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7 Key Differences Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil

Dave Kriegel
January 15, 2020

With the CBD craze in full swing, there is still a lot of confusion going around. So what exactly is CBD oil, and is it the same thing as “hemp oil“? No, they are actually completely different things–one of them is used primarily in cooking and the manufacturing of beauty products, whereas the other is an oral tincture that is said to provide its own range of benefits. Both are made from hemp, so it is sometimes hard to figure out which one is which.

Unfortunately, just because a product has a hemp leaf on it or is marketed as hemp oil, that doesn’t necessarily make it a CBD product. There are products out there “infused with hemp oil”, but how much CBD is in it? Keep reading to find out.

Ingredients

The quickest way to tell the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil is by looking at the labels and ingredients. They both come from hemp, which is a specific type of cannabis plant that’s rich in cannabidiol and extremely low in THC. (Usually around 0.3%)

“Hemp oil” is more accurately known as hemp seed oil. As the name suggests, it’s extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil has been commonly used for cooking and as an ingredient in various beauty products for many years. Some popular brands, like Nutiva for example, market their product as “hemp oil”. But when you look at the ingredients, it says “raw, organic unrefined hemp seed oil”.

CBD oil, on the other hand, can derive from hemp, or any cannabidiol-rich strain of cannabis. It’s made using the entirety of the hemp plant, not just the seeds. The active ingredient will likely be listed as a “whole plant extract”, most commonly CBD isolate or CBD distillate. CBD oil tinctures usually contain some type of carrier oil, like MCT oil or olive oil for example. Other common labels associated with CBD oil are full spectrum, broad spectrum, PCR, or phytocannabinoid-rich.

CBD oil is a term that is sometimes inaccurately associated with CBD vapes. These products are similar to CBD oil tinctures in that they contain hemp-based extracts, but they are specifically formulated for vaping. CBD vapes typically contain the same ingredients used in e-liquid like vegetable glycerine, propylene glycol and flavorings. Instead of nicotine, they generally contain either CBD isolate, a water-soluble form of CBD, or CBD distillate—an extract that contains a wider range of additional naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids and terpenes.

Production methods

The method of production is another major difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil. Hemp seed oil is generally produced through cold-press extraction using hemp seeds. CBD oil is produced using the entire hemp plant and more high-tech extraction techniques. The most commonly used methods for CBD oil extraction are supercritical fluid extraction (also known as CO2 extraction), or the more traditional solvent-based extraction. Hemp oil tends to be green and dark, while CBD oil is usually more of a light golden to dark brown color.

  • Hemp seed oil: Made using cold press extraction using hemp seeds. Typically has a dark to clear light green color and a nutty flavor.
  • CBD oil: Made using CO2 or solvent-based extraction using whole hemp plants. Typically has a clear to dark gold color and has either a neutral or earthy plant flavor.

CBD content

This is a very important one. Products that contain CBD usually have a label displaying the amount of milligrams of CBD per unit or per serving. Hemp is naturally rich in CBD so, since CBD oil is produced using the whole plant, it naturally contains very high levels of CBD. It may also contain other naturally occurring organic compounds, known as phytocannabinoids and terpenes. The more premium CBD oil brands also publish third party test results with a detailed breakdown of its cannabinoid and terpene profile, along with various other metrics for quality.

The bad news is that hemp seed oil is actually a very poor source of CBD! If a product doesn’t have a label listing the amount of CBD in milligrams, chances are it’s not even a valid CBD product. Interestingly enough, hemp seed oil can actually still contain trace amounts of THC, but not anywhere near the amount it would take for you to get high or fail a drug test.

hemp oil vs cbd oil infographic

Price

CBD oil is a lot more expensive to produce than hemp seed oil. For that reason alone, it is going to cost you more. If a product claims to be made with premium CBD oil, it’s probably not going to be cheap. And if it is, you might want to double check it for legitimacy.

Unfortunately there may be some products made with hemp seed oil that are marketed as hemp-based products. Technically, they still are, even if they don’t contain CBD. Just because a product has a hemp leaf on the package or logo, doesn’t necessarily mean it is a CBD product. Although price can sometimes be a decent indication, never judge a book by its cover.

Locations

Both hemp seed oil and CBD oil can be found at your local pharmacy, grocery store, and health food stores. However, most of the time you will find that they are generally sold in different locations. The more reputable CBD oil brands can be purchased online directly from their website. A lot of pharmacies, and even corner stores these days, have started carrying some of the more legitimate CBD oil brands. A few years ago, this was not the case.

Hemp seed oil can always be found at your local grocery store, beauty store and online shops like Amazon. They are sometimes marketed as hemp oil, but the ingredients will have to list “hemp seed oil”. If you’re looking to take CBD oil for medicinal purposes, hemp seed oil will not provide those same benefits—although it does happen to be a very good source of protein and essential fatty acids (omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9).

Usage

Since hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same thing, their applications differ greatly. Hemp seed oil is generally found in beauty products for hair and skincare, or used for cooking and salads. CBD oil, on the other hand, usually refers to an oral tincture containing CBD, which is taken sublingually by putting drops under the tongue. CBD oil is also the main component in many CBD-rich products like edibles, topicals and other products infused with cannabidiol.

For the record, when people say they’re “vaping CBD oil”, they are (or should be) vaping e-juice containing some type of CBD concentrate or extract. Most of the time it’s going to be made from CBD isolate, a highly concentrated crystalized form of CBD that happens to be water soluble. Other vapes may contain either some form of CBD distillate, shatter or concentrate. CBD oil tinctures, on the other hand, use an oil-based carrier, which makes them unsuitable for vaping.

Why the confusion?

In order to fully understand the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, we must also understand what they have in common. Both hemp seed oil and CBD oil are products derived from hemp. Both of them might even have a hemp leaf on the packaging. They can both be organic, kosher, non-GMO, vegan, etc. Sometimes you can even find them at the same location. But be careful, do your research and always read labels. It’s too easy to mix the two up, and it’s unfortunate that some businesses have resorted to misrepresenting their products in an attempt to increase profits.

To sum it all up, hemp oil, which is better known as hemp seed oil, is not the same thing as CBD oil. It comes from the seeds of the hemp plant and does not contain significant levels of CBD!

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Dave has always had a passion for helping people quit smoking. As a former smoker himself, he knew how hard it could be. As soon as he learned about vaping, he instantly became obsessed with it and helped many people stop smoking. Vaping360 has given Dave a platform to do this on a much larger scale, by educating the public about the wonders of vaping. When Dave is not writing he is either listening to music, performing it, or cruising around on his Penny board.

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Amanda
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Amanda

CBD tinctures derived from hemp…. CBD tinctures derived from marijuana. If both are high in cbd/super low in THC… wondering what differences are? If same… why they work SO differently in my experience anyway. Thanks much. Live long(ER) & vape on!

Becky Lamb
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Becky Lamb

My horse has heaves, I tried hemp oil with coconut oil, some relief but I read of people giving CBC oil with peppermint straight to the horse with great results. What is your opinion? How do I get just cbd oil I can trust?

Bill G Williams
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Bill G Williams

Which one is the BEST for arthritis and joint pain relief.

Pablo Bermudez
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Pablo Bermudez

So tell me. Is hemp or cbd good for my mom who is not only in pain, but she has stage 4 cancer that’s eating away on her bones she is advised to have radiation five day a week. She is at the moment having radiation done for her eyes which supposedly had reached to that point. My question is which is better for pain. CBD or Hemp?

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