Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil Side Effects

Hemp oil has a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which may help improve cholesterol levels and heart health. Learn what medical research says about the nutritional benefits of eating hemp seeds, hempseed oil, and hempseed protein powder. Learn more about HEMP uses, effectiveness, possible side effects, interactions, dosage, user ratings and products that contain HEMP.

Hemp oil is packed with healthy fatty acids — here’s why that’s great news for your skin and heart

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This article was medically reviewed by Zlatin Ivanov, MD, who is certified in psychiatry and addiction psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology at Psychiatrist NYC.

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  • Hemp oil comes from seeds that grow on Cannabis sativa, the same plant species that yield marijuana.
  • Hemp oil has a healthy balance of fatty acids that may help boost skin and heart health.
  • One tbsp of hemp oil offers over twice your daily value of alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid.

Hemp oil comes from the same species of Cannabis sativa plants that yield marijuana and CBD oil, but it’s a decidedly different product.

Hemp oil, aka hemp seed oil, is produced by cold-pressing the seeds from hemp plants, similar to how olive oil is made by pressing olives.

However, hemp seeds have little to no THC or CBD, says Jeffrey Chen, MD, co-founder and CEO of Radicle Science, a health-tech company that offers research and validation services for CBD products.

Note: Hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil — sometimes referred to as hemp CBD oil — which is a thick, oily resin extracted from the flowers, leaves, and stems of cannabis plants. Moreover, hemp seed oil won’t get you high, like marijuana, says Chen.

Instead, many of hemp oil’s purported health benefits come down to its nutrients: Hemp oil is a rich source of minerals and healthy omega fatty acids, which may help with skin, hair, and nail health among other things. However, research is still in the early stages.

Hemp nutrition

One tablespoon of hemp oil contains roughly 125 calories and 14 grams of fat (18% DV). In addition, hemp seeds are a rich source of other nutrients, including:

  • Polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In particular, hemp oil contains alpha-linolenic and gamma-linolenic fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. That’s important since persistent inflammation can lead to chronic health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Protein: Hemp seeds are a complete protein because they contain all the essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own.
  • Minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. Minerals play an important role in heart, brain, and muscle function.
  • Vitamins A, C, E, and B vitamins, which are essential for immunity and disease prevention.
  • Dietary fiber, which keeps your digestive system working smoothly.

Researchers attribute most of hemp oil’s benefits to its healthy balance of fatty acids. Below are some of the science-backed benefits of hemp oil.

Helps treat skin conditions like acne and eczema

Studies suggest that the omega fatty acids in hemp oil can help improve inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis, says Chen. Here’s what some of the research has found so far:

  • A small 2005 study that included 20 participants with eczema noted significant improvements in their skin upon taking two tablespoons of hemp oil for eight weeks. The participants reported less skin dryness and itching, and some found that they no longer needed as much medication to manage their condition.
  • According to a 2014 review, the omega fatty acids in hemp oil strengthen cell membranes, making the skin more resistant to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. The review also notes that applying crushed hemp leaves to your skin can help treat a skin condition known as scabies.
  • There is also anecdotal evidence that consuming hemp oil daily can help strengthen your skin, hair, and nails, by fortifying your cell membranes; however, further research is required to substantiate these claims.

May improve heart health

Hemp oil doesn’t just have an abundance of healthy omega fatty acids — it contains them in the “perfect” balance. Chen says hemp oil has a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, which is potentially an optimal ratio for improved cholesterol levels and heart health.

By comparison, other oils such as vegetable oils, have more omega-6 and fewer omega-3 fatty acids, which could contribute to inflammation and heart disease.

However, it’s important to note that while hemp oil contains the fatty acids associated with improved heart health, Chen says there isn’t sufficient evidence yet to prove that hemp oil, specifically, can prevent or improve heart disease. Studies conducted in insects and animals show promise, but further research is required in humans.

