May 25, 2021

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: What You Need To Know

Written by - Mallory Milne

minute read

Hemp oil vs CBD oil - this is what many newcomers ask when they first start exploring CBD and hemp.

It's in your grocery store. It's at your pharmacy. It's in your lotion. But is hemp oil CBD oil?


The main difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is that the former has no CBD content. Hemp seed oil in this context is made by cold-pressing the seeds into an omega-rich nutritional oil. CBD oil is made by extracting CBD from the leaves, flowers and stalks of a hemp plant. 

With the market currently exploding with all sorts of CBD products, you may have asked yourself this question. And it's not an unreasonable one. Most of the CBD oil legally on the market is hemp-derived, and it is understandable that people are confused.

The one thing that makes this so important for people to learn is that there are more than a few companies capitalizing on this confusion right now.

Unfortunately for you, this means that if you didn't do your homework, you may end up with a product that most definitely will not live up to the hype.

Let's dive a little deeper into what both of these oils have to give:

What is hemp oil? (hemp seed oil)

The two terms, hemp oil and CBD oil, are often used interchangeably in the industry, but most of the time hemp oil is going to mean hemp seed oil.

The hemp plant has many parts to it. The leaves, stems, stalk, flowers, and seeds are all important and have a wide variety of uses.

Hemp oil, or hemp seed oil, comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. Seeds of this plant are rich in oil, containing approximately 30% by weight. Hemp seed oil is a common carrier oil for CBD.

The oil is extracted by removing the outer layer, or shell, and is then cold pressed. All the nutrients in the seeds are preserved by this process.

What you are left with is an oil that contains no THC, and more importantly, no CBD either.

So what is hemp oil good for? This oil has a lot of great benefits associated with it, including:

  • Can lower the risk of heart disease
  • Can ease PMS symptoms
  • Is a natural anti-inflammatory
  • Can improve certain skin conditions
  • Supports weight loss

Hemp seeds are an incredibly nutrient-dense food, and hemp seed oil is no different.

Hemp seed oil is rich in fatty acids; Omega-3s, which are essential fatty acids that promote good health of the brain and heart as well as boosting circulation and immune function.

Omega-6 is also important for promoting healthy skin, hair, and nails while omega 9 promotes a healthy level of cholesterol in your body by supporting balanced levels in your blood.

Not only that, but the fatty acid content of hemp seeds also helps your brain function at its best!

The other benefits come from minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium found naturally in hemp seed oil. Hemp seeds are a great source of all these nutrients.

Hemp seed oil can be used in all sorts of products, including beauty products, cooking oil and lotions just to name a few.

Hemp seed oil is also really good for hydration, which makes it perfect to use in face masks and body creams all over the skin.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is made by extracting the CBD from a cannabis plant's leaves, stems, stalks, and flowers, and then diluting it into a carrier oil to make dosing easier and more accurate.

The resin of the plant is where the concentrations of CBD are the highest, so choosing an oil made from a plant that has high resin levels will produce the best results.

When extracted properly, this results in an oil that has all the terpenes, fatty acids, vitamins, nutrients, and of course the CBD intact.

CBD can be extracted from both the marijuana plant or the hemp plant, but the difference between the two is the amount of THC in them.

Tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) is the compound in the marijuana plant that is responsible for creating a "high". THC is abundant in the marijuana plant, and contains levels of 15-40%. CBD is also present but at a much lower level.

On the opposite side of things, the industrial hemp plant has very low levels of THC, while being incredibly high in CBD. This is the reason that most of the CBD being produced in the world comes from the hemp plant and not the marijuana plant.

CBD works within the body by binding to specific receptors that are located virtually everywhere. Hemp seed oil does not have these properties, and is where it differs from CBD oil.

CBD oil offers many health benefits when compared with hemp seed oil, including anxiety and depression, cancer pain relief, chronic stress and more.

Studies have also found that CBD is effective in treating Alzheimer's disease symptoms such as memory loss and confusion.

Hemp oil vs CBD oil - Which one is better?

Both hemp oil and CBD oil have a number of different benefits to them, but CBD oil is the better choice if you're looking to go above what hemp oil can offer.

Hemp seed oil does not have the properties of CBD and is where it differs from CBD oil.

Most of the benefits of hemp seed oil come from the various nutrients and vitamins that it contains, and doesn't have the wide medicinal effects that CBD does.

CBD works within the body by binding to specific receptors that are located virtually everywhere in your anatomy while hemp seed oil doesn't.

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Hemp oil vs CBD oil for pain

While hemp oil does have some natural anti-inflammatory properties to it, using CBD oil for pain will be much more effective. Research shows that CBD oil is effective for both chronic and acute pain relief.

CBD oil also has been proven to reduce inflammation and may work better on some inflammatory disorders such as arthritis or joint pain.

Hemp oil by itself will not help to relieve pain because it doesn't have the same active cannabinoids that CBD oil possesses.

Hemp oil vs CBD oil for anxiety

CBD oil has been widely studied for its effects on anxiety, and research shows that CBD may be a better option for anxiety than hemp oil.

CBD interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the Endocannabinoid System. These receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system respectively, though CBD's effect on these cells is not fully understood.

CBD may be able to alter serotonin signals that come from your brain. Low levels of serotonin can contribute to anxiety as well as depression; it also plays an important role when dealing with one’s mood or social skills at times of conflict or stress.

Hemp oil does not have these same benefits because it lacks the crucial cannabinoids necessary to do so.

Hemp oil vs CBD oil for weight loss

Both hemp oil and CBD oil have some research behind them when it comes to weight loss, though more research is necessary to better understand the connection.

Studies have shown that CBD may be able to boost your metabolism, and the browning of fat cells (turns unhealthy white fat into brown fat cells, which are responsible for heat generation and calorie burning).

Hemp seed oil is a very nutritious oil that may have some connection to weight loss.

The proteins and Omega-fatty acids in hemp seed oil can help reduce appetite, prevent overeating, and increase satiety - they may be able to lower cholesterol as well.

Final thoughts on hemp oil and CBD oil

Hemp oil and CBD oil are two different types of oils that offer a number of health benefits. Both can be used topically, orally, or consumed as an edible supplement. The main difference is the type of cannabinoids they contain; hemp seed oil does not contain any CBD or other cannabinoids, while CBD does.

Hemp oil is mainly used for its nutritional value, while CBD has more medicinal purposes.

We have the facts. Now we need to read the labels.

The number of companies that have jumped on the CBD bandwagon is growing every day. It's important to do your research on the subject so you aren't duped into buying a product that contains little to no CBD.

Take your time, make sure you are looking at the lab reports, and pay careful attention to the labels. Many "hemp oil" products are claiming to have CBD in them when that is the furthest thing from the truth.

These companies are counting on you not being educated about the subject, and buy from them just based on their claims alone. 

About the author 

Mallory Milne

Mallory is a mom of two, as well as the main content writer and owner of CBD Handle. She has been a consumer advocate and CBD user since 2018, and strives to relay accurate, easy to understand information and to educate others on the health benefits of CBD.


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    • It’s why you have to very carefully read labels when you buy, and always get it from a reputable source. We’ve come across more than a few companies trying to pass off hemp seed oil as CBD oil, very shady.

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