Is hempseed oil beneficial to adults with eczema?

I’d be interested in your opinion of this study I found online at This is regarding hempseed oil, not necessarily for children but for adults with eczema. Have you seen other studies looking at hempseed oil and eczema? Is it ok to take so much oil every day for a month?

Berryman / Originally posted in Preventing childhood allergies


I was surprised to find so few articles published in the human medical literature on hempseeds, but maybe I shouldn’t be given the lack of much of an industry lobby and the stigma attached to the plant. Only 4 popped up in a pubmed search (excluding articles written by a “Dr. Ian D. Hempseed.”).

The latest (available full-text) was a double-blind placebo-controlled comparison of fish, flax and hempseed oil supplementation that lasted 3 months and found no significant effects of any of them on lipid profile, LDL oxidation or measures of inflammation. This result is similar to what was found in my video Is Distilled Fish Oil Toxin-Free?

Before that a study comparing daily tablespoons of flaxseed to hempseed oil similarly didn’t find much effect.

The third was the study you cited, which found that 2 daily tablespoons of hempseed oil improved atopic dermatitis (an itchy skin rash) better than the same amount of olive oil. The researchers suggest it may be because of the gamma linoleic acid content of hempseeds, an omega 6 fatty acid that paradoxically appears to have an overall anti-inflammatory effect.

Instead of downing the oil, as always I’d suggest eating the whole food–hempseeds–directly (same with flaxseeds, see my video Just the Flax Ma’am). And the final study, “Anaphylaxis to ingestion of hempseed” soundly debunks the wikipedia claim that “In fact, there are no known allergies to hemp foods.”

Image Credit: Rubyran / Flickr

  • So as of now there is no strong evidence that shows hemp oil is good or bad for people? I heard that hemp oil helped heal skin cancer.

    • Lew Payne

      Its interesting the things we hear… versus the things that are scientifically proven to be either true or false.

      • bill

        Science is often only studied if a profit can be made…..

      • Nicola_79

        smoking has been “scientifically” advertised as good for your lungs, for years

    • Keith Armstong

      Maybe you head about cannabis oil, which is supposedly very good for treating all cancers.

    • Randy

      Yes, cannabis oil made with thc/cbn oils from the female plants flowers have been shown over and over to cure skin cancer as well as a full gambit of other illnesses. The answers your going to get from a bunch of medical Dr’s is a bunch of quackery in itself. Since when are medical Dr.’s chemists or real scientists??? All they do is take the words of big pharma companies research and write you a prescription because of what they are ‘TOLD’ .. not even ‘shown’. Some day people will wake up and realize that the number 3 cause of deaths in the united states are because of medical Dr.’s prescribing medicins that kill people and more often than not only put a bandaid on the symptoms and do nothing for the cure. I hope this country wakes up! If you look back in history cannabis used to be on every pharmacy shelf in many different forms. Why don’t you look up ‘WHY’ its off the shelf now and ‘WHO’ got it pulled. William R. Hurst, Harry Anslinger and DuPont.

      • Lew Payne

        I guess that would be a simpleton way of explaining it, but such conjecture, speculation, and immature name-calling (classifying medical knowledge as “quackery” and blaming everything on “big pharma”) is probably better suited for children than for adults.

        You erroneously assume that advice dispensed by an MD is “a bunch of quackery in itself,” citing as your supporting premise “since when are MD’s chemists or real scientists?” Of course, one could just as easily ask about your own qualifications to speak on the subject at all, but that would amount to insulting you rather than focusing on the evidence.

        It is simple enough to verify an MD’s claim by asking if they are stating their opinion or a fact supported by clinical guidelines. With regard to the latter, PubMed can direct you to scholarly sources to verify such claims. In case you’re simply unaware, as opposed to purposefully negligent, most research studies involving drugs or biological changes are conducted with at least one chemist and/or microbiologist on staff.

        If you want credibility (with me or any other fact-oriented reader), you may want to cite a litany (long compendium) of peer-reviewed reproducible independent studies in support of your claims. That’s the same standard I hold MD’s to. Failing to do so, I’d say your claims amount to pure conjecture and hearsay, with no sound scientific foundation.

  • Dr. JC Callaway

    Unfortunately, Dr. Greger did not read carefully enough (or simply did not understand) the results of our two clinical trial on hempseed oil. So far, these are still the only published clinical trials with this oil. Yes, we did find significant differences in the lipid profiles between the flaxseed oil and hempseed oil, and yes (again) we did find significant benefit in atopic (eczema) patients who took hempseed oil when compared to absolutely no benefit from olive. No, I would not suggest that anyone try to get these oils from eating either whole flaxseed or whole hempseed. Chewing is not a effective way to break open the shell of either seed to obtain the oil.

    • Katricia

      Dr. Greger was not specific enough concerning using the whole seed to get the oil. Time and time again, he suggests grinding the whole (flax) seeds and storing in the fridge until they are eaten as opposed to consuming the oil. I imagine he meant the same in this answer as he has previously said.

    • Katricia

      Also, what you stated about your study is what Dr. Greger stated in his answer, that ” 2 daily tablespoons of hempseed oil improved atopic dermatitis (an itchy skin rash) better than the same amount of olive oil”. I don’t see how that is different from what your study concluded. I just wanted to clarify my take from both your and Dr. Greger’s answers.

