Hemp seed oil popular among some seniors in central Alberta

Hip pain and other joint discomfort often gets worse as we age, but for one central Alberta senior, it might be the opposite.

About five years ago, Dolly Stannard had a mobility chairlift installed in her house, but she hasn’t used it in about three years.

In just over four years, Stannard had five surgeries, and she was constantly in pain, both before and after the surgeries. But that changed since she started taking hemp seed oil. Now, she sells such products.

Stannard, 75, said most of her customers are seniors, who begin taking it because they’re in pain, dealing with inflammation or anxiety, among other conditions.

One such senior is Elda Filipchuk, a Red Deer County resident, who started taking hemp seed oil capsules about three years ago.

After taking the capsules, she noticed her hands were not as stiff from arthritic pain. The tops of her feet also started feeling better, said Filipchuk, which meant she was able to walk without any pain.

The senior also credits hemp seed oil for relieving her of anxiety.

“I just feel good inside and out,” Filipchuk said.

Autum Dyck, a registered dietitian nutritionist at RD Nutrition in Red Deer, said hemp seed oil is rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

“But when we look at that, we want to know what the ratios are together.

“So when I’m recommending it to my clients, I want the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 to be more of a one-to-one ratio,” Dyck said, adding that’s because people get omega 6 in their diets, but often miss out on omega 3 – which is found in fish and ground flaxseed.

“Hemp seed oil has more of a one-to-three ratio,” she said pointing out flaxseeds, and salmon, have a better omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.

Dyck said omega 3 is anti-inflammatory, but omega 6 is pro-inflammatory.

“So for someone who is dealing with joint pain, arthritis, we would like the person to decrease the amount of omega 6 and increase omega 3,” she said, noting the anti-inflammation helps reduce pain.

“So does hemp oil have a lot of omega 3 in it? Yes, it does have a fair amount compared to other products. However, there are better products out there (keeping the ratio in mind).”

Stannard and her daughter, Hali Sobkowich, started Raven River Hemp around the fall 2015. By the end of 2017, sales went up.

Today, the duo located west of Innisfail, distributes hemp seed oil for humans and pets and other products to about four to five sellers in Red Deer, some others in Calgary, and as far as Newfoundland.

The number of people consuming hemp seed oil is growing, said Stannard. That is once people get over the stigma that is sometimes associated with consuming medical marijuana products.

“We have a lot of grandmas who hide the bottles so their grandchildren can’t see it,” Stannard said with a laugh.

“There’s a lot who just don’t tell anybody who is taking it because of stigma,” Stannard said.

“Some just don’t want anybody to know, and it’s just the stigma, because we spent years raising our children, teaching our children to stay away from that stuff.”

There are some customers who don’t believe there are any benefits.

“People say ‘it’s not working’ and I say ‘OK, quit,’ but they come back because they start hurting again,” Stannard said.


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