Is There a Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?

by Alfred van der Heide

About the author: James Storie-Pugh is the Co-Founder of Mellow, the trusted online destination for people to buy, sell and learn about CBD.

Both hemp oil and CBD oil come from the same plant species, Cannabis sativa, and are widely acknowledged as having a variety of health and wellbeing benefits. Whilst hemp oil has been around for decades and CBD oil is a relatively new and growing market, they are often found grouped together.

So, is there a difference between hemp oil and CBD oil? In short, yes. Quite a big one actually. However, understanding the difference and being able to distinguish one from the other can be more of a challenge.


What are the differences between hemp and CBD?

Hemp and CBD are often confused because they both come from the Cannabis sativa plant species. Hemp oil is made specifically from hemp seeds whilst CBD oil is made up of more of the cannabis plant, such as the flowers, stalks, and leaves. It is in these locations that cannabidiol (CBD) is found, whereas hemp seed oil contains no CBD and no THC, the psychoactive compound cannabinoid which makes an individual feel ‘high’. CBD oil can be made from a hemp plant or marijuana plant, with the hemp-derived product containing far less or no THC.

The production process of hemp seed oil is similar to that of sunflower seed oil where the seeds are cold-pressed to squeeze out the oil and preserve all the raw nutrients. In contrast, CBD oil is made by extraction which involves using ethanol or CO2 to extract the desired nutrients from the various parts of the plant to create a high-CBD content oil and remove any unwanted toxins.

Crucially, hemp oil and CBD oil are completely different products as hemp oil does not contain CBD or other cannabinoids!


What are the uses and benefits of hemp oil and CBD oil? How do they differ?

It is commonly believed that both hemp oil and CBD oil have a brilliant variety of benefits for the consumer. Unsurprisingly, the fact the oils are comprised of slightly different ingredients means that they also have differing benefits.

Hemp seed oil is most commonly acknowledged for its nutritional benefits. Hemp oil is a source of omega-3, omega-6, and vitamin E, which are all essential to the human diet. It provides great healthy fats meaning it can be used in cooking and is particularly great in salad dressing! There are also studies to suggest hemp oil is good for helping skin disorders, which is due to the healthy fats they contain which can balance out oily skin. Even if you are lucky enough not to suffer from any skin problems, it also makes a great natural moisturizer as it doesn’t block your pores and softens the skin. Shampoo is another beauty product that hemp oil can be found in, similarly for its natural softening properties.

As a product, hemp oil generally tends to be found in ‘superfood’ and beauty categories as it contains none of the cannabinoids that are present in CBD oil.

tincture with cbd ontop of a marijuana leave

The difference with CBD oil is that it tends to be used more for internal body wellness, rather than cooking or skincare. For example, many people use CBD oil to manage stress, anxiety or sleeping problems as it has soothing properties and can help you to relax. One study shows that taking CBD oil will induce deeper REM sleep and therefore is a common combatant to insomnia. It is perhaps most well-known for its anti-inflammatory perks and people use it as pain relief to treat all manner of joint and muscle pains, such as arthritis, headaches, neuropathic conditions, stiffness and more.

Another emerging use of CBD oil has been in relation to treating addiction. Recently, scientists have been looking into the relationship between CBD oil and reducing craving and anxiety, which are prominent features of addiction. One study found that the use of CBD oil significantly reduced both symptoms of anxiety and craving, without major side-effects.

CBD oil continues to be used in new medical research to understand whether it could treat a variety of other conditions. One particularly interesting study has shown a potential correlation between the use of CBD oil and a reduction in the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Currently, this has only been conducted on transgenic mice but it will be interesting to see where this goes as medical science and the CBD industry continue to grow and improve.

Another area of research involves using CBD oil to treat seizures, with this study looking at the benefits of CBD oil on children and adolescents that suffer from epilepsy. As you can see, the wide-reaching benefits of CBD oil are still being discovered.

The biggest difference between CBD oil and hemp oil is that CBD oil is generally used for overall wellbeing whilst hemp oil is more common in cooking and beauty products (although CBD oil is increasingly being used in food and beauty products too!).

How can I tell CBD oil and hemp oil apart?

If you get mixed up with CBD oil and hemp seed oil and end up buying and consuming the wrong product, this is not going to do you a great deal of harm, as both products are designed for various wellbeing purposes.

However, it is obviously much more useful to know how to spot which one is which and what you are really buying so you can make the most of the specific benefits each product provides. There is also the economic factor to consider, as neither of these products is particularly cheap but CBD oil is generally more expensive than hemp seed oil and other hemp products.

hemp field

Hemp field under a blue sky

Amidst the current green trend, plenty of companies get hemp oil and CBD mixed up or make false claims as they jump at the chance to capitalize on this booming industry. Some companies do this by accident, but some companies are also purposely misleading customers in order to make money, so it is worth knowing what to look out for when shopping in stores or online.

As CBD is such a popular product at the moment, companies are aware that consumers are willing to pay more for it, which is one of the reasons that misleading branding in this market can be common. It is a good idea to know what to look out for.

Naturally, the best way to ascertain whether the product you think you are buying is hemp oil or CBD oil is first to look at the ingredients list. The crucial thing to remember is that hemp oil does not contain CBD. If you are looking for hemp oil and CBD comes up as one of the ingredients, then this is being mis-marketed. Similarly, if you want the benefits of a CBD oil product then take a closer look at the ingredients and make sure either CBD, cannabidiol or PCR are listed. Hemp seed oil will often have cannabis Sativa seed oil as the ingredient to look out for.

It is also worth making a note to check the milligrams of hemp or CBP contained within the product you are buying so you know exactly what you are paying for. Whilst it’s not yet a legal requirement to include this information, high-quality products always will so it helps you to gauge the quality of the product. If the milligrams or concentration of CBD are not listed, then consider why not and if this product is worth the expense.

Make sure to do your research before you buy CBD or hemp oil and have a look at a few companies before you commit to a specific product. The best way to avoid being misled or oversold hemp oil or CBD oil is to shop smartly and get all the relevant product information first.



To summarise, hemp oil and CBD oil are both products that are derived from the same plant species and have a variety of health and wellbeing benefits. However, it is important to keep their differences in mind.

Is There a Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil? 6

Hemp oil in a glass jar

Hemp oil is made from the seeds of a hemp plant and contains no CBD and no THC. In contrast, CBD oil can be made from the leaves, stems, and flowers of hemp or marijuana plants and does contain CBD. CBD oil produced from hemp plants will contain little or no THC, the substance that provides consumers with a ‘high’ feeling. This is the CBD oil that can be legally sold in Europe and the US.

The benefits of each product differ so if you want to reap specific rewards from these products it is important to be informed. CBD oil, which is a much newer and currently more popular product, is being used for a variety of wellbeing benefits which is why the price point tends to be higher. These include stress and anxiety reduction, anti-inflammatory and pain relief, addiction recovery, reduced insomnia, and increased relaxation.

The best way to make sure you are buying the correct product is to read the ingredients list carefully and know exactly what you are looking for!


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