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Over the past few years, hemp oil has become an increasingly popular supplement as more people have discovered its remarkable health benefits, particularly when it comes to easing stress and discomfort. Due to hemp oil’s wide range of benefits, people from all walks of life make it a part of their daily routine: athletes, busy moms & dads, weekend warriors, entrepreneurs… you name it.
And hemp oil is backed by hard science. In fact, the National Center for Biotechnology Information features over 2,000 peer-reviewed studies on one compound in hemp oil alone (1).
No matter what your health goals are, the power of hemp oil can help you reach your fullest potential. But its popularity also means that some unscrupulous providers are trying to cash in with low-grade oil.
There are big differences in the quality of hemp oil available, from the amount of cannabinoids per serving, to the extraction method and more. Here’s an overview on everything you need to know if you’re considering hemp oil.
Hemp oil primarily consists of two components. One is a concentrated hemp oil extract of the plant which delivers beneficial cannabinoids, including cannabidiol (CBD). The second component is the carrier oil.
Most supplements are sold as one-ounce (30 mL) oils. But the amount of cannabinoid-rich extract in the carrier oil can vary, a lot. Some oils may seem cheaper, until you realize they have a much smaller amount of extract, making it actually much more expensive to get an effective amount.
That’s why you’ll want to look at the total mg of extract in the bottle and per serving, to do an accurate comparison of hemp oil strength and value.
At first glance, a CBD isolate might look like the best option because it’s the cannabinoid getting a lot of attention for its benefits (1).
But the benefits of hemp oil don’t just come from CBD. Full spectrum hemp oil contains numerous other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
Evidence suggests that these compounds have a synergistic effect with one another, creating an entourage effect for your health. So, seek out full spectrum hemp oil which has CBD, other cannabinoids and terpenes.
When we’re talking about a hemp oil extract, it’s also important to note how that extraction happened. There are a variety of ways to extract cannabinoids from the hemp plant, and some are much better than others.
First, there’s the bad method that you’ll absolutely want to avoid. It uses chemical solvents such as hexane, acetone or butane, which are neurotoxic in the body. When used they can leave a chemical residue in the hemp oil.
Second, there’s the better method of ethanol which isn’t as bad as chemical solvents, however this method may damage some of the more delicate plant phytochemicals and so is not preferred.
Lastly, there is the best method which is CO2 extraction. This uses low temperature, highly pressured carbon dioxide to separate and maintain the broad array of beneficial compounds in hemp oil, with no chemical residues.
The highly potent cannabinoid extract is dispersed through a carrier oil that both helps to accurately measure out how much extract you get, and lets you adjust the amount per serving.
While not as critical as the extract itself, the choice of carrier oil can mean the difference between consuming a nutritious plant oil, or an oxidized oil that may have toxic pesticides.
Some of the oils companies use include olive oil, or MCT oil (coconut). We prefer organically-grown hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil is highly nutritious, with minerals and vitamin E.
Hemp seed oil is also a great source of essential fatty acids (EFAs) with an optimal ratio of omega-6, omega-3 and omega-9 which makes hemp seed oil an excellent heart-healthy supplement.
Most oils form large sized droplets, which doesn’t make for the most efficient or fast absorption in the body. Scientists have found a way to improve this through the use of liposomal technology. Liposomal technology breaks the oil droplets into smaller sizes, typically in the 100 to 1000 nanometer range.
While liposomal technology is good, there’s actually a better choice. State-of-the-art nano-emulsification technology goes even smaller than liposomal, providing microscopic oil droplets that average a tiny 25 nanometers in size.
Because nano-emulsions are 4 to 40 times smaller than liposomal, they are better absorbed. And, those smaller droplets add up to a larger combined surface area, further increasing bioavailability. When you use a hemp oil with a nano-emulsion it can quickly and efficiently absorb into your body for maximum results.
Hemp naturally has a low amount of THC, the psychoactive compound most commonly associated with its cannabis cousin, marijuana. To be compliant, the hemp oil must have less than 0.3% THC. Companies should provide the lab results that show THC levels.
However, even tiny amounts of THC may show up on employer or athletes’ drug tests. Fortunately, you can now get premium strains of hemp oil with zero THC, thanks to advanced chromatography which filters it out. Even so, you’ll still want to check with your employer to confirm whether they specifically test for THC.
Opting for zero THC hemp oil is also a must if you want to give cannabinoid-rich oil to your pets, as dogs don’t tolerate THC well at any level.
Hemp oil is a natural botanical extract with a range of benefits. The cannabinoids in hemp oil are thought to target specific receptors that help your body achieve homeostasis. In other words, it can balance things out.