Hemp oil and CBD oil are two completely different things. This guide aims to explain how to tell the difference between the two and to help you avoid unnecessary confusion. CBD and hemp seed oils are exploding in popularity, but for very distinctive reasons. Here we look at the difference between them and their respective benefits.
7 Key Differences Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil
Just because a product has a hemp leaf on it or is marketed as hemp oil, doesn’t make it a CBD product. There are products out there “infused with hemp oil”, but how much CBD is in it?
There is still a lot of confusion going around about what the differences are between hemp oil and CBD oil. Firstly, they are actually completely different things. Hemp oil is used primarily in cooking and the manufacturing of beauty products, whereas CBD oil is an oral tincture that is said to provide its own range of benefits. Both are made from hemp, but the similarities largely end there.
The quickest way to tell the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil is by looking at the labels and ingredients. They both come from hemp, which is a specific type of cannabis plant that’s rich in cannabidiol and extremely low in THC. (Usually around 0.3%)
“Hemp oil” is more accurately known as hemp seed oil. As the name suggests, it’s extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil has been commonly used for cooking and as an ingredient in various beauty products for many years. Some popular brands, like Nutiva for example, market their product as “hemp oil”. But when you look at the ingredients, it says “raw, organic unrefined hemp seed oil”.
CBD oil, on the other hand, is derived from hemp, or any cannabidiol-rich cannabis strain. It’s made using the entirety of the hemp plant, not just the seeds. The active ingredient will likely be listed as a “whole plant extract”, most commonly CBD isolate or distillate. CBD oil tinctures usually contain some type of carrier oil, like MCT oil or olive oil for example. Other common labels associated with CBD oil are full spectrum, broad spectrum, PCR, or phytocannabinoid-rich.
CBD oil is a term that is sometimes inaccurately associated with CBD vapes. These products are similar to CBD oil tinctures in that they contain hemp-based extracts, but they are specifically formulated for vaping. CBD vapes typically contain the same ingredients used in e-liquid like vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol and flavorings. Instead of nicotine, they generally contain either CBD isolate, a water-soluble form of CBD, or distillate—a highly refined cannabis extract that is generally infused with a wider range of additional naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids and terpenes.
The method of production is another major difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil. Hemp seed oil is generally produced through cold-press extraction using hemp seeds. CBD oil is produced using the entire hemp plant and more high-tech extraction techniques. The most commonly used methods for CBD oil extraction are supercritical fluid extraction (also known as CO2 extraction), or the more traditional solvent-based extraction. Hemp oil tends to be green and dark, while CBD oil is usually more of a light golden to dark brown color.
- Hemp seed oil: Made using cold press extraction using hemp seeds. Typically has a dark to clear light green color and a nutty flavor.
- CBD oil: Made using CO2 or solvent-based extraction using whole hemp plants. Typically has a clear to dark gold color and has either a neutral or earthy plant flavor.
This is a very important one. Products that contain CBD usually have a label displaying the amount of milligrams of CBD per unit or per serving. Hemp is naturally rich in CBD so, since CBD oil is produced using the whole plant, it naturally contains very high levels of CBD. It may also contain other naturally occurring organic compounds, known as phytocannabinoids and terpenes. The more premium CBD oil brands also publish third party test results with a detailed breakdown of its cannabinoid and terpene profile, along with various other metrics for quality.
The bad news is that hemp seed oil is actually a very poor source of CBD! If a product doesn’t have a label listing the amount of CBD in milligrams, chances are it’s not even a valid CBD product. Interestingly enough, hemp seed oil can actually still contain trace amounts of THC, but not anywhere near the amount it would take for you to get high or fail a drug test.
CBD oil is a lot more expensive to produce than hemp seed oil. For that reason alone, it is going to cost you more. If a product claims to be made with premium CBD oil, it’s probably not going to be cheap. And if it is, you might want to double check it for legitimacy.
Unfortunately there may be some products made with hemp seed oil that are marketed as hemp-based products. Technically, they still are, even if they don’t contain CBD. Just because a product has a hemp leaf on the package or logo, doesn’t necessarily mean it is a CBD product. Although price can sometimes be a decent indication, never judge a book by its cover.
Where it’s purchased
Both hemp seed oil and CBD oil can be found at your local pharmacy, grocery store, and health food stores. However, most of the time you will find that they are generally sold in different locations. The more reputable CBD oil brands can be purchased online directly from their website. A lot of pharmacies, and even corner stores these days, have started carrying some of the more legitimate CBD oil brands. A few years ago, this was not the case.
Hemp seed oil can always be found at your local grocery store, beauty store and online shops like Amazon. They are sometimes marketed as hemp oil, but the ingredients will have to list “hemp seed oil”. If you’re looking to take CBD oil for medicinal purposes, hemp seed oil will not provide those same benefits—although it does happen to be a very good source of protein and essential fatty acids (omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9).
