Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: How Different Are They Exactly?

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil

After the glorious signing of the long-expected 2018 Farm Bill last December, one would expect that now everything is crystal clear about hemp, cannabis, and CBD oil, right? Wrong. The official acceptance of hemp into the group of legal aka harmless plant families stirred quite a bit of confusion and inspired lots of questions, such as: Is CBD oil and hemp oil the same? Is hemp oil safe? Is CBD oil legal everywhere in the States? And many more.

Therefore, differentiating between hemp oil vs CBD oil is necessary in order for all of us to know what we are buying, whether that is exactly what we need, and how to use the oils to our advantage. So, let’s take a closer look, one plant at a time.

Two Types of Hemp Oil

Technically, when someone says “hemp oil,” there are two things they may refer to:

  • Hemp seed oil (0% CBD, 0% THC)

As its (full) name suggests, it is derived from hemp (cannabis sativa) seeds. Such hemp oil contains neither CBD nor THC, therefore it is not considered a CBD oil, but it is very healthy nevertheless. It is usually referred to as hemp oil, just like sunflower seed oil is rarely called by that name – we simply say sunflower oil, right?

  • Hemp-derived CBD oil (20%+ CBD, up to 0.3% THC)

It also goes by the name hemp oil or CBD oil. Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil? Sometimes, yes, it is, even though CBD oil is not exclusively produced from hemp (more on this later). This type is typically made from the buds of the hemp plant and is VERY RICH in cannabinoids. Hemp CBD oil contains some THC, too.

Both of them have positive effects on our health. Let’s deal with hemp seed oil first, and we’ll leave the CBD-rich type for later.

Hemp Seed Oil

The hemp seed oil vs CBD oil dilemma is easily resolved if we take a look at the manufacturing process. Hemp oil is a type of oil which is obtained through various processes from hemp seeds (not buds!). When unrefined and extracted by cold pressing, it has a green color and a nutty, earthy flavor, which people find to be nice.

Cold pressing is always performed on de-shelled seeds and this manner of extraction is considered very beneficial because it preserves the nutritious content and no additives are mixed with it. So, what we get is a high-quality product which is often classified as a “superfood.” Since hemp seeds contain neither CBD nor THC it is technically NOT a CBD oil.

What Are the Benefits of Hemp Oil?

Hemp (seed) oil has so many qualities that it is a real pity it used to be neglected for ages. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids – Being rich in omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, hemp oil is very much praised by nutritionists. Our body does not produce these fatty acids on its own, so it is absolutely necessary to take them regularly. Polyunsaturated fats decrease the level of bad cholesterol in the blood. Hence, one of hemp oil benefits is reducing the risk of heart disease or stroke.
  • Vitamin E – Hemp oil is so rich in vitamin E that one or two tablespoons of this oil account for the recommended daily intake for an adult.
  • Lecithin – Among other things, lecithin is responsible for a variety of brain and cell membrane functions.
  • Carotenes – A favorite among sunscreen manufacturers, carotene is essential for our eyesight and growth.
  • Chlorophyll – Apparently, everybody trying to lose weight and avoid skin problems should focus on taking chlorophyll more frequently. Anti-carcinogenic hemp oil benefits may be present here, too.
  • Phytosterols – Crucial for cell membrane functioning.
  • Protein – Hemp oil may be a better source of protein than the whey protein isolates.

These are just several of confirmed advantages. If you haven’t introduced it to your diet, perhaps it’s high time you did so. After all, the hemp seed oil is undeniably and indisputably legal in all states, as opposed to CBD oil.

Two Types of CBD Oil: Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil 

There are two types of CBD oil out there:

  • Hemp-derived CBD oil (20%+ CBD, up to 0.3% THC)
  • Marijuana-derived CBD oil (10%+ CBD, 20%+ THC)

On the one hand, some differences are slight, almost negligible. On the other, it is a difference in the THC content that can take you to jail. Now that we have your full attention, let’s closer analyze the content of CBD oil depending on the plant it is derived from.

Looks, Smells, and Tastes

CBD oil can be extracted from two species of the cannabis plant: cannabis sativa (which includes marijuana and industrial hemp) and cannabis indica (another type of marijuana). It is extracted from the buds in both cases, although you can extract CBD oil from every part of the plant (except the seeds).

If there were a hemp oil vs CBD oil showdown regarding taste, hemp seed oil would clearly be the winner. CBD oil has a specific, earthy taste which is far from pleasant for most people. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be a myriad of articles on the topic of how to mask the taste. The taste is important since one of the best ways to take CBD oil is sublingually.

The color of the oils depends on their extraction method and the additives so it can range from being transparent to being brown.

