Hemp oil is obtained by pressing hemp seeds and does not contain any significant amounts of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It has a wide variety of uses in cooking and contains all the essential fatty acids that are important for good health.
From Wikipedia: “Hemp oil or hempseed oil is obtained by pressing hemp seeds. Cold pressed, unrefined hemp oil is dark to clear light green in color, with a nutty flavor. The darker the color, the grassier the flavor. It should not be confused with hash oil, a tetrahydrocannabinol-containing oil made from the Cannabis flower, hailed by some for its medicinal qualities.”
“Refined hempseed oil is clear and colorless, with little flavor and lacks natural vitamins and antioxidants. Refined hempseed oil is primarily used in body care products. Industrial hempseed oil is used in lubricants, paints, inks, fuel, and plastics. Hempseed oil has found some limited use in the production of soaps, shampoos and detergents. The oil is of high nutritional value because of its 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids, which matches the balance required by the human body. It has also received attention in recent years as a possible feedstock for the large-scale production of biodiesel. There are a number of organizations that promote the production and use of hempseed oil.”
- Cooking: “Thanks to its nutty flavor, hemp oil is used primarily as a cooking oil in the preparation of salads, dressings, sauces, marinades, and sandwich spreads. Since it has a relatively low smoke point of about 165 °C, it shouldn’t be used to fry or deep-fry foods. At such high temperatures, the fatty acids would degrade and as such change the taste of the oil. However, it is fine to use hemp oil to steam foods.*”
- Cosmetics and medicine: “Hemp oil is used in the cosmetics industry to manufacture a wide range of products such as massage oils, ointments, creams, soaps, and shampoos. In the area of medicine, it is used to treat ear, nose, and throat infections as well as inflammatory skin conditions in dermatology.*” Hemp oil is also used as a technical oil in the industrial sector, but it is not yet used as a biofuel (as of August 2016).
Nutrition and comparison to other oils:
“About 30–35% of the weight of hempseed is an edible oil that contains about 80% as essential fatty acids (EFAs); i.e., linoleic acid, omega-6 (LA, 55%), alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 (ALA, 22%), in addition to gamma-linolenic acid, omega-6 (GLA, 1–4%) and stearidonic acid, omega-3 (SDA, 0–2%).
The proportions of linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in one tablespoon per day (15 ml) of hempseed oil easily provides human daily requirements for EFAs. Advocates of hempseed oil hold that unlike flaxseed oil, hempseed oil can be used continuously without developing a deficiency or other imbalance of EFAs. This has supposedly been demonstrated in a small clinical study of 14 people, where the daily ingestion of flaxseed oil "resulted in a higher proportion of ALA" in serum cholesteryl esters and triglycerides as compared with the ingestion of hempseed oil. However, the hempseed oil "resulted in higher proportions of both LA and gamma-linolenic acid" as compared with the flaxseed oil ingestion, and the conclusion talks of "only minor effects on concentrations of fasting serum total or lipoprotein lipid".
In common with other oils, hempseed oil provides 9 kcal/g. Compared with other culinary oils it is low in saturated fatty acids. ...”
“If hemp oil is stored in an air-tight container, it will keep for at least 60 weeks.*”
Other Uses: wood finish
“Hemp oil is a "drying oil", as it can polymerize into a solid form. Due to its polymer-forming properties, hemp oil is used on its own or blended with other oils, resins, and solvents as an impregnator and varnish in wood finishing, as a pigment binder in oil paints, and as a plasticizer and hardener in putty. It has uses similar to linseed oil and characteristics similar to tung oil.”
Note (italics): * = Translation from a German Wikipedia entry.