For anyone considering incorporating natural oils into their lifestyle, there are a handful of types that come up frequently. Two of the most popular oils are hemp seed oil and CBD oil, two distinct products that are often mistakenly assumed to be the same thing. You might have heard the terms used interchangeably, but there are actually several distinct differences between how they are made, used, and consumed. 

If you’re confused about the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, understanding each type is key in making the right choice for your personal needs. To help clarify the characteristics of each, here’s a basic breakdown of CBD oil vs. hemp seed oil, including the important differences in their source and use.

Understanding the Source

Both hemp seed oil and CBD oil come from plants in the Cannabis genus, which contains both hemp and marijuana – both considered subspecies of Cannabis sativa. Going further into the Cannabis category you’ll find two primary subtypes: Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa. If you’re familiar with marijuana, those names may sound familiar – that’s because marijuana strains are often described according to where they fall within those types. Both of the species can contain widely varying amounts of psychoactive and non-psychoactive components, with different strains selected for different purposes.

There are a massive number of variations, subspecies, and subtypes within the Cannabis sativa family, and those examples that contain more than 0.3 percent THC are usually categorized as “marijuana.” Varieties within the species that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC are designated as agricultural or industrial hemp plants. There are other aspects that differentiate these two subspecies, but for the sake of brevity, we’ll use this aspect as a defining characteristic. This distinguishing factor has a significant impact on how the plant can be used and what purposes it may serve, as well as how the federal government views and regulates the associated cultivation and production of these plants and the products derived from them.

Until recently, most Cannabis strains were specifically bred to increase the amount of THC (Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol), which is a naturally-occurring psychoactive cannabinoid. However, new knowledge has brought CBD (cannabidiol) to the forefront. Because CBD is not psychoactive, it’s earned considerable attention among communities interested in further research into this arena. Many people assume that all CBD and hemp products fall within the same category as marijuana products, but because the levels of THC and CBD vary dramatically between them, it’s simply not true.

Is Hemp Seed Oil the Same as CBD Oil?

So, if hemp seed oil and CBD oil both come from the same type of plant, they must be the same thing, right? Actually, no. Both types of oils may be sourced from the hemp plant, but from which parts of the plant they are extracted makes a big difference. Additionally, similarly-named oils from different species variations are an entirely separate category.

If you’re feeling confused, you’re not alone; many people are unclear on the subject of Cannabis-based oils. Here are the main types you’re likely to see references to (including hemp and CBD oils), and exactly where they come from – and why it matters.

  • Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of a hemp plant and does not contain the concentrated levels of cannabinoids that many other Cannabis-extracted oils are known for. The absence of meaningful cannabinoid concentration makes hemp seed oil ideal for purposes completely separate from those fulfilled by CBD and other oils.
  • CBD oil is most commonly produced from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the hemp plant, sourced from plants that have been specifically bred to contain high levels of cannabidiol (CBD). It must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC to be legal for interstate sale and transport. However, in areas where marijuana use is legal CBD oil can be extracted from marijuana, with this separate but related (because of its meaningful CBD content) product typically referred to as “marijuana” or “cannabis” oil. Therefore, CBD oil is a fairly broad term that can include oils sourced from the hemp plant as well as those made using other species – this is a major difference between hemp seed and CBD oil.
  • Marijuana or Cannabis oil is only legal in regions that permit cannabis use and can contain CBD and THC in different amounts depending on the specific plants used as source material. It is extracted from members of the Cannabis sativa species, and often contains significantly higher levels of THC when compared to standard CBD oil.

CBD Oil vs. Hemp Seed Oil: What Do They Contain and How are They Used?

CBD and hemp seed oil aren’t just different in the way they are extracted, but also in how consumers typically use them. Each serves very different purposes, and you’re likely to see them for sale in entirely different forms – and in starkly different retailers. The primary reason each oil type is utilized differently is that both have unique makeups that contain specific molecules.

Hemp seed oil contains a range of important vitamins such as B1, B2, B, and E, as well as vital minerals like magnesium and potassium, and fatty acids such as Omega 6 and Omega 3. It’s also known for having high concentrations of proteins and antioxidants. Ways that hemp seed oil can be used include:

  • In cooking, much like olive or avocado oil
  • As an ingredient in moisturizers, shampoos, and other beauty and personal care products
  • As a substitute base (instead of petroleum) in various types of plastic
  • For the production of eco-friendly paints
  • As a biodiesel fuel

In contrast, CBD oil is made and used specifically for the purpose of its key ingredient: CBD. Unlike hemp seed oil, the focus is not on a profile of fatty acids, vitamins, and proteins, but rather on the cannabidiol itself. You may have seen CBD oil and other CBD products in the following forms:

  • As an ingredient in a topical cream or salve
  • As a component of a CBD edible product
  • In various pet treats and other products
  • In the form of vape liquids and oils

CBD Oil and Hemp Seed Oil: The Key Difference

Ultimately, understanding the difference between CBD oil and hemp seed oil boils down to one important characteristic: the content of cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil contains virtually no cannabinoid content. While it may play an important role in certain products due its vitamin, mineral, and fatty acid content, using hemp seed oil isn’t likely to satisfy someone interested in adding CBD to their daily routine.

In contrast, CBD oil is formulated with meaningful concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids – that’s a big difference. When you consider the dramatic difference in cannabinoid concentration, it makes sense that hemp seed oil and CBD oil are two completely distinct products, each with their own unique attributes and qualities.

Direct CBD: Your Trusted Source for All Things CBD

If you’re interested in learning more about CBD and how CBD oil is used, DirectCBD is happy to help. We carry a wide selection of CBD products- offering our customers a trusted source for high-quality, expert-formulated CBD oils and more from the industry-leading brands you know and trust. Feel free to browse our online shop to learn more about your CBD options, or contact our customer service team for more information. Remember – your satisfaction is our top priority!