Intentionally or not, cannabis-infused product companies mix up the terms for better marketing prospects. Since cannabis popularity gains momentum, it is necessary to clear up the confusion ‘Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil?’
If you’ve heard of the wonders cannabis oil does (whether it’s hemp or CBD) and decided to get one yourself, be sure to do some research before you buy. In these muddy cannabis waters, one can easily be lost amongst all the different terms for seemingly similar products.
At present, there are two main, (mostly) legal cannabis extracts in the U.S. market: hemp oil and CBD oil. Both are not regulated by the FDA, but rapidly gaining their popularity as health products, medicine, and food supplements.
What is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil, you ask? Well, that’s what we’re actually going to look at in this “Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil” article: their differences, health benefits and ways to consume.
Table of Contents
Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil?
Not at all, to be frank. They are both extracted from the same plant called Cannabis Sativa but are very different in their function and abilities.
Cannabis Sativa, commonly known as Industrial hemp, is a ‘cousin’ of Cannabis Indica, or perhaps better known as Marijuana. And these two are different species not without a reason.
The cannabis plant has many chemical compounds, called ‘phytocannabinoids’. The two most commonly referred are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Simply put, CBD is the component known for its varied benefits for human health; THC is the psychoactive ingredient that makes you ‘high’ (when you smoke Marijuana, for example).
The difference between the two before mentioned cannabis species is that one has lower levels of CBD and high levels of THC (you’ve guessed it right - Marijuana), and another is the opposite - high levels of CBD and low levels of THC (Industrial hemp).
A similar thing is in the difference between hemp oil vs CBD oil - hemp oil has no CBD compound in it, while CBD oil is rich in this phytocannabinoid.
As of 2018, The Farm Bill Act was signed by the U.S. government, legalizing the cultivation of the Industrial Hemp in the country. Whereas the legal status of Marijuana is still varying from state to state.
Since the cultivation of Industrial Hemp has been made legal, consequently, the products that are made from it became legal. The market trends show that they’re gaining strong popularity amongst people. As well as confusion. Hence the question ”What is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil?”.
To reduce the amount of confusion, in this “Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil” article we will only look at the extracts (and their benefits) made from the Industrial hemp.
Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil
When talking about the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil, the main aspect that separates the two is kind of obvious - CBD. Both are endorsed by consumers to be beneficial for health. But CBD is considered to be a way more potent, and therefore expensive, ingredient.
Why does this confusion “is hemp oil the same as CBD oil” arise? Because when you read the ingredients on the bottle, it might be written: hemp seed oil; Cannabis Sativa seed oil; virgin hemp oil, hemp extract oil, etc.
Only “hemp extract oil” refers to CBD oil here. Hence the confusion.
Now, you might already see the marketeers trick: since both oils are extracted from the same Cannabis Sativa plant, and CBD oil being more expensive, those who make simple hemp oil market it as though it is “hemp extract oil” (aka CBD oil). So, don’t believe in the title on the product page - see the ingredients.
Hemp oil is purely extracted from the cannabis plant seeds similarly like olive or sunflower oil. CBD, on the other hand, is extracted from the leaves, stems, and flowers, where all the good phytocannabinoids are.
Although they derive from the same plant, their structure, usage, health benefits and effectiveness differ. But more on those later.
In short, the main aspects of ‘hemp oil vs CBD oil’ comparison are:
- different parts of the plant used for extraction
- different chemical structure
- different health benefits
Therefore, if you’ve planned to get the most from CBD oil and mistakenly bought hemp seed oil - it won’t work as you’d expect.
To get an even clearer picture of the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil, let’s look closely at each of them separately.
Hemp Seed Oil and Its Usage
As its name suggests, hemp seed oil is made from Industrial hemp seeds. Similar to many other oils, like sunflower seed, sesame, jojoba, it is a seed extract made using a cold-press method which saves the nutrients and makes it purer.
The thick, dark green oil is mainly used in its pure form or as a base ingredient for skincare products.
When talking about hemp oil vs CBD oil, one can say that even without the powerful phytocannabinoid (CBD), hemp seed oil is a great remedy that has a couple of usage options:
Due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and moisturizing qualities, it is widely used in skincare products. It can also be directly applied on the skin in its pure form, as it doesn’t clog the pores.
Different studies suggest that it has a positive effect on such skin disorders like dermatitis or acne. These effects can be attributed to the chemical structure of the oil, which includes a high density of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and minerals, like phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.
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Hemp seed oil is rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids and is high in antioxidants (note - no CBD compound). This makes it a superfood if consumed with your meals.
It is shown to not only be beneficial for your skin and treat inflammation but also support heart and brain health, promote a strong immune system and a healthy intestinal environment.
So we have two oils made from the same plant. Again, what is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil? Hemp oil doesn’t have the chemical compound cannabidiol (CBD) in it. And what does CBD do? Well, it has a lot of magic to it, so let’s dig in.
What is CBD Oil?
