Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil | Everything you need to know and more!

Jan 03 , 2019

CBD hemp

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil | Everything you need to know and more!


Perhaps one of the first questions a newbie to medicating with cannabis asks is ‘What is CBD?’ CBD,  cannabidiol, is an extract of the flower, or buds, of marijuana or hemp plants: CBD is a non-psychoactive medicinal compound that treats a variety of ailments such as inflammation, pain, anxiety, psychosis, seizures, spasms, and other conditions without getting you high, couch-locked or anxious. Another understandable question you might ask would be, ‘What is hemp?’ Hemp and marijuana are both species of cannabis; hemp is also non-psychoactive – because it has no THC, the main ingredient in pot that gets you high, hemp is grown mostly for industrial applications, while marijuana is grown strictly for recreational and medicinal purposes. So, hemp oil vs CBD oil, what’s the difference and what is the big deal with either of them? To understand the similarities and differences of hemp oil vs CBD oil, we’ll break down both separately, comparing and contrasting them as we go.

A drop of CBD oil from a cannabis leaf, image from The CBD Guy 904 on Instagram
(A drop of CBD oil from a cannabis leaf, image from The CBD Guy 904 on Instagram)

What is CBD Oil All About?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is a highly beneficial chemical compound found in both marijuana and hemp plants that can be taken medicinally for its natural pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as to treat epileptic seizures and many other neurological symptoms and disorders, plus to fight the spread of cancer, reduce anxiety, even help with acne and so much more!

What then is CBD oil and how is CBD oil made? Step one in making CBD oil is growing and harvesting cannabis plants that contain particularly high concentrations of CBD, extracting it from those varieties that are naturally abounding in CBD yet very low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of marijuana that makes you feel high. So, does CBD make you high? Does CBD oil have THC? No, it has practically no THC and so it cannot get you high.

Most CBD oil medicinals are made from CBD extracted from hemp plants, which can be cultivated particularly for CBD potency. The extraction process involves using supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) as a solvent, which has been classified by the American Food and Drug Association as perfectly safe for commercial CBD extraction. During extraction, the supercritical carbon dioxide is forced through ground plant material, separating out CBD, essential oils, lipids, and other beneficial compounds. When the solvent is then burned off or strained away, you are left with oil that is naturally high in CBD.

What color is CBD oil? Raw CBD oil is dark green in color because it contains phytochemicals, chlorophyll, and some raw pot plant material; heat-refined decarboxylated, or activated, CBD oil is often dark brown in color; the highest quality filtered CBD oil has been decarboxylated and had the chlorophyll and raw pot plant material strained off leaving a golden yellow color.

They even make CBD oils for pets, image from Jade the Sable GCD on Instagram

CBD oil uses include pain relief for both chronic and periodic pain issues, reducing anxiety and depression, and helping reduce cancer symptoms and cancer treatment side effects such as nausea, dizziness, vomiting and pain.

Some people may have heard of MCT, or medium-chain triglycerides, a good fat found in things like coconut oil, that has beneficial effects on your brain and body, much like CBD: increased brain function and clearer thinking, increased metabolic rate for easier weight maintenance, and balancing the levels between good and bad bacteria in your stomach and intestines to promote wellness, comfort and immune system support. When it comes to MCT oil vs CBD oil, medium-chain triglyceride oils are a strong binding agent for cannabinoids making them excellent carriers for CBD absorption in your body: CBD and MCT have similar effects and can actually enhance each other when taken together.

