Hemp and marijuana are both types of cannabis plants. That means that both hemp oil and marijuana oil are forms of cannabis oil. Despite being members of the same family of plants, marijuana and hemp have some important differences. To best understand the differences between the different types of cannabis oil, it helps to know more about the cannabis family of plants.
Maine, Michigan, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Vermont have also legalized recreational marijuana. However, as of now, there are no legal dispensaries licensed in these markets, so consumers aren’t able to purchase marijuana yet.
Hemp oil is widely available from health food stores, yoga studios, medical practitioners, alternative medicine stores, and more. The primary use of hemp oil is to encourage wellness because it contains high levels of CBD.
As the name suggests, hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant. The seeds are packed full of nutrients, and the resulting oil is often described as a “superfood.” Hemp seed oil contains high amounts of amino acids, fiber, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, as well as an array of important vitamins and minerals. This makes hemp seed oil a valuable addition to any diet, especially those that may be nutrient deficient.
When most people envision using cannabis, their first thought is likely someone smoking the plant’s dry flowers. However, smoking cannabis is not the only way to experience the benefits of cannabis. It is also possible to extract the cannabis plant’s oil, allowing for incredible innovation in the types of cannabis products that can be created.
Cannabis oils are extracts from cannabis plants. Unprocessed, they contain the same 100 or so active ingredients as the plants, but the balance of compounds depends on the specific plants the oil comes from. The two main active substances in cannabis plants are cannabidiol, or CBD, and delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Oil extracted from hemp plants can contain a lot of CBD, while oil from skunk plants will contain far more THC. THC produces the high that recreational cannabis users seek, while oils for medical use contain mostly CBD.
Other forms of cannabis are solid and are usually sold either as resin or dried plant material. In commercially-produced medical cannabis oils, the concentrations of CBD and THC tend to be well-controlled, which makes it easy to calculate doses.
How is it different to cannabis?
Four drugs based on cannabis compounds are already on the market in Europe. Among them are Nabilone, a synthetic compound that mimics THC, is prescribed for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, and Sativex, an oil that contains equal parts THC and CBD, is used to treat muscle spasms in multiple sclerosis. Both contain too much THC to administer to children. “The only medicines that are approved in the UK would get children stoned,” said David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College, London.
CBD is an anticonvulsant, and some other compounds in the plant, including THC and cannabidivarin, may be too. There is good evidence from clinical trials in the US and Europe that pharmaceutical preparations of CBD can treat two severe forms of childhood epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Both forms of epilepsy often fail to improve with existing epilepsy drugs. CBD is generally considered safe, but some trials have reported side effects including dry mouth, lightheadedness and altered liver enzyme activity.
Cannabis oil can only be sold legally in Britain if it contains less than 0.05% THC. But the nation’s medicines regulator, the MHRA, announced recently that even pure CBD could not be sold as a medicine without first going through the usual clinical testing and safety checks required for all new medicines. This month, the US Food and Drug Administration will consider the approval of Epidiolex, a CBD-based medicine from GW Pharmaceuticals, which has completed such clinical trials. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will rule on the drug early next year. If the EMA approves Epidiolex, it could be available to prescribe to named patients in Britain next year, Brexit notwithstanding.