Hempseed oil is manufactured from varieties of Cannabis sativa that do not contain significant amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element present in the cannabis plant. This manufacturing process typically includes cleaning the seed to 99.99% before pressing the oil. There is no THC within the hempseed, although trace amounts of THC may be found in hempseed oil when plant matter adheres to the seed surface during manufacturing. The modern production of hempseed oil, particularly in Canada, has successfully lowered THC values since 1998. Regular accredited sampling of THC in Canadian hemp seed oil shows THC levels usually below detection limit of 4 ppm (parts per million, or 4 mg/kg). Legal limit for THC content in foodstuffs in Canada is 10 ppm. Some European countries have limits of 5 ppm or none-detected, some EU countries do not have such limits at all.
Cannabis oil is a concentrated extract obtained by extraction of the dried flowers or leaves of the cannabis plant. It is not actually an oil, but derives its name from its sticky and oily appearance. The purpose of producing cannabis oil is to make cannabinoids and other beneficial components, such as terpenes, available in a highly concentrated form.
In the meantime, some physicians are forging ahead — and cashing in. Joe Cohen is a doctor at Holos Health, a medical marijuana clinic in Boulder. I asked him what CBD is good for, and he read me a long list of conditions: pain, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, intestinal cramping, anxiety, psychosis, muscle spasms, hyperactive immune systems, nervous system degeneration, elevated blood sugar and more. He also claimed that CBD has anti-cancer properties and can regenerate brain cells and reduce the brain’s levels of amyloid beta — a kind of protein that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. I asked for references, noting that most of these weren’t listed in the Academies report or a similar review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “I think you just have to Google search it,” he said. It’s true that a preliminary study found hints that cannabinoids might reduce beta amyloid proteins in human brain cells, but the study was done in cells grown in a lab, not in people. As for cancer, the FDA sent warning letters last year to four companies that were selling products that claimed to “prevent, diagnose, treat or cure” cancer.
A 2013 study conducted at the University of Haifa in Israel found that cannabinoid treatment after a traumatic experience may regulate the emotional response to the trauma and prevent stress-induced impairment. Cannabinoid treatment minimized the stress receptors in the basolateral amygdala (the nuclei that receives that majority of sensory information) and hippocampus (the part of the brain that is thought to be the center of emotion).
Do not use cannabis if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. There is some evidence that women who smoke cannabis during the time of conception or while pregnant may increase the risk of their child being born with birth defects. Pregnant women who continue to smoke cannabis are probably at greater risk of giving birth to low birthweight babies.
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