Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Understanding the Distinctions

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Understanding the Distinctions

Hemp oil vs. CBD oil: are they the same? Gain a deeper understanding of these oils and learn how to choose the right products for your needs here.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is becoming more mainstream, and as CBD-based products become more available, the easier it’ll be for people to obtain them. But picking out the right product isn’t always easy. You’ll see some items with “CBD oil” and some with “hemp oil,” often in the same section of the real or virtual store that you’re shopping. But are they the same or different?

They’re different, but they come from the same plant. So in this article, we’ll explain:


  • What hemp oil is
  • What CBD oil is
  • The difference between hemp oil and CBD oil
  • What their different benefits are
  • Why you might choose one or the other


What’s the Difference Between Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil?

CBD oil and hemp oil are not the same, mainly because hemp oil contains no CBD content. Additionally, hemp oil comes from cold-pressed hemp seeds, while CBD oil is made with CBD compounds from hemp plants’ stalks, leaves, and flowers. But when comparing hemp oil vs CBD oil, you’ll find that each has a unique set of benefits.

There’s much confusion about the connection between hemp oil and CBD oil because the terms are sometimes used interchangeably on product labels. In many cases, CBD oil is called “hemp oil,” especially if it’s being sold in a venue that looks askance at CBD.

But “hemp oil” is also frequently used to refer to hemp seed oil. And hemp seed oil is an entirely different product from CBD oil. While both come from Cannabis sativa plants and have beneficial effects, they are created differently and have different uses.

By gaining a deeper understanding of the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil, you can be assured that you’re choosing the better product for you and your needs.

What Is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil is a natural supplement that contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, B vitamins and vitamin D, and other nutritional antioxidants. Although its efficacy isn’t entirely clear, hemp seed oil is usually eaten to maintain cardiovascular health.

Because hemp seed oil serves as a great source of nutrients, it’s typically added to other edible products like cookies, yogurts, loaves of bread, and snack bars. Consuming hemp seed oil is proven to be safe. There have been some consumer reports of digestive issues from using hemp seed oil, but it’s not a common effect.

How Is Hemp Seed Oil Made?

Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of hemp plants. Manufacturers typically make hemp seed oil by cold-pressing Cannabis sativa seeds and refining the oil extraction. The process usually includes cleaning the seeds before pressing them to oil.

Because it’s made from seeds, hemp seed oil doesn’t have a cannabinoid profile. It contains no terpenes nor cannabinoids – more importantly, no traces of THC at all and zero CBD. Hemp seed oil is useful mainly as a dietary supplement or as a food oil.

Compared to other food-based oils, hemp seed oil contains high levels of polyunsaturated fat and small amounts of saturated fat. However, there are other ways to use hemp seed oil than just cooking with it.

What Are the Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil?

Other than the nutritional values mentioned earlier, hemp seed oil also offers a few more different uses – mainly in skincare and PMS relief.

Research says hemp seed oil can help people with eczema; the study found that it may improve symptoms of the condition, including itching and dryness. According to the study, this response occurs from the effects of hemp seed oil’s omega-6 and 3’s fatty acid.

Cannabis sativa is a natural source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which scientists have found can reduce inflammation that occurs with menopause. And studies suggest that hemp seed oil can help alleviate PMS symptoms by lowering the prolactin hormone.

Hemp seed oil contains many factors that separate it from CBD oil:


  • Hemp seed oil possesses several nutrients, including omega-3s, omega-6s, vitamin D, and B vitamins.
  • It’s made from Cannabis sativa seeds (containing no cannabinoids) that become cold-pressed and refined into an oil.
  • Benefits include high nutritional value, skin improvement, and management of particular systems.


While CBD also has beneficial uses, it works entirely differently with the body compared to hemp seed oil, and it’s made from another extraction method. But what is CBD, and how does it compare to hemp seed oil?


