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There is a lot of confusion around the differences between CBD Oil and Hemp Oil. Consumers often make purchases thinking they are going to get the benefits of CBD Oil when, in fact, what they are getting are the effects of Hemp Oil. This comprehensive article will clear it up for you!
Both hemp oil and CBD oil are known to have tremendous health benefits, which has led to a meteoric rise in the popularity of these products. The problem is that the information being shared about hemp and CBD oil can be conflicting, confusing, and even downright false.
Trying to navigate the differences between these products can be dizzying and send you down a Google rabbit hole that could leave you feeling more confused than when you began. To end the confusion once and for all, we’ll sum up the major differences and provide you with a guide of what to look for, depending on your goals.
The most significant difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is the part of the cannabis plant that provides the oil. Hemp oil comes from hemp seeds, and the oil is a nutrient-dense substance that can also be used in food recipes. CBD oil is extracted from the whole plant, and it contains cannabidiol, which has a variety of health benefits, ranging from improving mood to reducing pain, and countless others.
|Hemp Oil||CBD Oil|
|Made from pressing hemp seeds and extracting the oil||Made by extracting oil from the hemp plant|
|Excellent source of plant-based protein||Helps regulate biological functions, including mood, pain, appetite, hormones, sleep, immune system, etc.|
|High in Vitamin E, magnesium, and omega fatty acids||Contains high amounts of CBD|
|Contains little to no CBD or any other cannabinoids||Can be called a variety of names, including cannabinoid oil and hemp-derived CBD oil|
|Has nutritional and industrial uses||Primarily used for medicinal purposes|
Both CBD oil and hemp oil come from the same plant: TheCannabis sativa L. plant. The difference stems from which part of the plant the oil comes from.
Hemp oil is derived from the seeds of the plant, so it is sometimes (though not always) referred to as hemp seed oil. CBD oil, on the other hand, is made from the whole cannabis plant and its flowers. Therefore, its CBD content is highly concentrated.
Hemp oil is the oil that’s formed by pressing hemp seeds. It has a variety of applications, from cooking oil and body care products to industrial applications like fuel, ink, paint, and plastic. It’s important to note that hemp oil contains no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive element in cannabis that has intoxicating effects.
Hemp seeds contain almost no CBD, so if you’re looking specifically for the health benefits that come from consuming CBD oil, then hemp oil is not going to help. It’s important to understand this distinction because you can’t necessarily rely on the expertise of a shop clerk or the description on a product’s website to steer you in the right direction.
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a compound found in the cannabis plant. It is one of only hundreds of cannabinoids present in the plant, and it has been documented in several studies to help with pain, seizures, depression, and anxiety.
Some of the current confusion about the difference between CBD and hemp oil has to do with the labeling and how companies name the products. There’s another player to watch out for as you shop for CBD oil, and that’s cannabis oil. Cannabis oil can contain high concentrations of CBD, THC, or both. The issue with THC-containing CBD oil is that it can have a psychoactive effect, meaning you’ll get “high” when you consume it.
Though cannabis as a medicinal treatment has been around for thousands of years, the recent discoveries made by modern scientists have given rise to the movement we see today.
Though cannabis was a widely used medicine throughout the world in the 19th century, tumultuous times in the U.S. during the early 20th century caused the treatment to fall out of favor. Concerns about THC’s psychoactive elements and the inability to separate that compound from other cannabinoids caused CBD and hemp oil to undergo an uphill battle before gaining legal and societal acceptance.
Humans began cultivating hemp more than 10,000 years ago in Asia, specifically a region that is now Taiwan. Its original use was for conditioning soil. As hemp leaves fell to the ground, their nutrients fertilized the crops, while absorbing excess run-off water.
A couple of thousand years later, the Chinese discovered hemp’s usefulness for building materials, clothing, and a nutrient-dense food source. The ancient Chinese were also the first to use hemp oil for medicinal purposes. Around 2737 B.C., written record shows that the Chinese Emperor, Shen-Nung, used hemp oil for medicinal teas to treat pain. It was also found to help skin rashes and other irritations.
CBD oil’s history is relatively shorter but still longer than you might expect. In 1940, a Harvard chemist first extracted CBD from the Cannabis sativa plant. Half a dozen years later, animal experimentation began, and it was shown that CBD didn’t alter one’s mental state. By the 1960s, researchers formulated the first CBD oil made for therapeutic use.