Another type of oil that some people confuse with CBD oil is RSO or Rick Simpson Oil, some mistakenly calling RSO Rick Simpson Hemp oil. Hemp oil, CBD oil and RSO are all concentrations of cannabinoids but RSO is a whole plant cannabis oil containing high amounts of THC and other key cannabinoids. RSO contains many more and stronger cannabinoids than CBD oil or hemp oil. RSO gives users greater benefits and a much more euphoric medicating experience than either CBD oil or hemp oil. The tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in RSO, also known as cannabis oil, offers very therapeutic benefits for conditions such as glaucoma, epilepsy, Alzheimer's and dementia, chronic pain and cancer. Many medical marijuana patients prefer treating with whole plant cannabis oils like RSO moreso than individual cannabinoid oils like CBD oil or CBD hemp oil because RSO and cannabis oils give stronger more wide-ranging benefits. Like RSO, hash oil is a whole plant cannabis oil containing high amounts of THC and other key cannabinoids – thus is far stronger than either CBD oil or hemp oil. Hash oil pills would contain significant amounts of THC; CBD oil or hemp oil pills contain some CBD but no THC.

Here is a vid where a gal talks about her experiences using CBD oil for anxiety:

What is Hemp Oil, How to Use Hemp Oil and What are Hemp Oil Benefits?

A major difference between hemp and marijuana, both cannabis sativa plants, is that marijuana has been cultivated to concentrate high levels of THC (we, personally, have done weed as high as 29% THC), in a pot plant’s buds or nugs, the flowers, yet hemp - grown in Europe to make textiles, paper, biofuels, bio-concrete , nutritional supplements, and foods like hemp milk - contains less than 0.3% THC.  

And so, similarly to what we wondered about CBD oil above, we could ask ‘What is hemp oil’ and ‘What are hemp oil benefits?’ Hemp oil is made from the cold-pressed seeds of the hemp cannabis plant.  There is also full spectrum hemp extract oil, also known as phytocannabinoid rich oil or PCR oil, made from the entire hemp plant – all of it, leaf, seed and stem - with organic terpenes, flavonoids, organic CBD and other hemp cannabinoids, or phytonutrients, also extracted from the hemp plant. Raw hemp oil is from the seeds only and unrefined, and thus contains more pure hemp oil CBD than regular hemp oil and PCR oil. Hemp oil benefits include improved brain function, healthier skin and hair, improved mood, boosted immune system, and better heart health.

Like CBD oil, hemp oil cannot make you high – because there is only the teeny tiniest amounts of THC, under 0.3%; however, hemp oil does have CBD, normally less than 25 parts per million compared to medicinal cannabis oil extracts that typically contain between 3% and 25% CBD. What is hemp oil good for? Low-CBD hemp oil is good for improvement in mood, overall contentment, and concentration; higher-level PCR hemp oil is also good for physical and emotional health – PCR hemp oil for anxiety eases symptoms and PCR hemp oil treats bodily pain and inflammation.

Is hemp oil the same CBD oil? No, because hemp oil contains very low levels of CBD, less than 25 parts per million, whereas CBD oil can have up to 25% CBD content. And when it comes to PCR vs CBD; CBD oil is CBD isolate only, but PCR hemp oil contains other medically beneficial phytocannabinoids, terpenes for smell and flavonoids for taste, in addition to low-levels of CBD.

One type of rarefied hemp oil is anhydrous hemp oil,  a phytocannabinoid-rich extract from hemp that is  pharmaceutical grade non-GMO 99% pure CBD isolate.

Cinnamon flavored full spectrum hemp oil, image from JSBM99 on Instagram
(Cinnamon flavored full spectrum hemp oil, image from JSBM99 on Instagram)

There is also hemp essential oil, which comes from the upper leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, not from hemp seeds like hemp oil. Hemp plant leaves and flowers are steam-distilled to isolate the pure essence of the plant. Hemp essential oil is light yellow to pale green in color and, when heated, gives off a highly concentrated therapeutic aroma. It takes over fifty pounds of hemp leaves and flowers to make an ounce of hemp essential oil, making it one of the most expensive oils in the world. Hemp essential oil contains no THC or CBD.

