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CBD oil and hemp oils are a growing presence on the health care landscape – what are they and do they really work? Everything you need to know about the similarities and differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, including how they’re made, what they’re used for and potential benefits they provide. Where does CBD come from? Find out here and also amongst other things what the terms Hemp Oil and Cannabis oil mean.

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil: What’s the Difference?

CBD oil and hemp oil have different scientific elements, but both claim to fight common ailments that are giving the oils a growing fan base.

Oct 5, 2020 1:02 PM EDT

With marijuana usage rising as more U.S. states legalize the controversial but commercially available herb, a cottage industry has developed around the use of marijuana with various claims of healthy attributes on multiple medical fronts.

Officially, marijuana is deemed as Schedule I herbal substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning the drug offers “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” according to the federal government. That categorization was adjusted after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which included a provision that separated hemp from marijuana, as noted in the Controlled Subject Act.

Millions of users and a growing number of health specialists disagree with any negative tone, noting that marijuana (Cannabis) has health-improving components that deserve a closer look by the medical community.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Extracts can also be made from the cannabis plant.”

Virtually all of the health care products derived from the cannabis plant centers around two primary components – CBD (Cannabidiol) oil and hemp oil. Each is used and sold as natural health remedies and, even as they share certain characteristics, they have some important differences, too.

CBD Oil. vs. Hemp Oil

Let’s take a closer look at hemp oil and CBD oil and see how they compare – and how they differ.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant and is known scientifically as cannabidiol. CBD is one of 120 known chemical compounds embedded in marijuana plants and differs from hemp in that it contains Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis.

THC levels vary from plant to plant and CBD is largely considered by scientists not to be psychoactive on its own, but foes contain health-improving components that aid individuals suffering from a wide array of medical issues, including high blood pressure, anxiety, and trouble sleeping, among other maladies.

What health care providers want from CBD is the oil – the main component in the growing number of CBD-based alternative health care products on the marketplace.

CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and then mixed with other herbs and oils to create the CBD oils most often seen in health care products and sold to the public, with varying degrees of validation from health care professionals.

What Is Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil is also derived from Cannabis sativa, which contains the chemical element trans-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis component that gives marijuana its psychosomatic kick. Hemp oil is extracted from the leaves, petals and seeds from a hemp plant.

Yet Cannabis sativa plants have different levels of THC and that is a major factor in defining hemp oil versus CBD oil. Basically, any cannabis sativa plant that contains more than 0.3% of THC is considered to be marijuana. Anything less than 0.3% THC is considered hemp.

Thus even though Cannabis sativa and hemp a derived from the very same plant species, they are different based on the levels of THC embedded in the plant.

What both CBD oil and hemp oil do have in common is neither is linked to THC and therefore won’t provide that psychological “high” so often attributed to THC.

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Instead, the human body manages cannabinoids through its endocannabinoid system, also known as ECS, which can process CBD and hemp oil through the body and is managed by the human brain, which uses cannabinoids to regulate the body’s physiological reactions to the herb, and help better manage key human elements like eating, sleeping, dealing with pains and illnesses, and improving mood.

Structurally, the primary variance between hemp oil and CBD oil is that hemp oil can only be extracted from a hemp plant. That’s not the case with CBD oil, which can be extracted from a variety of plants, including hemp plants, marijuana plants, and select other plants, as well.

CBD Oil and Hemp Oil Potential Uses

CBD oil and hemp oil do share similar chemical attributes and are touted as health care solutions to various ailments. CBD oil and hemp oil are often used as a natural supplement to improve human health in the following areas:

Anxiety. CBD oil is known as a relaxant, with little or no side effects with regular usage.

Depression. According to a number of clinical studies, CBD seems to positively impact serotonin receptors in the human brain, which improves a person’s emotional state and supports better emotional well-being. That’s a helpful attribute for anyone suffering from depression.

Pain relief. Some health experts say that CBD oil can help alleviate chronic pain, primarily by curbing inflammation that can trigger waves of pain on the human body. The oil can also promote better sleep, which can, in turn, fight back against sleep interruption for people experiencing chronic pains, and help cure insomnia in the process.

