When it comes to CBD, one of the most common mistakes people make is mixing up hemp oil and CBD oil.
Although they’re both sourced from the hemp plant, the two oils are quite different.
Hemp oil comes from hemp seeds, which don’t contain any CBD.
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Meanwhile, CBD oil is derived from the other parts of the hemp plant, and will always contain CBD. It can also carry other cannabinoids — the main active ingredients in cannabis that are largely responsible for its many health effects.
That’s the basic difference, but there’s a lot more to it. To make matters worse, some companies market hemp oil products in a way that makes it seem like they contain CBD.
Read on to learn more about what separates hemp oil and CBD oil and how to protect yourself from misleading products.
Hemp oil, also called hemp seed oil, is cold-pressed from hemp seeds. Hemp is a variety of cannabis with extremely low levels (<0.2%) of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main intoxicating component of the plant.
Hemp oil doesn’t contain CBD or any other cannabinoid so it won’t get you high. However, it’s quite rich in nutrients.
In particular, hemp seed oil has notable amounts of essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. It also contains other compounds that can potentially benefit your health, such as phytosterols.
As a result, many people are choosing to add hemp seed oil into their diet or supplement routine to benefit their health.
How is Hemp Oil Made?
Hemp seed oil is produced through a simple cold pressing process. The seeds are first cleaned and then pressed to isolate the oil.
However, if the seeds are not sufficiently cleaned, trace amounts of CBD and other cannabinoids can sometimes find their way into hemp seed oil.
That’s because the seeds grow inside hemp flowers and can come in contact with the cannabinoid-rich trichomes. But this amount of cannabinoids is not high enough to cause any notable effects.
Hemp Oil Benefits
The number one reason hemp seed oil is growing popular is that it’s rich in the omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA) and omega-3 fatty acid α-linolenic acid (ALA).
These two compounds are considered essential because they play an important role in your health but cannot be produced by our bodies.
Better yet, hemp seed oil contains the optimal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids: about 2:1 to 3:1. Health experts believe this ratio is ideal for a healthy human diet.
Research also shows that the high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio found in Western diets (15-17:1) plays a substantial role in the development of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
Aside from that, hemp seed oil contains notable amounts of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), another omega-6 fatty acid that may have various health benefits, such as reducing inflammation and helping with diabetic neuropathy.
Another ingredient in hemp seed oil that may have useful properties is beta-sitosterol, which is particularly known for its beneficial effects on benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland.
Moreover, multiple studies have shown that hemp seed oil can have other health benefits:
- One 2005 study compared the effects of dietary hemp seed oil and olive oil in people with atopic dermatitis (eczema), a common skin condition. The study found that only the hemp seed oil group experienced an improvement of skin dryness, itchiness, and topical medication use, as well as an increase in blood levels of essential fatty acids.
- A 2010 review paper concluded that dietary hemp seed oil can have a beneficial effect on heart disease.
- A 2018 study found that hemp seed extract reduced brain inflammation in mice, suggesting that it may protect neurons from damage (neuroprotection).
Hemp Oil Uses
Hemp seed oil can be used in many ways. The most common is simply adding it to your diet, particularly as a cooking ingredient. It’s also used as an ingredient in snack bars and other foods and skincare products.
Additionally, hemp oil can be taken as a food supplement and some people apply it directly to the skin to help with eczema, acne, rashes, and other conditions.
How Hemp Oil Works
Most of the potential benefits of hemp seed oil come from its essential fatty acid content because these acids play an important role in your overall health.
However, hemp oil contains many other nutrients and bioactive components, such as beta-sitosterol, which can also interact with the body to produce beneficial effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a food supplement that contains CBD-rich hemp extract. Most of the cannabinoids and other active ingredients in cannabis are stored in trichomes, tiny structures that are especially abundant on the plant’s flowers.
That’s why CBD oil is sourced from hemp flowers in addition to other above-ground parts of the plant, including the stems, stalks, and leaves, but not the seeds.
CBD oil always contains cannabidiol, the beneficial, non-intoxicating compound that’s grown incredibly popular over the past several years.
Depending on how it’s made, CBD oil can also contain other cannabinoids, another class of beneficial compounds called terpenes, and various bioactive plant chemicals.
Because CBD is non-intoxicating, you can’t get high from using CBD oil. This explains why it’s not used for recreational effects like regular, THC-rich cannabis (marijuana) products.
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How is CBD Oil Made?
CBD oil is produced through a special extraction process. In most cases, ethanol or carbon dioxide (CO2) is applied to the plant material under specific temperatures and pressures to pull out cannabinoids, terpenes, and other desired compounds.
Next, the raw hemp extract is processed to make one of three kinds of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate:
- Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the cannabinoids and terpenes naturally present in the hemp, and could also have other compounds such as flavonoids. This includes less than 0.2% of THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD contains the same compounds as full-spectrum, but without any THC.
