Hemp Seeds: Are They Good for You?
In this Article
In this Article
In this Article
- Nutrition Information
- Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
- Potential Risks of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a rich source of nutrients. Part of the hemp plant, these seeds are technically a nut that can be eaten raw or used to make milk, oil, cheese substitutes, or protein powder.
While related to the cannabis plant, hemp seeds have little to none of the psychoactive compound THC found in marijuana. For centuries the seeds have been used for oral and topical applications to treat and prevent certain health issues. A growing body of modern clinical research is backing up many of these claims.
Hemp seeds’ nutty flavor and versatility also make them a great substitute for the levels of protein, essential fatty acids, and other nutritional benefits found in meat and dairy products.
Hemp seeds can be:
- Eaten raw, roasted, or cooked
- Shelled as hemp hearts
- Cold-pressed to produce hemp seed oil
- Used for non-dairy hemp milk and hemp cheese
A 30 gram serving (three-tablespoons) of raw hemp seeds contains:
- Calories: 166
- Protein: 9.47 grams
- Fat: 14.6 grams
- Carbohydrates: 2.6 grams
- Fiber: 1.2 grams
- Sugar: 0.45 grams
Hemp seeds are also good source of:
Hemp seeds also contain high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Studies have shown that the ideal ratio for the fatty acids in hemp seeds is 3 to 1. At this ratio, these fatty acids help to support healthy cholesterol levels, immune system function, and may help regulate your metabolism.
Potential Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are an excellent source of plant-based protein. They contain all nine essential amino acids, and research suggests that hemp’s protein content is well-absorbed by our bodies.
In addition to this protein load, hemp seeds history is tied to their potential health benefits. Many modern studies have backed up several of these claims.
Hemp seeds’ health benefits include:
Hemp seeds are a great source of magnesium, which helps regulate your heartbeat and is linked to the prevention of coronary heart disease. They also contain Linoleic acid, which one study found reduced participants’ cholesterol levels by 15% and may act to reduce blood pressure.
One of the omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seeds is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA,) which may have anti-inflammatory effects similar to drugs like ibuprofen. One study found a 75% reduction in arthritis-associated pain in participants after nine months of GLA supplementation.
Hemp oil can be used in cooking to add nutritional benefits to your meal, and it can also be applied topically to the skin. Studies have found that hemp seed oil can relieve the symptoms of eczema and improve dry or itchy skin.
Research is ongoing, but hemp seed oil’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects may also help to treat acne.
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in hemp seeds is the optimal level for nutritional benefit. This balance supports both heart and cognitive health and is often lacking in most diets..
Hemp seeds also contain plant compounds called terpenes. While research is ongoing, studies suggest that terpenes may help protect the brain and prevent tumor growth.
Potential Risks of Hemp Seeds
While the fat content in hemp seeds comes primarily from its healthy essential fatty acids, eat them in moderation to meet your recommended daily consumption of fat. High fat intake can also cause nausea or diarrhea.
Other things to consider before adding hemp seeds to your diet include:
Hemp seeds may interact with certain medications including anticoagulants.
Studies have shown that hemp seeds reduce blood clotting, which can interact with blood-thinner prescriptions.
There is not enough clinical research to show that hemp is safe either orally or topically for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, so it is not recommended.
Hemp seed shells can contain trace amounts of THC, the active psychoactive compound in marijuana. People with a previous dependence on cannabis may consider looking for an alternative.
The fiber content in hemp seeds can cause digestive discomfort like bloating, nausea, or constipation in large amounts. Make sure to drink plenty of water when eating hemp seeds to help avoid gut problems.
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. “Cannabis sativa (Hemp) Seeds, Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, and Potential Overdose.”
Biochemical Education: “The action of vitamin K and coumarin anticoagulants.”
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: “Evaluating the Quality of Protein From Hemp Seed (Cannabis sativa L.) Products Through the Use of the Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score Method.”
Journal of Dermatological Treatment: “Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis.”
Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostatis: “Dietary hempseed reduces platelet aggregation.”
Oilseeds and fats, Crops and Lipids:“A short review on sources and health benefits of GLA, The GOOD omega-6.”
Mayo Clinic. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.”
Nutrients: “Dietary Magnesium and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review with Emphasis in Epidemiological Studies.”
Nutrition & Metabolism: “The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed.”
Plant Science: “Terpenes in Cannabis sativa – From plant genome to humans.”