Other benefits include pain relief and improved brain health

Some other potential benefits of hemp seed oil include:

  • Pain relief, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Reduced muscle tension. Some full-spectrum hemp oils can contain enough CBD to help relieve muscle soreness and tension. But it’s the CBD, not the hemp, that is likely responsible for this.
  • Benefits for pregnant people, as omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for fetal development.
  • Improved brain health and prevention of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, since omega-3 acids support healthy brain function.

Like with heart disease, Chen says there are theoretical benefits of hemp oil for these conditions due to its omega-3 fatty acid content, but he says there are virtually no human clinical trials that have directly investigated the benefits of hemp oil for these conditions.

Hemp oil side effects

“There are generally very few side effects associated with hemp oil. It does contain a lot of fat, and thus may cause diarrhea if consumed in excess,” says Chen.

Hemp seeds cannot technically get you high, says Chen, because unlike other parts of the cannabis plant, hemp seeds contain negligible amounts of cannabinoid compounds like THC, if any.

Hemp oil is therefore legal and has fewer regulatory restrictions than marijuana and CBD oil, says Chen. The FDA requires that cannabis products like hemp and CBD oils have a THC content lower than 0.3%.

That said, a 2019 study notes that many hemp and CBD oil products are in violation of FDA guidelines because they have a significantly higher THC percentage than legally permitted.

While there isn’t a recommended dosage for hemp oil, Chen says a few grams or tablespoons of hemp oil a day is the dosage typically used in clinical trials for conditions like skin disorders. This dosage is sufficient to fulfill your daily omega-3 requirement, says Chen.

One tablespoon of hemp seed oil provides more than double — a little over 3 grams — of your daily requirement of alpha linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid.

Tip: Apart from hemp seed oil, another way to add hemp to your diet is by eating hemp seeds. Hemp seeds contain omega-3 acids, and unlike hemp seed oil, they also contain protein and fiber, says Chen. You can sprinkle hemp seeds over yogurt, salad, or oatmeal. They have a mild, nutty flavor and add a crunchy texture to your meal.

Insider’s takeaway

Hemp seed oil contains nutrients like healthy omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and nutrients like vitamin E that may help keep your heart, skin, and brain healthy. However, more human trials are needed to determine how effective it is for everyone.

Sanjana has been a health writer and editor since 2014. She has written extensively for platforms like Livestrong.com, Verywell Mind, and Times Internet. Her work spans various health-related topics, including fitness, nutrition, mental health, and wellness. Sanjana balances her love for chocolate with a penchant for fun workouts like aerial yoga and kickboxing.

What Is Hemp?

Nutritional Advantages of Eating Hemp Seeds and Hempseed Oil

Sherry Christiansen is a medical writer with a healthcare background. She has worked in the hospital setting and collaborated on Alzheimer’s research.

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Lana Butner, ND, LAc, is a board-certified naturopathic doctor and licensed acupuncturist in private practice in New York City .

Verywell Health content is rigorously reviewed by a team of qualified and experienced fact checkers. Fact checkers review articles for factual accuracy, relevance, and timeliness. We rely on the most current and reputable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the bottom of each article. Content is fact checked after it has been edited and before publication. Learn more.

Nick Blackmer is a librarian, fact-checker, and researcher with more than 20 years’ experience in consumer-oriented health and wellness content.

Verywell / Anastasiia Tretiak​

Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is grown for use in many different products. Hemp is made into foods, health products, fabric, rope, natural remedies, and much more. Different parts of the hemp plant are used to make different products.

Hemp seeds are edible and highly nutritious. They have a high concentration of fiber. They also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids are nutrients that are important for heart and skin health.

Hemp is sometimes confused with marijuana. Hemp, however, contains only trace amounts of THC, the main chemical in the marijuana plant that makes people get “high.” Because hemp contains little THC, it is grown for non-drug use.

See also  Can Dogs Smell Cannabis Seeds

This article discusses some of the health benefits of hemp, its uses, and its potential side effects. It also answers some common questions about hemp and how it should be used and stored.

Also Known As

  • Narrow-leaf hemp
  • Bitter root
  • Catchfly
  • Indian hemp
  • Milkweed
  • Wild cotton

Does Hemp Offer Any Benefits?

