Top 10 Side Effects of Hemp Seed

Potential Side Effects Of Hemp Seed

The hemp hearts or the seeds come from the hemp plant, scientifically known as Cannabis sativa L. from the Cannabaceae family. The use of hemp seeds due to its high nutritional value can be traced back to ancient Egyptian times. E.B. Russo [1] writes that the prehistoric people were well aware of the benefits of cannabis and used it for advanced treatments, such as “chronic pain, spasticity, cancer, seizure disorders, nausea, anorexia, and infectious disease”.

Hemp is the closest relative of marijuana, and therefore, is associated with several myths and facts. Since it is identical to marijuana, the side effects are believed to be similar. On the contrary, hemp seeds have hundreds of benefits of use. And the side effects have been highly speculated as the research of medical cannabis is still in its nascent stages.

Curiosities around hemp seed and hemp seed dietary supplements never seem to end. Hemp seeds are undoubtedly powerhouse of healthy substances, but there are also potential risk factors associated with its use. The symptoms of health problems occur after a high dosage. Unfortunately, you would not find a lot of people talking about it. We have put our best efforts to gather relevant and authentic data to present you the most comprehensive information on top 10 hemp side effects.

Why Should You Use Hemp Seeds?

Hemp seed is considered to be the wholesome food because of its high concentration of essential nutrients. Archaeological [2] evidence proves that the use of hemp seed existed in the prehistoric times. The nutrition value per 100 grams contains dietary fibers, polyunsaturated fatty acids [3] – linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.

Use Hemp Seeds

Controls Blood Cholesterol

Hemp seeds contain omega-3 fatty acid a-linolenic acid (ALA) and omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA) in 1:2 or 1:3 ratio. Researchers J.M. Iacono and R.M.Dougherty[4] opine that high concentration of LA in the diet reduces* cholesterol from the body.

Controls Blood Pressure

In a study[5] conducted among the participants from Asia, the United States and the United Kingdom showed that dietary linoleic acid can help to control high blood pressure. Linoleic is one of the main organic chemical properties in hemp seed, for which it is considered useful to control blood pressure.

Effective for Inflammation

Research on medical cannabis or hemp seed and hemp seed oil enthralled the researchers all around the world. The healthy polyunsaturated fatty acids- ALA and LA are well known to treat* atherosclerosis, allergy, inflammation[6] and infectious skin diseases.

Helps in Arthritis

Helps in Arthritis

Hemp seed oil has been in use from the ancient times to relieve joint pain and chronic pain[7] . Rheumatoid Arthritis causes severe pain in the joints, inflammation of the muscles and other problems. Hemp seed is rich in antioxidant properties and omega 3 fatty acids, which are useful for relieving pain.

Stimulates Weight Loss

Only small amount of hemp seed is enough to meet your daily nutrient needs. Insoluble fibers in hemp go into the digestive system but remain unchanged[8]. It is also called as roughage which absorbs water and regulates trouble free excretion. It promotes* good gut health and fights constipation.

Controls Stress and Anxiety

Hemp seed has been tested several times and proved to be helpful in controlling stress and anxiety[9]. Depression is deadly and has adverse effects on health, to fight depression, stress and hypertension the use of hemp seed is widely popular.

What Are The Potential Side Effects Of Hemp Seed?

Side Effect Herbal Medicine

Despite the medicinal value of hemp seed, side effects have also been reported. Although, the reports are associated with overdose of hemp seed, which undoubtedly has a negative impact on our health. Nonetheless, you should be aware of the problem that may arise due to excessive intake of hemp seed and hemp seed oil.

1. Anticoagulant Effects: C. Coetzee and colleagues published a result based on the study[10] of the anti-/prothrombotic effect of organic cannabis. The researchers emphasized the three major properties found in cannabis- tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, cannabidiol or CBD and cannabinol or CBN. The results show that CBN and THC are responsible for inhibition of blood clotting.

