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

Dr Elizabeth
Dr Elizabeth

At fourfive we specialise in producing the best quality CBD oils. But sometimes it can be unclear just what’s in a CBD Oral Spray, or CBD Oral Drops. When it comes to cannabis-related products, the terminology used can conflate similar products: cannabinoids, cannabidiol, hemp-derived CBD, hemp oil. It’s easy for it all to blur into one.

This complex terminology is why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on the distinction between hemp oil and CBD oil. We’ve broken down the differences (and similarities) between the two in terms of background, process and intention, just for you.

What is CBD? How is it legal?

CBD oils and hemp oils are both extracted from hemp, which is part of why they’re often equated with one another. In fact, industrial hemp is used throughout much of the world in creating paper, textiles, and rope.

Hemp is a subset of Cannabis sativa, and has been bred to have low THC and high CBD. It’s primarily used for industrial purposes and biofuels, though its low THC content makes it perfect for creating both CBD oil and hemp oil. That’s why CBD, especially at fourfive, is legal, because of it’s 0% THC level.

What is hemp seed oil?

Despite our previous discussion of how hemp contains low THC and high CBD, hemp oil is distinguished by the fact that it has next to no cannabinoids whatsoever. Instead, hemp oil (or more specifically, hemp seed oil) is very much what it says on the tin. It’s an oily residue extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant.

Hemp seed oil has been sold in health retailers for many years oils due to the number of unsaturated fats they contain, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. However, since they only contain trace amounts of the cannabinoids and hemp compounds, they are used for wholly different reasons than CBD oils. 

What is CBD oil?

CBD is one of over 100 different cannabinoids found in plants in the cannabis genus, and is the second most prevalent after THC. However, CBD oil will nearly always have been harvested from hemp plants which have been specifically bred to have a higher CBD percentage.

CBD is extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant, through a series of different processes. Whether through solvents, or a CO2 supercritical extraction, the CBD can either be removed in isolation, or alongside other naturally-occurring substances.

Whereas hemp oil is an existing substance that is simply extracted, the process for CBD oil differs, depending on the desired end result. On one end of the spectrum, whole plant products contain the full array of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, waxes and oils found in the hemp plant, whilst pure CBD like ours is quite literally CBD by itself.

The distinction can be further muddied by the fact that CBD oil is blended with a CBD carrier oil rather than the finished product being oily itself, and one of these carriers often ends up being hemp seed oil.

CBD oil has a different purpose…

Hemp oil is primarily taken for its nutritional value. It’s particularly rich in two essential fatty acids as mentioned above, but it also contain a high level of protein, vitamin E, and several other minerals. Alongside its dietary uses, it also won’t get you high because it contains none of the psychotropic THC.

CBD oil, whilst also non-psychotropic, is focused primarily on cannabinoids. In broad and full spectrum products CBD is ingested alongside its natural partners from the hemp plant.

We also understand that CBD oils interact with our body in a fundamentally different way than hemp oils. Our body actually produces its own cannabinoids internally, in a network known as the endocannabinoid system. When we ingest cannabinoids, they interact with this existing series of cannabinoids and receptors.