There are three different plants in the Cannabis genus, also called the Cannabaceae family. These include Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Hemp varieties of Cannabis contain 0.3% or less THC. Marijuana varieties have more than 0.3%. Higher amounts of THC can produce a high.

The seeds are the main edible part of the hemp plant. The leaves can be used to make tea, but most of the nutrients are in the seeds. In fact, hemp seeds are over 30% fat, including essential fatty acids. The potential health benefits of hemp, therefore, come mainly from its seeds.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are, as the name implies, the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp hearts are seeds that have had the shell removed.

Hemp seeds are high in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, while insoluble fiber does not. Both types of fiber are important for digestion. Because hemp hearts lack the fibrous shell, they are lower in fiber and other nutrients than whole hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are also rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that has been shown to have many health benefits. A 2016 study found that GLA has strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Hemp seeds contain a 3-to-1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. This is considered an optimal ratio for heart and brain health.

This ratio is difficult to get in the Western diet. Western diets tend to be too heavy in omega-6 fatty acids, which can be found in foods like vegetable oil. Many Western diets don’t contain enough omega-3 fatty acids. These are found in foods like salmon and other wild-caught, cold-water fish.

Hemp seeds contain many nutrients, including protein, minerals (such as magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc), and vitamins.

Whole hemp seeds contain 20% soluble and 80% insoluble fiber. The fiber in hemp seeds may help digestion. It may also help lower bad cholesterol and improve heart health. The insoluble fiber in hemp seeds has also been linked to a lower risk of diabetes.

Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil

Hemp oil is also called hempseed oil. It is made by cold-pressing hemp seeds. Hempseed oil is different from CBD oil. CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and then combined with a base oil. Examples of base oils include coconut or olive oil.

Hempseed oil comes from hemp seeds only. It is not derived from the Cannabis plant itself. Hempseed oil does not contain any psychoactive properties. You can not use it to get high. Hemp oil has unique properties and health benefits.

Hemp oil contains healthy nutrients such as:

  • Proteins
  • Essential fatty acids (EFAs), which are important for good health
  • Minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium, iron, and more
  • Antioxidants like vitamin E

Hemp oil can be used as a cooking oil. Just like any other type of healthy oil, it can be added to foods such as salads, dips, and spreads.

Animal studies have suggested that hempseed oil may lower blood pressure. It may also reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. This hasn’t been proven in human studies, though.

Hemp oil is often used as a hair conditioner or a skin moisturizer. Some studies found that hemp seed oil may improve dry, itchy skin and help symptoms of eczema, a common skin condition. When used for eczema symptoms, it may reduce the need for prescription medication.

Recap

Hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil. Hemp oil comes from the seed of the hemp plant. It can be used for cooking or as a hair conditioner or skin moisturizer.

Hemp Protein

Hemp protein is a powder made from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp protein contains all nine essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Some studies, though, have shown that hemp protein isn’t as good a source of one amino acid, lysine, compared to soy protein.

Hemp protein is a good choice for vegetarians or vegans because it contains essential fatty acids. Whole hemp seeds contain about 25% protein. This is higher than flax or chia seeds, which contain only around 20% and 18% protein, respectively.

Other Health Benefits

There is not enough clinical research data to back up claims that hemp is a safe or effective treatment for any condition. People still use it as a remedy for many illnesses, though, including:

  • Asthma
  • Cough
  • Bloating
  • Arthritis
  • Syphilis
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart problems
  • Urinary conditions (increasing urine flow)
  • Warts (when applied to the skin)

How It Works

Hemp contains chemicals that may affect the heart and might help reduce blood pressure. Hemp also contains terpenes. Terpenes are the compounds that give plants their distinctive odors.

Some studies suggest that terpenes may have health benefits. These benefits may include:

  • Neuroprotective or brain-protective benefits
  • Anti-inflammatory benefits
  • Anti-tumor properties

Recap

Hemp contains more protein than seeds like chia and flaxseed. It also contains other substances that may have health effects. Some people claim it can help with certain illnesses, though this has not been proven through clinical research.