PLOS One: “The ameliorative effect of hemp seed hexane extracts on the Propionibacterium acnes-induced inflammation and lipogenesis in sebocytes.”>
The British Medical Journal (BMJ): “The importance of a balanced ω-6 to ω-3 ratio in the prevention and management of obesity.”
The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behaviour Letter: “FDA on CBD in pregnancy and breastfeeding”
USDA FoodData Central: “Seeds, hemp seed, hulled.”
Find out what the research says about hemp seeds, who should have them, and how they may affect your health.
11 Best Topical and Oral Hemp Oils
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Hemp oil comes from seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. It doesn’t contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, or the cannabinoids found in cannabidiol (CBD) oils.
Using hemp oil, also called hempseed oil, won’t get you “high.”
The oil can be applied topically or taken orally as a food supplement or additive. It’s a great source of nutrients, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants.
Hemp oil has all 20 amino acids, making it useful for building and repairing muscles. Plus, it contains dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Read on to discover some of our favorite hemp oils.
Hemp oils can be used topically for a variety of hair and skin care uses. It may help treat symptoms related to some skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne rosacea.
Below is a list of some of the best topical hemp oils available. Check with the manufacturer before ingesting any of these oils.
Life-Flo Pure Hemp Seed Oil
Price: Around $18 for 16 ounces (oz.)
This virgin, organic, and cold-pressed hempseed oil is an affordable option that’s high in omega 3-6-9 fatty acids. It’s lightweight and easy to absorb, so it won’t leave your skin feeling oily.
It’s also gentle, making it a good choice for people with sensitive skin, and has a nutty, earthy scent.
This oil can be used in a variety of different ways, including:
• as a moisturizer for your face and body
• as a makeup remover
• as a massage oil
• as a hair conditioner
• as a carrier oil for essential oils
Aura Cacia Organic Hemp Seed Oil
Cost: Around $7 for 4 oz.
This lightweight and organic hempseed oil has a grassy, nutty aroma. It contains vitamin E and essential fatty acids, which may help reduce signs of aging and damage from UV irritation.
It also has high chlorophyll levels, which give it a light green color. It’s non-GMO and free of synthetic ingredients, and it isn’t tested on animals.
This oil absorbs easily into the skin, making it a good option for people wanting a lightweight moisturizer. It can also be blended with other oils or used along with another moisturizer.
Edens Garden Hemp Seed Carrier Oil
Cost: $10.95 for 4 oz.
This hempseed carrier oil is designed to be used with essential oils, and can double as a skin moisturizer. It can be used to target dry areas on your body, such as your cuticles, heels, and elbows.
To use with essential oils, blend one to two drops of essential oil with one teaspoon of pure hemp oil, which is free of fillers and additives.
The woman-owned company that manufactures this oil ensures quality by testing the therapeutic value and purity of all of their oils. They also donate 10 percent of all profits to organizations that have a positive effect on the world.
Bella Terra Unrefined Organic Hemp Seed Oil
Cost: Around $13 for 4 oz.
This organic, cold-pressed hempseed oil has a light, nutty scent, and contains fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals. It can be used for skin, hair, and massage.
It’s lightweight and moisturizes skin without making it greasy. It may help to reduce the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and stretch marks. It can also be used to make soap.
This oil is produced in small batches and packaged in a glass bottle to ensure quality and freshness. Bella Terra produces 100 percent natural products and doesn’t test on animals.
Nature’s Brands Organic Hemp Seed Oil
Cost: Around $21 for 3.4 oz.
This cold-pressed and organic hempseed oil has a light grassy and woody scent. It’s free of artificial preservatives, chemicals, and petroleum-based ingredients. It’s also packaged in biophotonic glass to ensure quality.
This oil is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin D, and antioxidants.
It may help you manage symptoms of acne, psoriasis, and eczema. However, it’s important to talk to your doctor before using any new products to treat these or other skin conditions.
The oil can also moisturize the skin and reduce dry skin, redness, and irritation.
You can use this oil on its own or blend it with a moisturizer or carrier oil.
Hemp oils can be taken orally either as a supplement or incorporated into a variety of meals. Check with the manufacturer to see if the oil requires refrigeration.
Hempseed oil isn’t recommended for cooking, as the fatty acids are destroyed at high heats.
Below are some of the best hemp oils on the market.
Canada Hemp Foods Organic Hemp Oil
Cost: Around $10 for 17 oz.
This organic, cold-pressed hempseed oil is an affordable option that’s made in small, handcrafted batches to ensure quality.
