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February 26, 2020 — 11:55 AM

While CBD might be the health industry’s “it” product of the moment, hemp oil isn’t far behind. It’s increasingly being found in beauty products and supplements, praised for its ability to help manage stress, support healthy immune function, soothe aching joints, and more.* (Heck, it even has its own national holiday.) If the science-backed benefits of hemp oil have you curious but you don’t know how to start taking the product, you’re in the right place.

Remind me: What’s hemp oil, and how is it different from CBD?

People often confuse hemp seed oil and hemp extracts for CBD and vice versa, but there are a few key differences between them. All are members of the Cannabis family but come from different parts of the Cannabis plant: Hemp seed oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the plant, while hemp oil extract and CBD are derived from the flowers of a hemp plant (hence the mix-up), Alex Capano, chief science officer of Ecofibre Limited, tells mbg.

What’s more, while hemp oil and CBD aren’t one and the same, hemp extracts contain over 140 cannabinoids—chemicals found in cannabis plants—including CBD as well as THC, CBN, and CBG. It also contains terpenes and flavonoids, both of which are organic compounds that give plants their specific odor and flavor profiles and elicit particular responses in the body, “acting synergistically with cannabinoids to boost their effects,” says Capano. Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is extracted from the pressed seeds of the hemp plant and does not contain CBD.

How to use hemp oil in your life.

Here are some of the most common ways you can start using hemp oil (CBD or whole hemp extract) and hemp seed oil (no cannabinoids) in your everyday life:

1. Take it as a daily supplement to promote a sense of calm.*

If you’re looking for a holistic remedy for stress, hemp oil supplements might just do the trick.* A 2015 clinical review study found that oral doses of 300 to 600 mg of cannabidiol have been shown to help manage feelings of stress and anxiousness, while a 2004 neuroimaging study found that an oral dose of 400 mg of CBD promoted activity in the region of the brain associated with mediating stress.*

2. Massage it onto the scalp for hair health.*

Hemp seed oil is high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which promotes hair density and protect against hair loss when taken orally.* If you have dandruff, very preliminary research also shows that topically applying hemp seed oil to the scalp can strengthen the skin, making it more resistant to bacteria and infections.* Start by massaging a few drops onto the scalp, or make a DIY a mask by mixing up your own hair care elixir with hemp seed oil and ingredients like coconut or avocado oil.

3. Run it through hair strands to promote hair growth and strength.*

Hemp seed oil contains healthy fats like omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to promote hair growth when taken orally.* To reap these benefits, you could take a hemp oil supplement, or give hemp-oil-infused hair products, like shampoos and hair drops, a try. 

4. Massage it onto the skin to soothe aching muscles after a workout.*

It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice in the gym or a pro athlete—sometimes a good workout can leave your muscles feeling hellishly sore. This type of stress can cause your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to hinder its production of CBD receptors, but supplementing with hemp oil could help, Sara DeFrancesco, N.D., L.Ac., a health educator based in Portland, Oregon, told mbg.*

You can add hemp oil or CBD oil to your post-workout recovery in a few different ways: For example, Alessa Quizon, a professional surfer and Billabong athlete, uses a CBD roll-on oil to massage it into any tender areas, while GLOW actress Alison Brie told mbg she adds a few drops of CBD oil drops into her morning tea to “let it infuse into [my] system that way.”

5. Use it on your face to help manage inflammation and acne.*

Since hemp oils contain cannabinoids like CBD and CBN, as well as terpenes, its antioxidant properties help support a glowy complexion.* Plus, research shows cannabinoids help manage oil production in acne-prone individuals and promotes healthier skin.* You can incorporate hemp oil into your skin care routine by taking an oral supplement or applying hemp-infused beauty products topically.

6. Take it as a supplement before bed for a good night’s sleep.*

Oftentimes those who regularly experience symptoms of stress also struggle to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, upward of 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder like insomnia.

At this time, it is unclear whether or not hemp oil can help with insomnia, but research shows it might be able to help short-term sleep problems by helping manage stress and pain, therefore making it easier to relax and fall asleep.* Try taking a hemp oil pill before bed for snooze support and sweet dreams.

7. Apply to your nails for stronger cuticles and growth.*

You might’ve heard about CBD massages—but what about manis? Because of its antifungal properties, hemp seed oil can be an excellent addition to DIY salon treatments.* Try rolling a hemp-infused oil directly onto your nail and cuticles to support nail strength and stimulate growth.

8. Take as a dietary supplement to promote a healthy gut.*

Upset stomach? Hemp seed oil contains minerals like potassium, iron, zinc, calcium, and essential fatty acids, “which are great for inflammation” and, therefore, an unhappy gut, Brooke Alpert, licensed holistic cannabis practitioner of Daily Habit CBD, tells mbg.* Additionally, hemp extract, which does contain cannabidiol, has been shown to help manage inflammatory bowel conditions in mice, so it could be worth a try if you suffer from symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and cramping.*

At the end of the day, there are many different uses for hemp oil, and the only way to find out what works for you is to give it a try.

Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.

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