What is the Difference Between CBD and Hemp Oil?

The words CBD (also commonly called hemp extract) and hemp oil (also called hemp seed oil) are often used interchangeably even by retailers and manufacturers, but they are completely different products. In this article, we’ll unpack a bit more about the similarities, differences and how to choose the product that best suits your needs.

What are they?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical compound found in the Cannabis Sativa plant. The two main species of Cannabis Sativa are hemp and marijuana, which both contain CBD and THC (which is psychoactive). Hemp contains much higher levels of CBD, and only trace amounts of THC. This is why CBD is typically extracted from the hemp plant. CBD, because the levels of THC are so low, is not psychoactive and will not give users a ‘high’.

Hemp oil is also derived from the Cannabis Sativa plant and is obtained by pressing hemp seeds (sourced from industrial hemp). It is high in fatty acids and other important nutritional compounds but does not contain CBD or THC.

What are the Ingredients in the Different Products?

CBD is extracted from the flowers, stalks and leaves of the cannabis plant. CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 active compounds that are found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil is made from CBD and a carrier oil, usually hemp oil, coconut oil or olive oil.

Hemp oil will usually only contain hemp seeds. It is a seed oil that does not contain any cannabinoids such as CBD, CBN or THC. Hemp seeds which are naturally high in fatty acids and antioxidants, but contains no CBD. The oil works in a similar way to other carrier oils such as sunflower seed oil and jojoba oil.

How is Hemp Oil and CBD Oil Sourced?

While CBD oil and hemp oil both come from the cannabis plant, they are made using different parts of the plant.

CBD oil uses the stalk, and seeds of the mature hemp plant. CBD and other cannabinoids are separated from the plant using an extraction process. There are many different extraction methods used to pull CBD out of hemp plants. The two most popular, and most effective, are CO2 extraction and ultrasonic extraction. They are used as the processes don’t use any toxic compounds. The hemp extract is then added to an oil.

In contrast, hemp oil is made solely from hemp seeds. The oil is created using a method called cold-pressing, which helps to preserve the raw, nutritious contents of the hemp seeds. Each hemp seed contains up to 50% of its weight in oil and it’s these seeds that are de-shelled, chilled and then squeezed to extract the oil. This produces unrefined, green-coloured hemp oil.

What are the Different Products Used For?

The range of different CBD products available means that there are many different uses, including supporting skin vitality as well as maintaining overall health and wellness. CBD is available in a range of different products including:

  • Tinctures – CBD oil tinctured are taken under the tongue where they are absorbed into the bloodstream to maintain health.
  • Vaping – if you are used to vaping, CBD vape products are widely available.
  • Topicals – this includes products such as lotions, creams, salves and balms, making it easy to use for people looking to support skin health.
  • Capsules – Each capsule contains a measured dose of CBD, and instructions for dosage can be found on the product label.
  • Edibles – CBD edibles such as gummy sweets, chocolate and honey make it easy to enjoy taking a CBD supplement.

Hemp oil has been widely available for many years and is a popular ingredient for:

  • Food products – Hemp oil is viewed as a superfood and works as a supplement to add essential nutrients to your diet. It’s used as a supplement for smoothies and can be used in cooking.
  • Skincare – Hemp oil is known for its effective moisturising properties as well as softening skin without clogging pores or contributing to oily skin and has a comedogenic (tendency to cause blackheads) rating of zero.

What Should I Look for on the Labels?

CBD products are labelled with these terms: CBD, hemp CBD, full-spectrum hemp, phytocannabinoid-rich (PCR) hemp oil, PCR hemp extract, full-spectrum hemp extract oil and hemp extract.

Hemp oil products are often labelled as hemp oil, hemp seed oil, virgin hemp oil and Cannabis Sativa seed oil.

Why are the Differences Important?

Hemp oil and CBD are both used to support health and wellness so it can be confusing when deciding what product to purchase. But, because hemp oil doesn’t contain the same active cannabinoids that are present in CBD oil, it won’t have the same effect. Using names such as Cannabis Sativa seed oil, producers are further adding to the confusion as consumers may think that the product contains CBD when it does not.

While both products are derived from the same plant, they are significantly different. This is first and foremost because hemp seed oil and CBD contain completely different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant. As such, they have different makeups and offer different benefits.

So, What Does This Mean for Consumers?

Both CBD and hemp oil can support your health and wellness goals, but the two main things to keep in mind are the source (which parts of the plant each product comes from) and the uses for each.

Hemp oil comes from hemp seeds; it’s a nutrient-rich product that is really useful for cooking, as a food supplement and for skincare products. By contrast, CBD oil comes from the hemp’s flowers, stalks and leaves and contains a range of cannabinoids including CBD and is primarily used to support health and wellness.

The best way to ensure that you purchase the right product is to check the product label. If you are looking for a CBD oil, i.e. a product that contains the cannabinoid CBD, check that the product you are purchasing clearly discloses the level of CBD contained in the oil.

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