Dr Jace Callaway PhD, scientific adviser to the UK's leading supplier of hemp food products, MotherHemp, has announced the results of clinical trials investigating the potential of hempseed oil as a "functional food". His team of medical researchers from the Departments of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Clinical Nutrition at the University of Kuopio, Finland, conducted their tests on a group of eight men and six women volunteers.

Each of the participants took 2 tablespoons (30 ml) per day of either hempseed oil or linseed oil for a period of four weeks. This was followed by a four week wash-out period, when neither oil was taken, followed by a further four weeks taking the other oil.  The oils were cold pressed under nitrogen from hempseed and linseed grown in Finland the previous year. All volunteers kept detailed food diaries and were given instructions to decrease their intake of saturated fats throughout the study.

Results showed dramatic increases of blood GLA from hempseed oil but significant decreases of blood GLA from linseed oil

The Finnish researchers found statistically significant differences between these two food oils relative to each other and to the wash out period of the study. Consumption of hempseed oil - in this case oil pressed from the Finola variety of hemp - resulted in statistically higher levels of GLA, up by 57% in the triglycerides and 52% in the cholesteryl esters, compared to the wash out period.

Consumption of linseed oil resulted in a net decrease of GLA, down by 23% in the triglycerides and 34% in the cholesteryl esters, compared to the wash out period.  Both oils showed statistically significant increases in blood levels of both linoleic acid (the essential omega-6 fatty acid) and alpha-linolenic acid. 

"This was a prospective study with healthy volunteers who had slightly high cholesterol levels.  We were surprised to see the dramatic increases in blood levels of GLA from the hempseed oil, and especially the statistically significant decreases of blood GLA from the linseed oil," says Dr Callaway. 

"Increased serum levels of GLA might help explain some of the numerous anecdotal reports of seemingly miraculous cures from people taking hempseed oil, particularly those suffering from chronic health problems such as allergies, dry skin, slow wound healing and even rheumatoid arthritis." 

Jake Yearsley, General Manager MotherHemp, commented: "As with vitamins, the human body can't make these two fatty acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6).  They are essential to health and must be obtained from our daily diet."