Hemp has had its fair share of injustice over the decades. Despite its chemical dissimilarity to marijuana and its undisputed health benefits, hemp continues to be viewed with distrust, or even considered dangerous. But when we look at the facts, nothing could be further from the truth.
Hemp is a low-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), high cannabidiol (CBD) strain of cannabis. While it is certainly related to marijuana, almost everything about hemp is different, from its growing habits to its shape to its effects on the human body.
Marijuana is notorious for its high THC content — that’s the active cannabinoid that elicits the characteristic psychoactive effects. At the other end of spectrum, hemp is cultivated to have very low concentrations of THC (less than .03%, legally) and far higher concentrations of CBD and other active cannabinoids responsible for the plant’s therapeutic benefits.
This means that hemp has all of the health benefits of marijuana, such as mood support and muscle relaxation, with none of the stigmatized euphoric effects. In this post, we’ll explore how hemp oil actually works in the human body and how it can support your health and well-being.
Your Endocannabinoid System
You may have wondered how a plant can have such powerful effects on the human mind, body, and nervous system. It just so happens that the human body has its very own built-in endocannabinoid system — an internal system that plant cannabinoids can communicate with directly.
Made up of cannabinoid receptor cells and neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system helps regulate physiological and psychological processes related to memory, pain, sleep, mood, appetite, fertility, and motor control.
The cannabinoids in hemp and marijuana interact directly with cannabinoid receptors in the body. THC molecules activate CB1 receptors, triggering those “euphoric” effects that marijuana is famous for. CBD, on the other hand, activates other receptors within the endocannabinoid system, producing a wide range of therapeutic effects, without that euphoric cascade.
Unlike it’s more “aggressive” cousin, THC, CBD has a more holistic effect. It can help to rebalance a disrupted endocannabinoid system, restoring both cognitive and physiological functions to a state of balance, without overstimulating the endocannabinoid system or eliciting major undesired side effects.
Therapeutic Benefits of Hemp Oil
Most mood disorders, along with other disorders of the brain and central nervous system, are associated with a disruption of the endocannabinoid system. Hemp oil can help to rebalance this system by stimulating receptors and neural pathways that may have become disrupted due to inflammation or other causes.
Many studies and literature reviews show that CBD has the ability to offset inflammation throughout the body and fight oxidative damage, which has benefits for joint health and cardiovascular health, as well as neuroprotective and overall immune benefits.
Research also indicates that CBD can help promote a more calm and balanced mood and support a healthy physical and emotional response to stress. Even better, CBD shows no danger of addictive properties, and has even been shown to provide relief for some of the unsettling psychological side effects triggered by its unruly cousin, THC.
Hemp Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil
Finally, and for the record, hemp oil is not the same as hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil, as the name suggests, is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, while hemp oil is extracted from the flowers and stalk. Hemp seed oil contains only traces of CBD, and is more of a dietary supplement than a therapeutic drug.
Image credit: Online for Love
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