New analysis finds hempseed oil packed with health-promoting compounds

Jan 29, 2014
New analysis finds hempseed oil packed with health-promoting compounds

Long stigmatized because of its "high"-inducing cousins, hemp—derived from low-hallucinogenic varieties of cannabis—is making a comeback, not just as a source of fiber for textiles, but also as a crop packed with oils that have potential health benefits. A new study, which appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, details just how many healthful compounds hempseed oil contains.

Maria Angeles Fernández-Arche and colleagues note that for millennia, people around the world cultivated cannabis for textiles, medicine and food. 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. And although Colorado recently legalized recreational marijuana use—and some states have passed medical marijuana laws—the drug remains illegal according to U.S. federal law. But the European Union has legalized growing low-THC versions of hemp, and it's making its way back into fabrics and paper. With increasing interest in plant oils as a source of healthful compounds, Fernández-Arche's team wanted to investigate hempseed oil's potential.

They did 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 . The findings could have implications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and non-food industries, they state.

Explore further: Video: Making leather that is Earth—and fashion-friendly

More information: "Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Seed Oil: Analytical and Phytochemical Characterization of the Unsaponifiable Fraction" J. Agric. Food Chem., Article ASAP, DOI: 10.1021/jf404278q

Related Stories

How hemp got high: Canadian scientists map the cannabis genome

Oct 19, 2011

A team of Canadian researchers has sequenced the genome of Cannabis sativa, the plant that produces both industrial hemp and marijuana, and in the process revealed the genetic changes that led to the plant's drug-producing proper ...

Chemists discover cannabis 'pharma factory'

Jul 16, 2012

University of Saskatchewan researchers have discovered the chemical pathway that Cannabis sativa uses to create bioactive compounds called cannabinoids, paving the way for the development of marijuana variet ...

Recommended for you

Video: Why are avocados so awesome?

14 hours ago

Whether they're in a big bowl of guacamole for your Cinco de Mayo festivities or scooped on top of your salad, avocados enjoy a special place in our hearts and stomachs. On top of being tasty, avocados are ...

Study describes revolutionary method of making RNAs

14 hours ago

A biochemist from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio is a co-author on a paper in Nature that describes a new, more efficient method of making ribonucleic acids (RNAs).

For batteries, one material does it all

20 hours ago

Engineers at the University of Maryland have created a battery that is made entirely out of one material, which can both move electricity and store it.

Wood-polymer composite furniture with low flammability

21 hours ago

Wood is a popular material in interior design, but its water absorbency limits its use in bathrooms, where natural wood easily becomes discolored or moldy. Fraunhofer scientists and partners have developed ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.