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Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: The Difference

A tincture of CBD oil atop a round wooden discus, hemp leaf aloft to the left

Are CBD oil and hemp oil the same thing? Not exactly. However, it’s not uncommon to assume otherwise. Both hemp oil and CBD oil derive directly from industrial hemp plants. Both have a history of therapeutic and medicinal use. And both taste like cannabis: earthy, floral, and a little nutty.

To answer this question – Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil? – we must scratch below the surface. Why? Because questions like this mischaracterize these products. In fact, both hemp oil and CBD oil can offer a variety of beneficial effects if used correctly.

For example, if using the appropriate amount of CBD oil, you may be able to adequately tame symptoms of anxiety and depression. Hemp oil (also known as hemp seed oil) can offer anxiolytic benefits as well, but in a completely different way than CBD oil. Understanding each individual oil is vital for managing your symptoms.

Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil?

Contrary to what some Amazon product listings will have you believe, no, hemp oil is NOT the same as CBD oil. There are many distinct similarities and differences between the two, but they’re entirely different products.

Let’s start with the similarities. Hemp seed oil and CBD oil both:

  • Derive from industrial hemp plants (which contain no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight and are approved by government agencies)
  • Offer unique therapeutic benefits
  • Can be ingested orally or topically
  • Often used in the creation of CBD products

As you can see, there are a variety of similarities between CBD oil and hemp seed oil. It makes sense why so many ask: Is CBD oil the same as hemp oil? And now that we know the similarities, let’s look at what makes these oils different from one another.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is one of the most popular CBD products on the planet. A traditional, unflavored CBD oil will likely contain only two ingredients:

  1. Hemp Extract
  2. Carrier Oil (often fractionated coconut oil, or MCT for short)

CBD oils are obtained through an extraction of the hemp plant, targeting phytocannabinoids like CBD as well as other nutrients found within the plant. In fact, industrial hemp naturally contains a plethora of beneficial nutrients:

  • Phytocannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBN, and trace amounts of THC)
  • Essential Fatty Acids (primarily omegas)
  • Terpenes (the chemicals that give plants their scent and flavor)
  • Amino Acids (which play a critical role in bodily functions)

When taking any amount of CBD oil, you’ll likely ingest all of these nutrients. Furthermore, these nutrients work together within the body through a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect. This phenomenon is known to increase the efficacy and bioavailability of CBD oil. On top of that, there are two distinct types of CBD oil to be aware of.

Broad Spectrum & Full Spectrum CBD Oils

We mentioned above that THC is a phytocannabinoid found in trace amounts within industrial hemp. However, you might recognize this chemical from somewhere else: it’s the active, intoxicating ingredient in marijuana. In fact, it’s the chemical that gets marijuana users high!

Why does this matter when talking about CBD oil? Well, one of the most common misconceptions about all CBD products (not just CBD oil) is that they get users high. This is untrue. Industrial hemp plants only contain 0.3% THC by dry weight, not nearly enough to induce intoxicating side effects.

This is where we get our two distinct types of CBD oil: Broad Spectrum and Full Spectrum CBD Oils. Even though both types of CBD products won’t get you high, some users prefer their products without any THC. These THC-free varieties are known as Broad Spectrum CBD Oils. On the flip side, Full Spectrum CBD Oils are those that have left the trace amount of THC intact. 

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

We’ve examined CBD oil, learning not only how it’s made but the difference between Broad Spectrum and Full Spectrum CBD Oils. So back to our original question: Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil? We’ve almost formulated a complete answer, but first, we must understand hemp seed oil.

Hemp oil isn’t made from an extraction process (like CBD oil). Instead, hemp seeds are cold-pressed, creating clear, green oils. Hemp oil is made exclusively from hemp seeds. This differs from CBD oil, as the latter derives from the leaves, stems, and stalks of the hemp plant, not the seeds.

The biggest difference between hemp oil and CBD oil? Hemp seed oil does NOT contain CBD. No phytocannabinoids can be found in hemp oil (except in meaningless, microscopic amounts), making it not only CBD-free but THC-free as well.

So without phytocannabinoids, what can we find in hemp seed oil? For starters: omegas! Hemp seed oil is super-rich in Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9 fatty acids, but especially Omega-3s. This is primarily where hemp seed oil receives its therapeutic value.

Is CBD Oil the Same as Hemp Oil for Therapeutic Benefits?

Yes and no. Both hemp seed oil and CBD oil offer therapeutic benefits. But, they are two unique therapeutic supplements. So, let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between their health-focused effects.

The Benefits of CBD Oil and Other CBD Products

CBD oil and other CBD products offer a ton of benefits that you may have heard of.

In the United States, there is currently one clinical use for CBD oil. Sold under the brand name Epidiolex, CBD oil is used to treat two rare and severe seizure disorders: Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome. In the summer of 2020, the FDA approved Epidiolex for the treatment of tuberous sclerosis complex as well.

Apart from clinical benefits, CBD has shown extreme promise in fighting other symptoms. In fact, it’s potentially viable for treating:

  • Inflammation
  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Pain
  • Nausea
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle Spasticity
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

If you suffer from one of these conditions, please speak with your doctor about CBD treatment. CBD oil is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical conditions. Furthermore, your doctor will be able to tell you the right amount of CBD you should be taking.

The Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil

Now that we’ve covered the benefits of CBD oil, let’s take a look at the potential benefits of hemp seed oil.

As we stated earlier, most of hemp oil’s benefits come from its omega-rich structure. Omegas are often called “essential fatty acids” as they are considered “good fats” that provide essential nutrients to our bodies. They also provide therapeutic benefits of their own. What are these benefits?

Benefits of Omega-3-6-9s

  • Anxiolytic and antidepressant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Improve sleep
  • Regulate mood
  • Regulate metabolism
  • Improve eye health
  • Improve bone and joint health
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Manage plaque buildup in arteries
  • Stimulate skin and hair growth
  • Alleviate menstrual pain

Let’s Review: Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil?

The next time someone asks: Is CBD oil the same as hemp oil? – you’ll know exactly what to say. NO!

While both hemp seed oil and CBD oil offer therapeutic benefits, derive from industrial hemp, and maintain a similar flavor, they are different products. CBD oil is made from an extraction of the hemp plant (flowers, leaves, and stems) while hemp oil is created from cold-pressed hemp seeds. One contains CBD, while the other does not. Furthermore, both contain essential fatty acids, but hemp seed oil is super-rich in Omegas-3-6-9.

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