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Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil...Is There a Difference?

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil...Is There a Difference?

Published by David Nadel on Oct 25, 2020

A lot of us are fully familiar with terms like “hemp” and “CBD” since the hemp industry has grown so enormously and rapidly in recent years. But still, a lot of people are understandably confused by the way in which CBD and hemp differ, because the terms are commonly used interchangeably, at least as marketing is concerned.

Hence, there are differences between hemp oil and CBD oil, which are two widely popular products, which may or may not be the same thing, depending on the manufacturer. Knowing these differences will help you better choose a product suitable for your goals.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a member of the cannabis genus and is commonly referred to as “industrial hemp.” It’s been used for centuries for various purposes but suffered a decades-long legal hiccup up until recently. A member of the cannabis genus, hemp is essentially a cousin of marijuana, which is a psychoactive plant thanks to its high level of THC. However, hemp only contains a trace amount of THC – 0.3% or so, to be more precise.

Up until 2018, hemp had been a classified substance due to its belonging to the cannabis family. Then, the Farm Bill was enacted, which federally declassified hemp, making it legal and accessible to us all.

The hemp plant’s stalks are commonly used for producing fibers due to their unique strength and resilience. But cannabis enthusiasts typically seek out the flowering buds of the female hemp plant. That’s because within these buds exists a rich array of property-rich compounds that can be used for various internal purposes. There’s a variety of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and nutrients, which all may offer something quite useful to the human body. Furthermore, these flowering buds will not get you high, and are nontoxic to the human body.

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What is CBD?

Cannabidiol is the dominant compound found in the female hemp plant’s flowering buds. Being the most dominant compound, it’s the easiest to extract from hemp, which largely explains why it’s so much more popular than other compounds in the plant material.

CBD is also a cannabinoid, which is a unique type of compound that binds with cannabinoid receptors in the body. These cannabinoid receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is tasked with the role of homeostasis. Cannabinoid receptors are found in every bodily system, with each one regulating a specific bodily process. This is why CBD has been found in studies to potentially offer effects on pain, mood, digestion, and even neurological function.

It’s worth noting that just because CBD is the most popular compound in the hemp plant, that doesn’t mean that it’s the only one worth exploring. In fact, that notion is widely disputable. There are many unique compounds in hemp that can offer specific desirable properties, which is why hemp enthusiasts are always encouraged to experiment.

What is Hemp Extract?

Hemp extract describes an extract made from the flowers of the hemp plant. These flowers are put through a unique process that lifts the desirable compounds away from the raw plant material, so that a concentrate is created and used to be blended with other ingredients to produce a formula.

The Uniqueness of Hemp and CBD Oils

Now, here’s where things may get a little complicated. Hemp oil and CBD oil can be the same thing, or two totally different things. Allow us to explain.

“Hemp oil” and “CBD oil” are commercial terms, meaning that they’re used to sell products, and aren’t required to mean something specific. An example would be “CBD oil.” CBD oil can be made with pure cannabidiol extract, or an extract containing the entire chemical composition of the hemp plant. Logic would tell us that if the product contains pure CBD extract, it’s called “CBD oil,” and if it contains the whole plant chemical composition, it’s called “hemp oil.” But, these terms are used interchangeably, seemingly without rhyme nor reason.

To make matters more complicated, some products labeled “hemp oil” do not contain any CBD at all, nor any other cannabinoids, let alone terpenes. This is because an oil can be produced using any part of the hemp plant. We said that only the flowers of the hemp plant contain CBD. But, there’s hempseed oil, which is made from the seeds of the plant which contain none of these compounds. Hempseed oil is sometimes labeled as “hemp oil,” and is mainly used for cooking due to its high nutritional content.

So, how can you know what you’re actually getting, when these terms are used in such a disorganized fashion by most companies? Well, you need to look beyond the product name. A company should go above and beyond to clarify which hemp compounds are in their product, and which part of the hemp plant the oil comes from. You can find this either somewhere on the label, in the list of ingredients or on the company’s website.

Different Kinds of CBD Oil

There are, in fact, three types of hemp extract that can be used in a CBD oil. When we say CBD oil here, we’re talking about any oil-based product containing an extract of the hemp flower. So, if you want to make sure you’re getting the right type of oil product, look for one of these three terms.

Full Spectrum

Full spectrum hemp extract contains the complete array of cannabinoids, terpenes and other desirable compounds in the hemp plant, in the levels that naturally occur in the flowering buds of the female plant. This means that full spectrum CBD oil gives you not just CBD, but a wide spectrum of compounds that work together synergistically. A product labeled as “CBD oil” may, therefore, contain a lot more than just cannabidiol.

Broad Spectrum

This is a type of extract that contains all of the compounds in the flowers of the female hemp plant with the exception of THC. In this instance, the THC has been isolated and fully removed from the hemp extract to produce a THC-free formula.

CBD Isolate

An extract of pure cannabidiol, which has been isolated from the plant’s chemical composition and concentrated. Therefore, CBD oil containing CBD isolate will not give you any hemp compounds except for pure CBD itself.

Choosing the Right Type of Hemp Product for Your Wellness Goals

So, how can you know which type of CBD oil/hemp oil is right for you, if you’ve never actually tried it before?

Well, one great thing to keep in mind is that you can explore all different types of CBD oils freely as these compounds are known to be nontoxic.

Of course, before you select any type of oil product, you need to make sure that the quality is as high as possible. One great way to ensure this is to make sure that the hemp extract was tested by a third-party lab. This has become a standard procedure industry-wide and gives consumers confidence that the product has undergone rigorous testing to verify that it meets the proper standards and guidelines.

In reality, CBD isolate, broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD oils are all useful in their own way. It’s not like one is dramatically different from the other two in the sense that you’ll feel a major difference. Nor is one objectively better, as everyone is entitled to their own preferences, and has their own experiences with specific hemp compounds. Most start with full spectrum, however, because of the fact that they wish to explore all that hemp has to offer.

Just remember to check labels carefully before buying, because some companies are purposely vague with their wording in order to sell more product. For example, a product labeled as “hemp oil,” as we said, may not actually contain any cannabidiol at all.

Now You Know

Both CBD oil and hemp oil come from the hemp plant, and in may cases they are actually essentially the same thing. But sometimes, you’ll come across a hemp oil product that does not contain any CBD at all. This is why it’s important to know how to read labels and product descriptions carefully before making a purchase.