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What Is the Difference Between CBD and Hemp Oil?

We’ve heard of a lot of people going to Amazon and other online merchants to buy hemp oil. The belief is that they are getting CBD, and they pay plenty of money for the privilege. The trouble is, they don’t perform the necessary research. It is disappointing to end up with hemp seed oil, which contains practically no CBD!

You must know the difference between CBD and hemp oil before you part with your cash. Neither provides an intoxicating high, but sometimes, one of them doesn’t contain cannabidiol either. The primary issue is that the terms are used interchangeably. Some sellers use the phrase ‘hemp oil’ to refer to CBD. Others do so to describe ‘hemp seed oil.’

You might feel as if the latter seller is disingenuous. However, they are technically correct to call their product hemp oil as long as it comes from hemp. They are not breaking any laws if they also don’t explicitly claim there is CBD in the product. Amazon vendors are not permitted to mention CBD in their wares.

It is important to note that neither option is the same as marijuana oil! That particular product usually contains THC. However, there are unique strains such as Charlotte’s Web that contain minimal THC and lots of CBD. Confused yet? We’ll try to keep things simple today by focusing on CBD vs. hemp oil.

Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil?

The answer is ‘it depends.’ What we can tell you is that there is a BIG difference between hemp oil and hemp seed oil. However, consumers often mistake one for the other. Let’s explore the differences.

What Is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol is the most abundant non-intoxicating cannabinoid in cannabis. It is also highly prevalent in hemp plants. You can purchase CBD oil from marijuana in 33 states plus DC if you have an MMJ card. Weed is also legal for adult use in 11 states & DC, Canada, and Uruguay.

You can also obtain CBD oil from hemp. The legality of consuming this product is unclear. It is not technically legal in all 50 states, as many sites claim. However, only a handful of states make it difficult for consumers to purchase it. As long as the CBD product has no more than 0.3% THC, you shouldn’t have any issues. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the cultivation of hemp with a maximum THC content of 0.3%.

Most reputable companies use supercritical CO2 extraction to get the CBD from the marijuana or hemp plant. There are many CBD-rich marijuana strains. However, most companies prefer to use hemp for legal reasons. Other CBD products include edibles, isolate, topicals, and even beverages.

What Is Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil comes from the flower of the hemp plant. The plant’s flower contains a significant amount of CBD. Therefore, proper hemp oil is the same as CBD oil derived from hemp. It is, obviously, different from CBD oil derived from cannabis. Brands that operate on sites such as Amazon use terms such as hemp oil and hemp extract to describe products. They are not permitted to say their items contain CBD.

There is a world of difference between hemp oil and hemp seed oil, however. The latter, as the name suggests, comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. When you cold press hemp seeds, you end up with hemp seed oil. It is a nutritious supplement that contains the 11 essential amino acids we need for proper functioning. Alas, hemp seeds contain practically zero CBD. Therefore, you don’t use it if your goal is to feel the apparent benefits of cannabidiol.

How to Determine the Difference

It isn’t easy to spot the difference even when brands are not trying to con you. The best thing to remember is that hemp oil comes from the flower of the plant and contains CBD. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds and contains hardly any CBD. Indeed, it is often more accurate to describe a product as ‘hemp oil’ rather than CBD oil.

Hemp flower contains well over 110 cannabinoids, including CBD, CBN, CBG, and CBC. A full-spectrum oil has all of the above, along with terpenes and flavonoids. Yes, CBD is the most abundant cannabinoid, but far from the only one. CBD isolate products, on the other hand, contain only cannabidiol.

The easiest way to know the difference is to check out the label’s cannabinoid content. Failing that, get hold of the product’s third-party lab report. Without this information, there is no way of knowing what you are purchasing. One thing for sure, hemp seed oil is NOT what you want if buying a CBD product.

What Do You Use Hemp Oil for?

First and foremost, we are discussing hemp seed oil and not hemp oil! The oil taken from seeds is high in antioxidants, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, and other nutrients. It has an array of uses, but you won’t find CBD in it.

