4 min

What's The Difference Between CBD Oil And Hemp Oil?

4 min
CBDshop Research

CBD has become a household name. With hundreds of CBD products available, it can be difficult to understand the differences. There's a lot of confusion surrounding the distinction between CBD oil and hemp oil. Learn what makes them unique below.

The legalization of hemp and CBD in certain countries has led to a subsequent market boom. Health food shops and supplement retailers are now selling CBD oils, tinctures, and capsules. Meanwhile, hemp seed is being praised as a nutritious superfood loaded with protein and healthy fats. Manufacturers are processing the crop into protein powders and oils.

This article explains the variation between these two products.


A Story Of Flowers And Seeds

CBD oil and hemp seed oil are made using hemp. Humans have utilised the many industrial applications of this crop—including crafting rope, paper, and canvas—for thousands of years. Almost every aspect of the plant's anatomy has an important use.

The flowers are arguably the most valuable part of the hemp plant, and hold small glands known as trichomes. These crystalline structures produce valuable molecules such as cannabinoids and terpenes, which they exude in a viscous resin. Hemp leaves and stems also contain trichomes, though in vastly lower quantities.

In nature, these molecules serve to protect plants against high temperatures and pests—though humans have found other uses for them. Cannabinoids, in particular, have piqued the interest of scientific researchers. These unique molecules have displayed potential in preliminary research.

Hemp flowers are low in THC compared to those of selectively bred recreational cannabis strains. However, they are relatively high in CBD, which makes them ideal for creating CBD oil.

In contrast, manufacturers make hemp oil using the seeds of the plant. The seeds don’t contain cannabinoids, although they are abundant in omega fatty acids and protein. They are a nutritious food source that's processed in a cold press to make oil. Hemp oil has a wide array of applications, and is used in recipes and cosmetics. It’s also available in dropper bottles and capsules as a supplement.


Technically, hemp is cannabis. Cannabis is an umbrella term that covers several species and hundreds of cultivars. Hemp is distinct from most cannabis strains due to its low THC level.

The majority of cannabis cultivars have been selectively bred to produce high levels of THC. However, the increasing demand for CBD has prompted some breeders to drive up the CBD levels in some varieties. There are now strains that produce massive levels of CBD — as high as 20%+ — alongside minimal quantities of THC. These strains produce no psychotropic effect and can be used to make CBD oils and extracts.

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The Difference Between Hemp And CBD Oil

The main difference between these two oils is their chemical composition. CBD oil is a source of cannabinoids and terpenes. Hemp oil is void of cannabinoids. That’s not to say it’s inferior; it’s a great source of nutrients and can complement a balanced diet.

Let’s delve into the specific properties of both CBD oil and hemp oil.


Properties Of CBD (Oil)

CBD has garnered serious attention from the scientific community. The cannabinoid influences CB1 and CB2 receptors of the endocannabinoid system, a regulatory system in the human body. The molecule also acts on serotonin receptors, vanilloid receptors, and other molecular targets.

This has led to a windfall of studies highlighting potentially beneficial outcomes. It’s important to realise that most studies involve animals or cell lines. They don’t accurately represent how CBD works in the human body, but they do shine a light on how it might operate. The studies below are a few of the only human trials available.


Some of the highest-quality CBD research has investigated the effects of the cannabinoid on anxiety. Social anxiety specifically is defined as a fear of social situations. This distressing condition dramatically impacts the quality of life and can damage work ties and friendships. Symptoms include dreading everyday activities, avoiding social events, extreme fear of embarrassment, and low self-esteem.

A study[1] published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology investigated the effects of CBD on anxiety induced by simulated public speaking. During the double-blind placebo-controlled study, the experimental group received 600mg of CBD. According to the researchers' conclusion, pretreatment with the cannabinoid significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and speech discomfort.

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Further research[2] published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology explored the neural basis of the anxiolytic potential of CBD. Researchers administered CBD to patients diagnosed with generalised social anxiety disorder. After evaluation of the results, researchers concluded that, compared to placebo, 400mg of oral CBD produced a significant decrease in subjective anxiety. Brain imaging linked the anxiolytic action to shifts in limbic and paralimbic activity.


Media coverage of CBD’s anecdotal anticonvulsant action catapulted the cannabinoid into the spotlight. Reports detailed the efficacy of the cannabinoid in cases of Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of childhood epilepsy. Anecdotes aside, is there any scientific evidence to back up these claims?

A double-blind placebo-controlled study[3] published in The New England Journal of Medicine administered either CBD or placebo to 120 children and young adults. The CBD group experienced a reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency compared to the placebo group.


High-quality human trials regarding CBD’s effects on pain are few and far between.

Scientists explored[4] the short-term effects of CBD for relieving and improving quality of life in young girls experiencing chronic pain. Over half of the group reported significant reductions in body pain.

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Properties Of Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil doesn’t compare to CBD oil in terms of scientific potential. Its lack of cannabinoids means it doesn’t achieve the same actions. However, it’s an impressive source of nutrients. It's actually a cannabis-derived superfood.

Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat and are rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. They serve as a fantastic source of plant-based energy, with protein accounting for 25% of their overall calories.


Data shows that hemp seeds contain 6mg of vitamin E per every 100g of seeds. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps to balance cholesterol, fight free radicals, contribute to skin health, and may even balance hormones.


Hemp seeds contain 1100mg of phosphorus per 100g. The mineral is associated with bone maintenance, detoxification, increased energy levels, dental health, and cognitive function.


Hemp seeds offer 900mg of potassium per 100g, which accounts for an impressive amount of the suggested daily intake of 2,000mg. Potassium is an essential mineral that may play an important role in anxiety and stress relief, as well as heart and kidney disorders. It serves as the third most prevalent mineral within the human body.

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Potassium deficiency symptoms can manifest in anaemia, heart palpitations, and headaches. The mineral contributes to bone health, brain function, and muscular strength, among other benefits.


Hemp seeds contain 450mg of magnesium per every 100g, smashing the recommended daily intake of 400mg per day. Again, this secures hemp seeds as a great food for achieving specific dietary and nutritional requirements. Magnesium plays a vital role in helping to increase energy, ease anxiety, relieve muscle aches, prevent migraines, and encourage heart health.


Hemp seeds contain 1.3mg of vitamin B1 per every 100g, closing in on the recommended daily intake of 1.5mg each day. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, plays an integral role in the health of the nervous system, hair, skin, eyes, mouth and liver. Hemp seeds contain 1.2mg of vitamin B2 per 100g. Also known as riboflavin, B2 plays a vital role in energy production.


Different Products With Different Functions

CBD oil and hemp seed oil are hard to compare. They are different products that offer distinct benefits. The cannabinoid content of CBD oil makes it a valuable option for some users, whereas hemp seed oil is a food supplement rich in vital nutrients.

Luke Sumpter

Written by: Luke S.
Luke S. is a journalist based in the United Kingdom, specialising in health, alternative medicine, herbs and psychedelic healing. He has written for outlets such as, Medical Daily and The Mind Unleashed, covering these and other areas.

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We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

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