Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Explaining the Difference

If you don’t know much about cannabidiol (CBD) oil or hemp oil, it can be a little bit difficult to understand what they are and the differences between the two.

The same terminology is used to describe both products; you will often see words and phrases like cannabinoids, hemp-derived, etc, making it easy for everything to blend into one giant blur.

For this reason, we have created this ultimate guide to describe what hemp oil and CBD oil are, their similarities and their differences. By the time you have finished reading, you will know everything you need to know.

The best place to start is to understand the difference between hemp and marijuana.

Hemp vs Marijuana:

Both CBD oil and hemp oil are extracted from the hemp plant. This is one of the reasons they are often described as the same product. Industrial hemp is used throughout the world for a variety of reasons, such as the creation of paper, rope and other textiles.

But isn’t the sale and use of cannabis illegal?

To help understand which is legal and which is not, the terms hemp and marijuana are used. The distinguishing factor that determines legality comes down to CBD, the substance used for CBD oil and THC, the substance that gets you high.

The cannabis plant has two genera: Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica

Hemp is derived from the former and has low levels of THC but high levels of CBD. This is the plant used for industrial purposes around the world.  The low concentration of THC makes it very useful for CBD oil and hemp oil.

On the other hand, marijuana can come from either the sativa or indica plant but it is referred to as any plant grown for recreational use. Marijuana tends to have high levels of THC and low levels of CBD.  So people seeking marijuana are interested in its psychoactive effects.

To sum up: hemp-with its low concentration of THC-is legal within the US. Conversely, marijuana is illegal due to its high concentration of THC. Extracts from the marijuana plant are illegal in the US under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act

This difference is key to understanding that CBD oil and hemp oil are both legal – as long as they are derived from hemp – so if you purchase either one online or from the shelf, you won’t get into trouble.

What Is Hemp Oil?

The previous section mentioned that hemp contains a low concentration of THC and a high concentration of CBD.

To be more precise, hemp oil contains little to no cannabinoids at all.  Hemp oil is simply the residue extracted from hemp seed oil – which is why, as stated previously, hemp seed oil is referred to as hemp oil.

The extraction of hemp oil is far easier than the process for extracting CBD oil. All that is needed is a cold-pressing of the seeds before the sediment is filtered from the resulting liquid.

On average, hemp seeds contain around 35% oil, with the remaining 65% good for other uses, such as animal feed and health and fitness supplements. The two differ in appearance, too – CBD oil is more of a golden brown, hemp seed oil has a distinctive deep green color.

You may have found hemp seed oil in other health products in the past. This is because the seeds contain a high number of healthy fats, including Omega 3 and Omega 6.

However, because they do not contain many cannabinoids as does CBD, hemp seed oil is mainly used for other reasons compared to CBD oil.

What Is CBD Oil?

The cannabis plant produces hundreds of different cannabinoids and CBD, along with THC, is the most common. However, most CBD oil is extracted from hemp plants that have been specifically grown to contain a higher percentage of CBD than other cannabinoids.

Once grown, CBD is extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant – specifically the trichomes of the plant that contain the compounds – courtesy of several processes, such as CO2 and solvents. The CBD is removed on its own or with other substances that occur naturally.

CBD oil is not a ready-made substance, unlike hemp oil that exists as it is once it has been extracted from the seed. Plant products have many different substances, such as cannabinoids, waxes and more in hemp plants. On the other hand, CBD isolate is exactly that – CBD isolated by itself.

CBD oil is mixed with carrier oils, meaning that the final product is not just the plant extract. One common carrier oil for CBD is, weirdly enough, hemp oil, so there is a chance that you can end up with a final product that can be classed as both CBD oil and hemp oil.

Can My Pet Take CBD Oil?

High-quality CBD oil and hemp oil are both safe for pet consumption. The amount that they can take will depend on their size and how active they are during the day.

Highly active pets can take larger doses; pets that don’t get much exercise should have smaller doses. Likewise, larger pets (e.g., horses) can tolerate bigger doses while little pets (e.g., hamsters) can only tolerate smaller doses.


Hemp oil and CBD oil both benefit the body. They provide it with many important macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals to function properly and also help to relieve pain and stress.

But they are different. Hemp oil contains low concentrations of THC and high concentrations of CBD, while CBD oil contains slightly higher concentrations of THC.

As long as you take hemp oil or CBD oil derived from the hemp plant, as opposed to the marijuana variant, you can be sure that the product is legal. As with all the variations of CBD oil, the ingredients will show how much THC is contained so you can choose how much CBD (and to some extent THC) you wish to be exposed to.


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