With the ever-expanding legalization of weed around the world, there’s been an increased interest in cannabis and its many by-products. One such by-product which is often misunderstood is hemp seed oil.
In this post, I’ll discuss exactly what hemp seed oil is and how it differs from other by-products of cannabis, such as CBD oil.
I’ll then outline the potential benefits of hemp seed oil for hair health, as well as ways you might incorporate hemp into your routine.
What is Hemp Seed Oil?
Hemp seed oil is an oil which is extracted from the seeds of the cannabis (or hemp) plant (1).
The oil is used in cosmetics and in cuisine worldwide. Hemp has also been used in the health community for years as a source of nutrients and minerals.
Hemp seed oil doesn’t usually contain Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the compound in cannabis that is responsible for the high of its users.
Hemp Oil Versus CBD Oil: What’s the Difference?
It’s true that both hemp oil and CBD oil come from the cannabis plant.
These two oils come from different parts of the plant, however, and this can affect their nutrient contents and abilities.
As the name suggests, hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the cannabis plant. The oil is obtained through a pressing process.
CBD oil, on the other hand, comes from the flowers and leaves. This oil is often extracted through a chemical process.
It’s good to get definitions out of the way. But what about the difference between the capabilities of hemp seed oil and CBD oil?
In general, CBD is better understood by the scientific community. It’s been included in an array of research studies and trials and, as such, has established itself as the “better” of the two oils.
Is that true? Not necessarily, but more research with hemp seed oil would provide is with a greater understanding of its capabilities and how it could be utilized.
Can Hemp Seed Oil Be Used to Promote Hair Growth?
Let’s get this out of the way: There is currently no evidence to suggest that hemp seed oil can be used to promote hair growth.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the oil is completely useless.
Let’s take a look at some of the oil’s known benefits to determine if it might be of use to hair loss sufferers.
Hemp seed oil is composed of multiple fatty acids. The breakdown according to this 2017 article is as follows (2):
Why does this matter?
Fatty acids are nutrients which play an important role in the body. This is especially true of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which hemp also contains.
Fatty acids contribute to cell membrane structure, and they also modulate gene transcription (3). These are important for healthy functioning.
And perhaps more importantly to hair loss sufferers, fatty acids have also been proven to combat inflammation (4).
There are many types of hair loss. The most common is Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), also known as Male-Pattern Baldness (MPB).
But no matter the type of hair loss you suffer from, you’re likely dealing with follicle inflammation even if you don’t know it.
In AGA, for example, the follicle becomes inflamed either due to the presence of DHT or due to scalp tension (5). This is still much debated in the hair loss community.
If left untreated, the inflammation will miniaturize the hair follicle so new hairs are unable to grow. This can then lead to thinning and, eventually, irreversible balding.
Where does hemp seed oil fit in?
As mentioned, hemp seed oil contains fatty acids which have been proven to reduce inflammation.
One study even showed hemp seed oil to reduce brain inflammation in mice which just goes to show the power of its fatty acid content (6).
The high fatty acid content of hemp seed oil, then, can contribute to overall scalp health.
How to Use Hemp Seed Oil
There are two ways to use hemp seed oil for hair health. They are internally (through ingestion) and externally (through topical application).
Take a Hemp Seed Oil Supplement
With the ever-growing popularity of cannabis products, there have been dozens of new products to enter the market. And while hemp seed oil supplements have been around for years, they’re becoming more and more easier to find on store shelves.
Hemp seed oil supplements are capsules which contain a serving or two of hemp seed oil. They can be taken with water, or even broken apart and added to your foods.
Add Hemp Seeds / Hemp Seed Oil to Your Diet
Perhaps you’d prefer to add hemp to your diet naturally. You can do so with hemp seeds or hemp seed oil.
Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil can be ingested by themselves (take a spoonful each day, for example) or added to your cooking. Hemp seed oil has a slightly nutty flavor, so this makes it a great choice for salad dressings, dips, and marinades.
Apply It to Your Scalp
If you’re hoping to get a more direct benefit from hemp, then you may be interested in topical use.
Hemp seed oil is easy to apply to the scalp. You just pour into your hand and apply to the scalp using your fingertips.
This is a popular method for adding oils to your hair care routine, and its one with many unique benefits.
Aside from the benefits provided by the fatty acids, the oil may also provide moisture and hydration to the hair and scalp. This can reduce itching, flaking, and it may even prevent breakage and strengthen your hair.
What to Look for in Hemp Seed Oil
When purchasing a specialty oil such as hemp seed oil, it’s important that you take a close look at the label. This will help you to determine if it’s the right quality for your needs.
So, what should you look for?
The first indication of quality is whether the oil contains Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or not. I’d strongly urge you to purchase oils that are non-GMO, as this gives you a better idea of what’s actually in the oil and its quality.
You’ll also want to take a look at the list of ingredients.
You’d think that oil would be just oil, right? But that’s not always the case.
The oil you purchase should be 100% hemp seed oil. If there’s any additives or other oils mixed in, then it’s not the best quality and, therefore, may reduce the benefits you see.
The good news is there are plenty of sellers — both in-store and online — so you can be picky about the product you buy.
Hemp and its by-products are often vilified and sometimes over-sensationalized.
It’s true that the benefits of hemp seed oil are still very unclear. But the research that does exist on hemp and its contents can offer some hope to hair loss sufferers.
Do you have questions about hemp seed oil? Do you want to share your own experiences with hemp? Leave your question or comment down below.