Regarding how to use hemp oil for pain, inflammation, anxiety and overall well-being,  you have a number of options:

  • You can put a few drops of  hemp oil or PCR hemp oil under your tongue for nearly immediate effect.
  • You can use hemp oil in your cooking; making hemp oil one of your ingredients by adding a few drops when you are baking brownies, making cookies, or even dropping a few hemp oil drops into your salad dressing or soup. The effects from hemp oil edibles, or hemp medibles, won’t kick in for 30 minutes to around an hour or so, but more quickly on an empty stomach.
  • Hemp capsules are another how to use hemp oil approach.  Hemp capsules take longer to break down in your digestive system and enter your bloodstream, so you won’t feel the effects as quickly as hemp oil drops under your tongue; it takes about half an hour or more for the effects to reach full – much like hemp edibles.
  • Topical hemp creams made with hemp oil can be used to massage aching muscles or apply topically to areas with pain and swelling. Topical hemp cream effects are felt fairly immediately but won’t last as long as edible hemp oil.
  • e-liquid hemp oils for use in vaporizers or vape pens are another way how to use hemp oil.

Here is an informative video on the benefits and uses of hemp seed oil:

Buying – How to get Your Hands On CBD Oil or Hemp Oil:

After pouring oceans of info into your head regarding CBD oil, hemp oil, PCR hemp oil as well as CBD uses and organic hemp oil benefits, you might be curious about buying and trying some of these things yourself! Here is a sampling of different CBD oil and hemp oil products, as well as where you can buy them. First off, hemp products, at this time, are largely unregulated throughout the United States, Europe and Canada – so you can currently buy many hemp-based products at health food stores, nutritional supplement stores or even homeopathic healing shops. However, some politicians and bureaucrats do question hemp oil benefits and what hemp oil is good for and there has been talk of regulating hemp and CBD, moreso with CBD because of its association with marijuana and THC.

  • Nutiva Hemp Oil (CBD) – Nutiva sells an organic hemp oil that is cold-pressed and unrefined - so raw hemp oil - containing no dairy products or sweeteners and with an ideal 3:1 hemp omega-6 to hemp omega-3 ratio as well as hemp cannabinoids like CBD. 8oz costs $4.39 USD plus shipping.

    Some have claimed Nutiva Hemp Oil has cancer-fighting properties – as have other brands and types of hemp oil cancer treatments - but the  American FDA currently prohibits any supplier from making unsubstantiated health claims about using hemp oil or advocating that hemp oil successfully treats certain conditions like cancer.

Nutiva hemp products and raw shelled hemp seeds, image from Healthy Room UA on Instagram
(Nutiva hemp products and raw shelled hemp seeds, image from Healthy Room UA on Instagram)

  • Manitoba Harvest Hemp Oil (CBD oil-free) – Manitoba Harvest sells 1000 mg, 120 count hemp oil soft gels on Amazon for $11.07 (with free shipping)  that have the same hemp omega-6 to hemp omega-3 ratio as the Nutiva Hemp Oil and are certified non-GMO with no additives. 
  • Nurse Hemp Oil for pain relief -  Nurse Hemp Oil sells full spectrum hemp extract on Amazon for 1 fluid oz of 1560mg hemp CBD oil tincture for $35.99 with free shipping. Nurse Hemp Oil claims their hemp oil is also loaded with omega-3 & 6 fatty acids, that their organic hemp oil promotes overall health and wellness when combined with a regular workout routine and diet, and that their products are made in the USA, in an FDA-approved facility.
  • Med 7 CBD Oil – Med 7 CBD Oil notes that it delivers a full spectrum CBD product that is extremely fast-acting with an 85% bio-absorbability to help promote pain management for a wide range of common symptoms, but it is sold only through licensed healthcare professional offices. Med 7 CBD Oil comes in a 8 oz/60mL hemp CBD oil that costs $129.95.
  • Sky CBD Oil - Sky CBD Oil is actually full spectrum PCR oil, and Sky says their organic cultivation results in unmatched purity; a highly concentrated hemp oil that is non-GMO, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free. Sky PCR hemp oil comes in 250mg, 500mg, 750mg, 1000mg, 1500mg and 1 ounce sizes and they offer both full-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate. Sky CBD 1000mg 30ml Natural Flavor Full Spectrum Hemp CBD OIL Drops run $99.24 USD.

