Cannabis sativa is a plant known widely to be yielding marijuana. Marijuana is a recreational drug which contains the active substance tetra hydro cannabinoid (THC). However, cannabis also has other products which can be beneficial. Hemp is derived from the seed and stalk of the cannabis plant. Surprisingly, it contains less than 0.3% of the active substance THC found in marijuana. The marijuana plants which are used to get high usually contain about 15% of THC. Hemp is known to produce a cannabidiol called CBD. It does not have any psychoactive properties. Therefore industrial hemp cannot be used as a recreational drug. Hemp contains essential fatty acids, minerals, proteins and fibres which are nutritious and healthy. Here are some of the scientifically proven health benefits of hemp.
Hempseed is useful as a dietary supplement rich in amino acids especially arginine which is a precursor in producing nitric oxide. It has been found that nitric oxide plays an important role in hemostasis, cardiovascular function, maintaining vascular tone and in regulating blood pressure. Arginine-rich diet has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease according to data from the Third National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey.
Hemp also contains omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. They are in ideal proportions (2:1 and 3:1) which are advantageous for reducing many chronic diseases currently prevailing in the Western society. They have a key role in affecting the immune response of the body. It can affect signal transduction pathways, cytokine production and gene regulation ultimately reducing immune-mediated inflammation and producing immunosuppressive effects. Diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, arthritis, cancers and autoimmune diseases are some of the examples. It can also improve skin disorders such as eczema, itchiness and dryness.
Hempseed also contains a polyunsaturated fatty acid called linoleic acid. It has the ability to inhibit inflammatory processes. This can reduce atherosclerosis. It can also lower LDL cholesterol which is considered unhealthy. It has reduced total cholesterol to HDL ratio which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Hemp is also used in reducing premenstrual and menopause symptoms in women. The gamma linoleic acid in hemp improves breast pain, irritability and mood changes associated with menopause by inhibiting the effect of prolactin hormone.
Various vitamins such as B1, B2, B6, D and E have been found in hemp. They have many effects in maintaining the body’s metabolic function and keeping the body healthy. Hemp is also rich in trace minerals which are found only in our diets such as iron, calcium, zinc, potassium and magnesium. They are useful in enzyme actions, maintaining cell signals and homeostasis of cells.
Hemp seeds contain both soluble and insoluble dietary fibre which is good for digestive system. Soluble fibre can increase healthy gut bacteria and reduce fluctuations in blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the stool and reduces constipation.
CBD tincture has anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces pain and inflammation especially in arthritis and neuropathic pain seen in multiple sclerosis. Its antipsychotic properties have been tested even in schizophrenic patients with remarkable safety profile. CBD has properties to reduce anxiety and hence can be used in anxiety-related disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Recent research findings suggest that it can be used as a treatment method in Alzheimer’s disease due to its neuroprotective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. CBD can be effective in treating cancers. There is scientific evidence that both estrogens dependent and estrogen negative breast cancer cells have been killed by CBD. Its antiproliferative and apoptosis-inducing properties are currently under investigation for developing an effective treatment in cancer lung, colon and leukaemia. CBD in low doses also reduces nausea and vomiting. It is also a promising treatment for epilepsy which is not responding to conventional treatment. The incidence of diabetes can also be reduced with the use of CBD tincture.
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