What’s The Difference – Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil?

Fact: You can’t buy real CBD oil on Amazon

(they sell Hemp Seed oil). It is on there policy here: Examples of prohibited listings

Few cannabis-related questions create as much controversy and discussion as “What is hemp oil vs. CBD oil?” The confusion stems from the use of the word “hemp” to refer to the type of marijuana that is used for recreational or medicinal purposes. As you’ll see, hemp oil and CBD oil are drastically different cannabis products.

Not long ago we noticed that Amazon and many other local and online stores started selling hemp oil products from various vendors (or “cannabis” oils, as they’re sometimes labeling them). This aroused our suspicions to say the least, and we immediately knew that we had to dig a little deeper to see what kind of oils these actually were – because after all, there is a massive difference between true cannabis CBD oil, and generic hemp (or “hemp seed”) oil.

When it comes down to it, it’s likely evident that the rise in popularity and dramatic increase in CBD oil use over the past couple of years has given rise to these vendors, who are probably just trying to cash in on the current marijuana craze.

As a consumer, though, you need to make sure that you know what the difference is between a quality CBD oil, and the stuff that they’re selling – hopefully, this is where we can come in and be of some assistance.

In this article we will show you what separates hemp oil from CBD oil, and why using the word “hemp” as a general term for marijuana products is incorrect. We’ll focus our discussion on five specific variations between hemp oil and CBD oil:

  1. Species of origin.
  2. Parts used to produce the oil.
  3. Cannabinoid content.
  4. Uses.
  5. Production method.

We’ll also compare hemp oil vs. CBD oil in a simple table to help you see the differences side by side. Before we get to that, let’s start at the beginning and investigate where hemp oil and CBD oil come from.

1) Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Species Of Origin

Hemp cannabis plant

On the surface, hemp oil and CBD oil may appear to be the same thing. This is largely due to the first fact we will discuss: they both come from the same plant species.

They Both Come From The Same Plant Species

The cannabis plant belongs to the genus Cannabis, hence the name. Within that genus, there are three species:

  • Indica.
  • Sativa.
  • Ruderalis.

Strains from Cannabis indicaCannabis sativa, and hybrids of the two (e.g., Blue Dream, Cherry OG, and Kandy Kush) make up the bulk of the products you can find at your local dispensary. Cannabis ruderalis, on the other hand, is considered a feral species, meaning that it grows in the wild. In addition, Cannabis ruderalis is naturally low in THC.

Hemp oil and CBD oil both come from the plant Cannabis sativa, although some research shows that hemp is more genetically similar to Cannabis indica. That brings us to our next point.

Each One Comes From A Different Strain Of That Species

Hemp oil and CBD oil come from different strains of the Cannabis sativa plant. The vast, and always growing, number of marijuana strains is an example of how growers can breed plants to exhibit high degrees of various traits (e.g., flavor, aroma, color, THC and CBD count). But strains can also be created that exhibit low degrees of these same traits.

So even though hemp oil and CBD oil come from the same genus and species (Cannabis sativa), hemp oil is derived from a strain that has a very low cannabinoid count (more on that later). CBD oil, on the other hand, is derived from the strains you can find in your local dispensary. Many growers refer to the hemp plant as a cousin of the plant that produces your Fruity Pebbles and your Yoda OG.

Another way to think about the difference between the two plants is by comparing them to roses. There are many different varieties of roses. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Even though they differ in a great many ways, they are still roses and their genealogy can be traced back to the original rose plant. Much like yellow roses and white roses are to the original red rose, the hemp plant is a relative (a cousin) of the Cannabis sativa plant.

Now, let’s look at the second of the five major differences between hemp oil and CBD oil: the parts used to produce the oil.

2) Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Parts Used to Produce The Oil

Cannabis oil containers

In addition to being derived from slightly different strains of the same plant, hemp oil and CBD oil are produced from different parts of their respective plants.

Hemp oil is produced from the seeds of the hemp plant, much like oils derived from olives, almonds, and coconuts. CBD is produced from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the Cannabis sativa plant.

That doesn’t mean that the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the hemp plant don’t have a purpose. As you’ll see in section four, all parts of the hemp plant can be used in one form or another. The key thing to remember about hemp is that it is NOT psychoactive or medicinal like the Cannabis sativaplant. This is because the hemp plant is very low in cannabinoids.

A Bit About Cannabinoids


Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptors in your brain. Delta9-Tetrahydrocannbinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two of the most well-known cannabinoids. Others include:

  • Cannabigerolic acid (CBGA).
  • Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA).
  • Cannabidiolic acid (CBDA).
  • Cannabichromenate (CBCA).
  • Cannabichromene (CBC).
  • Cannabigerol (CBG).
  • Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
  • Cannabinol (CBN).