Possible Side Effects of Hemp Seed

Taking whole hemp seed by mouth can cause many side effects, including:

  • Throat irritation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bradycardia, or slow heart rate
  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure

There is not enough clinical research data to prove that hemp is safe for use in people who are pregnant or breastfeeding. There is also not enough research to show it is safe to use topically on the skin.

Eating hemp seeds is not considered as unsafe as is eating hemp leaves or other parts of the plant. But because of the high fat content, the seeds can cause mild diarrhea.

Interaction with Medications

Do not ingest hemp when taking cardiac glycosides or diuretics.

Cardiac Glycosides

Cardiac glycosides, such as Lanoxin (digoxin), help the heart beat strongly and can slow down the heart rate. They are used for treating heart failure (in which the heart can’t pump blood well enough to meet the body’s needs) and irregular heartbeats.

Hemp is also known to slow the heart rate. Taking hemp with cardiac glycosides could slow the heart rate too much. Ask your doctor before taking hemp with Lanoxin.

Diuretics

Diuretics are drugs that increase the amount of urine. They are used to reduce the amount of fluid in the body and lower blood pressure. Diuretics include:

  • Diuril (chlorothiazide)
  • Thalitone (chlorthalidone)
  • Lasix (furosemide)
  • Microzide (hydrochlorothiazide)
  • Others

An increase in the amount of urine may lead to a loss of potassium. Hemp can also decrease potassium. Taking diuretics and hemp together may result in dangerously low potassium levels. This might cause problems with heart function.

Selection, Preparation, and Storage of Hemp Seed

Hemp seeds can be eaten raw, roasted, or cooked with other foods. In China, hemp seed oil has been used as food or made into medicine for thousands of years.

There are many ways to eat hemp protein, oil, and seeds, including:

  • In a smoothie
  • On oatmeal or cereal
  • Sprinkled over salads
  • As a nut butter
  • As a form of milk called hemp milk
  • On yogurt
  • In meal bars or granola bars
  • In salad dressing
  • On casserole dishes
  • Added to baked goods
  • In recipes
  • As a cooking oil

Storage

Hemp seeds need to be stored properly. The healthy fats in hemp seeds can degrade if they are exposed to air for long periods. Storing hemp seeds at high temperatures can have a similar effect. Hemp seeds stored this way could contain unhealthy trans fats, a type of fat especially linked to heart disease.

Store hemp seeds and hemp oil in an airtight container. Keep these products in a cool, dark place. It is best to refrigerate hemp products after opening.

Many hemp products come in different forms, including:

  • Hemp oil
  • Hemp milk
  • Hemp protein powder

Many of these products can be purchased in health food stores or online.

Cooking hemp seeds or heating the oil to temperatures above 350 degrees F can destroy the healthy fatty acids. Hemp seeds and oil are best eaten raw. If cooking with hemp oil, use low heat.

Dosage

The dosage of any herbal or natural supplement, including hemp, depends on several factors. Age and health condition are two important considerations. Never take more than the recommended dosage on the package insert.

Always ask your doctor before taking hemp or any other herb. The recommended dosage may not be right for you.

If you are going to eat hemp seeds, experts suggest starting slow. This is especially true if you have digestive problems. Start with 1 teaspoon and work up to more as tolerated.

Recap

Ask your doctor before taking hemp. Your safe dosage may be different than what is on the packaging.

Selection

Hemp seeds are grown in many different countries. Some people prefer hemp from Canada for its taste and the strict government restrictions aimed to improve quality. Look for products that have been tested in the lab for purity and potency. Consult the manufacturer if you have questions.

Regulations on hemp grown in U.S., Europe, and Canada are stricter than in other countries, such as China.

Common Questions

Are hemp seed hearts the same as hemp seed?

No. Hemp hearts have had the fibrous shell removed. This makes them lower in fiber and other nutrients than whole hemp seeds. Hemp hearts are not as nutritious as whole hemp seeds. However, hemp hearts are very high in healthy polyunsaturated fats.

Are hemp seeds legal to ingest in the U.S.?

