When considering the differences between hemp oil and CBD oil, it’s good to look at the broader picture. Both marijuana and hemp are varieties of the cannabis plant (hemp is Cannabis sativa , while marijuana is Cannabis indica ). The main difference between hemp and marijuana is that while marijuana contains up to 30% of the psychoactive compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), hemp contains virtually none (typically below 0.3%). So essentially, marijuana will get you high and hemp won’t.
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CBD can be extracted from both marijuana and hemp. However, as marijuana is illegal in most places, much of the CBD you’ll find on the market is made from hemp.
Put simply, CBD restores homeostasis (the body’s natural balance). It works in the endocannabinoid system by activating two of its core receptors (known as CB1 and CB2), which regulate mood, temperature, cognitive function and muscle repair.
Truth be told, oftentimes, you’ll see the cannabis plant touted on a label, but the specific ingredient being used isn’t so crystal clear. And there are any number of ingredients that can come from the cannabis or hemp plants from hemp oil to CBD oil to cannabis sativa seed oil, each of which have their own unique benefits, despite often being used interchangeably. To clear up the confusion, I sought out advice from the pros.
These days, the green-washing on CBD products can be hard to navigate, and the vocab one needs to navigate the CBD-lined shelves is extensive to say the least. Brands want to get in on the much-praised benefits, after all—but the issue here is that the terms being marketed under the “cannabis” umbrella aren’t all the same thing.
Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is relative to many other carrier oils—along the lines of sunflower seed oil and jojoba oil—in that it’s a cold-pressed extract from seeds. “Hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, is perfectly good seed oil that’s high in antioxidants, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, but contains no CBD,” explains Capobianco. “Hemp seed or cannabis sativa seed oil has been available in health food stores for decades and abundantly present in smoothies and skin care.”
The cannabinoid itself is a potent, highly anti-inflammatory antioxidant. “It’s been shown in multiple studies to reduce lipid product from the sebaceous glands—and the overproduction of this sebum is what leads to acne,” says Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, a new online CBD retail destination. You’ll see it on product labels as the following terms: CBD, hemp CBD, and phytocannabinoid-rich hemp oil. Hence the obvious confusion.
So this means it has absolutely no cannabinoids in it—not CBD, THC, or CBN, says Lewis. “It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” she says. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin—it has a comedogenic rating of zero.” It shows up on the product label as hemp seed oil, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, virgin hemp oil, and hemp oil.