A bottle of cbd oil with it's dropper right next to it laying on a wooden table outside with cannabis leaves around it


What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid naturally occurring in Cannabis sativa; it’s an organic chemical that comprises about 40 percent of industrial hemp. It has no intoxicating properties, so it cannot induce any “high” or euphoria.

CBD works by stimulating the endocannabinoid system – a biological structure common in all vertebrates. This system helps maintain homeostasis, the human body’s natural balance of physical and chemical systems.

Within the endocannabinoid system, CBD molecules attach to CB2 cannabinoid receptors that are connected to the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The PNS includes various organs and systems, such as the immune system, muscles, skin, and limbs.

CBD is typically the most prominent ingredient in CBD oil. Still, depending on which CBD oil you’re using – either broad spectrum, full spectrum, or CBD isolate – it may contain other cannabinoids that work synergistically with CBD, boosting its potency.

How Is CBD Oil Made?

CBD oil makers extract CBD from the leaves, stems, flowers, and stalks of matured hemp plants – not the seeds. And there are several extraction methods used for pulling CBD from hemp material, including solvents, carbon dioxide, dry ice, and olive oil.

Once the CBD is pulled, manufacturers have to infuse the extract into a carrier oil so that it’s safe for human use. And most reputable makers of CBD oil use MCT oil as a carrier because of its benefits compared to other edible oils.

The quality of CBD oil is often influenced by how the CBD is extracted from the hemp material. And because CBD is harvested from the whole hemp plant, the extraction typically contains terpenes, cannabinoids, and other essential oils that, together, generate the entourage effect.

What Is the Entourage Effect?

The entourage effect means that cannabis compounds, including CBD and other cannabinoids, have a greater impact when working together than individually.

The terpenoids provide added nutrients, and other cannabinoids like cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG) help boost the effects of CBD.

With the entourage effect, the CBD formula in hemp-based oils works better as a whole than each ingredient would alone. And you can only gain benefits from the entourage effect from broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD oils – not from hemp seed oil.

What Are the Benefits of CBD Oil?

We mentioned earlier that CBD interacts with the CB2 cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system to help sustain homeostasis. CBD offers various benefits depending on how people use it.

For instance, consumer reports and studies imply CBD is useful for stress. In fact, CBD for stress is the number one reason most people begin using it. And researchers have explored CBD’s potential to lower stress responses brought on by everyday stressors.

Another reason for the rising interest in CBD oil and its benefits is how it supports sleep. But if you’re worried about getting knocked out whenever you use CBD, keep in mind that it isn’t the CBD by itself that causes sleepiness.

CBD sleep aids typically combine CBD with a natural sleep hormone called melatonin – along with a blend of other sleep-inducing ingredients. Individually, CBD helps create a sense of calm and relaxation without making you feel groggy. It’s the melatonin and other elements that allow you to drift asleep naturally.

Similar to hemp seed oil, CBD oil can also be a useful topical but for a different reason. While hemp oil from crushed cannabis seeds helps maintain unclogged pores and relieve dryness and itch, CBD oil supports CB2 receptors in the skin to provide soothing benefits.

Although topical CBD has a different purpose than hemp seed oil, there is favorable research exploring CBD as a skin care option. And more beauty products such as face creams and moisturizing lotions containing CBD are starting to emerge.

CBD oil’s characteristics make it far from identical to hemp seed oil:


  • CBD oil contains cannabidiol, a natural cannabinoid found abundantly in industrial hemp with no psychoactive properties.
  • It’s made by extracting CBD compounds from industrial hemp material, including stems, flowers, and leaves, and infusing the extract with a carrier oil.
  • Benefits include stress management, sleep aid with melatonin, and topical uses for temporary discomfort.


Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil?

The straightforward answer is no. It doesn’t matter how many brands are intentionally or mistakenly mixing up the terms “CBD oil” and “hemp oil” to sell cannabis-infused products; these two substances are not identical.

But then why would sellers market the terms as the same?