The smell of CBD oil is largely reliant on the terpenes or oils that are added to the mixture. This time, in the CBD oil vs hemp oil odor competition, CBD oil takes the lead since it can smell of lavender, for example.

The Main Difference Between CBD Hemp Oil and CBD Oil 

The ultimate difference between hemp-derived CBD oil and cannabis-derived CBD oil lies in the THC percentage. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the inevitable ingredient of every cannabis plant. Its content is used to legally separate industrial hemp from cannabis (marijuana), thus depicting hemp and its derivatives (CBD hemp oil included) as completely harmless in the eyes of the DEA.

CBD oil that is derived from hemp plants has only traces of THC – a mere 0.3%, which makes CBD hemp oil completely legal in all 50 states. Hemp vs marijuana in legal terms entirely depends on the THC content capable of inducing the intoxicating effect. That 0.3 % is the tiny amount of THC that’s confirmed not to lead to any side effects such as getting high, anxious, losing sleep or appetite, and so on.

On the other hand, CBD oil that is derived from marijuana can have over 20% of THC. Moreover, the CBD levels of marijuana-derived CBD oils are typically half of those coming from hemp (10% vs 20%). This means that hemp buds should be used as a primary source of CBD oil.

It should also be mentioned that there is also something called CBD isolate, which can be extracted from either hemp or marijuana. Ideally, it should contain no traces of THC whatsoever, regardless of the plant it was made from, and it is mostly sold in the oil form and sold as CBD oil.

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil in Everyday Life

We have informed you about the origins, appearance, content, and features of hemp oil and CBD oil. To sum things up, let’s see what their differences can mean for your lifestyle:

  • If you go shopping for hemp oil, you can do it freely. On the other hand, you may need a medical marijuana card if you are buying CBD oil derived from cannabis (weed).
  • You usually have to be over 18 years old to buy cannabis-derived CBD oil.
  • If you’re wondering where to buy CBD oil and hemp oil, they can both be purchased the same way – in shops or online.
  • There is a possibility too much CBD oil can make you fail a drug test, even if it’s made from industrial hemp, as THC content can build up over time. Consuming hemp seed oil could never cause such an effect, even if you tried.
  • CBD oil with a higher level of THC can impair your driving abilities.
  • CBD oil is generally not used as salad dressing, though it can be added to food. Hemp seed oil is much tastier.
  • A major difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is in the fact that you can be imprisoned because you are in possession of CBD oil which is not extracted from hemp, so it has a higher content of THC. Remember that not every state has accepted CBD oil products with THC. Of course, nobody would get arrested for the possession or usage of hemp seed oil because it’s incapable of getting you high.

CBD Oil Benefits

Regardless of the concentration of THC in it, i.e. if it’s hemp-derived or not, CBD oil has numerous health benefits for us.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties – When you bear in mind that inflammation is the trigger or a side effect of many a disease, you realize CBD oil uses abound. From treating sports injuries to cancer recovery therapies, CBD oil will probably become irreplaceable in the near future.
  • Pain management – What is great about CBD oil is the fact that it can be used for treating small aches and acute pain with equal success. What is more, treatments with CBD oil do not have the usual side effects of the common painkillers. If you’re reading about hemp vs weed-derived CBD oil, trying to figure out which works better in this case – it’s said that the combination of CBD and THC is better for pain management, so go for a CBD oil.
  • Fountain of youth – CBD oil is rich in antioxidants. It is common knowledge that the oxidation processes are one of the causes of getting old. Therefore, we could prolong our good looks with it (CBD oil infused creams are already catching on).
  • Seizure therapyA study confirms CBD oil has the potential to join the battle with epilepsy. One of the greatest advantages in preventing seizures with CBD oil products is the fact it can be given to children.
  • Protects cardiovascular systemResearch shows hemp derived CBD helps one of the most important organs.
  • Stress and anxiety relief – Hemp vs cannabis oil, more or less THC, it doesn’t matter. Either way, you are bound to feel relaxed. If you’re dealing with insomnia, CBD oil should do the trick.

In addition to these, the right balance between THC and CBD can be valuable to our health as well. The entourage effect, i.e., the powerful interconnection of all cannabinoids and terpenes, is believed to enhance the CBD oil effects even more.


To sum up, when somebody mentions hemp oil, they’re either talking about superfoods or a CBD product. On the other hand, when the topic of CBD oil pops up, the discussion will most likely revolve about hemp CBD oil, which has low THC content, or CBD oil made from marijuana, which has over 0.3% of THC.

The hemp oil vs CBD oil discussion is multi-layered, so when you go shopping for either of them, make sure you ask the right questions to get the product you want. Otherwise, you may as well end up with more THC than you bargained for, or none at all.

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