Uses and purposes
Since hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same thing, their applications differ greatly. Hemp seed oil is generally found in beauty products for hair and skincare, or used for cooking and salads. CBD oil, on the other hand, usually refers to an oral tincture containing CBD, which is taken sublingually by putting drops under the tongue. CBD oil is also the main component in many CBD-rich products like edibles, topicals and other products infused with cannabidiol.
For the record, when people say they’re “vaping CBD oil”, they are (or should be) vaping e-juice containing some type of CBD concentrate or extract. Most of the time it’s going to be made from CBD isolate, a highly concentrated crystalized form of CBD that happens to be water soluble. Other vapes may contain either some form of CBD distillate, shatter or concentrate. CBD oil tinctures, on the other hand, use an oil-based carrier, which makes them unsuitable for vaping.
Different labeling (should be)
In order to fully understand the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, we must also understand what they have in common. Both hemp seed oil and CBD oil are products derived from hemp. Both of them might even have a hemp leaf on the packaging. They can both be organic, kosher, non-GMO, vegan, etc. Sometimes you can even find them at the same location. But be careful, do your research and always read labels. It’s too easy to mix the two up, and it’s unfortunate that some businesses have resorted to misrepresenting their products in an attempt to increase profits.
To sum it all up, hemp oil, or better known as hemp seed oil, is not the same thing as CBD oil. It comes from the seeds of the hemp plant and does not contain significant levels of CBD!
Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another compound found in the hemp plant. The oil is created through an extraction process and then formulated into sprays, drops and capsules. CBD is a sister chemical to THC, but the key difference is that it does not give you a psychoactive high. Therefore, it is perfectly legal to buy and consume.
CBD has many purported benefits, including pain relief , improving sleep and decreasing anxiety , as well as having positive effects on concentration and energy levels . It is able to achieve these because of its positive interaction with the mood-regulating endocannabinoid system.
CBD oil vs. hemp oil: What is the difference between CBD and hemp oil?
The main difference between CBD oil and hemp oil is that hemp oil contains little or no CBD. CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves and stalk of the hemp plant, which contains a high concentration of CBD, whilst hemp seed oil is made by cold-pressing hemp seeds into an omega-rich culinary oil. These do not contain CBD, but they still have an abundant selection of nutrients, fatty acids, and beneficial bioactive compounds, although has not been shown to have any benefits in relation to stress or anxiety, which is the main reason people choose CBD oil. Neither the oil from CBD or hemp seeds carry psychoactive properties often related to cannabis plants.
Where does CBD and hemp oil come from?
As touched upon, hemp seed oil and CBD both come from the hemp plant. This is grown on farms around the world, including the UK, but for legal reasons, the extraction of such oils must be done out of the country and then exported back (we know, it’s silly). Other than for its oil, hemp is primarily used to produce paper goods and rope among other items due to its strong, light and durable fibres.
How is hemp seed oil made?
Hemp oil is made by cold-pressing the seeds into an omega-rich culinary oil and the reason this method is preferred over others is because it retains more of the seed’s components, like its rich content of fatty acids. In addition, this way of extraction creates lower phosphorous levels, which often results in a grassy flavour many people find unpleasant.
How is CBD oil made?
CBD oil is made by extracting cannabinodiol from the leaves, flowers and stalks of a hemp plant. Once CBD is removed and in its purest form, it is combined with a carrier oil — sometimes hemp seed oil is actually used due to its high fat content, which makes it easier for the body to absorb when consumed. This means that the sublingual (under the tongue) route can be used for taking CBD oil. Studies estimate that this method has a bioavailability (absorption) level at 35%.
CBD can also be ingested with food, but bioavailability for this route is 6%, as most of it will be lost during metabolisation. Therefore, for maximum absorption, it is recommended that you use CBD oil sublingually. The compound can also be applied topically via moisturisers, face creams, and lip balms, with the CBD absorbed through the outer layer of skin.
How does CBD oil work?
When absorbed sublingually or through ingestion, CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex cell-signaling system that plays a role in regulating a range of functions, and processes sleep, mood and pain. Endocannabinoids are chemicals produced by the body that bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, before influencing sensations by sending signals to the ECS. It’s thought that CBD interacts with the ECS by preventing endocannabinoids from being broken down, allowing them to have more of an effect on your body.
Offering many potential benefits as well as ease of application, the use of hemp and CBD oil is becoming a solid part of many people’s daily healthcare routines. While researchers are still researching exactly how the chemicals work in the body, the positive influence it can have on our mood, sleep and ability to manage pain is clean-cut. But there’s only one real way to discover whether it works for you — try it for yourself. Go with the slow, whatever pace works for you!