Benefits of Hemp Essential Oil [Science Backed]

Hemp essential oil, also known as cannabis flower essential oil, is an oil derived from the flowers and the upper leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.

It is distinct from other hemp oils which are vegetable oils produced from the seeds of low-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) varieties of hemp.

This oil is used as a scent in soaps and perfumes.[1]

Recently, it has become popular as it offers several health benefits. [2]

Health Benefits of Hemp Essential Oil

The major health benefits of hemp essential oil are linked with its constituents. It contains several important terpenes (plant-derived chemicals) and some phytocannabinoids. Because of these, this oil can fight bacterial and fungal infections. It also promotes relaxation of the body and the mind. Being anti-inflammatory, it helps in reducing swelling (oedema). It improves energy levels and also prevents unwarranted mood swings and bloating by regulating the levels of hormones in the body.

As a result, it improves the quality of sleep which has a calming effect and helps in lowering stress and anxiety. Being an antioxidant, it prevents the build-up of cholesterol and promotes heart health.

Hemp essential has also been proven to improve appetite, relieve pain, and even reduce fluid build-up in the eyes of glaucoma patients.

1. Hemp Essential Oil is Anti-fungal

Fungal infections affect the lives of many individuals and are quite persistent if not treated properly.

According to a 2006 study by the University of Michigan Medical School, fungal infections (Candida species) are the major cause of hospital-induced infections, particularly in intensive care units.

Fungal species are also known to cause skin infections. [3]

A 2016 study by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology evaluated the role of hemp-derived products in the sphere of medications.

The results showed that hemp essential oil helps in fighting fungal infections as it exerts an antifungal effect, particularly because it is constituted by beneficial terpenes which are plant-derived compounds having a strong smell. [4]

Summary – As hemp essential oil has an antifungal effect, it can be used to treat several skin conditions like toe and fingernail fungal infections, jock’s itch, and Athlete’s foot. It can also be used to manage symptoms of patients in intensive care units.

2. Hemp Essential Oil is Anti-Bacterial

Bacterial infections are some of the most widespread causes of morbidities across the globe.

These infections can easily be spread via contact with infected people but mostly occurs due to the consumption of contaminated food and water.

The most common infections include those caused by Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. [5]

A 2017 study by the Universidad de Concepción assessed the therapeutic potential of the Cannabis sativa plant and found that its products like hemp seed oil and hemp essential oil help in treating bacterial infections owing to their antimicrobial effects.

In fact, hemp essential oil delays and halts the growth of several food-borne bacteria. [6]

Summary – As the oil has an antibacterial effect, it can be used to treat several bacterial infections.

3. Hemp Essential Oil Promotes Relaxation

Stress is one of the most common outcomes of modern lifestyles and increased stress levels amplify the chances of suffering from metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Stress also increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, heart attack, or stroke. [7]

Hence, it is important to relax the mind and the body, in order to lower the levels of the stress hormone (cortisol).

Hemp essential oil has been shown to promote relaxation, particularly due to it being rich in terpenes.

A 2017 study by the Konkuk University established the relaxing effect that terpenes have on human health. This helps in lowering cortisol levels and improving the quality of life. [8]

Summary – As terpenes help in relaxing the mind and body, hemp essential oil can be used to reduce day-to-day stress.

4. Hemp Essential Oil Relieves Swelling

Swelling refers to the condition wherein a part of the body becomes inflamed and enlarged mostly due to increased retention of bodily fluids.

It is often referred to as oedema and occurs due to an inflammatory response to any kind of injury or pathogenic invasion.

Improper intake of water coupled with excessive consumption of trans fats can also cause swelling. [9]

Hemp essential oil is known to have an anti-inflammatory effect and helps in reducing oedema.

A 2016 review by the Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences investigated novel anti-inflammatory herbal medicines and found that this oil helps in lowering fluid build-up by reducing the inflammation itself. [10]

Summary – As hemp essential oil lowers inflammation, it can be used to reduce swelling associated with several clinical conditions.

5. Hemp Essential Oil Improves Energy Levels

Excessive work-related stress coupled with poor eating habits often leads to low energy levels in today’s population.

Low energy levels often hamper the quality of life as they hinder the individual’s propensity to carry out daily activities.

Poor levels of energy also affect metabolism and might cause disorders like obesity. [11]

A 2008 experimental study by the Peking University evaluated the antifatigue property of hemp seeds and other hemp products.

It was found that administration of hemp boosted the overall energy levels of the mice. Hence, hemp essential oil can be taken to reduce fatigue and promoting relaxation. [12]

Summary – Hemp essential oil can be administered to improve energy levels which will allow individuals to carry out regular activities properly.

6. Hemp Essential Oil Regulates Hormonal Imbalances

Sex hormone imbalance is usually related to the deposition of adipose (fatty) tissue in the abdomen as a result of abdominal obesity.

In fact, such imbalances are common in premenopausal women and can lead to mood swings, severe bloating, inflammation, and even increase the risk of heart disease. [13]

Research has shown that administration of hemp essential oil helps in checking such imbalances and maintaining a stable internal environment.

A 2016 study published in the Frontiers in Plant Science established the beneficial of cannabis-derived oils in maintaining regular hormonal levels. [14]

Summary – Hemp essential oil prevents bloating and mood swings in premenopausal women by maintaining regular hormone levels.

7. Hemp Essential Oil Improves Sleep

Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining proper health and bodily functions. In fact, lack of sleep often increases the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Proper sleep is also imperative for regulating metabolism and in improving energy levels.

Nowadays, people suffer from insomnia which has an adverse effect on both their physical and mental well-being.  [15]

In a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, it was established that hemp products, which have a combination of terpenes and phytocannabinoids, help in improving the quality of sleep.