Despite this rapid development, scientists struggled to identify which cannabinoid structures caused each effect. Within a few years, researchers made significant progress while also making the landmark discovery that CBD oil could be an effective seizure-reduction treatment for people suffering from epilepsy.
When hemp is being grown specifically to use the seeds, the plants tend to be shorter, and they’ll be carefully selected to ensure that the THC content is low. By law, THC content must be below 0.3 percent. Farmers also look for hemp plant varieties with seeds that contain more oil by weight.
When the seeds begin to break open, it’s time for harvest. If the hemp is being used for fiber or another application, then the harvest time will vary. However, when it’s being made for consumption, the next step is to use a machine to press the seeds and extract the oil. If you’ve ever seen a cold press juicer or juice extractor, then the process is nearly identical.
Because CBD oil is made from the entire Cannabis plant, including the stalk, the process of extracting oil is radically different. There are two ways that manufacturing facilities create CBD oil from the plant materials:
CO2 Extraction – convert CO2 to a liquid in a process called supercritical CO2 extraction. This technology is also used in coffee production to make decaffeinated coffee and, it’s also used in extracts like vanilla and almond.
CO2 extraction doesn’t always do as good of a job at extracting the cannabinoids as a solvent-based extraction process as it’s not as precise. The longer cycle times also reduce the yield, making this process less favorable.
Solvent-based extraction – This process uses butane and propane to bind to the desired cannabinoids and terpenes present in the plant. Larger operations that need to scale and work with more than 1,000 pounds per day of plant material may choose to use chilled ethanol for their extraction process.
Because CBD oil and hemp oil are derived from different parts of the plants, they have a different nutritional profile. As a result, they’ll produce different effects on the body, and they each have unique benefits. Once you understand the benefits of each, you’ll be able to make a smart choice when it comes to choosing either CBD oil or hemp oil.
CBD oil is made from the whole plant and the flowers of the hemp plant, causing it to have a high concentration of CBD. This type of oil is purported to offer a variety of health and wellness benefits, making it the preferred choice over hemp seed oil if you’re looking for a product with medicinal properties.
Recently, scientists discovered that CBD balances the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates a range of functions in the body, including:
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in these systems. For example, if you are in a car accident and injure your back, then the ECS begins going to work on returning you back to “normal.” Your body’s endocannabinoids bind to the receptors where your system needs them most to fight pain and inflammation while restoring health and function.
Scientists are still working out exactly how CBD-containing products support this system, but it’s believed that CBD oil can either increase your body’s endocannabinoids or prevent your natural endocannabinoids from breaking down. Another theory is that CBD binds to a receptor that we haven’t discovered yet.
Given the complexity of the endocannabinoid system and how many bodily functions it supports, it makes sense that CBD oil is used for a variety of purposes, including help with:
Even though hemp oil doesn’t contain CBD, it does have numerous other health benefits. One of the most well-studied of these benefits is its effect on the skin. When ingested orally, hemp seeds’ concentration of omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) helps hydrate and moisturize the skin from the inside out.
A pivotal study from 2005, published in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment found that patients who took hemp seed oil for 20 weeks had significant reductions in skin dryness and itchiness.
Hemp seed oil also contains vital nutrients for overall health, including:
The high concentration of fatty acids has also been linked to improving brain health and heart health. In one study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, researchers theorized that hemp seed oil could have multiple positive effects on the heart, including reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Even though the difference between CBD oil is clear, making the distinction as a consumer can be tricky.
To recap, hemp oil is made from hemp seeds. Though it is healthy and nutritious, it contains no medicinal properties. CBD oil, on the other hand, contains cannabinoids, which are known to support a variety of biological functions, making it a top natural choice for people looking to improve their mood, reduce pain, support their digestion, etc.
The problem is primarily with how these products are labeled and marketed. For example, if you search on Amazon for “CBD oil,” you’ll see hundreds of results for hemp oil that claims to help with mood and inflammation. However, a close look at the label will show that the hemp oil sold on Amazon doesn’t contain any CBD. It’s a very unfortunate experience, and it’s essential to watch out for these pitfalls.
