According to the Centers for Disease Control, a little over more than half of the American adult population are medicating with cholesterol-lowering drugs.
And while high cholesterol is a problem usually associated with the obese or elderly, the truth is that a worrisome population of adults aged 20 and up already have elevated cholesterol levels. It’s far too easy to get high cholesterol given the standard American diet, which is loaded in sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats.
For people who have high cholesterol, the road to recovery can be long and taxing. Lifestyle changes are necessary, as well as exercise and medication. Statins are the first course of action medication for controlling cholesterol levels, and they work by slowing cholesterol production from the liver. However, like with other pharmaceutical drugs, statins have side effects such as muscle damage and pain, liver damage, neurological effects, and an increased risk for diabetes.
Now, there are studies showing that hemp oil can help.
What is hemp oil?
Hemp oil, is usually a full-spectrum oil product that has been derived from industrial hemp plants. Unlike cannabis, these plants contain almost zero tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so you won’t feel like you’re getting high.
There are many ways to make different types of hemp oil; for hemp-seed oil, the seeds of the plant are used while for regular hemp oil, the flowers and leaves are used because they are rich in cannabidiol (CBD). Depending on the manufacturing process, they can come out in different colors: unrefined, cold-pressed hemp oil can result in a clear, light greenish or darker green color. If it’s unrefined, it may have a slight grassy taste but refined hemp oil can usually have very little flavor.
Hemp plants are high in CBD, which is a beneficial cannabinoid recognized worldwide for its healing properties. It also contains over 500 different compounds that each have various health benefits for the human body. Additionally, hemp seed oil has been found to possess the ideal ratio of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids, and other plant compounds that can lower blood pressure.
Hemp oil has been analyzed, and researchers found that it’s rich in health benefits. For one, it’s high in linoleic acid, which means that it’s good for heart health. Consuming linoleic acid has been found to be effective in reducing the total cholesterol levels, as well as the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is the bad cholesterol.
Aside from that, it’s rich in anti-inflammatory properties, making it a powerful natural painkiller. It also contains gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) which aids in reducing inflammation.
There are many kinds of hemp oils in the market; some containing CBD and some without.
What studies say
In 2020, a study conducted by researchers from The Center for Applied Health Sciences in Ohio, together with the Lindenwood University in Missouri, aimed to explore “the effects of a commercially available, GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by independent conclusion, CBD-containing hemp oil extract on stress resilience, perceived recovery, mood, affect, body composition, and clinical safety markers in healthy human subjects.”
To do this, they conducted a double-blind study on 65 participants who were overweight but were otherwise generally healthy males and females. They were all given either hemp oil extracts or a placebo each day for 6 weeks, while they continued their regular diet and physical activity.
They found that “HDL cholesterol significantly improved” for those who consumed the hemp. “Hemp supplementation improved HDL cholesterol, tended to support psychometric measures of perceived sleep, stress response, and perceived life pleasure and was well tolerated with no clinically relevant safety concerns,” they wrote.
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Other studies show hemp oil’s health benefits
Another study conducted in 2014 by Spanish researchers sought to examine the plant’s compounds. They discovered that polyunsaturated fatty acids comprise around 75% of hempseed oil, though the particularly high levels of alpha linolenic acid “may have favorable nutritional implications and beneficial physiological effects on the prevention of coronary heart disease and cancer,” write the authors.
“This is an interesting study that gives new information on the bioactive compounds found in hempseed that may potentially lower blood cholesterol levels and have anti-atherogenic action,” said Grant Pierce, in an email to Reuters Health. Pierce, who was not part of the study, was an executive director of research at the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Canada.
You can also benefit from taking CBD oil, or CBD-rich hemp oil to achieve the same effects for your heart. A 2016 animal study found that CBD was effective in reducing the total cholesterol of obese mice by 25%, and the researchers also found that there was an increase in good cholesterol – which is HDL. Meanwhile, another study that was published in the medical journal, Pharmaceuticals, revealed that CBD can possess properties that can help in the treatment of strokes, which result in excessive high cholesterol levels.
If you are suffering from high cholesterol, speak to your doctor about integrating CBD to your diet. It’s always best to talk to someone who is already knowledgeable about cannabis and its health benefits.
At this time, there is no known standard dosing for CBD since it depends on many factors including your medical conditions, body chemistry, body weight, and the concentration of CBD in the product. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can always start low such as with a 10-25mg dose of CBD in each day. Studies show that up to 1,500mg of CBD has been well tolerated though of course, it’s always recommended to speak to your doctor first.