Various CBD products, image from Simple Releaf on Instagram
(Various CBD products, image from Simple Releaf on Instagram)


If you understand the steps and processes in how CBD oil is made or how to make hemp oil and the differences between the two oils, then you can make informed decisions about the type of hemp oil vs CBD oil that is right for you. Raw CBD oil contains phytochemicals, chlorophyll, and some raw pot plant material; where as CBD distillate contains only pure CBD. Likewise, PCR hemp oil contains other medically beneficial phytocannabinoids, terpenes for smell, and flavonoids for taste, in addition to low-levels of CBD; but anhydrous hemp oil tends to be more of a pure CBD hemp isolate. It can be confusing because lack of regulation allows for some manufacturers to use the terms ‘hemp oil’ and ‘CBD oil’ interchangeably, but it isn’t rocket science -  CBD oil can be from 3% and 25% CBD by volume, whereas hemp oil is usually less than 1% CBD, in fact less than 25 parts per million. As far as ‘Does CBD oil contain THC?’, ‘Does CBD make you high?’ or ‘Does hemp oil make you high?’, the answer is no, because neither hemp oil nor CBD oil have appreciable amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid component of marijuana.

What is hemp oil good for? In turns of hemp oil benefits or CBD oil uses, both have similar effects because both are forms of the cannabis sativa plant; but hemp oil tends to be far weaker because there is far less CBD in hemp. However, both hemp oil and CBD oil can be used to treat a number of ailments; and those versions of either hemp oil or CBD oil that contain more plant matter, phytochemicals and other phytocannabinoids tend to treat more varied mental and physical conditions. Some things that can be treated with hemp oil and CBD oil include pain, anxiety, inflammation, acne, seizures and possibly even some cancer therapy side-effects like nausea.

Topical hemp facial spray, image from Gracious Om on Instagram
(Topical hemp facial spray, image from Gracious Om on Instagram)

If you are wondering ‘How to use hemp oil for pain?’ or ‘What is the best CBD oil for seizures?’ then we can tell you that you can put a few drops of either hemp oil or CBD oil under your tongue, you can use hemp oil or CBD oil in cooking, or take hemp oil or CBD oil in capsule or pill form, there are topical hemp and CBD oil creams, you can also use e-liquid hemp oils and CBD oil cartridges to vaporize. The best CBD oil for seizures is actually the lower dosages because clinical trial research has found that less is more with CBD and seizures; a 10-milligram (mg) daily dose of pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol (CBD) seems to produce a great reduction in seizures in a number of patients. You can more easily purchase hemp oil products than CBD oil products because hemp oil contains less CBD and is therefore less regulated.

Now you can make some informed decisions about hemp oil vs CBD oil; you know what CBD is, you know what hemp is, you have learned about how CBD oil is made, the difference between hemp and marijuana, you got the skinny on phytocannabinoid rich oil, and maybe understand better the difference between Rick Simpson Oil (RSO) vs CBD. With your newly-acquired hemp oil and CBD oil knowledge in hand, you can now try the various hemp oil and CBD oil products for yourself and see if hemp oil benefits and CBD oil uses work effectively for you.

Here is one more video from a woman comparing and contrasting full-spectrum hemp oil and CBD oil (just in case the article was TLDR, too long didn’t read):

Researched and written by David and Leah Kaye Weathers.

 David and Leah Kaye Weathers David and Leah Kaye Weathers are a freelance cannabis writing and graphic designing husband and wife team from Lansing, Michigan. They are passionate advocates for medical and recreational cannabis legalization in the United States. They enjoy not only smoking and vaping, or dabbing, marijuana but also cooking with weed infused veggie oil. They like to spend their free time wandering along nature trails in search of the perfectly chillaxing spot for a smoke sesh.
(Cover image: CBD oil bottles and dropper, image courtesy of The Green Marine Biologist on Instagram)

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