This oil extract is generally considered safe. Though very rare, some side effects have been reported in studies including sleepiness, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and fatigue. One thing to note: Since it takes a significantly larger amount of hemp stalks to produce this oil extract, there is an increased risk of contamination within the plant. (Hemp is a strong bio-accumulator, meaning it pulls in toxins from the soil it grows in.) You’ll want to be sure to look for a brand that tests for purity and is certified organic. Many hemp oil extracts are also known to lack the full spectrum of terpenes and other cannabinoids that act synergistically with the CBD.* That being said, there are some brands that test rigorously to make sure that the CBD content, as well as the terpenes and other cannabinoids, are up to par. It’s a good sign if a brand provides a certificate of analysis, which will tell you exactly what levels of compounds are in the hemp oil.

Topical use of hemp oil

The first method is to apply this oil directly to your skin. This can work if you have immediate irritation or dry patches of skin that you want to soothe quickly.

Before using the oil, try a patch test to make sure you won’t get an unwanted reaction:

  • Wash and dry a small area of your upper arm (such as the crook of your elbow).
  • Apply a small amount of the pure hemp oil. (If using the hemp and essential oil mixture described below, test in a separate spot from the pure oil and at a different time.)
  • Cover the spot with a bandage and leave it in place for 24 hours, being careful not to get the bandage wet.
  • If any redness, burning, itching, or other irritation occurs, you can assume you’re sensitive to the oil and shouldn’t use it. If you have a reaction, remove the bandage immediately and wash the spot with soap and water.
  • If you don’t see or feel any reaction, then the oil is probably safe to use.

If you’re using this oil to treat acne and want to apply it topically, apply the oil directly to clean skin and leave it on for one to two minutes before washing it away with warm water.