Hemp oil, or hempseed oil, is a popular remedy. Its advocates claim anecdotal evidence for curative properties ranging from improving acne to treating cancer to slowing the progression of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Some of these claims haven’t been proven by clinical research.
However, data suggests that hemp oil may be able to help certain health issues, such as inflammation and skin conditions. This is primarily because of its essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including omega-3s and omega-6s.
Fatty acids, which we obtain from food, are vital for the normal operation of all body systems. Hemp oil contains omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in a ratio of 3:1, which is proposed to be the ideal ratio.
Technically a nut, hemp seeds are very nutritious. They have a mild, nutty flavor and are often referred to as hemp hearts.
Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
They also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been linked to several health benefits (1).
Hemp seeds are a great protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein.
That is considerably more than similar foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds, whose calories are 16–18% protein.
Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc (1, 2Trusted Source).
Hemp seeds can be consumed raw, cooked or roasted. Hemp seed oil is also very healthy and has been used as a food and medicine in China for at least 3,000 years (1).
Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids. They are also a great protein source and contain high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
Hemp oil and skin disorders
Research indicates that the omega-3s and omega-6s in hemp oil may be effective in treating a number of skin conditions, including:
Acne. A 2014 studyTrusted Source concludes that hemp oil (nonpsychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol) is a potent and potentially universal anti-acne treatment. The study states that clinical trials are needed to fine-tune ways to best take advantage of its benefits.
Eczema. A 20-week studyTrusted Source in 2005 concludes that dietary hemp oil resulted in the improvement of eczema symptoms.
Psoriasis. A 2015 studyTrusted Source indicates that omega-3 fatty acids, as a nutritional supplement, may be beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis. The study suggests they should be used in combination with topical vitamin D, UVB phototherapy, and oral retinoids.
Lichen planus. A 2014 article indicates that hemp oil is useful for the treatment of the inflammatory skin condition lichen planus.
The 2014 article also suggests that hemp oil can contribute to stronger skin that is more resistant to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
Hemp oil, PMS, and menopause
A 2011 studyTrusted Source suggests that the physical or emotional symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome are potentially caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin that may be related to low prostaglandin E1 (PGE1).
Hemp oil’s gamma linolenic acid (GLA) assists in the production of PGE1.
The study showed that women with PMS who took 1 gram of fatty acids that included 210 mg of GLA experienced a notable decrease in symptoms.
A 2010 studyTrusted Source of rats indicates that hemp seed helps to protect against complications of menopause, most likely because of its high levels of GLA.
Hemp oils as an antibacterial agent
A 2017 studyTrusted Source, hemp oil’s antibacterial properties inhibited the activity of various types of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus.
Staphylococcus aureus is a dangerous bacteria that can cause skin infections, pneumonia and infections of the skin, bone, and heart valve.
Hemp oil is also a rich source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid.Hemp oil can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles as well as prevent signs of aging from developing. The linoleic acid and oleic acids found in hemp oil can't be produced by the body but can play a crucial role in skin health and anti-aging, so they're important nutrients to add to the diet.