CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil – What’s The Difference?

Illustration of CBD Oil Vs Hemp Oil
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: November 16, 2023

Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil?

The short answer is no. Hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil.

However, people often confuse the two. They think that hemp oil and CBD oil are one and the same, especially since most CBD oils you see on the market are made from hemp.

To clear the confusion, we’ll discuss why the two are often confused together.

We’ll also discuss their major differences and how to tell them apart, especially when you’re buying CBD oil for its health benefits.

What Is Hemp Seed Oil?

It’s not surprising why people often associate CBD oil with hemp oil. After all, CBD is extracted from hemp, and you’ll also see many CBD products with the term “hemp-derived” attached to them.

However, when you say hemp oil, it actually means hemp seed oil or the oil extracted from hemp seed.

Hemp seeds are cold-pressed at a low temperature to extract their oil, creating a thick, dark oil that contains many nutrients, fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

What hemp seed oil doesn’t have are cannabinoids and terpenes.

Hemp seed oil doesn’t have any CBD or other cannabinoids. It also doesn’t contain any terpenes because these compounds aren’t typically found in the seeds.

Instead, cannabinoids and terpenes are abundantly found in the flowers and leaves, specifically the resin glands or trichomes.

What is CBD Oil?

When we say CBD oil, we’re referring to a resinous extract made from the flower extract of hemp plants mixed with a carrier oil. The flowers, in particular, contain a dense amount of resin glands that house the active cannabinoids and terpenes.

We can also extract CBD from marijuana. CBD from hemp and CBD from marijuana is the same, meaning they have the same chemical structure and have the same properties.

What makes hemp-derived CBD different from marijuana-derived CBD is the legality.

Industrial hemp with less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) became legal under the 2018 Farm Bill, making hemp-derived CBD products accessible to all Americans.

THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that produces the characteristic high. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States.

Marijuana-derived CBD remains illegal on a federal level since marijuana is still considered a controlled substance. Only those who live in legal states or have medical marijuana cards have access to marijuana-derived CBD.

Legality aside, CBD oil – whether it’s extracted from hemp or marijuana – also comes in three types.

1. CBD Isolate Oil

As the name implies, pure CBD oil only has CBD in it. It doesn’t contain other cannabinoids such as THC, CBG, CBN, etc., nor does it contain any terpenes.

2. Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil

On the other hand, broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a rich amount of CBD and has additional cannabinoids and terpenes.

However, broad-spectrum CBD oil doesn’t contain any traces of THC.

3. Full-Spectrum CBD Oil 

Full-spectrum CBD oil is similar to broad-spectrum CBD oil in that it also has cannabinoids and terpenes.

Compared to broad-spectrum CBD oil, full-spectrum CBD oil has THC in it.

Of note, hemp-derived CBD oils contain no more than 0.3% THC. This level isn’t significant enough to get you high.

So, which is better?

You’ll already benefit from all three types of CBD oil, but if you’re after more effective and stronger effects, go with full-spectrum CBD oils.

The addition of THC strengthens the entourage effect, a phenomenon wherein all the different cannabinoids and terpenes work together to create superior, beneficial effects.

What Are the Differences Between Hemp Oil & CBD Oil?

CBD Oil and Hemp Oil with Hemp Leaves in a Wooden SurfaceLet’s get down to the nitty-gritty and discuss the many differences between hemp oil and CBD oil and why knowing their differences is important.

1. Source of the Raw Material

As mentioned earlier, hemp oil or hemp seed oil is taken from the seeds of hemp plants.

On the other hand, CBD oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of hemp and marijuana plants.

2. CBD Content

Hemp seed oil doesn’t have any CBD since hemp seeds are a poor source of CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes, for that matter. If there are traces of CBD in the hemp seed oil, its level isn’t significant enough to produce the same effects as CBD oil.

On the other hand, CBD oil contains rich amounts of CBD and, depending on the type, other cannabinoids and terpenes as well.

3. Production or Extraction Methods

Hemp seed oil typically uses a cold-press extraction method to extract the oil from the seed.

On the other hand, CBD oil is extracted using supercritical CO2 and other solvents like butane, ethanol, and propane.

