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Understanding Hemp Oils

While only recently becoming mainstream in the western hemisphere, hemp seed oils have been used for thousands of years in Eastern cultures.

Hemp oil is derived from the hemp plant, which is a member of the cannabis family. Unfortunately, this often leads to confusion about what exactly hemp oil is, and what it’s purpose could be. The main difference between hemp and marijuana is quite simple: while marijuana has been enhanced and bred specifically for the purpose of raising the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana which leads to the effect of being “high” – hemp is exactly the opposite. Hemp is any variety of the Cannabis plant which contains LESS than 0.3% THC. Hemp, in fact, is notable for it’s high cannabidiol (CBD) content. CBD is a non-psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant, which has been shown to have numerous health benefits in a wide variety of applications.

Adding to the confusion, there are also different types of “hemp oils” which are commonly grouped together as well:

Hemp Oil –

Hemp Oil is the product that is extracted from the stalk of the hemp plant, with a particular focus on achieving a high CBD content. Legally, it must have less than 0.3 percent THC.

Hemp Seed Oil –

Hemp Seed Oil is a product that is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, and contains very little or no THC or CBD – instead, the focus is on it’s healthy fatty acid profile.

CBD Oil –

CBD Oil can be made from either the entire plant, including the flowering portion, or from only the stalk of the hemp plant.

Cannabis Oil –

Cannabis Oil is a product extracted from the Cannabis sativa plant and can contain both CBD and THC in varying concentrations. This means that it cannot be purchased in states where the sale of cannabis is illegal. Additionally, due to the potential for higher concentration of THC in the product, it may not be ideal for individuals who are not seeking the psychoactive properties of THC.

Once the hemp oil has been extracted, the product is then used in many different applications. Some common uses for hemp oil include:

– moisturizers to nourish the skin
– massage oils, which can relieve pain, and increase circulation
– in consumable products designed to improve health and wellness
– in cooking, as a replacement for olive oil, or as a salad dressing for example
– as a medical treatment for a large variety of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, epilepsy, and dermatitis
– as a biodiesel, (much like vegetable oil) to provide a non-toxic and environmentally friendly replacement for petroleum
– as a replacement for petroleum in the production of plastics and paint

With such a vast array of uses and benefits to aid in both general health and environmental health, it’s likely that hemp oil will eventually become a standard component in our daily lives.