Hemp is an amazingly versatile crop. Hemp cultivation continues to soar as more and more people (and governmental bodies) wake up to its incredible variety of uses, and hemp is increasingly used in:
- Construction materials
- As a plastic substitute in various industries, including aviation and manufacturing
Hemp also continues to be an exciting source of food — for animals and people alike. Hemp seed oil has created quite a buzz in the world of nutrition in recent years, and you might be interested in adding it to your culinary repertoire.
Here’s how and why hemp seed oil is so special, and what sets it apart from other hemp-derived food products, including cannabidiol.
What Is Hemp Seed Oil?
Hemp seed oil is a cold-pressed oil (just like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil) that comes from the seeds of hemp plants — which are technically nuts.
Some people continue to be confused about what this means. Hemp? Isn’t that weed, the plant (illegally) used for its mind-altering effects? Not quite.
Marijuana and hemp plants both belong to the Cannabis sativa species. However, marijuana plants are high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the cannabinoid that creates a “high”. Industrial hemp plants are naturally low in THC, meanwhile. They are valued for their fibres and other compounds.
Industrial hemp plants cultivated in the European Union can’t have a THC content of more than 0.02 per cent, while United States regulations allow for a THC content of up to 0.03 per cent.
The hemp seed oil made from industrial hemp plants may contain tiny amounts of THC, but not enough to cause psychoactive effects.
Hemp seed oil is primarily valued for its nutritional benefits. Some people love its rich, nutty flavour, while others simply love experimenting with new kitchen ingredients.
A Closer Look at the Health Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil
Healthy fats are essential to a balanced diet, and hemp seed oil has an interesting nutritional profile.
Here’s what you need to know about hemp seed oil:
- Hemp seeds are incredibly rich in protein — each hemp seed has a protein content of about 25 per cent. Protein plays an important role in your general health and wellbeing, and variety is crucial when you choose plant-based protein sources.
- Hemp seed oil is packed full of healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-6 and omega-3. Both are important for optimal functioning in terms of physical and cognitive abilities.
- Hemp seed oil contains lots of important vitamins and minerals, including potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and vitamin E.
No ingredient that’s been touted as a “superfood” can ever meet all of your nutritional needs — and hemp seed oil is no exception. However, it doesn’t take more than a quick look at this oil’s nutritional profile to realise that hemp seed oil can be a fun and healthy addition to a varied diet.
What Does Hemp Seed Oil Taste Like?
Hemp seed oil has a nutty flavour with hints of beans or legumes and woody or earthy notes. Some people describe the aftertaste as citrusy or lemony.
We don’t want to sound like wine snobs, so we’ll leave it up to you to decide whether you agree. Let’s just say hemp seed oil can make an interesting addition to your kitchen, especially if you love experimenting with novel ingredients.
How to Use Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is a versatile oil — like other edible oils, its primary purpose is in the kitchen. Having said that, hemp seed oil can come in handy if you’re looking for ways to make DIY cosmetics, too.
Cooking with Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is a heat-sensitive oil. As with other unusual and expensive edible oils (avocado oil, Brazil nut oil, broccoli seed oil, etc), you don’t really want to heat hemp seed oil. Instead:
- Add hemp seed oil to a homemade pesto sauce.
- Incorporate hemp seed oil into a ridiculously decadent salad dressing with a bunch of exciting ingredients — and discover just how exciting a good salad can be.
- Make hummus with hemp seed oil.
- Add hemp seed oil to tasty protein shakes with other healthy ingredients like spinach and raspberries.
Hemp seed oil won’t become a staple like sunflower oil, because it’s too expensive — but it can bring novelty to a bland diet and inspire you to get creative.
Using Hemp Seed Oil in Skincare Products
Are you out of moisturiser, or do you want to try something a little more natural? Just like olive oil is a great natural skincare ingredient, you can add hemp seed oil to your skincare routine, too.
Some people use it to hydrate their scalps or skin, while others make their own body lotions or face creams with hemp seed oil as one of the ingredients. Making your own cosmetics is tricky but fun. As long as you remember to make safety your top priority, you can’t go wrong with the many skincare recipes you’ll find online. You can always substitute hemp seed oil for another unusual oil, like avocado oil, in any recipe.
Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD: What’s the Difference?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of many components called cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa plants. Marijuana and hemp plants both contain CBD. Hemp, which is naturally low in THC, has more CBD — making it the most common source of CBD products.
Authorised CBD products are classed as novel food items and are legally available in the UK without a prescription. They have a maximum THC content of 0.02 per cent and don’t have psychoactive effects. However, CBD products are used in low doses, often with the goal of promoting general health and wellbeing.
Hemp seed oil is exclusively derived from hemp seeds, while CBD is found (in various concentrations) in the whole plant. Manufacturers making CBD products specifically extract this cannabinoid and then incorporate it into a wide variety of products.
Popular CBD products include:
- CBD oil
- CBD gummies
- CBD creams
- CBD capsules
- CBD vape liquids and vape pens
- CBD tea
CBD oil is one of the most common CBD products, and it relies on a carrier oil to deliver cannabidiol to consumers. Hemp seed oil is one carrier oil option, alongside other choices like coconut (MCT) oil or olive oil. Therefore, CBD oil may contain hemp seed oil, but the two aren’t synonymous by any stretch of the imagination.
CBD products are best for people specifically seeking cannabidiol, while hemp seed oil plays a broader role as a cooking or skincare ingredient.
Consumers hoping to harness the full potential of industrial hemp might like to try both CBD products and hemp seed oil, but with different purposes.
Can You Use CBD Oil in Cooking?
You can also use CBD oil in the kitchen. If you do, take care not to exceed your desired dose. As with hemp seed oil, it is best not to heat CBD oil. Instead, add it to a carrier oil like hemp seed oil or olive oil, and drizzle it over a salad or mix it into a savoury popcorn recipe.
You can get creative here, too, but you’ll be working with less — so make it count!
Adding Hemp Seed Oil to Your Kitchen: Some Final Tips
Hemp seed oil has a promising nutritional profile. As such, it can definitely become an interesting part of a healthy and balanced diet. This cold-pressed oil is heat-sensitive, and you’ll retain its nutrients and taste by drizzling it over your meals.
CBD oil can play a role in your kitchen, too — but people using this novel food product do so specifically to add cannabidiol to their wellness routines. Coming from the same source, CBD oil and hemp seed oil make a nice combination with earthy and nutty flavours. Allow yourself to be inspired if you want to experiment with this combination, but make sure to start with the lowest possible dose of CBD.