Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Common Misconceptions

There is a common misconception around hemp oil (hemp seed oil) vs. CBD oil (CBD hemp oil). The term “hemp” can be confusing, as it is often wrongfully referred to as the type of marijuana that is used for recreational and medicinal purposes. However, hemp is defined as a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products. Cannabis (often referred to as marijuana) and hemp are two different varieties of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, and CBD Isolate are all types of CBD oils derived from this plant using different extraction methods. Many CBD products are made from “hemp extract oil”— and the word “extract” is key. Despite sounding exactly the same as hemp seed oil, hemp extract oil is actually different. Hemp extract is another term for CBD oil, not to be confused with hemp oil.

The difference between hemp oil and CBD oil can be defined by five categories, as described below:


The Cannabis plant has three different species: Indica, Sativa, and Ruderalis. Much of the confusion around the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is because they are derived from the same plant, Cannabis sativa. However, most people are unaware they come from different strains. Hemp oil is derived from a strain which has an extremely low cannabinoid count, while CBD oil is derived from a strain with a higher cannabinoid count.

Plant Derivatives

CBD oil and hemp oil are produced from different parts of their respective plants. CBD is produced from the flowers, leaves, buds, and stalks of the Cannabis sativa plant, while hemp oil is produced from the seeds of the plant (just like oils derived from olives, almonds, and coconuts) [1].

Amount of Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are derived compounds and substances present in Cannabis sativa [2]. There are over 144 different cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, exhibiting varied effects. Hemp oil and CBD oil are both low in THC when compared to other marijuana products. Most countries (including the U.S.) require 0.3% THC concentration or lower to be considered hemp. This means you will not experience the psychoactive effects with such a low percentage; neither hemp oil nor CBD oil will make you feel ‘high.’ Hemp oil contains about 3.5% of CBD (which is nearly non-existent), while CBD oil contains about 20% CBD on average [1]. It’s important to note if you are using products multiple times a day or applying multiple doses, there is a chance you may feel psychoactive effects.


Hemp oil is a substance suitable for consumption as food as well as for various industrial purposes. Hemp oil is high in omega-3 and omega-6, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B2, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats [3]; the main benefits of hemp oil are nutritional. CBD oil is known for it’s medicinal properties and series of benefits from the range of cannabinoids included.


Hemp oil is produced by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. Before the seeds are pressed, they are cleaned, removing 99.99% of residual plant matter. Hemp seeds typically contain 30–35% oil by weight, although some varieties contain up to 50% oil [4]. CBD oil is produced through a process called solvent extraction. There are four main types of solvent extraction methods: Carbon Dioxide extraction (CO₂), steam distillation, hydrocarbon solvent extraction, and natural solvent extraction. CO₂ Extraction is the most common method used in the production of CBD oil [5].

As a consumer, it is extremely important to know the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil. These terms are widely used interchangeably but will produce vastly different products. If you are searching for a product that will give you the benefits of cannabinoids for medicinal purposes, use products that contain Full-Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum, CBD Isolate, or CBD extract. 

 Related Tag: Healthy Skin Care Products


[1] Franciosi, Anthony. “Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: What's The Difference?” Honest Marijuana Company, 3 Apr. 2020, honestmarijuana.com/hemp-oil-vs-cbd-oil

[2] “Cannabinoids.” The Free Dictionary, Farlex, medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/cannabinoids.

[3] Moody, John, et al. “Hemp Seed Oil: Hip but Is It Healthy?” The Healthy Home Economist, 16 Oct. 2019, www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/hemp-seed-oil/, .5-1.5% 6 more rows.

[4] “Hemp.” Official ADAPT 2030 Website Keeping Your Families Grand Solar Minimum Preparedwww.oilseedcrops.org/hemp/.

[5] “CBD Extraction Methods: How CBD Oil Is Made.” CBD Awareness Project, 30 Mar. 2019, www.cbdoil.org/cbd-extraction-methods/.


Author: Katrina Harren

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