Hemp oil, which is readily available to be bought from online stores, is a food. It contains omega-3 fatty acids and therefore protects against cardiovascular diseases.
Hemp is a versatile plant that was used intensively, especially in the past, as it was an important producer of fibers for ropes and sails. Today, a revival of the plant is being experienced worldwide, because it can also be used as a food and oil supplier. Hemp is a biomass and fiber producer. Hemp is unbeatably environmentally friendly because it is renewable and resistant. So far, little attention has been paid to the nutritional potential of the plant. Not only do the seeds (“hemp nuts”) make a high-quality food, also the hemp oil has what it takes to become a functional food. Of course, hemp nuts and hemp oil are only obtained from THC-free hemp varieties. Hemp oil can compensate for the unbalanced fatty acid composition of a modern Western European diet and make a contribution against corresponding civilization diseases.
How well does hemp oil help?
Hemp is known and notorious for the psychoactive effects of resins. The ingredient THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) triggers euphoria in the brain, combined with a relaxation of the muscles and a reduction in blood pressure. Because of various medical effects, hemp comes into question as a medicine. Cannabis or THC-containing drugs are used therapeutically for cramps, especially nerve-related pain, depression, cachexia, and nausea. Also, an application in inflammatory bowel diseases, Multiple sclerosis, and Epilepsy is up for discussion. However, the prescription of cannabis-containing medicines is handled very strictly. Hemp resins have unpleasant side effects.
Hemp is better eaten, not smoked
Due to its fat composition, hemp oil is a useful food component. For the prevention of high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and high-fat levels, the fatty acids from hemp oil are a proven effective component. It is also suspected to be useful in the prevention of strokes and in inhibiting cancer. It should also be useful for alleviating inflammatory tendencies.
Cannabis in medicine? Another uncertain candidate
Hemp has traditionally been used since ancient times, e.g. for pain, rheumatism, and asthma. Current areas of application today are mainly for chemotherapy-related nausea, depression, and lack of appetite in AIDS patients and to lower intraocular pressure in glaucoma (glaucoma).
In Germany, cannabis is marketable only ‘for the manufacture of preparations for medical purposes’, corresponding cannabis-containing finished medicinal products (Phytopharmaceuticals) are available on prescription. However, the medical use of hemp products is controversial, because the risk-benefit ratio has not yet been clarified:
Both smoking cannabis and cannabis/THC-containing medicines have been tested in some studies in the past. Although effects were shown, considerable side effects were recorded, which led to numerous discontinuations of therapy. The very heterogeneous performance of the studies was also problematic. THC and cannabis are therefore suitable for regular therapy for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, intestinal diseases, Epilepsy, and pain disorders out of the question. Only in certain cases that cannot be treated with any available therapy (examples: therapy-associated nausea in Cancer and AIDSTHC-containing preparations are considered as a last resort. For asthma, anxiety disorders, and glaucoma, effective alternatives are available, hemp products are not prescribed here.
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Reimbursement of cannabis/THC-containing medicines
The cost of the drug dronabinol is considerable, ranging from 300 to 1500 € per month for a patient, and is reimbursed only in special cases: According to a decision of the Federal Constitutional Court from 2005, in the case of a “life-threatening or regular fatal illness”, the costs of treatment with cannabis-containing preparations are reimbursed if “there is a not entirely remote prospect of a cure or a noticeable positive effect on the course of the disease.” However, this does not include smoking marijuana, but only the use of THC-containing drugs (dronabinol). Since the new Cannabis Act of 10 March 2017, herbal cannabis products (“medicinal cannabis flowers” or “medicinal cannabis”) can be prescribed by all doctors on a special prescription.
Hemp oil, on the other hand, is over-the-counter and in some Drug and health food stores.
Coming soon: defused intoxicant
In the future, according to the blueprint of hemp cannabinoids, substances without intoxicating effects would be produced. Currently, a wide variety of substance variants are being tested for various applications (craniocerebral trauma, dementia, Addictiondiseases, appetite suppressants, psychosis, other brain diseases, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, and pain management). In the future, cannabinoids could gain importance as nerve- and brain-protecting drugs.
As a medicinal plant, hemp will continue to occupy research. The hopes are considerable, but so far there are no corresponding approvals.
All applications at a glance, sorted by effectiveness
Note: the possible areas of application (indications) are assigned to three different categories, depending on the study situation.