What’s in hemp oil.
Hemp oil in the United States refers to the oil extracted from the stalk of the hemp plant. The extraction process involves using a solvent to extract the oil from the hemp stalk. There are numerous solvents used commercially, all of which have benefits and drawbacks.
Hemp oil uses.
Hemp oil can be found in many different delivery forms. Hemp oil can be consumed orally, applied topically or sublingually, or smoked via vaporization. Vaporization and sublingual application of hemp oil allows for a fast onset-of-action, whereas pills and edible products can take 30 to 90 minutes on average to take effect. Topical hemp oil can be applied directly to areas of pain or inflammation, though it can also be absorbed into the systemic circulation.
How to choose a hemp oil product.
When deciding which hemp oil to use, these are the criteria you should look out for:
- The hemp plants should be 100 percent organically grown to minimize exposure to pesticides.
- The hemp oil should be extracted using CO2, ethanol, or olive oil. If opting for olive oil, make sure you store in a dark, cool place to prevent rancidity.
- Ask for a third-party certificate of analysis. This paperwork will show the chemical composition of the hemp oil and also show if there are any unwanted contaminants such as toxic heavy metals.
- If choosing to use a vape pen, check to make sure propylene glycol is not used as a thinning agent. This chemical, when heated, can create formaldehyde, which has carcinogenic properties.
How to dose hemp oil.
Here are a few guidelines when trying to determine the optimal dose of hemp oil to use:
1. Remember that everyone is different.
Each person has a different genetic and biochemical makeup. This means people will respond to different doses, so you will have to test to see which doses are best for you.
2. Start low and go slow.
Start at a lower dose of hemp oil and increase slowly to achieve the desired effect. Remember that if you choose an oral product, it can take 30 to 90 minutes to notice any benefit.
3. Take a few small doses over the course of a day.
Spacing out your doses—rather than one large dose once a day—can help you maintain adequate blood levels.
4. Know that more is not always better.
Sometimes smaller doses can have a more substantial effect than larger doses. Remember that you are genetically and biochemically distinct from everyone else and need to discover the best dosage for you.
5. Check with your health care provider.
This is especially relevant if you have any medical conditions or are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications.
Hemp oil side effects.
Though very rare, some people report side effects when using hemp oil. These side effects include low blood pressure, dry mouth, slowed thoughts, lightheadedness, and sedation. Animal studies have not found any toxicity issues with using hemp oil. In fact, a study in 2006 found that “the available clinical data suggest that hemp oil can be safely administered over a wide dose range.” As always, because there aren’t long-term safety studies, you should always check with your health care provider before starting hemp oil.