The winter months can be harder for more reasons than one. With the air getting colder and drier, many of us experience worsened symptoms of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. But if you’ve got the itchies and are looking for relief, hemp oil might be a product worth looking into.
Hemp oil or hemp seed oil is the oil extracted from hemp seeds. So what’s the difference between hemp, marijuana, and CBD? Well, while hemp and marijuana both come from the cannabis plant species, hemp includes the varieties of cannabis that contain 0.3 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the compound in marijuana that produces a “high.” This means hemp doesn’t produce any psychoactive effects. Similarly, CBD is short for cannabidiol (another chemical compound from the cannabis plant), and it’s used to treat things like anxiety and insomnia. It is also not a psychoactive compound and doesn’t produce a high. CBD is extracted from the leaves, stalks, and flowers, of the hemp plant while hemp oil is extracted from the seeds — and they have different beneficial effects on the body.
Advocates of hemp oil assert that it’s a valuable natural preventative for conditions like Alzheimer’s and heart disease. While little research has been conducted in those areas, however, hemp oil has shown promise as a remedy for a variety of skin conditions. And while it may seem intuitive to apply hemp oil topically to treat skin woes, research actually shows that it’s more effective when taken internally as a supplement.
Hemp oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it’s loaded with fatty acids that are believed to boost skin health. It’s rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fats which have been shown to have benefits for skin and combating inflammation in the body. Specifically, hemp oil has shown promise as a treatment for inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
Researchers from one 2014 study concluded that ingesting oil extracted from the hemp plant and seeds could be a potent treatment for acne. What’s more, a 20-week study comparing hemp oil and olive oil that was taken orally aimed to see which (if any) of these oils had positive effects on eczema symptoms. Results from their research indicated that the group taking hemp oil saw a reduction in skin itchiness, irritation, and dryness. They were also able to reduce the use of topical medications!
If you struggle with psoriasis, hemp oil might be able to help with that, too. As previously mentioned, hempseed oil is particularly high in omega-3 fats, and studies have shown that supplementation with omega-3’s can drastically reduce psoriasis symptoms like skin inflammation and redness.
All in all, science suggests that supplementing your diet with the extra fatty acids from hemp oil can be extremely beneficial during the winter months when dry skin becomes more of a problem. Additionally, since it’s a natural anti-inflammatory, it can also help you manage frustrating conditions like acne and psoriasis. Taking hemp oil is generally considered safe, but as always, talk to your doctor before trying any new supplement.
There are a few ways you can take hemp oil, and the one you choose really depends on your preference. The best quality hemp oil products out there are cold-pressed oils (cold-pressed processing ensures that the essential fatty acids aren’t broken down by heat), so be sure to look for this on your labels! You can take hemp oil as a tincture from a trusted brand like this one from New Age ($24.95, Amazon). Otherwise, you can take it in capsule form like this one from Carlyle ($13.32, Amazon).
We’re wishing you a season of clear, beautiful skin!
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, FIRST.