When we get oil from Industrial hemp stems, leaves and flowers, it has a lot of chemical stuff in it. The active components are called phytocannabinoids. CBD is one of the main ones, and since it is the Industrial hemp, it has very low, or none, THC (the psychoactive component).
Not all CBD oil has the same concentration of CBD. It varies from the extraction method and where and how the plant was grown. Be sure to check the concentration before purchasing the bottle. Also, if you’re thinking of taking high concentration CBD oil, it is always recommended to first consult with your doctor.
Hemp oil vs CBD oil confusion is also supported by the fact that there is a variety of names for CBD oil as well: cannabidiol; hemp CBD; Phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil, etc. There's also “Full-spectrum CBD” and “CBD Isolate”.
Now, “CBD Isolate” simply means that this oil is only left with the CBD component - all others were taken out. Whereas “Full-spectrum CBD” has all the phytocannabinoids together, including THC. And that’s where it gets a bit tricky - more than 0,2% of THC is illegal in many states.
Nevertheless, Full-spectrum CBD oil is considered to be a more effective version of normal CBD oil, since CBD and THC work best together. As Dr. Ethan Russo, director of research and development at the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, says: “Multiple components produce synergy and a much better result than single compound alone.”
Therefore, if you live in a state where Marijuana is legal, when considering CBD oil vs hemp oil, choose Full-spectrum CBD oil for the best results.
CBD oil has been reported to have loads of different benefits to your health. Some of those are scientifically-tested, some are reported by the users. The most common ones relate to:
Pain and inflammation
It also helps with muscle and joint pain. Research “Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain” made by Dr. Ethan Russo, give promising results of cannabinoid ability to alleviate pain, such as caused by rheumatoid arthritis. There's a whole bunch of companies that offer CBD oil for pain management.
And this is one of the key answers to the question “what is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil?” - CBD oil is more potent and beneficial to our health.
Anxiety and depression
Generally, doctors and scientists agree that CBD oil helps you relax and improves the overall feeling of wellbeing.
Cannabidiol has a direct effect on the endocannabinoid system in our brain, strengthening the effect other chemicals, like serotonin or anandamide, have on it. Therefore it has the potential to relieve anxiety, stress, improve sleep and lift our mood.
Believe it or not, some CBD oils are more tailored for specific needs than others. If you wish to see the leading products in this field, our team has prepared a list of the best CBD oil for anxiety.
Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, are oftentimes caused by anxiety or an inability to relax. Since CBD has a positive effect on our nerve system, giving relief from anxiety and depression, it automatically eases the process of falling asleep too.
When comparing CBD oil vs hemp oil, CBD has the potential to improve our patterns of sleep, such as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep.
Sleep occurs in several stages. Deep sleep is the one where we rest the most and REM sleep is the dreaming stage when our brain is the most active. REM stage is also important for learning and balancing our mood.
In the comparison of hemp oil vs CBD oil, we see another strength of CBD - it has a positive effect on people suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). As reported in “American Military News”, CBD oil is used by many veterans who praise its benefits. It calms the nerves and makes you relaxed without feeling ‘high” or disoriented as Marijuana would.
There was also a study made on a ten-year-old girl who had PTSD and suffered from insomnia. She was given nutritional supplements and CBD oil regularly over a period of 5 months. The results showed a steady decrease in her symptoms.
While this is not scientifically proved, many users claim that when comparing hemp oil vs CBD oil, CBD oil has a potential to improve sexual performance.
It might be a simple logic behind it - since CBD makes you feel relaxed, it consequently makes you less anxious about your insecurities and sexual performance, more confident and in a better mood. Moreover, when you feel relaxed, it is easier to experience pleasure and achieve orgasm.
Ways to Consume
The similarity between hemp oil vs CBD oil is that they’re both consumed orally - mostly in pure oil form. But there are a few different ways how to consume CBD - you can have CBD-enhanced gummies, capsules or flavored oils since the pure CBD oil has a strong earthy flavor to it.
Hemp seed oil also has quite a strong flavor. It is usually consumed either directly, or with food.
I hope by now you already have a clear sense of what is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil.
They are both made from the same plant but from different parts. Hemp oil is made from hemp seeds; CBD oil is extracted from stems, leaves, and flowers.
In the comparison of hemp oil vs CBD oil, it becomes clear that CBD oil has a lot more health benefits to it. Hence the higher price and misleading marketing of hemp seed oil.
Hemp seed oil is mainly used as a nutritional food supplement and in skincare products.
CBD oil has many, both scientifically-tested and user-suggested health benefits: it relieves muscle and joint pain, treats insomnia and depression, calms the nerves and relaxes, improves sexual performance. You can find CBD oil specifically tailored for pain relief or anxiety management. Also, our team has prepared a list of best overall CBD oil producers for your convenience.
As you can see from this “Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil” comparison, it’s easy to get confused when trying to choose a valid CBD oil.
It is becoming wide and popular but since there are no regulations by the FDA, anyone can start its own CBD business. So, when you decide to buy yourself a bottle - it is good to do some research prior to it.
Contributed by Molly Devine, Registered Dietitian
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