If this is your first venture into the world of CBD, one of the most important things to learn right away is the difference between hemp and CBD oils. Everything you need to know about the similarities and differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, including how they’re made, what they’re used for and potential benefits they provide.
Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Differences, Benefits, Side Effects, and More
If this is your first venture into the world of CBD, one of the most important things to learn right away is the difference between hemp and CBD oils.
CBD Oil vs Hemp Oil: What’s the Difference?
Ever since the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the popularity of CBD products has grown by leaps and bounds. Sadly, a lot of people who are new to CBD don’t take the time to do the necessary research before going out to buy CBD oil. What results is a lot of confusion over hemp oil vs CBD oil. In order to dispel some of the ensuing confusion, we’re giving our readers a brief and informal primer on the main differences between the two.
What is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil is also known as hemp seed oil. This type of hemp extract has been made from industrial hemp seeds that came from the cannabis Sativa plant. When hemp oil is extracted, the hemp seeds are pressed and either bottled or further processed and refined before they are bottled. Hemp oil is a wonderful healthcare product because it is high in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin E.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is also known as cannabidiol. It is extracted from the hemp plant and then a carrier oil like MCT oil is added so that our bodies can better absorb the CBD. CBD comes directly from the cannabis Sativa, or hemp, plant. However, instead of using hemp seeds, CBD is extracted from the stalks, stems, leaves, and flowers of the plant. There are many ways to extract CBD including CO2, ethanol, and olive oil. However, the CO2 extraction method produces the cleanest end product, which explains why this method is industry preferred over others. The extraction method used plays a large role in the overall quality of CBD oil.
How are Hemp Oil and CBD Oil Similar?
There are a few ways that these two oils are alike. Some of the main similarities are:
- Both are derived from the hemp (cannabis sativa) plant
- Neither will cause euphoric “high” sensations
- They are both oils
- They can both be taken internally or applied topically
What are the Main Differences Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?
The many differences between these two oils are both vast and striking. Some of the ways that hemp oil is different from CBD oil are:
- While hemp oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, CBD oil is extracted from the leaves, flowers, stems, and stalks of the hemp plant.
- Hemp oil can only come from industrial hemp, whereas CBD can be extracted from other varieties of the cannabis plant like marijuana.
- All reputable brands make third-party lab reports and COA, or certificates of analysis, available for their CBD oil products. Conversely, hemp oil typically doesn’t come with any such reports, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate hemp products.
- According to the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD oil is legal to be sold and bought in the United States provided it comes from the hemp plant and contains 0.3% or less THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. (Customers should be aware, however, that while hemp-based CBD oils are federally legal, state and local laws may vary on these products.) Since hemp oil is completely free from THC, there are no laws on the books about it.
- Some states have their own laws and regulations when it comes to CBD oil. Because hemp oil contains zero THC, there are no restrictions on it.
- Even though hemp oil is rich in vitamins and nutrients, it doesn’t contain any beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, or phytonutrients. As such, you will not experience the benefits of the entourage effect, as you do by taking CBD oil.
- Hemp oil can be purchased just about anywhere, while CBD oil cannot.
- Many skincare brands have used hemp oil in their products for years. Even though CBD oil has grown in popularity over the years, it’s still relatively new to the beauty industry.
- Even though both hemp oil and CBD oil can be used topically or taken internally, you’re more likely to take CBD oil internally and use hemp oil topically.
Why CBD Oil Produces an Entourage Effect and Hemp Oil Doesn’t
Even though hemp seed oil has many excellent benefits associated with it, it does not produce an entourage effect like CBD oil. During the entourage effect, all of the beneficial cannabinoids in CBD oil work synergistically within the body’s cannabinoid receptors to boost up each other’s positive properties while lowering one another’s negative ones. Since the hemp plant is created from hemp seeds, it doesn’t contain any cannabinoids or terpenes. Moreover, full-spectrum hemp oils are created through the use of the entire hemp plant (flowers, leaves, stems, and stalks).