And this is, by no means, an exhaustive list. As of this writing, there are 113 different cannabinoids that each contribute their own part to the psychoactive and medicinal experience. So why learn about cannabinoids? Because cannabinoid content is a major component of the hemp oil vs. CBD oil debate.

3) Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Cannabinoid Content

Cannabinoid content

Marijuana growers typically focus on the two main cannabinoids: THC and CBD. They cross strains to create new versions that increase one cannabinoid while decreasing the other. For example, CBD has been shown to be extremely useful in treating many medical problems. Growers have thus created strains with high CBD and low THC, such as Charlotte’s Web, Harlequin, and Sour Tsunami, to increase the medicinal effects without causing the psychoactive high.

On the other end of the spectrum, growers have created strains that are high in THC and low in CBD to maximize the trip you take. Bruce Banner #3, for example, contains a whopping 29% THC. That makes for one heck of a trip! That doesn’t mean that all THC, or all CBD, without the other cannabinoids is the best we can do. The entourage effect is very important for both psychoactive and medicinal users.

Now that you know a bit about cannabinoids, let’s see how they relate to hemp oil vs. CBD oil.

Hemp Oil & CBD Oil Are Both Low In THC

Hemp oil and CBD oil are both low in THC when compared to other marijuana products. Most countries require that to be considered hemp, the THC concentration must be 0.3% or lower. There is no way to experience the marijuana high at such a low percentage. CBD oil may have a higher THC count, but the concentration is usually kept low (between 1% and 5%) in order to maximize the medicinal effects of the CBD. It all depends on the strain used to produce the CBD oil.

Hemp Oil Has Low CBD

Hemp oil has a very low CBD count (3.5%). This low concentration makes it all but useless as a medical treatment. Because of the low cannabinoid count (both THC and CBD), the hemp plant—and hemp oil in particular—has vastly different uses when compared to CBD oil. We’ll discuss those in the fourth section.

CBD Oil Has High CBD

CBD oil, on the other hand, has a very high CBD count (20%). This high concentration makes it ideal as a medical treatment for issues such as nausea, seizures, anxiety, depression, and even cancer.

Now that we understand the chemical makeup of hemp oil vs. CBD oil, let’s investigate their uses.

4) Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Uses

Cannabis field

As mentioned above, hemp oil is used for for vastly different purposes than its cousin CBD oil. Here’s how they stack up.

Hemp Oil Is A Foodstuff & Industrial Product

Like olive oil or coconut oil, hemp oil is primarily a foodstuff. It’s high in:

  • Polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6).
  • Vitamin E.
  • Potassium.
  • Magnesium.
  • Vitamin B1.
  • Vitamin B2.

Hemp oil is also used for various industrial purposes, including the production of shampoo, lotions, soaps, bio-diesel fuel, plastics, and paint. While hemp oil can provide benefits as part of healthy diet, it is nothing when compared to the health benefits of CBD oil.

CBD Oil Is A Medicine

CBD oil is, first and foremost, a medicine. Its uses are legion, and include treatments for:

  • Bone growth.
  • Cancer cell growth.
  • Bacteria growth.
  • Artery blockage.
  • Psoriasis.
  • Nervous system degeneration.
  • High blood sugar.
  • Insomnia.
  • Seizures and convulsions.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Anxiety.
  • Psychoses.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Low appetite.
  • Inflammation.
  • Chronic pain.

Hemp oil does none of that. It is this difference in uses that highlights the importance of calling each one by its correct name. You wouldn’t want to go up to the counter at your local dispensary and ask for hemp oil if you were intent on relieving your chronic pain.

5) Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Production Method

Bowl of hemp seeds

The final difference between hemp oil and CBD oil lies in their respective production methods.


Hemp oil is produced by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. Pressing the hemp seeds to extract their oil is very much akin to the processes used to produce other common oils, like olive, coconut, sesame, and peanut, just to name a few.

Solvent Extraction

CBD oil is produced through a process called solvent extraction. A solvent like alcohol, butane, or CO2 is forced across and through the Cannabis sativa plant matter, where it separates the cannabinoids, terpenes, and trichomes. The solvent is then allowed (or forced) to evaporate, leaving behind the cannabinoid-packed CBD oil.

Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: A Side-By-Side Comparison

The table below illustrates the differences between hemp oil and CBD oil.

Hemp Oil CBD Oil
1) Species Of Origin Cannabis sativa (Plants bred for low cannabinoid content.) Cannabis sativa


2) Parts Used To Produce Oil Seeds Leaves, buds, flowers


3) Cannabinoid Content Low THC, Low CBD Low THC, High CBD


4) Uses Foodstuff, Industrial Applications Medicine


5) Production Method Pressing Solvent Extraction
















Original Article Reference Honest Marijuana.