Not all misleading labels are meant to confuse the consumer, however. Sometimes, manufacturers use tricky wording to avoid getting into legal trouble. For example, even though CBD is now legal in all 50 states, it can’t be marketed as a supplement or added to food products. Companies might use the term hemp extract and not CBD specifically to avoid detection from authorities.
Our best advice is to check the label before you buy and look for the following:
The price of CBD oil is dramatically higher than hemp oil. CBD oil can cost $50 to $100 (or more) for a one-ounce vial, and $10 to $15 for a small package of gummies. The current high prices are mostly due to uneven supply and demand. As demand for CBD oil has exploded, it’s taking manufacturers time to catch up. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp production will hopefully add new supply sources to the mix.
Hemp oil should be dramatically less expensive, but when it’s falsely marketed as a CBD product, its prices might mimic CBD oil. For this reason, it is imperative that you know exactly what you’re buying. Check the label for the CBD concentration before you pull out your credit card. Hemp seed oil should cost about the same as a bottle of high-quality olive oil.
While hemp oil is readily available online, including on Amazon, CBD is harder to come by. Further, you may find restrictions on what products are available and where they can ship. For example, CVS.com currently has a range of CBD products available online, but they only ship to a handful of states.
Other online boutiques sell a range of both ingestible and topical CBD products, and they’ll ship to all 50 states. One of the best ways to find out if you can have the items shipped to your home is by checking each site’s FAQ page. Often, they’ll address that question right away.
Physical stores that sell groceries and supplements will often sell hemp oil. However, we caution again to check labels to make sure you’re not overpaying for hemp seed oil that doesn’t contain CBD. Price alone isn’t always an indicator.
CBD products have recently become available in physical stores in almost every state. If you live in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Idaho, you might have difficulty finding CBD in physical stores due to their strict laws about CBD.
Some of the most well-established retailers selling CBD oil include:
Hemp seed oil is 100% legal, but the legality of CBD oil depends on several factors, including:
The recent passage of the 2018 Farm Bill (formally known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) legalized the sale of CBD and hemp products in the United States. It’s shocking to think that natural hemp with no psychoactive properties wasn’t always legal, even just a couple of years ago!
Before the Farm Bill, federal law had classified CBD as a Schedule I drug. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) defines Schedule I drugs as having “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Other drugs in this category include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote.
The DEA had failed to distinguish between marijuana (cannabis with THC) and cannabis that does not have any psychoactive properties. In the eyes of the DEA, all CBD-containing products were illegal. Fortunately, the 2018 Farm Bill has resulted in the legalization of hemp and removal of its Schedule I status. Further, hemp has been removed from the DEA’s jurisdiction, and it is now regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
However, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) continues to regulate any consumable products containing cannabis. If the hemp or CBD products make any therapeutic claims, then they must be approved by the FDA before being sold to the public.
Due to this legislative distinction, you’ll rarely, if ever, see a hemp or CBD oil brands making any claims that their product will cure or treat any disease. By avoiding promises, they can sell their products to consumers without any regulation. As you can imagine, this can end up being dangerous for people taking these products if they’re not purchasing from reputable companies.
We won’t delve too deeply into the legality of hemp oil and CBD oil, but it is important to note that the FDA does prohibit CBD in food products and dietary supplements. Because CBD is an active ingredient in drugs that have been approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy, the FDA requires approval for other companies to sell the product. One could view this as the government’s attempt to protect consumers, or it could be seen as a way to protect pharmaceutical companies’ profits from natural products that work just as well (if not better) than expensive drugs.
Despite the restrictions about adding CBD to ingestible products and selling them across state lines, this hasn’t stopped companies from manufacturing and selling a variety of CBD supplements and infused food products. The FDA may begin cracking down on sellers, but so far, they’ve turned the other cheek.
And of course, if you are buying CBD oil that has THC in it, make sure your state has legalized marijuana. For a list of current regulations, a site called The Street provides the latest information about each state.
Companies have been quick to capitalize on the “green rush,” but this mad dash for profits has left consumers scratching their heads about what they should be buying to help reap the greatest health benefits.
As you peruse the web or the aisles of a store that sells CBD products, remember to check the labels diligently. We’re still in a period of “buyer beware,” and for the health of your body and your pocketbook, it pays to know what you’re getting!