The main reason would be that CBD oil and hemp seed oil come from the same cannabis family, and for some manufacturers and users, that’s all they care to know. And without a decent grasp of the differences between the two, products are often labeled the same.


A container of hemp seed oil laying next to hemp seeds on fabric


Another reason is that companies know how much more money consumers are willing to pay for CBD oil. Because of its sophisticated extraction process, CBD costs much more to extract than hemp seed oil.

It isn’t too hard for a company to spend less to extract hemp seed oil, put it in a product, and brand it so that consumers believe they’re buying a CBD-infused item when there’s no CBD in it at all.

Conversely, some brands may market their CBD products as hemp oil to circumvent federal and state regulations. Many of these rules sharply limit how companies can advertise CBD oil.

The best way to determine what you’re buying is to check the ingredients list. CBD oils typically list their main ingredient as cannabidiol, broad spectrum hemp, full spectrum hemp, or hemp extracts. And hemp seed oil usually says it contains Cannabis sativa seed oil, with no extracts.

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil in a Nutshell

Although both come from Cannabis sativa plants, we’ve covered many differences between the two:


Hemp Oil (Hemp Seed Oil)


Low cannabinoid profile

Uses a carrier oil

Offers mostly nutritional benefits

Generates the entourage effect

Extracted from crushed hemp seeds

Extracted from whole cannabis plant

Used mainly for cooking and skin care

Contains cannabinoids and terpenes

An abundance of fatty acids and protein

Works with the endocannabinoid system

Offers several benefits (sleep, stress, discomfort, etc.)


And they also have their similarities: they’re non-intoxicating oils that can be used topically or internally and offer wholesome benefits.


What Does Hemp Oil Do?

There are several benefits of hemp oil because of all the nutrients it contains, including


  • Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids
  • B vitamins and vitamin D
  • Antioxidants


Dermatologists have noted that hemp oil can help improve the skin because of its fatty acids. Furthermore, hemp oil helps strengthen skin, making it more resistant to infection and other skin conditions.

Typically, omega-3 fatty acids are made into supplements to help lower blood pressure, so some people take hemp oil as a natural alternative for hypertension because of its abundance of omega-3s. Its benefits along that line are unproven, however.

Can You Take Hemp Oil and CBD Oil Together?

Yes, there have been no reports of any adverse effects from people using them together. Many CBD products are designed to be used with other CBD and supplemental products to offer a complete wellness routine depending on your preferences and needs.

Does Hemp Oil Have Any CBD?

Hemp oil typically does not have any CBD content. It’s created from hemp seeds, which don’t naturally contain CBD or other cannabinoids. On the other hand, CBD oil contains CBD and sometimes other cannabinoid compounds. At the same time, “hemp oil” is sometimes used as an alternate name for CBD oil, so check the label to see if the product is made from hemp seeds or hemp extracts.

How Do You Use Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil is usually taken orally, but it can be helpful as a topical to promote healthier skin, hair, and nails. People have also used it for culinary purposes, such as in bread, yogurt, and cookies, because of its nutritional value.

Does Hemp Oil Cause Weight Gain?

There has been no direct link between hemp oil and weight gain or loss, although any oil will of course be fairly dense in calories. However, CBD oil is often helpful for either a pre- or post-workout option to help with recovery or temporary discomfort, so you can make it a part of a diet and exercise regimen.

Does Hemp Oil Make You Sleepy?

Hemp oil doesn’t contain any active ingredients that make people sleepy or affect their natural sleep cycle. On the other hand, there are various CBD sleep aids that contain melatonin and promote better sleep habits.

Learn More About CBD at cbdMD

We hope this blog helped you sort out the question of hemp oil vs CBD oil. Have you had any experience with hemp seed oil? What are some of your key uses for either CBD oil or hemp seed oil? Have you been confused into buying one, thinking it was the other? Share your responses in our comment section or on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.

Originally written by: William Carter