The University of Michigan Health System [11] (UMHS) confirms that the use of hemp oil can inhibit platelet formation. The scholars added that this effect is good for treating the patients who suffer from thrombophilia i.e. blood clotting which can lead to heart attacks, atherosclerosis, inflammatory conditions such as eczema and few other health problems[12].

At the same time, the anticoagulant effects may affect adversely, meaning, it can delay blood clotting. However, the risks will arise only when the intake happens in an excess amount. Thinning of blood is one the side effects of Cannabis sativa L. or hemp.

If you are already on medication that includes anticoagulants, please avoid hemp seeds and hemp seed oil. Especially, you should not consume hemp seeds before and after a surgery, otherwise, bleeding time may increase* and the healing process will be slowed down.

Therefore, it is better to have a word with your doctor if you want to increase* consumption of the hemp seeds and in any case, never exceed the suggested limits. Also, if you notice anything suspicious, such as delay in healing wounds and coagulability, please seek immediate medical help.

2. Immunosuppressive Effects: E.J. Carrier and colleagues published a research report on 2006 at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The study confirmed the immunosuppressive effects of cannabinoids. It has been proved that plant-based CBD and THC both have been found responsible for immunosuppression[13].

Andre M. Christelle and co-authors opined in their research article on “Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules[14]” that, alongside the huge benefits of hemp plant the hemp seeds, side effects are also present, such as immunosuppression[15], cholinergic deficits, and anxiety.

The researchers have also confirmed that the hemp seeds are quite efficient to treat* several patients who suffer from diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. At the same time, E.A. Newsholme suggested on the basis of his study on the “Mechanism For Starvation Suppression And Refeeding Activation Of Infection[16]” that polyunsaturated fats are known to cause immunosuppression. He added that polyunsaturated fats that the body receives from our diet are highly immunosuppressive.

Which is why our immune system weakens and the body becomes prone to diseases as it can’t prevent the harmful bacteria and virus from affecting us. As a matter of fact, hemp seeds are a rich and nutritious source of healthy polyunsaturated fats.

However, researchers have seen the positive effects of this cause. In fact, the immunosuppressive effect can be used among patients to prevent auto-immune diseases. To prevent health problems, please keep a check on the daily consumption limit, and visit your doctor for a routine check-up.

Routine Check-Up

3. Skin Cancer: Robert H Granger[17] and his colleagues propounded that dietary fat has a correlation with skin cancer. The study was conducted in Australia. They added that exposure to harmful UV rays from sun damage the skin cells. When skin comes in contact with ultraviolet radiation, it enhances* the carcinogenic effects and diet play a major role. Two types of skin cancers- non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) and cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) are known to be promoted by dietary consumption of polyunsaturated fats[18].

As we all know both hemp seeds and hemp seed oil contain a high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) [19] – omega 3 and omega 6. These healthy fatty acids are extremely beneficial for the humankind, however, an overdose also has its consequences. Cold-pressed hemp seed[20] oil contains a high amount of linolenic acid which promotes* skin cancer.

The researchers have suggested that in order to lower the risk of skin cancer, a person should control the consumption. The reduction* in consumption of dietary fats will cut down the risk of skin cancer.

4. Digestive Disorders: Both shelled and unshelled hemp seeds[21] are highly nutritious because of the significantly higher proportion of dietary fibers and proteins. The University of Michigan Health System [22](UMHS) warns that shelled hemp seed loosen the stool. In addition to this, one may also experience diarrhea, stomachaches, and cramps.

Hemp seed is highly fibrous which triggers diarrhea. If you already have a poor digestive system and you suffer from colon diseases, you should not consume hemp seed.

Fibers are generally good for digestive system because the insoluble fibers which are also known as cellulose initiate bowel movement. It is in fact, healthy to eat foods that contain high fibers. Interestingly, hemp seed is good sources of fibrous diet[23].

50 grams of hemp flour contains as much as 21 grams of fibers. Which makes it difficult to deal with a sudden increase* in dietary fibers the guts can’t control. People who suffer from digestive disorder and diarrhea should avoid high fibrous diet[24].

