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Are hemp oil and CBD oil the same?

Hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same thing. Knowing the differences between the two is important if you want to avoid being:


  • Taken advantage of by misleading labels
  • Accidentally confused by well-meaning manufacturers

Because, while both hemp oil and CBD oil are beneficial for your health in many ways – and while they also traditionally come from the same plant, cannabis – they are actually very different indeed.

If you need to know more about the differences between hemp extract vs CBD oil, this article is the one for you…


Hemp extract vs CBD: the history

In the past few years, use of CBD – more properly called cannabidiol – has really taken off. There are CBD-containing products seemingly everywhere. Everyone seems to be talking about it.

Previously though, while CBD was present in many products, it wasn’t necessarily a selling point. It also wasn’t ideal for manufacturers who might accidentally draw the attention of the FDA.

For this reason, many manufacturers labeled their products as “hemp oil”. This was technically true, and as no one buys CBD to get any kind of psychoactive effect (it doesn’t create one), the distinction was rarely worth pursuing.

Now, with the presence of CBD in a product being a major plus in the eyes of most consumers, brands are starting to be much more keen about using the letters “CBD” on their packaging.

This is particularity true since the FDA actually approved the use of one CBD oil product – an epilepsy medication called Epidiolex.

The situation has even reached the point where the reverse is true:

Not only do many manufacturers which used to politely refer to their CBD oil as hemp oil now no longer do so. A limited number of less scrupulous manufacturers have started to refer to their hemp oil as the – far more expensive to produce – CBD oil.

For the consumer, this makes having the knowledge to determine the difference between the two, vital.


cbd tincture on a leaf on a table

Hemp seed oil vs CBD oil: the science

CBD oil and hemp oil both come from various strains of the cannabis plant:


  • CBD oil: is created using several different parts of the plant. This usually includes both the stalk and the flowers.
  • Hemp oil: is made from the seeds. That’s why, these days, you’ll see it being referred to as “hemp seed oil” more and more.

The process used to extract CBD from the various parts of the plant varies. They can include CO2 extraction or the use of butane, propane, alcohol and other solvents – all of which are removed at the end of the process.

In fact, the ability to get all of the extraction process ingredients out of the final product is what separates the truly high-quality CBD oils from the rest.

The process used to extract hemp oil is called cold pressing. It’s much the same method used to create sunflower oil and involves the seeds being removed from their shells, chilled and squeezed.

Hemp seed oil tends to be made from Industrial Hemp plants. These plants are a strain of cannabis which has been specifically bred for low or zero THC content. They have been turned into all kinds of commercial products, ranging from clothing to rope to paper, for hundreds of years.


What are the benefits of CBD oil?

CBD oil is rightfully praised for its many medical benefits, which continue to be studied.

It’s prized mainly for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well as for the way it interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating all kinds of body functions.

By interacting with that system, cannabidiol is known for producing a range of effects. These include mood stabilization and stress reduction in many people – ideal for some anxiety and stress sufferers. It’s also often suggested for people who are trying to improve their sleep patterns.

CBD oil comes in vape cartridges, pills, edible gummies, tinctures and various other formats.

cannabis leaves closeup

What are the benefits of hemp seed oil?

Traditional hemp seed oil does not contain any cannabinoids. This means it does not interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system.

However, it is used extensively in the holistic medicine and well-being fields because it is rich in nutrients, Vitamin E and both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids – a rarity in terms of healthy diet sources.

Used topically, it also has anti-inflammatory properties and works well as a moisturizer as it doesn’t clog pores.


Hemp seed oil vs CBD: the uses

At a glance, you’ll tend to find these oils in different places:

  • CBD oil: is contained in one kind of FDA-approved epilepsy medication as well as in various health and well-being products.
  • Hemp seed oil: this is found in food and dietary supplement as well as skincare, health and beauty products. It’s also used as an alternative to petroleum oils in various paints and plastics.

Finding the right full-spectrum CBD oil for sale

If you’re looking for full spectrum CBD oil to put in your vape or want to make sure you’re getting the kind of product you actually want, there are a few easy things to check for:


  • Check whether it actually contains CBD: labels on this kind of product can be confusing. But the words “CBD”, “cannabidiol”, “hemp oil”, “full-spectrum hemp oil” and “PCR” (PhytoCannabinoid Rich) will almost always denote the presence of CBD. Seeing the words “cannabis” or “hemp seed oil” will mean your product almost certainly does not contain any CBD.
  • Check how much CBD it contains: high-quality CBD vape oil cartridges and other products will be proud of the quantity and strength of CBD they contain. Always check the label to see if the quantity is clearly marked. If not, it’s worth wondering why.
  • Check it doesn’t contain THC: CBD has no psychoactive effect. THC does. If you want to access the beneficial medical properties of CBD without any psychoactive effect, it’s important to check that your chosen product is THC free. Most are labeled in this manner – or indicate the quantity they do contain. It’s worth remembering that hemp-derived CBD products with 0.3% THC or less or federally legal, but still illegal in some states.

Of course, the simplest way to be sure you’re getting full-spectrum CBD oil is to ask your chosen manufacturer or local dispensary to confirm it for you.

The knowledgeable ones will be easy to spot once you get talking!