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Efficacy of Dietary Hemp Seed Oil in Patients with Atopic Dermatitis

Journal of Dermatological Treatment, 2005, Volume 16, Pages 87-94.
Dr. J.C. Callaway et al, University of Kuopio, Finland

Abstract Background:
Hemp seed oil is a rich and balanced source of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Anecdotal evidence indicated that dietary hemp seed oil might be useful in treating symptoms of atopic dermatitis. Patients and methods: Dietary hemp seed oil and olive oil were compared in a 20-week randomized, single-blind crossover study with atopic patients. Fatty acid profiles were measured in plasma triglyceride, cholesteryl and phospholipid fractions. A patient questionnaire provided additional information on skin dryness, itchiness and usage of dermal medications. Skin transepidermal water loss (TEWL) was also measured. Results: Levels of both essential fatty acids (EFAs), linoleic acid (18:2n6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n3), and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA; 18:3n6) increased in all lipid fractions after hemp seed oil, with no significant increases of arachidonic acid (20:4n6) in any lipid fractions after either oil. Intra-group TEWL values decreased (p50.074), qualities of both skin dryness and itchiness improved (p50.027) and dermal medication usage decreased (p50.024) after hemp seed oil intervention. Conclusions: Dietary hemp seed 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 PUFAs in this hemp seed oil.

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Hemp Seed as a Nutritional Resource: An Overview

Euphytica, January 2004, Volume 140, No. 1-2, Pages 65-72(8).
Dr. J.C. Callaway, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kuopio, Finland

The seed of Cannabis sativa L. has been an important source of nutrition for thousands of years in Old World cultures. Non-drug varieties of Cannabis, commonly referred to as hemp, have not been studied extensively for their nutritional potential in recent years, nor has hemp seed been utilized to any great extent by the industrial processes and food markets that have developed during the 20th century. Technically a nut, hemp seed typically contains over 30% oil and about 25% protein, with considerable amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Hemp seed oil is over 80% in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and is an exceptionally rich source of the two essential fatty acids (EFAs) linoleic acid (18:2 omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-3). The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio (n6/n3) in hemp seed oil is normally between 2:1 and 3:1, which is considered to be optimal for human health. In addition, the biological metabolites of the two EFAs, gamma-linolenic acid (18:3 omega-6; 'GLA') and stearidonic acid (18:4 omega-3; 'SDA'), are also present in hemp seed oil. The two main proteins in hemp seed are edestin and albumin. Both of these high-quality storage proteins are easily digested and contain nutritionally significant amounts of all essential amino acids. In addition, hemp seed has exceptionally high levels of the amino acid arginine. Hemp seed has been used to treat various disorders for thousands of years in traditional oriental medicine. Recent clinical trials have identified hemp seed oil as a functional food, and animal feeding studies demonstrate the long-standing utility of hemp seed as an important food resource.

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