When it comes to CBD oil, there’s no shortage of confusing or misleading terms. To further complicate matters, there's also a variety of different types of oils all closely linked to CBD. Experienced users and newcomers alike will have undoubtedly come across the terms “hemp seed oil” and “cannabis oil” in their search for CBD-related information. To understand how all these products differ, it helps to start at the source—the Cannabis sativa species.
C. sativa is a broad classification that includes both hemp and recreational/medicinal cannabis (marijuana) varieties. CBD oil and hemp seed oil both come from hemp, but they harness different parts of the plant. Cannabis oil, on the other hand, comes exclusively from marijuana. And while all three oils stem from the same species, each one has a very different impact that you need to be aware of. With that in mind, it's time to delve into the general properties of each type of oil and their potential effects.
Let’s start with the most important category, CBD oil. To produce CBD oil, hemp plants undergo milling, extraction, decarboxylation, filtration, and distillation. What remains is a concentrated formula of the plant's chemical compounds—cannabinoids and terpenes. In this case, the most prominent cannabinoid is CBD, but hemp also contains a vast spectrum of other potentially beneficial compounds. One thing CBD oil doesn’t contain in significant values is THC. In fact, in order for CBD oil to be legally sold throughout the EU, it cannot contain over 0.2% THC (a negligible amount). As such, it's not possible for CBD oil to get you "high".
Bottles of CBD oil come in a variety of sizes, concentrations (%), and may harness a full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate formula. The concentration indicates how many milligrams of cannabidiol (CBD) are contained per bottle, affecting the strength and duration of effects. Typically, CBD is mixed with olive oil to improve absorption when consumed. However, CBD is also combined with black cumin seed oil and hemp seed oil to provide secondary nutritional benefits.
CBD oils contain the non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol. According to the World Health Organisation, CBD has “a good safety profile” with “no effects indicative of abuse”. The cannabinoid also shows great promise in the support of treatments for a range of health conditions, as well as possible improvements in general well-being. The properties of CBD appear impressive, but there is still much to learn about the cannabinoid’s full potential.
Hemp seed oil is produced by cold-pressing hemp seeds, which do not contain any cannabinoids. Unless a product specifically states that it contains CBD, it will not provide the same therapeutic influence as CBD oil. The two are easily confused because both CBD oil and hemp seed oil are derived from hemp. Most high-street stores and supermarkets will stock hemp seed oil due to its high nutritional value.
Indeed, just because hemp seed oil doesn’t contain any CBD doesn’t mean it’s useless. Not only is it rich in antioxidants, protein, and amino acids, but it also contains omega fatty acids 3 and 6. As part of a balanced diet, hemp seed oil is a valuable nutritional supplement.
We should add a final note and mention that you can get CBD blended with a hemp seed oil carrier. These types of oils combine the therapeutic influence of CBD with the nutritional benefits of hemp seed oil. To avoid confusion between the different types of oils, always look at a product’s ingredients. You can read more about the differences between olive oil carriers and hemp seed oil carriers here.
Produced exclusively from varieties of marijuana, this type of oil is high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis oils are considered illegal in the majority of countries due to the psychotropic side effects that come with them. Some studies suggest that THC may be useful in supporting the treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea (among other potential applications), but for the significant majority of users, cannabis oils are not suitable.
Cannabis oil usually does contain some CBD, although often in smaller quantities than CBD oil. Some cannabis oils contain a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, but these are mostly sold in regions where recreational cannabis is legal.
To make sure you're not buying an oil with high levels of THC, always check that the producer can verify the contents of their oils via third-party testing. You can see an example of our batch results on our CBD Analysis page.