The oil has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it contains amino acids, collagen, and vitamin E.
For a nutritious boost, add it to oatmeal, sauces, and dips. You can also use it topically to soothe dry, itchy, or irritated skin.
Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Oil
Cost: Around $7 for 8 oz.
This cold-pressed, organic hempseed oil is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and chlorophyll. It’s also sold in bisphenol A (BPA)-free packaging, which supports the company’s vision for a healthier world.
Use this oil to enhance the flavor of salads, pasta dishes, and smoothies. Visit the Nutiva website for recipe ideas.
Carrington Farms Organic Hemp Oil
Cost: $12.99 for 12 oz.
This cold-pressed, organic hemp oil is of food-grade quality, and is full of essential fatty acids that may help to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and improve your mood.
This oil is easy to add to savory dishes, desserts, and smoothies. Recipes can be found on the Carrington Farms website.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed Oil
Cost: Around $13 for 8.4 oz.
This organic, cold-pressed hempseed oil is free of additives and GMOs. The Canadian farmer-owned company ensures a fresh and high-quality product by following Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) at their wind-powered facility.
This oil has a nutty taste. It can be added to dips, dressings, and soups, or used as a salad dressing on its own.
Visit the Manitoba Harvest website for recipe ideas. To use this oil as a supplement, take one tablespoon per day.
Sky Organics Organic Hemp Seed Oil
Cost: Around $11 for 8 oz.
This cold-pressed hempseed oil is made in small batches on small family-run farms in Canada and then bottled in the United States. Its high fatty acid content makes it a nutritious addition to salads, dressings, and dips.
For use as a supplement, take one tablespoon of this food-grade oil per day. You can also use it topically as a skin moisturizer or massage oil to help manage symptoms from skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It can also improve your overall complexion.
You can find DIY beauty recipes that contain hempseed oil on the Sky Organics website.
Foods Alive Organic Hemp Oil
Cost: Around $20 for 16 oz.
This cold-pressed, organic hemp oil has a rich nutty flavor and is full of nutrients, including essential fatty acids. It’s produced in small batches in Canada.
To ensure a high-quality product, the hemp seeds are specially selected and tested for taste, smell, and appearance.
This hemp oil can easily be added to dressings, smoothies, and soups. To use as a supplement, take one tablespoon per day.
Most quality hemp oils have been cold-pressed using a modern steel press. This process helps the oils maintain their full nutritional value, flavor, and aroma.
When choosing a hemp oil, always buy from a reputable manufacturer that’s clear about their practices and standards.
They should be willing to answer any questions and provide appropriate documentation to support their claims. Many companies offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee.
The increased focus on hemp, marijuana, and CBD has led to many questionable companies offering products that are mislabeled and don’t live up to their claims.
Beware of companies that make wild or exaggerated health claims. To get a feel for the company, visit their website.
Hemp oil can be used topically as a moisturizer on its own or diluted with other oils, lotions, or hair products.
When used topically, you don’t need to wash off the hemp oil. It can safely absorb into your skin.
You can also use it as an oil cleanser. In this case, you do need to rinse it off after use.
Hemp oil can also be taken orally in a few ways. To use hemp oil as a supplement, take one tablespoon per day.
It can also be added to salad dressings, soups, and sauces, or used in oatmeal, smoothies, and baked goods. Make sure you like the taste before adding it to a large serving of food.
Hemp oil can be taken at any time of day.
Hemp oil is legal and doesn’t contain THC or CBD. It won’t cause you to feel “high” or test positive on any drug test. Hemp oil is generally well-tolerated, but it can cause digestive side effects, such as cramps, diarrhea, and nausea, in some people.
When taking hemp oil orally, always start with a small dose and gradually increase the amount you take over a period of time, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
Using hemp oil on your skin may produce mild irritation. Always do a skin patch test before using hemp oil on your skin. To test for allergic reactions, place a small amount on the inside of your arm and wait 24 hours to see if any reaction occurs.
If you have any medical conditions or take any medications, talk to your doctor before starting to take hemp oil.
When used properly, hemp oil can be a healthy addition to your wellness and skin care routine. Choose a product carefully, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Be aware of how the oil affects you when used topically or taken orally. Adjust your use accordingly, and discontinue it if any adverse effects occur.
Hemp oils may be sold for topical or oral use. When choosing a hemp oil, it's important to pick a high-quality one. Here are 11 of our favorite oils.