Therefore, administration of hemp essential oil can help patients suffering from insomnia and lack of sleep. [16]

Summary – As hemp essential oil contains a mix of terpenes and some cannabinoids, it helps in improving the overall quality of sleep.

8. Hemp Essential Oil Treats Anxiety

Anxiety is a constant feeling of worry and tension over the outcome of some anticipated events.

While mild anxiety is quite normal in stressful situations, chronic feelings of irrational fear might indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder.

The major kinds of anxiety include generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, and social anxiety. [17]

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics evaluated the role of cannabis extracts in conferring health benefits.

It was established that the natural compounds found in the essential oil help in releasing pleasure hormones which relax the mind and thereby lower anxiety. [18]

Summary – As the oil contains several beneficial plant-derived compounds, it helps in promoting relaxation and reduces anxiety.

9. Hemp Essential Oil Boosts Heart Health

The major threat to heart health is the deposition of plaque in the arteries. This can be accelerated by the increase of bad cholesterol in the body due to the consumption of fatty foods coupled with an inactive lifestyle.

Oxidative damage can also aggravate the condition and cause atherosclerosis which is a precursor to cardiovascular disease. [19]

A 2018 study published in the Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine illustrated the beneficial role of hemp essential oil.

In fact, the oil can improve heart health by removing toxic oils from the cardiovascular system. Being an antioxidant, it can also help in removing bad cholesterol deposits from the arteries. [20]

Summary – The beneficial effect of hemp essential oil on cardiovascular health is due to it being an antioxidant which helps in lowering cholesterol.

10. Hemp Essential Oil Improves Appetite

Appetite comprises several complex mechanisms which are involved in the intake of food and satiety i.e. the sensation of feeling full.

Several hormones and nerves are involved in regulating appetite. Loss of appetite often leads to poor health due to lack of proper nutrition.

A healthy appetite is actually an indicator or good health. [21]

Research conducted by GW Pharmaceuticals has shown that cannabis-derived products help in boosting appetite.

Hemp essential oil helps in regulating appetite by boosting hunger and also by supporting the normal functioning of the digestive system.

It can be used to gain weight quickly in individuals who are recovering from a debilitating illness. [22]

Summary – As hemp essential oil helps in boosting appetite, it helps in maintaining digestive health.

11. Hemp Essential Oil Relieves Pain

Pain is a somatic or bodily sensation that generally denotes a complex collection of unpleasant sensory, cognitive, and emotional experiences which is triggered by an actual or perceived tissue damage that gets manifested by certain specific autonomic and behavioral responses.

The pain-sensing cells are referred to as nociceptors. [23]

A 2003 study by the McGill University Health Centre showed that cannabis and its products play an important role in relieving pain.

Hemp essential oil is anti-inflammatory and helps in lowering inflammation, a major cause of pain, at the site of injury. Due to the presence of relaxing terpenes, it also has a calming effect. [24]

Summary – As it is anti-inflammatory and made up of terpenes, hemp essential oil can be used to relieve pain in several medical conditions.

12. Hemp Essential Oil Reduces Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases wherein there is an increase in the normal fluid pressure inside the eyes leading to a partial loss of vision to total blindness.

The vision is affected due to damage to the optic nerve and problems gradually worsen with time. People may experience blind spots, particular near the area of sharpest vision. [25]

In a study published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, Dr John Merritt of the University of North Carolina stated that cannabis-derived products like hemp essential oil have the ability to manage glaucoma by reducing fluid pressure on the optic nerve.

As this is anti-inflammatory and relieves swelling, it helps in reducing the pressure inside the eyes. [26]

Summary – As hemp essential oil helps in reducing the fluid pressure on the optic nerve, it can be used to treat glaucoma.


It is always recommended to contact a healthcare provider before taking any medication that contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

The dosage usually depends on the mode of delivery. 1-2 tablespoons should be applied topically for external conditions.

Oral administration should not exceed more than 20mg and individuals should increase dosage on a weekly basis as per their tolerances until an optimal level is reached.

Vaporizers can also be used to inhale this oil and 6-8mg should be inhaled to relieve pain and stress.


Hemp essential oil is prepared by steam distillation of the cannabis flowers and leaves and hence do not contain many phytocannabinoids which are not soluble in water.

It has a particularly low content of THC which is the agent that causes hallucinations.

Owing to this, hemp essential oil has very few side-effects. Individuals can use higher doses of 100mg without experiencing any kind of cognitive impairments.

People should, however, keep in mind that this oil might have a strong odor due to the presence of the terpenes as this might affect the taste of the medication.

While the side effects are not very pronounced, people with a predisposition to stomach problems should avoid it as it might lead to cramps and diarrhea.

The THC content is quite low but some individuals may still experience dizziness, disorientation, hallucinations, and paranoia if they consume higher doses of hemp essential oil. [27]

Pregnant women, as well as lactating women, should also avoid prescription drugs that contain even the slightest amount of THC. [28]


To summarize, it can be said, that hemp essential oil confers several health benefits owing to it being rich in terpenes.

It also reduces fluid retention and swelling in case of injury or pathogenic invasion.

It rejuvenates the body and improves the energy levels, thereby, reducing fatigue. In premenopausal women, it can be used to prevent bloating and mood swing as the oil regulates the hormonal levels.

It improves the quality of sleep and also helps in reducing everyday stress and anxiety.

Being an antioxidant, it helps in lowering the bad cholesterol levels in the arteries, thereby, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

It regulates the appetites by boosting hunger. Having a calming effect, it reduces bodily pain. Finally, it reduces fluid pressure on the optic nerve and can be used to treat glaucoma.