Hemp Oil: Everything you need to know

Hemp Oil: Everything you need to know

In this article we tell you what you need to know about Hemp Oil, a relatively unknown source of healthy fats.

What is Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil is the commercial name of the seed oil of the Cannabis sativa plant.

Is it Marijuana oil?

The use of different parts of the plant for the production of products intended for food, cosmetics or the textile industry is often referred to as hemp.

On the other hand, the use of the plant for its psychoactive properties for recreational or other purposes is often referred to as “marijuana” or “weed”.

In any case we are always talking about the same thing, which are products made from Cannabis sativa.

What’s so special about Hemp Seeds?

The seeds of the plant contain a good amount of fat, making up around 30-35% of its mass, which make it a source, like so many other vegetable seeds, of good fats.

One of its particularities is its good fatty acid profile, which presents, mainly polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega 3 and omega 6 series that convert it into a source of heart-healthy vegetable fats.

Biosynthesis

Figure I. Biosynthesis of active compounds from omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

What is the fat profile of Hemp Seeds?

Cannabis sativa seeds contain an excellent quality oil, which prior to refining has an intense green colour and high-density due to the presence of chlorophyll and other xanthophylls in its make-up.

The fatty acid composition of the seeds is excellent, and very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids at a ratio of approximately 3:1 (n6:n3).

This nutritionally balanced ratio has the potential to address the large number of non-contagious Western diseases that develop as a result of a chronic low-grade state in part due to the dominance of omega-6 fatty acids over omega-3.

Effects

Figure II. Systemic effects of consuming a variable ratio of Omega 3/Omega 6 fatty acids.

The fatty acid profile of hemp seed oil is:

  • 50-70% linoleic acid
  • 15-25% α-linolenic acid
  • ~10% Saturated fatty acids (mainly palmitic and stearic).
  • Small amounts of γ-linolenic Acid, Oleic Acid and Stearic Acid.

Profile

Figure III. Fatty acid profile in seeds (left to right): hemp, flax, sunflower, soya, pumpkin.

The good fatty acid composition of hemp seed oil makes it an alternative to considering fish oil (Hazekamp et al., 2010).

Although I would not personally consider it comparable in an omnivorous diet, where although it has a place, fish oil is still superior.

For those with a vegan diet, an excellent supplement is our Omega-3 Vegan 4000UI, which enables us to magnify EPA synthesis via ALA -> EPA conversion and DHA ->EPA retroconversion.

Conversion

Figure IV. DHA biosynthesis pathway from alpha-linolenic acid.

You can read more about this in the Post Link where I deal with the use of algae oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids for those with a vegan diet.

Oil production

Cannabis seeds are produced by female plants after male fertilisation.

A plant of standard dimensions can produce up to 1kg of seeds which, after harvest, are dried to reduce moisture and prevent germination and then husked (not always) and cold pressed to extract their oil.

Hemp oil production

The oil can be extracted using organic solvents or treatments based on the use of high temperatures, but this would easily degrade polyunsaturated fatty acids from the seeds, making them stale and causing some of their positive effects to be lost.

Therefore, hemp oil is usually obtained by mechanical pressing under temperature controlled conditions.

Is it dangerous? Can I get high?

This is the most common question from a consumer who has never used hemp oil; is it psychoactive?

No.

Cannabis sativa seeds do not naturally synthesize cannabinoids and therefore not only don’t contain THC, but they do not contain CBD or other cannabis acids either, and therefore their use should always be 100% safe and free from contamination by these compounds.

“Getting high” with hemp seed oil is impossible, or at least no cases have been reported in studies, so we are confident that it is not possible.

If there is any contamination, it is due to the presence of cannabinoids through exposure to resin from plant flowers during or after harvesting.

It is therefore important to take into account where hemp oils are purchased.

Guarantees of total absence of these compounds must be accredited by entities that externally certify the good manufacturing practices of the company that produces the raw material and which process the product.

Bureau accreditation

Figure V. Bureau Veritas accreditation that guarantees good manufacturing practices (GMP) for products marketed by HSN.

HSN is certified by Bureau Veritas, which has very strict accreditation standards that ensure good production practices, and their analysis of hazards and critical control points in the food supplement manufacturing process ensures no contamination with these compounds in the “hemp and flax seed oil” product from the HSN essentials range.

¿Why is it important to be cannabinoid-free?

Leaving the ethical aspect to one side, whereby the consumer has the right to be informed of the composition of any product they purchase, so that if they do not wish to consumer a certain product (regardless of its safety), they can decide not to.

Cannabinoids (except CBD) are prohibited by the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency), an entity that regulates the illicit use of products for the improvement of sports performance.

S8 category

Figure VI. Category S8 of products banned from consumption in competition for the WADA’s list of prohibited substances in 2020.

Therefore, the purchase of a product without an exemption guarantee for these compounds may produce a positive case for the use of drugs for the improvement of the sport performance of category S8 of the list of substances prohibited by WADA 2020 with the corresponding competitive sanction for the athlete in question.

Bibliography References

  1. Hazekamp, A., Fischedick, J. T., Llano, M. D., Lubbe, A., & Ruhaak, R. L. (2010). Chemistry of Cannabis. In H.-W. (Ben) Liu & L. B. T.-C. N. P. I. I. Mander (Eds.), Comprehensive Natural Products II: Chemistry and Biology (Vol. 3, pp. 1033–1084).

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About Alfredo Valdés
Alfredo Valdés
A specialist in Pathophysiology and biomolecular effects on nutrition and sportive activity who will show you the elaborate world of sports nutrition in his articles, employing a simple and critical writing.
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