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.”
Since both are essentially wellness ingredients, you won’t exactly be harmed if you accidentally purchase or use one instead of the other; however, if you’re trying to reap the maximum benefits of CBD oil, hemp seed oil won’t deliver. which is a problem considering that these oils don’t come cheap. “Unfortunately, we see a number of brands cynically cashing in on the popularity and cannabis trend and even making false claims that their products contain CBD when they contain none,” says Capobianco. “Some brands are calling hemp seed oil cannabis sativa oil, which is deceiving.”
Sure, they both come from the same plant, but they’re significantly different beyond that: “The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” says Lewis. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”
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.
CBD is a term signifying a component of the cannabis plant that comes with the much-talked about anti-inflammatory benefits, and you’re seeing it on everything from skin-care products to high-vibe tinctures. It’s extracted from the leaves, flowers, and stalks of the cannabis plant. “Cannabidiol—known as CBD—is one of over a hundred active compounds or cannabinoids found exclusively in the cannabis plant,” says Cindy Capobianco, co-founder of Lord Jones. “CBD acts as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory, which reduces pain and inflammation. It’s been used for centuries to successfully provide pain relief to muscle aches, arthritis, joint pain, neuropathic conditions, headaches, and to aid skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, even sunburn, and bug bites when used topically.” Phew. When ingested, Capobianco notes that the anti-inflammatory powers remain, and it “provides relief from anxiety and promotes a calm sense of well-being,” she says.
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.
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.
Hemp seed oil can always be found at your local grocery store, beauty store and online shops like Amazon. They are sometimes marketed as hemp oil, but the ingredients will have to list “hemp seed oil”. If you’re looking to take CBD oil for medicinal purposes, hemp seed oil will not provide those same benefits—although it does happen to be a very good source of protein and essential fatty acids (omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9).
The method of production is another major difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil. Hemp seed oil is generally produced through cold-press extraction using hemp seeds. CBD oil is produced using the entire hemp plant and more high-tech extraction techniques. The most commonly used methods for CBD oil extraction are supercritical fluid extraction (also known as CO2 extraction), or the more traditional solvent-based extraction. Hemp oil tends to be green and dark, while CBD oil is usually more of a light golden to dark brown color.
This is a very important one. Products that contain CBD usually have a label displaying the amount of milligrams of CBD per unit or per serving. Hemp is naturally rich in CBD so, since CBD oil is produced using the whole plant, it naturally contains very high levels of CBD. It may also contain other naturally occurring organic compounds, known as phytocannabinoids and terpenes. The more premium CBD oil brands also publish third party test results with a detailed breakdown of its cannabinoid and terpene profile, along with various other metrics for quality.
Where it’s purchased
For the record, when people say they’re “vaping CBD oil”, they are (or should be) vaping e-juice containing some type of CBD concentrate or extract. Most of the time it’s going to be made from CBD isolate, a highly concentrated crystalized form of CBD that happens to be water soluble. Other vapes may contain either some form of CBD distillate, shatter or concentrate. CBD oil tinctures, on the other hand, use an oil-based carrier, which makes them unsuitable for vaping.
Unfortunately there may be some products made with hemp seed oil that are marketed as hemp-based products. Technically, they still are, even if they don’t contain CBD. Just because a product has a hemp leaf on the package or logo, doesn’t necessarily mean it is a CBD product. Although price can sometimes be a decent indication, never judge a book by its cover.
In order to fully understand the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, we must also understand what they have in common. Both hemp seed oil and CBD oil are products derived from hemp. Both of them might even have a hemp leaf on the packaging. They can both be organic, kosher, non-GMO, vegan, etc. Sometimes you can even find them at the same location. But be careful, do your research and always read labels. It’s too easy to mix the two up, and it’s unfortunate that some businesses have resorted to misrepresenting their products in an attempt to increase profits.
“Hemp oil” is more accurately known as hemp seed oil. As the name suggests, it’s extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil has been commonly used for cooking and as an ingredient in various beauty products for many years. Some popular brands, like Nutiva for example, market their product as “hemp oil”. But when you look at the ingredients, it says “raw, organic unrefined hemp seed oil”.