We know it can be confusing when it comes to understanding the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil or extract, and in fact many cannabis and CBD products. You’ve come to the right place to get the facts straight.
Let’s start at the source – the plant species. There are various strains of the cannabis plant. Cannabis sativa is the most widely grown. Hemp comes from the cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis can also come in the form of sativa, but it is also known as cannabis indica or a hybrid of more than one plant. The variety of cannabis we use, needs to be grown in very controlled conditions, whereas hemp can be grown with minimal care and can thrive in most conditions and climates.
Both hemp and cannabis contain cannabinoids, the 140+ compounds found in the flowers, stems and stalks of the cannabis plant. The main difference between the two is the level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in each. The flowers of cannabis plants typically contain 15–20% THC, but those of hemp plants contain about 0.3% THC or less.
Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, can be extracted from either plant, but the majority of CBD oils are derived from hemp plants and therefore contain very low levels of THC. This amount is not enough to intoxicate you or get you ‘high’. Neither is it an addictive or psychoactive substance.
How does hemp and CBD oils use differ?
Where cannabis has been traditionally used for medical and recreational use, the hemp plant is in fact used for a huge variety of things from clothing to vehicles, with the ability to replace some of the world’s dirtiest industries with clean alternatives.
Hemp seed oil boasts many nutritional benefits. It is high in B vitamins and vitamin E, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It also contains protein and fibre. As a result, hemp oil is often added to beauty and wellness products, as well as being used in many food products and recipes, whereas CBD oil boasts positive effects that promote mental wellbeing and is therefore more traditionally utilised as a beneficial health supplement. Research being carried out every day is finding more and more positive applications for the plant’s compounds.
How are hemp and CBD oil extracted?
Hemp oil is extracted from hemp seeds using a cold press method, typically, from hemp seed varieties that contain around 30% oil, but doesn’t contain any cannabinoids (i.e. no THC or CBD).
Where hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant, CBD oil is extracted mostly from the plant’s flowers and leaves. It is a much more complicated and expensive extraction process, requiring food and lab-grade equipment whose staff have specialist training. This is why CBD oils and products often cost more than hemp oil products. In fact, you will often find that CBD oils are produced with hemp seed oil as a carrier.
But wait, is hemp oil legal? Is CBD oil legal?
In short, YES. Due to the lack of understanding between the various cannabis plants and their levels of THC, the legalities of each plant and their subsequent products are often brought into question, many of the compounds found in cannabis are legal and some cannabinoids can be found in other plants. For example, echinacea is also a good source of cannabinoids.
CBD extract is a natural substance containing extremely low levels of THC. It is not classed as a drug, is safety tested and regulated, and is legal to sell in the UK and many other countries as a food supplement. Cannabis CBD oil is more heavily controlled, due to its potentially higher levels of THC.
Hemp seed oil contains no THC, it is simply a cold pressed oil derived from plants that is often used in cooking, beauty and wellness products. It is a completely legal substance commonly used across the world. It is often also used as a carrier for CBD oil extracts.
So what is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil?
Hemp oil, or hemp seed oil, is an oil extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant and is used in food and beauty products. It contains no THC or psychoactive properties and is completely legal.
CBD oil can be derived from both hemp and cannabis and is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the plant. It is often used as a health supplement and usually contains very low levels of THC resulting in no intoxicating or psychoactive effects.