One benefit of hemp seed oil that surprises many people is its value as a skin softener and moisturizer. It doesn’t clog pores or cause oily skin. It has a comedogenic score of 0. This makes it ideal for individuals susceptible to blackheads and acne breakouts. It is the fatty acids in hemp that provide the benefits, which also include:

  • Anti-aging properties
  • Balanced oil production
  • Anti-inflammation
  • Skin cell repair

Nutrients such as linoleic acid reduce irritation when applied topically to the skin, and enable skin cell regeneration. It is hemp seed oil’s gamma-linoleic acid that helps with inflammation and skin growth. However, this is far from being the only use for hemp seed oil.

Better Heart Health

The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids within hemp seeds remain when they are cold-pressed into oil. The result is a handful of cardioprotective benefits including:

  • A decrease in blood pressure
  • Improved heart rate and arrhythmias

It is also possible that alpha-linolenic acid reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. The fatty acid content of the oil may lower your blood cholesterol.

Reduced Anxiety

CBD oil is associated with a decrease in anxiety, but hemp seed oil may offer similar benefits. Once again, it is down to the fatty acid content. There is evidence that an omega-3 supplement could reduce anxiety but we need more studies exploring this relationship.

Ease Arthritis Symptoms

The anti-inflammatory properties of hemp seed oil may help with arthritis symptoms. A growing number of people with the condition turn to hemp seed oil for aid.

Support Brain Health

The oil’s healthy fats could improve the brain’s functioning and offer protection. A study by Zhou Y., published in ACS Omega in November 2018, looked at this possible benefit. It found that the polyphenol content of the oil could help protect the brain.

What Do You Use CBD Oil for?

Reasons for CBD oil usage vary, and research suggests it has an array of possible benefits. It is currently the subject of intense study regarding its use in easing symptoms of several health issues. These include depression, heart disease, acne, anxiety, and chronic pain. Let’s take a look at a few of these supposed benefits.

Pain Relief

We are in the midst of an opioid crisis. With tens of thousands of people dying annually from an opioid overdose, it is clear that something must change. CBD oil may offer a method of easing pain without the risk of addiction. The legalization of growing hemp in the United States in 2018 should help increase the rate of study into the plant and its compounds. However, much of the research to date involves the use of mice as test subjects rather than people.

Vuckovic et al. had a review of studies published in Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2018. It noted that CBD shows promise for the treatment of various forms of pain. Alas, we need much more information, preferably on human subjects!

Depression & Anxiety

CBD may have a positive interaction with serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin impacts various functions, including our emotional state. A crucial aspect of therapy for individuals with depression is to keep serotonin levels balanced. There is evidence that cannabidiol can act as an antidepressant.

Crippa et al. had a review of studies published in Frontiers in Pharmacology in 2018. It looked at the therapeutic potential of CBD. The researchers found that the compound had neuroprotective, antipsychotic, and anxiolytic properties. Its potential uses include the management of symptoms of depression, sleep disorders, and PTSD.


This is probably the condition best associated with CBD usage. The FDA has approved the use of Epidiolex for epilepsy. It is a synthetic drug with CBD as an active ingredient. Silvestro et al. published a study in Molecules in April 2019. It looked at the use of CBD in the treatment of epilepsy.

The researchers reviewed a host of studies that analyzed the effect of CBD on epilepsy patients. They reported the studies conducted in infants, children, and teenagers. The condition of these patients was resistant to traditional medication.

As well as enjoying a good safety profile, CBD could help reduce the seizures associated with epilepsy. The fact that the FDA allows a drug containing CBD to treat the condition speaks volumes.

Final Thoughts on the Difference Between CBD and Hemp Oil

Ultimately, there isn’t much of a difference between CBD oil and hemp oil. Products containing ‘CBD oil’ can come from the marijuana plant. If this is the case, it could include a much higher THC content than permitted in many states. The term can also relate to cannabidiol derived from the hemp flower.

Hemp oil, on the other hand, only comes from the hemp plant. It too comes from the flower and contains a significant amount of CBD. As long as it contains less than 0.3% THC, you should not have any issues buying it depending on your location. If you’re a resident of Idaho, South Dakota, or Nebraska, you can have problems.

Rather than looking at CBD vs. hemp oil, it is more important to focus on hemp seed oil vs. hemp oil. The oil from a hemp plant’s seeds contains a host of nutrients. However, it doesn’t contain CBD. You can use hemp seed oil for clearer skin, to perhaps feel less anxious, or support brain health. CBD oil is becoming a popular option for epilepsy patients.

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Mary Caruso gypsy2cute@gmail.com

Have used before for chronic pain