Skincare. CBD oil is also known to improve a variety of human skin issues, including acne, wrinkles, brown spots. CBD has the anti-inflammatory ingredients to help clear up and prevent acne, while it also has the anti-oxidants to curb aging skin.

Blood pressure. Scientists say that CBD can also aid the lowering of blood pressure in humans, mainly by reducing the body’s systolic pressure in the arteries as the human heart pumps blood. By taking a moderate dosage of CBD oil, some health experts say, an individual can improve blood flow, lower the heart rate and reduce the anxiety the stress often found in patients with high blood pressure.

As a vitamin supplement. Hemp oil, in particular, holds high doses of important vitamins, like Vitamins E, B, B1 and B2. Hemp oil is also an invaluable source of protein and antioxidants and contains high levels of helpful body supplements like potassium, magnesium and fatty acids. (which can also help cure maladies like acne and psoriasis, and is known to improve the human body’s cholesterol levels.

Proper Usage of CBD Oil and Hemp Oil

What are the best ways to use and inject cannabis oils? While delivery mechanisms can vary, the safest and most productive method of taking cannabis oils are as follows:

Ingest the oils orally. CBD oil consumers can also take doses orally, usually by the chewing of hard candy, mints or gummies. Oral usage takes full advantage of the sublingual gland, located right under the tongue, which helps take in the oils faster and more completely, but in a safer and easier manner than injection.

Via beverages. You can also drink cannabis-related beverages (like tea or juices) to intake the oils, but just know that anything that has to pass through the body’s digestive system reduces the bioavailability impact of cannabis oils.

Whatever course you take, keep your general practitioner in the loop and make sure to thoroughly vet any CBD or hemp oil products before hitting “buy” on your phone or dishing out cash at an alternative health product store.

Like any other over-the-counter health care product, CBD oils and hemp oils can vary in the quality of the product, and there are certainly plenty of fly-by-night operators out there looking to rip you off with a no- or low-quality cannabis-based product.

Do your due diligence, read up on cannabis oils, and ask around among family and friends to get their take on cannabis oils they’ve used.

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After all, the more research you do, the higher your chances of optimizing your CBD or hemp oil experience.

Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil: What’s The Difference?

Dr. Myles Spar is a double board-certified medical expert in performance medicine, men’s health, advanced testing and integrative medicine.

Commissions we earn from partner links on this page do not affect our opinions or evaluations. Our editorial content is based on thorough research and guidance from the Forbes Health Advisory Board.

Table of Contents

  • What Is Hemp Seed Oil?
  • What Is CBD Oil?

Hemp seed oil and cannabidiol (CBD) oil are sourced from the cannabis sativa plant species. Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, which is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that contains less than 0.3% THC, while CBD oil comes from the leaves, stalks and flowers of both cannabis and hemp plants. Both oils can be identified across a variety of products, from beauty to food.

Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, including how they’re made, what they’re used for and potential benefits they provide.

Partner Offers feature brands who paid Forbes Health to appear at the top of our list. While this may influence where their products or services appear on our site, it in no way affects our ratings, which are based on thorough research, solid methodologies and expert advice. Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services

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What Is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant and offers a robust and nutty flavor. Consisting of around 70 to 90% of polyunsaturated fatty acids (often referred to as healthy fats), it’s abundant in omega-3 essential fatty acids, tocopherols and linoleic and linolenic acids.

Depending on the way hemp seeds are handled and processed, hemp seed oil may contain delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD oil, according to a report by Oklahoma State University. Most companies producing hemp seed oil for consumption must adhere to strict guidelines, ensuring that the products contain almost imperceptible amounts of THC, 0.3% or less. This amount will not cause psychoactive effects.

How Is It Made?

Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. The seeds are cold pressed, similar to the way olive oil is made. Once oil is extracted from the seed, it’s stored in a cool, dark place for processing and shipping.

How Is It Used?

Hemp seed oil can be used as a culinary oil to enhance flavor and may be drizzled on vegetables or made into salad dressings. It can also be taken straight from the spoon as a dietary supplement, as it’s found to be rich in polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, according to the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS).

Hemp seed oil also has a variety of industrial uses, such as paints, varnishes and other coating materials, due to its drying properties. The oil is also used in plastic flooring, such as linoleum.

