Hemp & CBD Oil Explained

With a market cap projected to hit $22 billion by 2022, CBD is the new hot health supplement taking the world by storm. As with anything rising so quickly to notoriety, there is likely to be some confusion with regards to the terminology surrounding the product, and even from which plants or sources CBD is derived from.

A quick Google search for those not in the know will likely leave their head spinning with terms ranging from hemp and terpenes, to cannabis, cannabidiol, and cannabinoids. Even some manufacturers use different terminology to describe their product, complicating matters further.

Today we’re going to clear up some of the confusion by highlighting the differences between CBD oil and hemp oil as well as the benefits of each so you’ll know exactly what to look for the next time you’re in search of a quality CBD product.


CBD is short for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol represents one of over 100 known cannabinoids found in cannabis. It can be derived from both marijuana and hemp. This naturally occurring compound purportedly has a myriad of health benefits when consumed, and unlike the cannabinoid THC, it is not psychoactive (meaning you won’t get high from it).

CBD oil can come from:

  • Hemp (not the same as hemp oil)
  • Cannabis
  • Marijuana

Full Spectrum CBD: from cannabis or marijuana

CBD that comes from marijuana or cannabis is often referred to as “full spectrum” CBD oil. This oil is usually comprised of both CBD and a full spectrum of other naturally occurring cannabinoids in various proportions.

It is important to note that CBD derived from marijuana and cannabis, and that which contains over 0.03% levels of THC is federally illegal in all 50 United States, and legal at the state level only in those states which allow medicinal or recreational marijuana.

Full spectrum CBD, while unlikely to make you high in the same way that marijuana does, can cause some impairment of cognitive function and reaction times, and is thus not recommended for use if you need to operate a motor vehicle or f you have any other adult responsibilities, such as work, school or caring after children. Because cannabis and/or CBD derived from marijuana also contains THC, this type of CBD oil may also cause you to fail a drug test.

Isolate CBD (usually from hemp)

Isolate CBD, as the name suggests, is a pure (or near pure) isolation of cannabidiol only. This type of CBD oil is normally derived from hemp and contains less than 0.03% THC in order to comply with the 2018 Farm Bill passed into law in the United States. CBD oil from hemp that meets these standards is legal in all 50 states for manufacturing, sale, possession and use.

Further, CBD isolate is the best choice for those that need relief from the compound while at work, while driving a motor vehicle, or that have other responsibilities. Some jobs also drug test randomly, and third-party tested CBD for purity should not pose an issue for those that are drug tested at work or due to a court-mandated order.

Lastly, there are some conditions for which an isolated form of pure CBD may prove more beneficial than a full-spectrum oil.

Hemp Oil (hint, it contains no CBD)

This is where things can get confusing. You see, most CBD oils are actually made from hemp which would beg the question why anyone would label a product as hemp oil and claim that it’s a different thing.

Well, most products with the label hemp oil are actually extracted from hemp seeds rather than the crop itself. Funnily enough, it’s more closely related to sunflower seed oil or jojoba oil than it is to CBD seeing as there are no cannabinoids present in it whatsoever.

Understanding the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is crucial to ensure that you treat your disease properly. You might be ingesting oil on the daily wondering why your pain isn’t going away only to find out that you’ve been drinking seeds rather than taking in beneficial cannabinoids.

While CBD is more a recent trend due to the legalization of medical marijuana, hemp seed oil has actually been sold for decades as a healthy food. It’s one of the few products related to hemp that survived the war on marijuana waged by former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It’s even a good moisturizer for your skin.

How to Tell Them Apart

There are a few ways that you can distinguish the two products from one another. For one, if you’re trying to buy CBD then you could ask how much THC is contained in the product. If they say 0.3% or a similar number then you’re absolutely buying CBD.

If they ask what THC is, you’re buying hemp seed oil. Another thing to factor in is the location. If you’re buying the product at a medical marijuana distillery then you’re most likely getting CBD as opposed to hemp oil.

If you’re buying the tincture in the makeup aisle of a convenience store then, more likely than not, you’re getting hemp oil that’s intended to be used as a skin moisturizer. If you still can’t figure out which of the two you’re buying then try reading the ingredients list located on the back of the product.

While the front label might have something generic like “cannabis” or “hemp,” the ingredients list on the back could be more descriptive saying either “cannabidiol” or hemp seed oil.” It’s worth noting that if you see trace amounts of THC in the ingredients list then that’s an indicator that you’re most likely buying CBD, not hemp oil.

Another workaround to all this confusion is to buy your products online. It’s much easier to tell what you’re buying online since you can refer to the brand or benefits listed on the website.

If the website you’re ordering from sells other medical cannabis products and lists the benefits of CBD then you’ll be sure that you’re buying the right type of hemp oil. Conversely, if you want to buy hemp seed oil, it will be easy to avoid CBD as all you need to do is log onto a beauty product site.

Uses of CBD Oil

While more research is underway, current data and outcomes suggest that CBD may help with a great many conditions and ailments. It holds so much promise that even big pharma is getting in on the action, with the FDA approving the first ever CBD-derived drug for epilepsy not that long ago.

As a powerful anti-inflammatory, CBD proves beneficial for a range of conditions for which inflammation is thought to be an underlying cause.

Such as:

Our bodies have what is known as an endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoids such as CBD engage and react with our body’s own ECS system in order to produce a number of systemic responses. CBD accomplishes this, in part, by attaching itself to the CB2 receptors in your brain and spine, which in turn signals neurochemicals that are transmitted throughout the body to elicit various physiological processes.

Now that you Know the Difference

We hope that you found this guide helpful. If you’ve made it to the end, you now can rank yourself among those “in the know” about CBD, where it comes from, and what to look for depending on your needs.

As always, be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen. CBD is considered safe for human consumption by the World Health Organization, but everyone reacts differently.