Yes, hemp seeds are legal in the United States. Hemp seeds in the U.S. must contain a minimal amount of THC. THC is the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant.

See also  Cannabis Seeds California

According to the FDA, some hemp products are safe for food, including:

  • Hemp seeds
  • Hemp seed protein powder
  • Hempseed oil

Can eating hemp cause a person to fail a drug test?

No. Eating moderate amounts of hempseed oil, protein powder made of hemp, or hemp seeds will not cause you to fail a drug test. Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC. Unless you are using other varieties of the Cannabis plant, such as marijuana, or you are eating large amounts of hemp, you are unlikely to fail a drug test.

Hemp hearts do not contain any THC. The shells of whole hemp seed do have trace amounts below 0.3% THC. If you are recovering from cannabis addiction or just want to avoid exposure to THC in any amount, avoid eating whole hemp seeds.

What does hemp taste like?

Hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor. They are similar to unsalted sunflower seeds, but the texture is not as hard.

Summary

Hemp seeds are a good source of protein and fiber. Hemp seeds may also have other health benefits, though there is not enough clinical research to say for sure. Because hemp may interact with some drugs and cause certain side effects, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before adding hemp seeds to your diet.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

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Alonso-Esteban JI, González-Fernández MJ, Fabrikov D, Torija-Isasa E, Sánchez-Mata M, Guil-Guerrero JL. Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) varieties: fatty acid profiles and upgrading of γ-linolenic acid–containing hemp seed oils. Eur J Lipid Sci Tech. 2020;122(7) doi:10.1002/ejlt.201900445

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HEMP – Uses, Side Effects, and More

Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is the same species of plant as cannabis. Unlike cannabis, hemp contains low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), less than 0.3%.

Both hemp and cannabis also contain cannabinoids such as CBD, cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabigerol (CBG), and others. The 2018 Farm Bill established the specific definition of hemp versus cannabis by limiting the THC content of hemp to no more than 0.3%. Hemp seeds contain fats, protein, and other chemicals.

People use hemp for constipation, high cholesterol, eczema, arthritis, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Don’t confuse hemp with Canadian hemp, hemp agrimony, cannabis, or cannabidiol (CBD). These are not the same. Unlike cannabis, it is legal to sell hemp and hemp products under federal law in the US.

How does it work ?

Uses & Effectiveness ?

We currently have no information for HEMP Uses .

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Hemp seed, seed oil, and seed protein are commonly consumed as food. Hemp is possibly safe when the seed oil is used as medicine for up to 6 months. There isn’t enough reliable information to know if hemp flowers, hemp leaves, or oil made from the flower or leaf is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if hemp is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if hemp is safe for children. Hemp seed oil has caused rare cases of sleepiness and blood shot eyes in children.

Allergy to cannabis: People who are allergic to cannabis might also be allergic to hemp. Use hemp with caution if you are allergic to cannabis.

Surgery: Hemp protein might lower blood pressure. This might make blood pressure fall too low, especially during surgery. Stop using hemp protein at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

Estrogens interacts with HEMP

Hemp seed might increase estrogen levels in the body. Taking hemp seed along with estrogen might increase the effects and side effects of estrogen.

Medications for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors) interacts with HEMP

Hemp seed protein might lower blood pressure. Taking hemp seed protein along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.

Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs) interacts with HEMP

Hemp seed protein might lower blood pressure. Taking hemp seed protein along with medications that lower blood pressure might cause blood pressure to go too low. Monitor your blood pressure closely.

Minor Interaction

Be watchful with this combination

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with HEMP

Hemp seed might slow blood clotting. Taking hemp seed along with medications that also slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding.

Dosing

Hemp seed, hemp protein, and hemp seed oil are commonly consumed in foods.

As medicine, there isn’t enough reliable information to know what an appropriate dose of hemp might be. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult a healthcare professional before using.

7 CFR 990: Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program. Federal Register: 2021-00967. January 19, 2021. Available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2021-00967 (Accessed 3/11/2021).

7 CFR 990: Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program. Federal Register: 2021-00967. January 19, 2021. Available at: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2021-00967 (Accessed 3/11/2021).

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