Hemp oil, or hempseed oil, is a popular remedy. Its advocates claim anecdotal evidence for curative properties ranging from improving acne to treating cancer to slowing the progression of heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Some of these claims haven’t been proven by clinical research.

However, data suggests that hemp oil may be able to help certain health issues, such as inflammation and skin conditions. This is primarily because of its essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), including omega-3s and omega-6s.

Fatty acids, which we obtain from food, are vital for the normal operation of all body systems. Hemp oil is more than 75 percent omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in a ratio of 3:1, considered to be the optimal nutrition ratio.

Hemp oil is also a rich source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid.

A 2011 study suggests that adding omega-3s, such as those found in hemp oil, to your diet can reduce inflammation. Inflammation can contribute to diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Research indicates that the omega-3s and omega-6s in hemp oil may be effective in treating a number of skin conditions, including:

  • Acne. A 2014 study concludes that hemp oil (nonpsychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol) is a potent and potentially universal anti-acne treatment. The study states that clinical trials are needed to fine-tune ways to best take advantage of its benefits.
  • Eczema. A 20-week study in 2005 concludes that dietary hemp oil resulted in the improvement of eczema symptoms.
  • Psoriasis. A 2015 study indicates that omega-3 fatty acids, as a nutritional supplement, may be beneficial in the treatment of psoriasis. The study suggests they should be used in combination with topical vitamin D, UVB phototherapy, and oral retinoids.
  • Lichen planus. A 2014 article indicates that hemp oil is useful for the treatment of the inflammatory skin condition lichen planus.

The 2014 article also suggests that hemp oil can contribute to stronger skin that is more resistant to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.

A 2011 study suggests that the physical or emotional symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome are potentially caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin that may be related to low prostaglandin E1 (PGE1).

Hemp oil’s gamma linolenic acid (GLA) assists in the production of PGE1.

The study showed that women with PMS who took 1 gram of fatty acids that included 210 mg of GLA experienced a notable decrease in symptoms.

Menopause

A 2010 study of rats indicates that hemp seed helps to protect against complications of menopause, most likely because of its high levels of GLA.

A 2017 study, hemp oil’s antibacterial properties inhibited the activity of various types of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus is a dangerous bacteria that can cause skin infections, pneumonia and infections of the skin, bone, and heart valve.

Hemp and weed (marijuana) are two different varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant.

Hemp oil is made by cold-pressing the ripened seeds of industrial hemp plants. These plants have almost no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that produces the high associated with weed.

Along with essential fatty acids, hemp oil contains vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. You can take it orally or apply it to your skin.

Although hemp oil is highly popular and research has indicated some health benefits, check with your doctor before applying it topically or ingesting it as a supplement.

Your doctor will offer important insight regarding hemp oil and how it might react with your current health and any other medications you take.