Protein elements such as arginine[25], are known to initiate diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain.

Please have a word with your physician before you consume hemp seed and avoid it if you have any of the digestive problems, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Additionally, increase* consumption gradually.

Do not double the intake just because you want to eliminate* unhealthy diet and want to absorb vegetarian diet to lose* weight. Increase* the tolerance level of the body and slowly increase* consumption, also take advice from your doctor.

Stomach Ache Isolated

5. Allergy from Hemp Seed: Hemp seed [26] is not only rich in protein and fibers but also in minerals and essential nutrients. Only 100 grams of hemp seed contains[27] 700 mg magnesium, 1650 mg phosphorus, 1200 mg potassium, 70 mg calcium and other minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, and sodium. No doubt, it is a superfood which meets nearly all the quotas for essential nutrients, but it can also cause allergy.

In fact, the protein and amino acids present in hemp seed can also cause allergy. Arginine, valine, glutamic acid or any other amino acids that are found in hemp seed can cause allergy.

Hemp seed and hemp seed oil are well known to treat* inflammation, allergy and skin diseases. It may occur to you if you are allergenic to any of the minerals hemp seed contain. If you want to use hemp seed and oil for therapeutic purposes, always get your allergy tested.

Once you get the report, determine what causes you allergy and avoid those products. If you notice any of the elements present in hemp seed will trigger an allergy, stop immediately.

6. Cotton Mouth: Consumption of hemp seed is most commonly associated with dry mouth or cotton mouth[28]. Medically this condition is referred to as xerostomia or hyposalivation, which is a known side effect of cannabis.

According to the medical cannabis researchers, the THC content in hemp is known to stimulate this effect hindering saliva secretion. Dry mouth can cause coughing and internal bleeding of the trachea in rare and extreme cases.

It is very common and there is nothing to worry about unless you neglect it for long. Drinking more water will easily help you combat the issue. Researchers have also claimed that citrus food can help you extensively keeping your mouth salivated and hydrated.

It is not fatal, but you should ensure drinking plenty of water which will also keep you from coughing. If you notice bleeding or soreness, which did not go even after drinking water, please consult with your doctor without further delay.

Cotton Mouth

7. Effect on Brain and Nervous System: Hemp seed side effects can take a toll on your nervous system potentially affecting the brains. While most of the studies prove that hemp seed is good for curing Parkinson’s disease, however, research also shows the negative effect. Parkinson’s disease affects people who cross 50 in most cases, and this disease affects the nervous system[29]. Hemp is known to help the patients by controlling the endocannabinoid system[30] and relieving pain and numbness.

At the same time, scholars also outlined the potential risks of over-intake of hemp seed. A Higher dose of hemp seed or oil worsen the situation and trigger[31] the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Data[32] also prove that hemp seed can hamper the development of the brain among the children. It is because hemp seed contains omega 6 fatty acids more than omega 3. Omega 3 acids and especially Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA ) type are essential for the brain development. Hemp seed does not contain omega 3 fatty acids in sufficient amount which can slow down the development and growth process.

8. Harmful Peroxides: As we already know that hemp seeds contain polyunsaturated fatty acids such as omega 6 and omega 3, please also be aware that these fatty acids break in the high heat. Hemp seeds and hemp oil is highly beneficial to avoid cholesterol and therefore, reducing* heart diseases. What we don’t know is the hidden risk of polyunsaturated fats.

When you use hemp seed oil for cooking, the heat can break the fatty acids into harmful peroxides. Omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are especially prone to breaking the bonds. Once the temperature rises above and beyond 1200 F, the omega 6 fatty acids break as a process of oxidation[33]. As the molecules break and are damaged, they have a negative effect on our health.

