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CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil: What’s the Difference?

For starters, one is medicinal, and the other is not.

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The popularity of CBD oil has grown faster than people’s understanding of it. It’s not surprising, then, that so many people are mistakenly buying the wrong products in their attempt to try CBD oil. The most common masquerader that fools consumers is hemp oil.

CBD oil and hemp oil are both derived from the plant cannabis sativa, but they’re not the same thing, and they won’t have the same effects on the body.

Hemp oil comes from industrial hemp, which is the term used to designate cannabis grown for food and fiber (not weed). Strains of cannabis used for industrial hemp are legally required to be low in THC, the cannabinoid that causes psychoactive and medicinal effects on the body. (Learn more about how cannabinoids work here.)

Depending on how the hemp oil is extracted, you can use it for different purposes:

  • Hemp oil is extracted from the stalk of industrial hemp. It’s used for a number of purposes: in cosmetics, moisturizers, supplements, and even paint.

  • Culinary hemp seed oil is an edible, cold-pressed oil that comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. It has a strong, nutty flavor and a low smoke point, so it’s used as a finishing oil (like sesame oil) and not recommended for frying. It’s rich in healthy polyunsaturated fat and fatty acids.

Although hemp oil doesn’t contain any CBD, it does have some health benefits. For example, hemp oil can make a great natural and eco-friendly moisturizer for the skin.

CBD oil is a concentrated form of CBD, an active compound (or “cannabinoid”) found in cannabis sativa. CBD is mechanically extracted from the stalks and buds of cannabis—particularly strains of cannabis that have a high ratio of CBD.

CBD oil has become popular thanks to its potential health benefits (although CBD is not the same as medical marijuana). Current research suggests CBD may help reduce pain, inflammation, and anxiety, according to the National Cancer Institute. Learn more about the research on CBD oil here.

CBD oil has become extremely popular, but take caution: Hemp oil is sometimes marketed like CBD oil to try to ride the coattails of the trend. It’s important to read labels carefully, do your research, and know your cannabis terms before making purchases.