Fights Pain and Inflammation
For fighting pain, I’ve often recommended curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil for better absorption, blood retention, and effectiveness. But hemp oil cannabinoids appear to be natural pain fighters too, due to their ability to reduce inflammation and modulate the brain’s response to pain. In fact, it is one of the major reasons that people become interested in hemp oil to begin with. Of course, the full mechanism of how the compounds from hemp oil fight pain is still under investigation.
Since hemp oil cannabinoids help preserve our own natural endocannabinoids, British research may provide a partial answer. They found that patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis had elevated levels of endocannabinoids in their synovial tissue – the tissue located between joints – compared to those without those conditions. It’s as though the body was flooding those particular regions with endocannabinoids in order to relieve the pain.
Further research showed that changes in the endocannabinoid levels might also have something to do with the way we perceive pain; including feelings of anxiety and depression that often accompany joint conditions.
Phytocannabinoids may help people dealing with neuropathic (nerve) pain from chemotherapy, which doesn’t always respond easily to conventional medications. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial showed that an oral spray decreased pain by an average of 2.6 (compared to 0.6 for the placebo) on an 11-point pain intensity scale.
Other clinical work with oral sprays for neuropathic pain (which include THC and CBD) have found similar positive results.
Muscle spasticity in multiple sclerosis can also be difficult to treat with conventional drugs. A combination THC/CBD oral spray improved conditions for some patients in as little as one month.
For any kind of muscle and joint pain, I think that a combination of hemp oil and curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oil would be a very effective option.
Phytocannabinoids from hemp have been found to kill cancer cells and inhibit the spread of tumors without affecting healthy cells.
For instance, CBD has been found to fight glioblastoma, a difficult-to-treat form of brain tumor. Researchers found that this compound from hemp oil initially inhibited the spread of cancer cells, and seemed to work best when combined with conventional drugs in this scientific study. As we learn more, it’s likely that cannabinoids from hemp could be considered an adjunct therapy for a variety of cancers.
The anti-inflammatory abilities of hemp oil are key to stopping cancer, although the precise pathways and exactly how it does this are still being investigated. It has been shown to reduce 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) inflammation, in one cell study by 40 percent, but there is still a lot of ongoing research in this area.
Scientific research has found that CBD also stops leukemia cells, while other work has found that a full range of cannabinoids inhibited prostate cancer cells, highlighting the value of a complete entourage of compounds from hemp.
Cannabinoids Reduce Seizures
One of the health concerns that could be most dramatically affected by cannabinoids from hemp oil is epilepsy. Epilepsy is a disorder in the central nervous system that disrupts neural activity in the brain. The resulting symptoms of the condition can be as mild as a few unfocused seconds that would appear as daydreaming, to muscle twitches, to completely losing consciousness. CBD from hemp has been clinically tested for individuals with the condition, and although more work needs to be done, initial results are very promising.
In an early clinical study, patients stayed on their anti-seizure medication (although the authors mentioned that it was no longer controlling symptoms) and took either CBD or a placebo. While there were only eight individuals taking the hemp oil compound, half of them were almost symptom free during the course of the trial, and three others noted a partial reduction in symptoms. This two-phase study began with small daily doses for the first 30 days (3 mg/kg), and followed with a larger dose (200-300 mg daily). This was one of the opening salvos in what would become a long road of using compounds from cannabis to promote health, without impairing or affecting cognition.
A more recent Israeli study found that a CBD-enriched hemp oil (which also included a small amount of tetrahydrocannabinol or “THC” in a ratio of 20:1 CBD to THC) reduced the frequency of seizures in 89 percent of the children in the trial. Of those, some (18 percent) saw a large drop in seizure frequency – anywhere from 75 to 100 percent.
Researchers also reported improved language and motor skills, behavior, and sleep. The children included in this multicenter study had a form of epilepsy that was resistant to standard medications, so seeing positive results from hemp oil is a wonderful development.
What’s interesting about the addition of a small level of THC in this case is that early research found that CBD alleviates the “jitters” brought about in people by THC. The fact that CBD is considered an anticonvulsant and affects the brain and nerves in a stabilizing way may be one of the reasons it combats drug-resistant seizures. Further research will, no doubt, reveal more about the mechanism of action. I think that combining hemp oil with a ketogenic diet, which has also been shown to decrease symptoms (see my article regarding this high-fat, high-protein regimen), could make a remarkable difference for those with epilepsy.
Hemp Oil Cannabinoids for Whole Body Health
In addition to the benefits I’ve outlined so far, cannabinoids from hemp oil may help strengthen your bones and keep your skin healthy, too.
Normally, specialized cells called osteoblasts add fresh minerals to bone while osteoclasts remove older bone tissue by breaking down the minerals and reabsorbing them into the bloodstream. The two processes are crucial for health and intricately interlinked. But age, diet, genetics, and a number of factors can create the conditions for osteoporosis and other bone-degenerative diseases. Aside from making sure you have a full mineral and nutrient supplement in your regimen, you may want to add hemp oil.
Laboratory research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem has found that hemp oil compounds helped heal bone fractures by stimulating osteoblast activity and helping build the matrix that supports minerals building new bone tissue. Considering the complications of many prescription drugs for dealing with bone issues, hemp oil provides a much better option.
Your endocannabinoid system regulates your skin, too. It regulates much of the lipids (fats) that determine the oiliness or dryness of your skin and whether or not you suffer from dermatitis, acne, or other disorders. A supplemental hemp oil may help balance out your skin’s production of oils.
Select the Best Hemp Oil
Hemp oil compounds, including CBD, have a lot to offer. But you have to be careful which kind you choose. It’s easy to think that only CBD is important, but hemp oil is complex, and the other non-THC phytocannabinoids are valuable. The best hemp oil provides a full entourage of compounds from the stalk, because a complete spectrum works together more strongly than any one single compound can on its own.
Also, be aware of the growing conditions of hemp oil. European, non-GMO hemp from specially cultivated plants that are carefully tended are going to deliver the results you’re looking for. I would also suggest adding supplemental omega-3s to your diet, especially if they are bound to phospholipids. Omega-3s are part of the scaffolding for the endocannabinoid system.
There is a bright future for hemp oil. Like curcumin, French grape seed extract, and boswellia, it is an incredibly powerful natural medicine for almost every health condition.