Research is starting to show the extent that hemp extract oil and CBD can help reduce anxiety and cannabinoid imbalances
Many people experience anxiety, and especially during a pandemic, it gets worse. Research says hemp seed oil may be able to help patients struggling with anxiety with natural relief.
According to Andrea Nazarenko, PhD, owner of Old Mill Chiropractic and Family Wellness in Lexington, S.C., “Hemp seed oil is an oil derived from the seeds of the Cannabis Sativa plant, the same plant that marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) oil come from; however, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are not the same as marijuana or CBD.
“Hemp seed oil comes from cold pressing the hemp seeds on the Cannabis Sativa plant, akin to sunflower seed oil or jojoba oil. The seeds — and resulting oil — is considered a superfood and nutritional powerhouse for your body. Hemp seed and hemp extract oil are high in antioxidants, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids and other useful bioactive compounds that support overall health and wellbeing. They are rich is unsaturated fats and protein, while remaining low in cholesterol.”
Nazarenko took time to answer our questions about hemp seed oil and how it affects the body. What follows is an edited version of our interview.
What does hemp extract oil do to the body and how does it affect the neurological system?
Hemp seed oil shows up on product labels as hemp seed oil, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, virgin hemp oil, and hemp oil.
Hemp seed oil is a nutritional powerhouse and superfood. Some of the most well-known benefits include:
- Hormonal health: The physical and emotional symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome and menopause can be caused by the hormone prolactin and related to low prostaglandin. The gamma linolenic acid in hemp seed oil (GLA) assists in the production of PGE1 and can therefore help with symptoms of PMS or menopause. (sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3033240/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21069097/)
- Gut and Digestive health: Hemp seeds are high in fiber. This can help alleviate constipation and promote healthy digestion. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21045817/)
- Wellbeing: The Cannabis plant contains over 400 different phytonutrients (the active compounds that give plants their medicinal properties). It has a nutritional profile that will have cascading effects on the body through improved nutrition.
- Brain health: Hemp seed oil is high in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids. Optimal brain health is achieved when linoleic acid (LA) and alpha linoleic acid (ALA) are consumed in a ratio of between 3.5:1 and 4:1. This is a ratio naturally found in hemp.
Can it help to diminish anxiety?
Hemp seed oil can contribute to reduced anxiety through overall impacts on brain health, nutritional status, and gut health. Research suggests that a lack of omega-3s in the brain may induce various behavioral and psychiatric disorders, including anxiety. A 2018 study shows that people who took high doses of omega-3s (up to 2,000 mg a day) had the most reduction in anxiety symptoms.
It should be noted that CBD can help diminish anxiety by improving health overall. CBD oil may have a more direct effect on anxiety by acting on the endocannabinoid system in the body. (See sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3691841/, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28061971)
Can hemp extract oil help to stop full-blown panic attacks?
Most likely, no, unfortunately. Hemp oil works by balancing your body, reducing inflammation, and supporting health nutrition. These benefits will have a positive impact on your overall mental health and symptoms of anxiety. They can be seen as a strategy to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Panic attacks are an acute episode that require immediate relief. Medicinal marijuana is a more appropriate choice for relieving an active episode, if it’s legal in your state.
Cannabis products can be seen as a continuum of benefits: hemp oil on the lower end (promoting health in general), CBD in the middle (the cannabinoids exert anti-anxiety effects) to medicinal marijuana (under the discretion of a qualified health care practitioner, which can help with acute episodes).
Are there any other uses for hemp seed oil for mental health conditions?
Promoting health through hemp seed oil can have a range of benefits on physical and mental health. In particular, fatty acids have an impact of brain health. Membranes in the brain contain a high proportion of omega-3s, in particular. Studies suggest that deficiencies in these omega-3s may induce various behavioral and psychiatric disorders.
Hemp seed oil or hemp extract oil should be seen as a tool in the toolbox for a salutogenic model of health. It is a supplement to help people achieve nutritional balance. Along with chiropractic care and healthy lifestyle, hemp seed oil can help reduce the likelihood of anxiety.