Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil – What’s The Difference?

Hemp Seed oil vs CBD oil - how to choose the right one for your skincare products. Hemp oil and CBD oil are both extracted from the same plant.

In this blog post I’m diving into the differences between CBD oil and hemp oil, two ingredients that have become popular in skincare products over the last few years.

Marijuana, Hemp or Cannabis?

In plant identification terms, all three are referred to as Cannabis Sativa. They all come from the same plant species. In general parlance, the terms marijuana and cannabis are used interchangeably, but it wasn’t always like that.

In the early 20th Century, anti-cannabis groups started using the word marijuana more frequently as a racist term. They wanted to demonize Mexican immigrants into the US, and their intention was to evoke strong anti-immigrant feelings. The term “reefer madness” was intentionally used as derogatory language. In modern days, people have reclaimed the word marijuana and deliberately use it to show they are not the same as those bigots. It has also been used as a slang term “Mary-Jane”.

The scientific name cannabis comes from the Latin and Greek words for the plant and has a much longer history of use and many organisations prefer to use this word to distance themselves from those dinosaur bigots. That is my choice too.

Cannabis refers to the entire plant species and all varieties, so hemp and cannabis are the same plant. However, the specific varieties within that genus do differ considerably.

Cannabis vs Hemp

Cannabis contains THC and CBD in varying ratios. Through selective plant cross-breeding over the last few decades, many strains have been developed that have very high THC levels and virtually no CBD content at all.

THC is the psychoactive compound which produces the feeling of being high. Even this term is confusing because being “high” makes many people think you are overexcited, energetic and out of control. The “high” I enjoy most of all is when I get quiet introspection, perhaps a bit giggly, clear thinking, pain relief, reduction in anxiety, muscular relaxation, and a feeling of being at peace with myself. Cannabis strains containing THC are used for recreational and medicinal use.

In recent years, even more cross-breeding and strain genetics are producing cannabis plants with THC as well as good levels of CBD. The terpene profile of the plant is also increasingly more important. You can read more about terpenes. This post covers the 14 Top Terpenes in Cannabis and Essential Oils.

Hemp, however, contains 0.3% or less THC by dry weight. That is not enough to feel high and so does not produce psychoactive effects. However, even the term “psychoactive” is a fluid term, and you may be intrigued by this blog post CBD Is Psychoactive: Understanding the Benefits and Misconceptions.

Industrial hemp is grown for fibre, food, cosmetics, and hempcrete (hemp based concrete). Different strains of industrial hemp are cultivated to have higher levels of CBD which can be extracted for commercial use. Hemp is always grown outdoors because it is a vigorous grower and can get pretty tall.

Hemp growing outdoors to produce hemp oil
Hemp growing outdoors to produce hemp oil

Local legislation varies hugely across the world and in many places it is legal to grow hemp to produce hemp oil which is pressed from the seeds of the plant, so is more correctly called hempseed oil. The seeds are usually cold-pressed to extract the oil, which contains no THC.

In some places it is not allowed to grow hemp to produce CBD oil. CBD is usually extracted from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant and CO2 extraction is a very effective way of collecting hemp extract.

How Do I Know if I Am Buying Good CBD Oil

Because of the extraction process, CBD oil is always more expensive than hemp oil. It’s a minefield though as labelling practices vary hugely. If possible, buy from a supplier that has a COA (Certificate Of Analysis) from an external assessor. Another way is to check the INCI on the label which tells you what else has been added to the oil. 

Another way is to make it yourself. This blog shows you how Olive Oil and Cannabis Infused CBD for Skin and Hair Care


When comparing hemp seed oil and CBD oil, it’s important to understand that they are two different products. Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant and does not contain any CBD.

On the other hand, CBD oil comes from the hemp plant and is a hemp-derived CBD product. CBD oil can be full spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate, depending on the extraction process. Hemp seed oil’s main benefits come from its use as a carrier oil, while CBD oil offers different benefits to CBD.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?

Hemp oil and CBD oil are two different products derived from the hemp plant. While both are extracted from the same plant, they come from different parts and have different uses. Hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant and does not contain significant amounts of CBD, whereas CBD oil is made from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the plant and is rich in CBD.

What are the main benefits of CBD Oil?

The main benefits of CBD oil include its potential to reduce pain and inflammation, alleviate anxiety and depression, improve sleep quality, and promote overall wellness without the psychoactive effects associated with THC. These are the Top 10 Cannabis Strains With High CBD Levels.

How is Hemp Seed Oil different from CBD Oil?

Hemp seed oil is extracted solely from the seeds of the hemp plant and does not contain significant amounts of CBD. On the other hand, CBD oil is derived from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the hemp plant and is rich in CBD content.

What are the benefits of Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp oil is rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health, skin health, and overall well-being. Hemp seed oil contains Vitamin E and is a great source of plant-based protein.

How is CBD Isolate different from Full-Spectrum CBD Oil?

CBD isolate contains only pure CBD without any other cannabinoids or compounds, while full-spectrum CBD oil contains a variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial compounds found in the hemp plant.

Can Hemp Seed Oil contain CBD?

Hemp seed oil does not typically contain significant amounts of CBD, as it is extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant, which do not contain high levels of cannabinoids.

glass laboratory flask with cannabis leaves

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