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Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil: What's the difference?

Hemp Seed Oil vs. CBD Oil:  What’s the difference?

Since CBD and hemp-based products have been rapidly gaining popularity, it has led to massive confusion, misinformation, and misuse of terminology. The ever-changing laws and regulations have only added to the confusion. Since all of these products come from hemp, how are they different? How can you tell what you are paying for?

To understand the difference between “hemp seed oil” and “CBD oil”, let’s first start with the terminology. 

  • CBD Oil: Extracted from the whole plant, or the leaves and flowers. Contains high concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes.
  • Hemp Oil: A broad term that could potentially refer to any oil extracted from the hemp plant.
  • Hemp Seed Oil: Extracted from hemp seeds. Hemp seed oil does not contain any cannabinoids and is often used for cooking or in beauty products.
  • Hemp Extract Oil: Could potentially refer to any extract from the hemp plant. Typically refers to whole plant extract, is often interchanged with CBD oil.

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil, comes from - you guessed it - the seed of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa). The seeds do not contain CBD, but they have a variety of other beneficial qualities that make them desirable, including fatty acids and bioactive compounds.


What is in Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil has omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, Gamma Linolenic Acid and other antioxidants. It also contains vitamins B and D. Because it doesn’t come from the leaves or flowers, it does NOT contain any cannabinoids, such as CBD or THC.


What Can Hemp Seed Oil do?

The oil is primarily used as a nutritional supplement in food or in skincare products, because of the composition of fatty acids and vitamins. Hemp seed oil is also sometimes used in the production of fabrics.

Because of the nutritional content, it can be good for your cholesterol and triglycerides, all of which benefit your cardiovascular health. Other possible benefits may include improved digestion, enhanced immune function, and healthier skin.


What is CBD Oil?

While CBD Oil is a widely used term, let’s take a look at the three most common types.

  • Full spectrum CBD oil contains all of the compounds of the cannabis plant- including THC, but in very low concentrations (<0.3%).
  • Broad spectrum CBD oil is very similar to full spectrum, but it has been through further processing to remove the THC. 
  • Isolate based CBD oil is the most processed version. CBD has been isolated and crystallized. This product would only contain CBD (no other cannabinoids, terpenes, etc.) 

CBD, along with other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and some plant material is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. It is then further processed to remove unwanted materials. That raw oil is then combined with a carrier oil, like MCT oil, to create the CBD oil product you purchase.


When in doubt, look for a COA (Certificate of Analysis). Check lab tests to ensure the product you are considering actually contains CBD, and contains the advertised amount of CBD. Generally, CBD companies will have 3rd party lab testing on each batch to ensure potency and quality and will be able to provide a lab test, also known as a certificate of analysis. 

How does CBD work?

CBD oil reacts with the body in certain ways, but research is ongoing. What we know right now is this:

We also have CB1 and CB2 receptors that make up our internal endocannabinoid system. THC binds to the CB1 receptor which produces its psychoactive “high”, which you shouldn’t experience with the low levels found in full spectrum CBD oil. CBD does not bind to those receptors, instead, it is believed to prevent endocannabinoids from being broken down and allowing them to have an enhanced effect on the body. 

How is CBD used?

What does all of this mean for your health? Well, a lot, really. CBD is enormously useful in many ways.

CBD oil is an anti-inflammatory. It is being further researched for use cases, but is currently used predominately for anxiety, epilepsy, depression, and pain.

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil

Does CBD Oil or Hemp Seed Oil Have Any Side-Effects?

Both CBD oil and hemp seed oil are considered safe with limited side effects.

Studies focused on the FDA-approved CBD drug, Epidiolex (treatment for epilepsy) did report some rare side effects, including fatigue, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and elevated liver function. 


Check The Package

Make sure that your CBD comes from a reliable source and has a COA. Be sure to check labels of CBD products to ensure quality and accuracy and that you’re getting the product you are looking for (broad spectrum vs. full spectrum, for example).

Verify that you are getting a CBD product and that it is not just hemp seed oil. Avoid products that claim they have 50,000mg + of hemp oil, similar to products sold on Amazon, as those do not contain CBD. It is common to find cheap products labeled as “hemp oil” that primarily contain hemp seed oil and do not have a cannabinoid profile. 

Also, it’s worth noting that the FDA has sent warning letters to companies making false claims about the qualities of both CBD and hemp seed oil, advertising them as cures for specific problems. Always be wary of a company that claims their product cures any ailment or disease. Be sure to check with your doctor or medical professional before you start using CBD products.