Potential Benefits

Potential benefits of hemp seed oil include boosting omega intake, thanks to the oil’s unique composition of a 3-to-1 ratio of omega-6 (linoleic) to omega-3 (alpha-linolenic) essential fatty acids. In general, a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids contributes to skin health, cardiovascular health, maintaining healthy blood pressure and reducing pain and inflammation, as well as potentially reducing some PMS symptoms like breast tenderness.

The dense nutritional profile of hemp seed oil also includes:

  • Antioxidants, such as vitamin E
  • Omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9
  • Carotene
  • Chlorophyll
  • Calcium
  • Sulfur
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Iron

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Hemp seed oil’s composition of fats can cause the oil to go rancid easily. A relatively low flash point—the temperature at which a liquid will vaporize or ignite when exposed to an open flame—also means it’s unsuitable for frying and is best consumed raw when fresh.

This oil is also difficult to store. Due to its fatty acid make-up, hemp seed oil is at risk of going rancid (oxidative deterioration), meaning it degrades when exposed to oxygen, according to the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.

For best use, hemp seed oil should be used at temperatures below 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius), and is best stored in the refrigerator or freezer after opening due to its short shelf life.

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What Is CBD Oil?

CBD is one of the most abundant active constituents of the cannabis plant. It’s a non-psychoactive isomer of THC—meaning it won’t result in the intoxicating, “high” sensation. It’s derived from the leaves, stalks and flowers of hemp and cannabis plants, but as the legality of cannabis is still controversial in some places, most CBD oils are extracted from hemp plants.

“CBD is a plant compound found in cannabis sativa—both hemp and cannabis,” says Yvonne Perez Emerson, an herbalist and the founder of Make and Mary, a CBD boutique in Portland, Oregon. There are thought to be at least 100 unique compounds found in hemp known as cannabinoids, of which CBD is the second most abundant. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with the body’s central regulatory system (endocannabinoid system), which manages the body’s homeostasis (physiological balance) among bodily processes such as appetite, mood, memory, sleep, and immune system functions, adds Emerson.

They can be either consumed as phytocannabinoids found intrinsically within CBD products or produced naturally by the body (endocannabinoids). When ingested, CBD oil can help the brain and body by interacting with the endocannabinoid system and neurotransmitters that impact inflammation, pain, mood regulation and stress response.

Where Does CBD Come From

A recent US report found a staggering 70% of the 300 top-selling CBD products were “highly contaminated” with heavy metals (e.g. lead, arsenic), herbicides (e.g glyphosate) and a host of other contaminants. The quality of CBD is hugely dependent on where it comes from and how is grown. In this short video we will cover the three important questions you need to know the answer to if you are thinking about trying CBD.

What is CBD?

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of at least 113 naturally-occurring compounds (‘phytocannabinoids’) found in the Cannabis Sativa L. plant. CBD is distinct from THC, the intoxicating compound that produces the famous high. Concerns over CBD arise from the confusion between Cannabis, Hemp and Marijuana. Hemp and Marijuana are both species of Cannabis, however Marijuana is bred to have high levels (25% in some cases) of THC- the substance associated with illegal highs. CBD is extracted from Hemp that contains less than 0.2% THC.

Which part of the plant does CBD come from?

Amongst other cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes, CBD is extracted from the flower of the cannabis plant to form a raw paste. This extract is then mixed with fatty carrier bases, such as hemp oil (produced from hemp seeds) or MCT (produced from Coconut), allowing it to be ingested.

Which part of the world does CBD come from?

Hemp has an amazing ability which is great for the planet, but not so great for CBD lovers. And this ability is why we need to be careful about where the plant is grown. Here at The London Botanists, we only use European farms with the highest standards in ethical, sustainable, organic farming techniques.
That amazing ability? Hemp is able to draw impurities out of the soil – many farmers across the world use it to ‘clean’ their soil of pesticides and chemicals before planting food crops. But this means that impurities in the soil end up in the plant, and therefore in the CBD extract. Which is why it’s vital to ensure our farms have the highest soil standards to start.

About the shop

The London Botanists was formed in 2018 with a simple goal: to craft exquisite CBD products using minimal, pure ingredients from organic, sustainable sources. We blend natural wellness and tasteful hedonism for multi-sensory moments that relax and release.

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