When CBD oil is extracted from the entire hemp plant, every compound that the hemp plant has to offer is captured. Therefore, both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils contain cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients that have many health-boosting benefits. On the opposite end of that, you have hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil does not contain any cannabinoids, terpenes, or phytonutrients. In fact, you’ll only be getting a sliver of the benefits that you’d be getting if you were taking CBD oil because if you’re only taking hemp oil, you’re missing out on the entourage effect.
What are the Benefits of Hemp Oil?
CBD oil and hemp oil can both boost overall health and wellness, though in different ways. Hemp oil is packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Because of this, it has strong nutritional power attached to it. In fact, a study conducted in 2010 found that hemp oil has the potential to positively influence heart disease. Scientists have also conducted further studies on hemp oil’s benefits to learn more about how it may also work to improve other health issues related to the skin, immune system, and nervous system.
What are the Side Effects of Hemp Oil?
There are no known side effects of hemp seed oil on its own, however as every person’s physical makeup is unique, it is possible to have an allergy or sensitivity to just about anything. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to take your first dose of hemp seed oil with care. If you’re using a lotion or cream, just try a little bit in one small area and pay attention to how it feels over the next few hours. Similarly, if you’re adding hemp seed oil to a salad dressing or into your baking, try adding it to a small portion of your food first, so that you know if you like the taste and if your body tolerates it well.
What are the Benefits of CBD Oil?
There are many scientifically documented benefits tied to CBD oil. In fact, studies prove that CBD oil can help with many issues including:
What are the Side Effects of CBD Oil?
Although many people tolerate CBD well and enjoy its anti-inflammatory and calming effects, some may experience relatively mild side effects. These may include:
- dry mouth
- reduced appetite
CBD can also interact with some medications, so it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a new regimen that includes CBD.
Why Reading Labels Matters
Since CBD oil has yet to be regulated through federal law, many subpar brands and manufacturers could use misleading labels or claims on their product packaging. If you want to avoid purchasing cheaply made hemp or CBD oil, then you should carefully and thoroughly read product labels. For example, hemp oil’s number one ingredient should always be hemp oil, while CBD oil bottles and boxes should always list cannabidiol, full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, hemp (not hemp seed), or phytocannabinoid-rich CBD as their top ingredient. Reputable brands care about being transparent with their customers. Therefore, based on brand reputation, verified customer reviews, third-party lab reports, and other factors, you can easily confirm that you’re getting a top-notch, high-quality, clean and effective product.
Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Making it Make Sense
Whether you’re trying to boost or maintain your general health and wellness or attempting to get a handle on a tough health condition like depression, anxiety, or insomnia, you can find help through either hemp seed oil or CBD oil tinctures. If you’re having a hard time deciding between hemp oil vs CBD oil, you should always take your wellness goals into consideration. Never hesitate to reach out to our primary care doctor or medical specialist if you need some extra help making that decision. Regardless of whether you’ve decided on hemp oil or CBD oil, always take the time to carefully read the product label and research the brand you want to go with.
Remember, because hemp oil is extracted only from the seeds of the hemp plant, it will not have any cannabinoids, terpenes, or other phytonutrients in it as CBD oil will. If you’re looking to alleviate a specific health issue, then CBD oil is a great option because it works with your endocannabinoid system to help bring the body back into a state of balance. Moreover, full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils create an entourage effect through the synergistic relationship of the cannabinoids in them.
Lastly, hemp oil and CBD oil can be used topically or ingested, and each will work in different ways with your unique body. Even though the spotlight has been mainly on CBD oil over recent years, the nutritional and health benefits of hemp seed oil should not be discounted. After all, hemp oil is an amazing nutritional supplement as well as a fantastic skin-smoothing topical treatment. The product you choose — hemp oil or CBD oil — will be based on your individual needs and intentions.
Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil: What’s The Difference?
Dr. Myles Spar is a double board-certified medical expert in performance medicine, men’s health, advanced testing and integrative medicine.
Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.
Table of Contents
- What Is Hemp Seed Oil?
- What Is CBD Oil?
Hemp seed oil and cannabidiol (CBD) oil are sourced from the cannabis sativa plant species. Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, which is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that contains less than 0.3% THC, while CBD oil comes from the leaves, stalks and flowers of both cannabis and hemp plants. Both oils can be identified across a variety of products, from beauty to food.
Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, including how they’re made, what they’re used for and potential benefits they provide.
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What Is Hemp Seed Oil?
Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant and offers a robust and nutty flavor. Consisting of around 70 to 90% of polyunsaturated fatty acids (often referred to as healthy fats), it’s abundant in omega-3 essential fatty acids, tocopherols and linoleic and linolenic acids.
Depending on the way hemp seeds are handled and processed, hemp seed oil may contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD oil, according to a report by Oklahoma State University. Most companies producing hemp seed oil for consumption must adhere to strict guidelines, ensuring that the products contain almost imperceptible amounts of THC, 0.3% or less. This amount will not cause psychoactive effects.
How Is It Made?
Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. The seeds are cold pressed, similar to the way olive oil is made. Once oil is extracted from the seed, it’s stored in a cool, dark place for processing and shipping.
How Is It Used?
Hemp seed oil can be used as a culinary oil to enhance flavor and may be drizzled on vegetables or made into salad dressings. It can also be taken straight from the spoon as a dietary supplement, as it’s found to be rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, according to the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS).
Hemp seed oil also has a variety of industrial uses, such as paints, varnishes and other coating materials, due to its drying properties. The oil is also used in plastic flooring, such as linoleum.
Potential benefits of hemp seed oil include boosting omega intake, thanks to the oil’s unique composition of a 3-to-1 ratio of omega-6 (linoleic) to omega-3 (alpha-linolenic) essential fatty acids. In general, a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids contributes to skin health, cardiovascular health, maintaining healthy blood pressure and reducing pain and inflammation, as well as potentially reducing some PMS symptoms like breast tenderness.
The dense nutritional profile of hemp seed oil also includes:
- Antioxidants, such as vitamin E
- Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Hemp seed oil’s composition of fats can cause the oil to go rancid easily. A relatively low flash point—the temperature at which a liquid will vaporize or ignite when exposed to an open flame—also means it’s unsuitable for frying and is best consumed raw when fresh.
This oil is also difficult to store. Due to its fatty acid make-up, hemp seed oil is at risk of going rancid (oxidative deterioration), meaning it degrades when exposed to oxygen, according to the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.
For best use, hemp seed oil should be used at temperatures below 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius), and is best stored in the refrigerator or freezer after opening due to its short shelf life.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD is one of the most abundant active constituents of the cannabis plant. It’s a non-psychoactive isomer of THC—meaning it won’t result in the intoxicating, “high” sensation. It’s derived from the leaves, stalks and flowers of hemp and cannabis plants, but as the legality of cannabis is still controversial in some places, most CBD oils are extracted from hemp plants.
“CBD is a plant compound found in cannabis sativa—both hemp and cannabis,” says Yvonne Perez Emerson, an herbalist and the founder of Make and Mary, a CBD boutique in Portland, Oregon. There are thought to be at least 100 unique compounds found in hemp known as cannabinoids, of which CBD is the second most abundant. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with the body’s central regulatory system (endocannabinoid system), which manages the body’s homeostasis (physiological balance) among bodily processes such as appetite, mood, memory, sleep, and immune system functions, adds Emerson.
They can be either consumed as phytocannabinoids found intrinsically within CBD products or produced naturally by the body (endocannabinoids). When ingested, CBD oil can help the brain and body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system and neurotransmitters that impact inflammation, pain, mood regulation and stress response.