    • adamgreen

      I think your rebuttal merits consideration.
      Question: is a home hydraulic press (I use for vegetable juice) sufficient to extra hemp seed oil?

  • being

    I have recently started eating hemp seeds for their omega-3, easily digested plant protein and other minerals. My skin seems to benefit from it, it’s less dry now. They tastes like pine nuts to me, very smooth and mild. I like to sprinkle them over bread spread or over cereal, yoghurt, stir-fry etc. Have yet to try hemp oil but will do so soon. I buy organic raw shelled hemp seeds, in fact almost all the natural products my family consume and use at iherb prices are much lower than what the local health stores charge! A bonus is international shipping all the way to downunder is only $4 flat!  New customers can also get $10 off purchase of over $40 when you use discount code EJE156.

  • Bård Kjelling

    I’ve searched through pubmed on “vitamin D” and “eczema”, and I thought the evidence was quite conflicting. In particular, one randomized study showed a positive effect of vit. E and vit. D supplementation:

    Would anyone like to give a qualified opinion on the balance of the evidence on this topic?

    • Bård Kjelling

      I think I found a good general answer to my own question: which is a review/meta-analysis article of all the available typical supplements used for atopic eczema.

      “There is no convincing evidence of the benefit of dietary supplements in eczema, and they cannot be recommended for the public or for clinical practice at present.”

      So vit. E and vit. D in pill form, not a good idea.

    • Bård Kjelling

      Another study which I found interesting was this one:
      “Prevalence of eczema and food allergy is associated with latitude in Australia.”

      There seems to be double the risk of eczema for those living furthest from the equator. The authors don’t think there are major confounding factors like with sociocultural status: “yet with similar social gradients” .

      But yet also, Australia has a high occurence of allergies and eczema overall: “It has among the highest prevalences of challenge-proved food allergy, eczema, and asthma”. So why should a country consisting in large parts of fair-skinned people who overall get more sunshine than many other industrialized nations have such high prevalence, if vitamin D is as important in these chronic conditions as many seem to think.

      I think your video “Preventing childhood allergies” makes some important connections, and that people shouldn’t totally jump overboard on the ‘vitamin-D hypothesis’.

  • Russell

    One important caveat that Dr. Greger fails to note, but that he has been cautionary about in other studies: this study was funded by an interested party — in this case the hemp manufacturers. So unfortunately, we must take the results with a grain of… ah… salt… or hemp.

  • Brux

    I have heard hemp seeds have a better omega 3 to omega 6 ratio than flax seeds … is that worth trying out since I don’t particularly like flax seeds?

    How do they compare with other foods such a chia? For getting good fats and fatty acids, what is the best thing to eat?

  • adamgreen

    Please revisit this work on hemp oil.
    In short:
    Hemp worked for my skin cracking.
    The wall of words:
    I’ve had a chronic skin problem (dry cracking in some fingers only, not others) which baffled two doctors and three “elite” dermatologists working at large, impressive local universities with world renown medical facilities … then I happened to run out of their $99/oz magic chemical, which was helping, but not _curing_ let alone enabling me to heal naturally and be healthy … heal … heal-thy … doctors don’t seem to see that … : )
    Anyway, looong story short, I bought CBD oil (no noticeable impact with two doses, sublingual per day for two weeks) and then I “gave up” and, with a spare 30ml of hemp seed claiming to be in an important ratio (?) of 1:3 omega 3 and omega 6 (I understand a little better now, but then it sounded like an important claim) applied topically, well, it was a bit smelly, very oily (surprise…) and very inconvenient (as a software developer … typing …) so I wore plastic gloves and limited the application to overnight. After a prolonged period of … three nights! … my fingers were exhibiting healing and no progression of the usual drying and cracking … the apparently “diseased” areas of skin on my fingers were no longer visibly distressed and another three days later and it would take a keen observer to even locate any lingering evidence of previous illness.
    So, I’m keen to know more about CBD — it’s many claims rival or even exceed the versatility and near panacea powers of Kale or the medicinal qualities of cannabis (in its many product forms.)

  • mhikl

    Been using the hemp seed oil (make sure it is hemp seed) taking a tsp with each meal and before bed and after about four or five days my itch is under control. Today is about my seventh day. And my skin is really healing. Yesterday, forgot to use my chemical cream because there was no itch. This morning woke up with a bit of an itch, squirted about a tsp in my mouth; ten or so minutes later itch gone. I have to use it four times a day. I slept in this AM which is why the itch started, I think.
    My sores seem to be healing, amazingly; even the hard knotty bits that never seem to heal.
    I did try this a few years ago, but I am not always consistent with my habits/protocols.
    Google hemp oil / hemp seed oil + eczema and there are lots of entries.
    I sure hope this works on the children.
    Namaste and care,

    • mhikl

      I’m going to start using it topically on my legs and arms today.
      Taking a tsp 4x a day and application to skin a couple of times a day may be the shot gun method that finally gives me peace. I’ve saved this site and will come back later if I have or have not been able to heal this horror or if at least it really controls the beast.
      Consistency seems to be the key. (Me and consistency don’t always get along.)