In honor of today, April 20th, also known the world over as 420, we here at Truth in Aging decided it was time to take a look into hemp seed oil. Note that we have already taken a look at cannabis specifically and its interesting acne fighting benefits.  This article is not a plug for cannabis (though it is also not an anti-marijuana post); in fact, hemp seed oil is perfectly legal since it contains only trace amounts of THC (the active ingredient in marijuana that is responsible for its mind altering effects). Hemp seed oil is produced from the Cannabis sativa plant, but that’s pretty much where its relation to many stoners’ drug of choice ends.

A quick Google search turns up a myriad of positive anecdotal evidence regarding hemp oil. Most of the praise involves the substance’s ability to heal eczema and other dry or itchy skin issues. It has also been touted on several message boards as a savior for those with rosacea, sensitive or inflamed skin. Because hemp oil is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, it is a great emollient for hair (as well as a fantastic health booster) and may be particularly helpful in the dry, winter months. The high protein content of hemp oil will also improve hair’s condition, as well as help nail growth and strength.But is there any scientific evidence that backs hemp oil’s magic, or is it pretty much just snake oil?

Though there certainly isn’t enough of it, there is some research that indicates hemp oil’s effectiveness; at the very least, the studies prove that the oil should be further examined. One study found that topical application of gamma-linolenic acid creams to areas of the skin suffering from pruritus, or itch, helped alleviate the itch as opposed to a placebo cream. GLA is a fatty acid and one if its primary sources is hemp seed oil.

A twenty-week randomized, single-blind crossover study found that in comparison to olive oil, “dietary hempseed oil caused significant changes in plasma fatty acid profiles and improved clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis. It is suggested that these improvements resulted from the balanced and abundant supply of [polyunsaturated fatty acids] in this hempseed oil.”

TIA has reviewed several hemp-based products; some of them we’ve loved, like The Body Shop’s Hand Protector, Reviva’s EFAs Cream and The Balm to the Rescue. Others we haven’t been so fond of, like Alterna Hemp Leave in Conditioner. Regardless, it seems like hemp oil is definitely something worth checking out if you have a skin ailment that just won’t quit.