CBD vs. Hemp Oil

The variety of cannabis or hemp-based products available on the market is increasing. It is greatly appreciated by many since each of these products caters to different needs. Hemp seed oil, cannabis oil, CBD oil; there are many options that can confuse the average consumer.

Both come from the same plant, Cannabis sativa (hemp, or marijuana). However, hemp oil is made from the seeds of the plant, and CBD oil from the stems, leaves, and flowers, which have a higher concentration of THC (the psychoactive compound of the plant).

The use of CBD oil has become “fashionable” for its analgesic benefits and, according to the WHO, is safe and does not have an addictive effect.

On the other hand, there is hemp oil, which has benefits for the skin due to the Omega 3 and 6 acids that it contains. It also has anti-inflammatory properties for skin with atopic dermatitis.

In this article, we are going to discuss the differences between hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, and CBD oil.

What is hemp?

“Hemp” is a term used to classify cannabis strains that contain 0.3% or less THC (by dry weight). Hemp is often referred to as “non-intoxicating” cannabis that is harvested for industrial use in derived products such as oil.

Hemp is one of the oldest materials of humanity: some of the found objects made from this material are as old as 10,000 years.

The plant is used in the textile and paper industries, in construction materials, and also in the personal care industry (in shampoos, lotions, or balms).

What is Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil or hemp seed oil is extracted, as the name suggests, from pressed hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are not psychoactive (4 mg THC / kg), regardless of how they are consumed. Hemp oil is legal in many countries and can be found in supermarkets or grocery stores, along with other types of oil.

What is marijuana?

“Marijuana” is a term used to classify varieties of cannabis that contain more than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol by dry weight) and can induce psychotropic or euphoric effects in the user.

Marijuana can come from two varieties of cannabis: Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica. This is another difference with hemp that comes from Cannabis sativa.

Simply put: cannabis plants with 0.3 percent or less of THC are hemp. Cannabis plants with more than 0.3 percent THC are marijuana.

Both hemp and marijuana have THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol in very different amounts, those of marijuana being higher.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is obtained from the flowers of cannabis or hemp, preferably a variety of cannabis with a high content of CBD (cannabidiol). CBD oil can only be found in places where it has been expressly legalized or permitted under some (usually medical) circumstances.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services of North Carolina emphasizes that the North American FDA considers CBD a drug, which means it cannot be added to food, and companies should not make health-related statements about its use.

Medicinal Properties

Both CBD oil and hemp seed oil are not psychoactive, a fact that plays an important role in their respective popularity. Especially when cannabis is not legal in all countries, CBD oils represent a safer alternative to using cannabis. It is also often allowed for minors to consume it for medical reasons.

Hemp seed oil properties

Refined hempseed oil is generally considered food, so it is legal in most countries. It is known for its myriad health benefits, making it a part of the highly coveted group of “superfoods.” Hemp oil is:

  • Rich in protein
  • Full of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 6 and 3)
  • Antioxidative vitamin E
  • Linoleic acid (affects skin aging and skin diseases)

It should be noted that hemp seed oil contains some CBD. However, such a small concentration would only positively affect patients suffering from illnesses that are not serious.

CBD oil properties

CBD oil is made from cannabis flowers, from which the resin and CBD are extracted, using a number of different methods. It is recommended to check information on the method used and the overall quality of the product before purchasing CBD oil produced by a third party. Listing all the medicinal properties of CBD oil remains difficult to date because both scientific research and sporadic findings continue to discover more properties every day.


The visible differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil can depend on the quality of both. In fact, refined hemp seed oil, as well as CBD oil, can have a lighter or darker color, depending on its quality, age, preservation method, etc. These two types of oil are extracted from the same polymorphic species, which explains why they look the same in most cases. Both have a very bright greenish color, very similar to that of olive oil.


Hemp oil is known under different names: hemp seed oil, hemp oil, culinary hemp oil, and sometimes cannabis oil. While “hemp seed oil” is the most self-explanatory, it is also the most accurate. To determine if a product called “hemp oil” or any of the terms mentioned above is, in fact, hemp-seed oil, check the ingredient list. Although different packaging and advertising slogans may justify using a misleading or a more vague term instead of “hemp seed oil,” the ingredients should tell you what it really is.

On the other hand, when it comes to naming, CBD oil is easy to distinguish from another product. In most cases, “CBD oil” is used in the description of the product or on its packaging. In rare cases, the name “cannabis oil” might be used. However, since CBD is a staple of the medical cannabis industry, not mentioning its presence in the derivative product would be counterproductive, to say the least.


Hemp-seed oil

Since the 2018 farm bill has been signed by President Donald Trump, hemp ingredients not containing the psychoactive marijuana component (under 0.3% of THC) are safe to be added to food and won’t require additional permits to be used. Hemp seed oil is among such ingredients.

CBD oil

In short, it is completely legal to have and use CBD in 47 states, excluding Idaho, Iowa, and South Dakota. Those who want to produce and sell products containing CBD should check their local laws because of many restrictions and discrepancies.

According to NORML (pro-legalize organization), some CBD medical uses are allowed in 18 states. Be sure to check your local laws on the county level because there might be some health department regulations prohibiting the use of CBD.

About author:

Terry Williams is a dietitian nutritionist and CBD enthusiast. He received his BA degree in nutrition from the University of Illinois at Chicago and MA from the New York Institute of Technology. He strives to help spread information about various hemp usages and educate the public on dietary matters. In his free time, Terry reads science fiction and plays volleyball.