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What’s All the Buzz about Hemp Oil?
Written By Amanda Williams, MD, MPH
Director of Nutrition – Boca Raton, Florida
Amanda Williams holds a doctorate in medicine from Xavier University in Aruba, a Masters degree in Public Health from Nova Southeastern University, and a Bachelor's degree in biology from St. Mary's College Orchard Lake. Tune in to Amanda Williams on InVite® Health Radio! Click here for the full listening schedule. Email Amanda: AWilliams@invitehealth.com
Over the past few years, there has been a growing interest regarding Hemp use for the support of many health concerns. But there are also numerous misconceptions about the natural help extract. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Hemp?
Cannabidiol (Hemp) is a natural, non- psychotropic chemical derived from the hemp plant. It works by enhancing the normal receptors found in the Endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a role in functions such as memory, appetite, immunity, sleep, metabolism, energy, reproduction and fertility.1 As with all systems in our body, if the ECS is not producing enough of its own endocannabinoids to bind onto the many receptors found in our bodies, you may begin to notice some issues.
You can think of the Endocannabinoid system as a house with many electrical outlets. You come home after work and attempt to turn on a lamp, but nothing happens. You realize there is no power. This is what happens when the Endocannabinoid system is not operating properly; if the receptor sites do not have enough cannabinoids, then it is like a house with plenty of outlets but no power.
This is where natural hemp-derived Hemp comes into play. The Hemp oils can help to stimulate those receptor sites and allow for the body to balance itself again.
Is Hemp the same as THC?
The answer is simply, no. THC is a psychoactive chemical compound found in the marijuana plant of the Cannabis sativa species. Hemp is the non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant from the Cannabis sativa species. These are two different plants from the same family that produce very different chemical compounds.
This is where the misconception about Hemp comes into play. Hemp can actually limit the psychoactive properties of THC. Simply, Hemp takes away the “buzz” or “high” from THC. Unfortunately, this confusion between the two plants often lead to individuals not fully understanding the effects of Hemp. Hemp will not get you “high” because it does not contain the chemical compound THC that causes that effect.
The Health Benefits of Hemp
The health benefits of Hemp oil can be quite broad. Consider the fact that you have endocannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. With that said, research on Hemp use has focused primarily on brain health, but with each new study we are becoming increasingly aware of how beneficial it may be for supporting muscle, gastrointestinal issues, headaches, joint discomfort, anxiousness, inflammation and beyond.
Take for example, a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, where researchers concluded the following, “Hemp acts in some experimental models as an anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, anti-emetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent, and is therefore a potential medicine for the treatment of neuroinflammation, epilepsy, oxidative injury, vomiting and nausea, anxiety and schizophrenia, respectively. The neuroprotective potential of Hemp, based on the combination of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, is of particular interest and is presently under intense preclinical research in numerous neurodegenerative disorders.”2
Another 2013 study published by TheBritishJournalofClinicalPharmacology reported the following,” Accumulating evidence now also suggests that Hemp is beneficial in the cardiovascular system. Hemp has direct actions on isolated arteries, causing both acute and time-dependent vasorelaxation. In vitro incubation with Hemp enhances the vasorelaxant responses in animal models of impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. Hemp protects against the vascular damage caused by a high glucose environment, inflammation or the induction of type 2 diabetes in animal models and reduces the vascular hyperpermeability associated with such environments.”3
As we know from evidence-based scientific research, there are so many things brought to us by nature that can greatly impact our health in positive ways. Keeping this in mind, we now have the luxury of considering Hemp oils into that realm. The many potential positive effects that Hemp can have in the body, make using a Hemp product a fantastic option for so many who may need to have the outlets of the body powered up!
1. Lu HC, Mackie K. An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System. Biol Psychiatry. 2015;79(7):516-25.
2. Fernández-Ruiz J, Sagredo O, Pazos MR, et al. Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid?. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2012;75(2):323-33.
3. Stanley CP, Hind WH, O'Sullivan SE. Is the cardiovascular system a therapeutic target for cannabidiol?. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2012;75(2):313-22.