As you heat the oil for frying food, you are actually causing damages to the fatty acids and adversely harming your own health. Therefore, we suggest you to not to heat the oil above 121 degrees to avoid the risks. Polyunsaturated fats are easily oxidized, and as a result, toxic fat peroxides[34] are produced which can cause cancer. Therefore, to eliminate* the risks never heat the oil, as mentioned earlier, and store in a dark and cold place.

Harmful Hemp Oils

9. Lack of Energy: Increased consumption of hemp seed can result in lightheadedness, drowsiness[35]. The reason is higher dose of hemp seed or oil will contain a higher proportion of CBD affects blood pressure and patients often suffer from low blood pressure[36]. As an obvious symptom of low blood pressure is drowsiness, lack of energy and lightheadedness.

It is not difficult to deal with this issue. You need to ensure that you should avoid hemp seed if you have low blood pressure level. Additionally, if you are in blood pressure control medication, then consult with your physician before purchasing hemp seeds.

Though data showed that the side effect is impermanent and temporary, the effect is more likely to occur from crude and poor quality oil with higher THC content. So, if you want to buy hemp seeds please look at the nutrition value and check if there is any indication of THC levels.

10. THC Positive Test Results: Results show that THC[37] the main ingredient to cause you “high” is present in hemp plant, however, the seeds are devoid of it. But in any case, we should not ignore that seeds are also parts of the plant and slight contamination can occur.

Consumption of hemp seed oil and the seeds can cause hallucination, dystonic movement disorders. However, there are very few instances where the patients were highly sensitive to THC. It is known that THC contains hallucinogenic properties, the notorious element found in marijuana and can initiate euphoria.

Moreover, THC is the element which is present in the blood, hair, and urine. THC is illegal and can fail you a drug test. Although it has been proved in several studies that the hemp seed and seed oil does not have side effects but poor quality hemp seed oil can cause a fatal blow to your professional life.

Drug Test Marijuna

More

We are sure that you want to find out more about the potential negative effects of hemp seed which is covered here.

  • As we know that the polyunsaturated fatty acids promote skin cancer and it can also break as a result of oxidation, hemp seed can cause cancer. Linoleic acids are found to aggravate tumors in the body and it can also trigger breast cancer.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids have the power to cause cardiac dysfunctions. Although CBD is known to prevent cell damages[38] and limits the risks of heart attack. However, another study shows that cannabis has been found to increase* the risks of cardiovascular disorders[39]. Data[40] reveal that higher intakes are likely to reduce* the risk of coronary heart diseases.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acid components in hemp seed oil may hinder the production of important hormones secreted[41] from the thyroid gland in the human body. As a result, thyroid and hormonal health problems may arise.

How to Avoid Negative Effects of Hemp Seeds?

The genesis of nearly all the complications, as we have learned, is an overdose. Just like we need high-value foods, we also need to ensure that we don’t overeat. Overeating is never healthy, let it be any of the nutrients. There were only a few cases reported all over the world where hemp seed was indirectly held responsible for health issues and most are caused by high volume intake.

Side Effect Avoid

Therefore, if you want to avoid all the health problems mentioned above, kindly consult with a certified medical practitioner and confirm if your body can tolerate hemp seed. Check for allergenic properties, blood pressure level, prescription drug and other factors.

Additionally, we tend to forget that hemp seed oil, which is a popular topical medicine for curing inflammation, pain and skin diseases, can also cause unwanted problems. Not necessarily because it is hemp oil so it should have adverse effects, but due to the fact it may contain impurity[42].

Hemp seed oil processed in an uncontrolled and unhygienic environment does have risks on use. In fact, it may also contain a higher amount of THC. Therefore, our advice is to check the labels, manufacturing date, and the ingredients.

Conclusion

Hemp seed is 100% natural and does not have serious side effects unless a person decides to add this highly nutritious food in the diet with the recommendation of a dietician. We know how enthusiastic you are after learning the benefits of hemp seed, but just do a small check on your health and the product quality and you are ready to start a journey towards a healthy life!

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Author

Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed (Consumer Health Digest)

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain shams University.

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