempseed oil and uncovered a variety of health-promoting nutrients, including:

  • Vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene
  • Minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, potassium)
  • Sterols
  • Alipahtic alcohols
  • Linolenic acids

Marijuana’s Rise, Fall, and Comeback

For thousands of years, cultures around the world used cannabis to make textiles and to treat disease. Rich in protein, minerals, and fiber, some varieties of cannabis were even used as food. Unfortunately, cannabis in general got a bad rap due to the high THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content of some of the more hallucinogenic varieties. In the 1930s, countries all over the world (the Unites States included) banned all forms of marijuana.

It seems cannabis is making a comeback this decade. The European Union has legalized low-hallucinogenic marijuana, and within the United States, Colorado has legalized recreational marijuana use and other states have legalized medicinal marijuana use. This recent study confirms that cannabis, at least the low-THC varieties, does indeed impart significant health benefits.

Hempseed Oil’s Nutritional Profile

Researchers discovered a high concentration of sterols, which are steroid alcohols that have been purported to lower cholesterol. Studies suggest that daily intake of sterols may reduce your risk of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Hempseed oil is also high in aliphatic alcohols, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and to prevent platelets from clumping together in the blood and causing blood clots. Hempseed oil contains an aliphatic alcohol called phytol, which is a known anticancer agent. Of course, you don’t have to chow down on cannabis for a dose of phytol. Spinach, asparagus, and beans are also packed with this antioxidant.

Hempseed oil contains a unique blend of linolenic acid, including alpha linolenic acid—an omega-3 that has been shown to help prevent coronary artery disease. Lead researcher Maria Angeles Fernández-Arche reported that hempseed oil has an ideal balance of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids in a 3:1 ratio. Keeping your omega-6/omega-3 ratio 3:1 or lower helps keep inflammation in check and protects against virtually every type of illness.

Hempseed oil has also demonstrated a beneficial influence on dermatological conditions such as hyperpigmentation and eczema, and has been shown to enhance the body’s ability to break down fatty acids. When purchasing hempseed oil, look for a quality organic brand.