SEVILLE, SpainCannabis, long cultivated for use in textiles, medicine and food, is making a comeback as a crop packed with oils that have potential health benefits, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that details the many healthful compounds hempseed oil contains.
Hemp has high levels of vitamins A, C and E and beta carotene, and it is rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals and fiber. In the early 20th century, many countries banned cannabis because some varieties contain large amounts of the high-inducing compound THC. Although Colorado recently legalized recreational marijuana use, and some states have passed medical marijuana laws, the drug remains illegal under U.S. federal law. However, the European Union has legalized growing low-THC versions of hemp, and it's making its way back into fabrics and paper.
Considering its resurgence, researchers at the University of Seville investigated hempseed oil's potential. The researchers conducted a detailed analysis of a portion of hempseed oil. They found it has a variety of interesting substances, such as sterols, aliphatic alcohols and linolenic acids, that research suggests promote good health. For example, it contains α-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid that some studies suggest helps prevent coronary heart disease. The findings could have implications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and non-food industries, they state.