Health Benefits of Hemp and Medical Benefits of Marijuana
Posted by Glenn Beierle on 11/09/2016 in Medical Marijuana
Updated on December 4, 2018. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Most people don’t realize that there is a scientific difference between hemp and marijuana, and both have key health benefits to offer. Here’s a closer look at the two, how they differ, the health benefits they offer, and why marijuana offers even more health benefits than hemp benefits.
The Differences Between Benefits of Hemp and Marijuana
While marijuana and hemp both come from the plant species, Cannabis Sativa, the two plants have some notable differences. Although both plants contain cannabidiol (CBD), which is known for its medicinal properties, the amount of the CBD is greatly different in the two plants. This means that dosing amounts are significantly different if patients try to use hemp instead of cannabis for medical use, since cannabis can be as much as 100 times stronger than hemp.
Hemp doesn’t seem to contain as many of the valuable medicinal compounds found in Marijuana. It doesn’t have as much value for medicinal use, since it only has a small amount of CBD and doesn’t have many of the flavonoids and terpenes found in marijuana. However, hemp is known for its excellent nutritional value, which has the ability to boost health.
Hemp Benefits for Health
Hemp offers a number of excellent health benefits, particularly when the seeds are consumed. Some of the primary health benefits of hemp include:
- Benefit #1 – Excellent Nutrition Sources – Hemp seeds are known to offer a great source of nutrition, since they are packed with health fats like alpha-linolenic acid and linoleic acid. They also include essential nutrients such as phosphorus, sulfur, iron, vitamin E, zinc, calcium, and potassium.
- Benefit #2 – Skin Health Benefits – The fatty acids found in hemp seeds are excellent for treating skin problems, such as dermatitis and eczema.
- Benefit #3 – Improved Heart Health – The heart-healthy compounds in hemp seeds, such as L-arginine, helps with good blood pressure maintenance and improved blood flow in the body. Research shows that hemp seeds may reduce blood clot risk and even boost recovery for patients after having a heart attack.
- Benefit #4 – Aids in Digestion – The soluble and insoluble fiber contained in hemp seeds help support digestive health, and they can aid in digestion and even prove useful for weight control as well.
- Benefit #5 – May Relieve Symptoms of Menopause – Hemp seeds may be useful for reducing some of the symptoms that come with menopause, and the gamma-linolenic acid found in hemp seeds is thought to help control the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Marijuana Benefits vs. Hemp Benefits
While it’s obvious that hemp benefits our health in a multitude of way, some health benefits that cannot be ignored, hemp does not offer the medical benefits that come with marijuana. It is a case of health benefits vs medical benefits. Hemp only contains around 4% CBD, while marijuana has 10-20% CBD, depending on the strain, which makes it far more potent for medicinal use.
CBD has also been found to offer the following medical benefits:
- Combats cancer and tumor cells
- Effectively reduces problems with nausea and vomiting
- Helps combat depression and anxiety disorders
- Reduces inflammation, offering an effective treatment for inflammatory disorders
- Aids in the suppression of seizure activity
- Offers pain relief
- Has antioxidant and neuro-protective properties
It’s the CBD found in marijuana that has been found to be so useful at treating various health conditions, such as treatment resistant epilepsy in children. Along with the CBD cannabinoid, marijuana also contains high levels of critical medicinal flavonoids and terpenes, which are essential for treating many different types of diseases. Marijuana also is higher in tetrahydrocannabinol, which offers psychoactive effects, that may also be beneficial for the treatment of some medical disorders as well.
While it’s undoubtedly true that hemp offers a variety of health benefits and should be a staple part of every person’s daily nutritonal intake, it can in no way be compared to medical marijuana. Marijuana is chemically different, containing different levels of essential chemicals needed to combat medical problems. Turning to hemp oil and other hemp products is unlikely to offer significant relief for medical problems, while marijuana has been proven in many studies to be an effective treatment for many health conditions, including epilepsy, cerebral palsy, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, and more.
If you’re dealing with a medical health problem that may be effectively treated with medical marijuana, don’t stop at hemp. Find a marijuana doctor, to see if the health benefits of marijuana would be an effective alternative treatment for you.