4. Health Benefits

Hemp seed oil may contain rich amounts of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, but these compounds aren’t enough to offer more complex health benefits.

Yes, hemp seed oil can also help maintain normal health, but CBD oil is superior when it comes to symptom control.

CBD oil doesn’t only help maintain normal physical and mental health but can also relieve many symptoms.

Studies have shown that CBD has analgesic as well as anti-inflammatory effects. It also functions as an antioxidant, and it contains compounds that may help fight cancer, epileptic seizures, infections, mental health problems, autoimmune disorders, and addiction.

5. Entourage Effect

Hemp seed oil lacks the entourage effect associated with CBD oil. It may have several beneficial compounds, but without the cannabinoids and terpenes, you’d only be getting a small portion of CBD oil’s therapeutic and medicinal effects.

Full-spectrum CBD oil gives you the full entourage effect. All its cannabinoid, terpene, and even flavonoid contents will work together in activating many receptors responsible for modulating symptoms and controlling diseases. Their combined therapeutic effects make CBD oil more potent than hemp oil.

6. Uses & Applications

Hemp seed oil is typically used in beauty products, and you’ll see it added to skincare and hair products. You’ll see hemp oil in many cooking products as well.

On the other hand, CBD oil is commonly used as a health supplement and for symptom control.

7. Legality

Hemp seed oil is fully legal on a federal level. Anybody can buy and sell hemp seed oil.

The legality of CBD oil, on the other hand, is a bit tricky.

On a federal level, only hemp-derived CBD oil is legal. Anybody can use it even without a medical marijuana card or doctor’s recommendation. You can also travel, fly, or even cross state borders with hemp-derived CBD oil.

CBD oil extracted from marijuana, on the other hand, is illegal on a federal level. This includes hemp products containing more than the legal limit of 0.3% THC.

Of note, marijuana-derived CBD oil is only legal in certain states, so check your state’s cannabis laws before buying this type of CBD oil.

Don’t Get Fooled By Companies Passing Off Hemp Seed Oil as CBD Oil

CBD Oil Poured in a Spoon in a Blurry BackgroundIt’s important to know their differences because many bogus companies are riding on CBD’s popularity nowadays.

Some brands claim they’re offering CBD-rich oils, but when you dig deeper, you’ll see their products are hemp seed oils with little to no trace amounts of CBD.

If you’re using CBD oil for your health needs and you unintentionally bought the wrong product, you’ll miss out on CBD’s beneficial effects. You won’t be getting any of the benefits of CBD.

Because CBD oil is more expensive than hemp seed oil, you’d also be losing some money if you bought a fake CBD oil.

Tips for Avoiding Bogus CBD Oils:

  1. Know who you’re buying it from, so make sure you’re buying CBD oil from trusted brands.
  2. Read the product label and make sure you’re getting exactly what you need. The product label lets you know the type of CBD oil (isolate, broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum CBD oil) and any additional ingredients.
  3. Read reviews since this gives you an idea of the CBD oil’s effects.
  4. Look for the product’s certificate of analysis since this shows the CBD oil’s potency, safety, and quality. The laboratory test also includes the CBD oil’s THC level.

Be wary of CBD oils that don’t mention the words “cannabidiol,” CBD, full-spectrum CBD, phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR) on the product label. What you could be seeing may only be hemp seed oil.

Hemp extract is sometimes used to trick customers into thinking it’s CBD oil. Technically, hemp seed extract is a “hemp” extract — but it won’t offer any of the benefits associated with CBD.

Be an educated consumer, and always do your research before buying CBD oil.

Final Thoughts — Is CBD Oil Better Than Hemp Oil?

To conclude, CBD oil is vastly different from hemp oil.

Hemp oil — AKA hemp seed oil — may contain beneficial compounds, but it lacks the cannabinoids and terpenes found in full-spectrum CBD oils. These compounds make CBD oil superior to hemp seed oil, the compounds responsible for the many health benefits.

Yes, they both have therapeutic effects, but CBD oil is the best choice if you’re after stronger health benefits.

Have you tried both hemp and CBD oil? How were their effects health-wise?

Please share your experience with us in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Related: Differences Between Hemp Gummies and CBD Gummies

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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