- CBD Isolate is 99+% pure CBD with no other hemp compounds.
These CBD extracts are then dissolved in a carrier oil. Since CBD is a fat-soluble molecule, carrier oils are used to aid its absorption in the body.
Most companies use MCT oil from coconuts as the carrier, but other options, including hemp seed oil, are also utilised. The finished product contains CBD extract dissolved in a carrier oil, which is where the name “CBD oil” comes from.
CBD Oil Benefits
Research has shown that CBD may have a long list of potential health benefits.
There’s evidence that CBD might help with symptoms such as anxiety, pain, nausea, and inflammation, as well as a long list of conditions, including mood, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, metabolic, cardiovascular, skin, digestive, addiction, sleep, autoimmune, and epilepsy disorders.
Having said that, much of the current research is limited to test tube and animal studies and more human trials are sorely needed.
CBD Oil Uses
Most people use CBD oil as a food supplement to alleviate everyday issues such as anxiety, sleeping problems, and pain. Some also use CBD for specific conditions, such as arthritis, epilepsy, allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, fibromyalgia, migraines, and cancer.
How CBD Works
Researchers believe CBD works primarily by supporting the function of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is made up of endocannabinoids made in your body, the enzymes that build and break them, and the cannabinoid receptors they activate.
You can think of these receptors as locks that are only opened by the right key — cannabinoids that come from plants or your own body.
The ECS plays a critical role in maintaining your overall well-being by regulating sleep, stress, mood, anxiety, metabolism, digestion, immunity, and many other essential processes.
CBD can alter the function of cannabinoid receptors. More importantly, it can suppress the effects of an enzyme that breaks down anandamide, one of your body’s two main endocannabinoids. In doing so, it can support the regulatory effects of the ECS.
In addition, CBD can also work through other mechanisms, such as activating your serotonin receptors, which play a role in controlling anxiety, stress, and other cognitive functions.
Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil
As we can see, despite originating from the same plant, hemp oil and CBD oil differ in multiple ways.
First and foremost, whereas hemp oil is sourced from hemp seeds, CBD oil comes from the above-ground parts of the plant. As a result, CBD oil contains cannabinoids, while hemp oil does not.
Although it may have some specific health benefits, such as helping with eczema, hemp seed oil is mostly used as a healthy food rich in essential fatty acids and other nutrients.
Meanwhile, CBD oil is used as a source of CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes that may have positive effects on specific symptoms and conditions. That’s why millions of people across the UK and other countries are taking it in the hopes of improving their health.
Sources of Confusion
It’s easy to get confused between hemp oil and CBD oil.
On one hand, some people refer to CBD oil as hemp oil because it is technically an oil that comes from the hemp plant. However, this is inaccurate and is also the reason why hemp seed oil is the better description.
On the other hand, some dubious supplement manufacturers try to trick shoppers by selling hemp seed oil but making it seem like it contains CBD. This dishonest tactic is particularly widespread on Amazon UK, which we covered in a previous article.
In short, these products will use terminology and claims that make it seem like they contain CBD when it’s really just hemp seed oil. The easiest way to confirm this is that the product description and label will make no mention of CBD or any other cannabinoid.
They might also make illegal medical claims such as “relieves joint pain and inflammation”.
Tips to Verify You’re Getting CBD Oil
Hemp oil and CBD oil are clearly different, but how can you make sure you’re getting the right product? There are several ways to confirm you’re buying an actual CBD oil.
The first source of clues is the ingredients list. Hemp oil will usually be listed as “hemp seed oil.” Meanwhile, CBD can be listed as “cannabidiol”, “CBD isolate”, “full-spectrum hemp extract”, or something similar.
Also, if a product contains both hemp seed oil and CBD, they will be written as separate ingredients.
An even better way to confirm that you’re getting CBD oil and not just plain hemp seed oil is third-party testing. CBD companies order these tests from independent laboratories to confirm that their products contain as much CBD as they claim.
Any reputable CBD company will post the results of these tests on its website, so you can view them for yourself.
You should check the amount of CBD and other cannabinoids reported on these tests and compare them to the amounts written in the product description and the label.
Third-party tests are the best way to ensure you’re buying a safe and effective CBD oil. If a company doesn’t provide these tests, you should avoid it.
Summing Up: Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil
In summary, hemp oil and CBD oil are separate products. It’s important to understand how they differ, especially if you’re interested in trying out CBD oil. Hemp oil is certainly good for your health but it’s not used for the same reasons as CBD products.
A proper CBD oil will be more expensive than a hemp seed oil precisely because it provides the cannabinoids that make cannabis such as promising herb with many potential health benefits.
Be sure to practice caution when shopping for CBD oil and other CBD products. We hope this article cleared up the confusion about hemp oil vs CBD oil.