With all the various products on the market nowadays, it can be quite confusing trying to find the right one, especially if you have a health issue.
For those using cannabis for medical purposes or simply exploring how it can help with health and wellbeing, deciding between hemp seed oil and CBD oil can be one such challenge.
The truth is that there is quite a big difference between the two and it defines not only what they should be used for but also whether they are legal in many parts of the world. Here, we’ll try to clear up the difference between the two types of oil.
Hemp Vs Cannabis
While they belong to the same genus, hemp and cannabis are two fairly common but different plants, not least on the effects they can produce.
First off, in many countries, cannabis is classed as a schedule 1 drug which means that it is on a par, at least legally, with heroin and cocaine. Hemp is perfectly legal and is in fact used in a wide range of industrial and production areas across the world. It’s also widely developed for healthcare and cosmetic products, including skin cream and hemp seed oil.
- Hemp is characterized by very low levels of THC (less than 0.5%) whereas cannabis can have anything up to 5 or even 25%.
- Cannabis needs to be grown in a carefully controlled environment and requires exact amounts of light. Hemp, on the other hand, can be grown practically anywhere.
- Hemp is used in everything from cars, body care products, fashion, food, the construction industry and even in making plastics. Cannabis is used for recreational and medical use only.
- Hemp growing produces about 2 tons of seeds per hectare while cannabis produces a lot more, around 10 tons per hectare.
Many people get tied up with the myth that hemp seed oil is just the legal version of CBD or cannabis oil. It isn’t.
That’s why it’s readily available in most countries in health food stores and online. CBD oil, however can be extracted from hemp as well as cannabis. The primary source of CBD oil might be hemp but it’s not the same thing as hemp oil. If that’s confused you, we’ll try to explain in greater detail.
What is Hemp Seed Oil? Hemp seeds are readily available as the plants are grown in large numbers all around the world. Each seed is made up of about a third of oil which is extracted by a process of cold pressing. There are large factories around the globe that are simply devoted to pressing hemp and producing it for markets from America and China to Europe and the Middle East.
In its unrefined form, hemp seed oil is green and full of essential fatty acids. This product is not psychoactive and produces very little THC. Hemp seeds themselves are highly nutritious and contain two kinds of beneficial fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid. They are also a good source of protein, vitamin E and various minerals including magnesium and potassium.
On its own, however, hemp seed oil does not contain any CBD or other cannabinoids.
The Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil
There are a lot of benefits ascribed to hemp seed oil but they are mainly in the health and well-being area. The truth is that the seeds on their own may well have more beneficial effects than the oil in isolation, especially after it has been refined.
Some of the claims for commercially available hemp oil are not necessarily backed up by a full body of evidence. Many sites claim that it can help with pain reduction and reduce stress and anxiety and generally improves mood. Among medical experts there is a good deal of skepticism concerning the claims about hemp seed oil that you can often read in the media and online.
One reason why many people take it, for instance, is that there is a widely held belief that the oil is good at regulating your mood. That’s why it’s often popular with those who have trouble with stress or anxiety.
Hemp seed oil is, however, used widely in the cosmetics industry, mainly because of its levels of vitamin E that is supposed to be good for the skin. That might also make it suitable for healthy nails and hair.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is commonly associated with health and medical benefits and can be extracted from both hemp seeds and cannabis. High THC strains can commonly contain around 2% of CBD, while there are other special varieties that have been developed to have 10 or even 20% CBD levels.
Many people who use cannabis for medical purposes will grow one of the high strains of CBD cannabis, particularly in locations where it is legal such as in many states of the USA.
Most commercial CBD oil, however, is made from the hemp seed and that’s mostly because it’s legal in many countries around the world. The problem is that a special extraction process has to be used to get the highest yields. Certainly in areas where CBD within the law, the cannabis variety and the plants themselves offer a lot more flexibility and availability.
CBD is only one of over a 100 different elements that can be extracted from cannabis, but it’s the one that has got all the attention recently.
The Benefit of CBD Oil
As with hemp seed oil, CBD oil advocates have made some pretty big claims about it. There is some evidence to back the claims up this time, however.
CBD oil has been used to help relieve seizures for those who suffer from epilepsy. A recent study has shown that it helped improve motility for MS sufferers and there is anecdotal and research evidence that it can assist with pain control.
There are investigations going on into its role in blocking the progress of breast cancer, those these are currently in the very early stages, and the research has only been done on mice. There’s the potential for helping patients cope with their chemotherapy treatments and another research investigation has been looking at a possible role in relieving anxiety and helping deal with PTSD.
Online you undoubtedly find much wider claims from advocates of CBD, as you do with those for hemp seed oil, but there still remains a lot of work to done in this area. The anecdotal evidence is pretty strong in this area and there are plenty of people who feel that medical cannabis helps with their condition.
Is CBD Oil the Same as Cannabis Oil?
Confusion often arises when people talk about CBD oil and cannabis oil. The former is generally produced through hemp manufacture. The latter is solely made from the cannabis plant and can vary quite dramatically in the effects it produces. The main difference is that they can contain much higher levels of THC and it can be used as a recreational drug as well as medicinal.
That means that cannabis oil is generally seen as a narcotic in many countries whereas CBD from hemp seeds isn’t.
Top 8 Reasons People Take Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil has long been a staple of the homeopathic and natural medicine world. Whether the following reasons have resulted from actual real effects, the truth is that most are not scientifically proven. The top reasons for taking hemp seed oil as part of a daily routine are:
- It’s legal in many parts of the world and you can buy it from many health food stores.
- You won’t get high with hemp seed oil as it contains very little THC. What little there is, is usually nullified by the small amount of CBD that is present.
- Holistic medicines have increased a lot in popularity in recent years and part of the effect of hemp seed oil may well be placebo.
- Many people take it regularly to create an ‘emotional homeostasis’ or flatten out their mood, especially those who are prone to anxiety.
- Some believe that it can help deliver a good night’s sleep and will take a few drops before they go to bed at night.
- Hemp seed oil is often used to promote a healthier appetite, especially if you are feeling under the weather or suffering from a chronic illness.
- Some also believe that hemp seed oil can help regulate pain or reduce it in some way though there’s no real evidence that this may be true (unlike for CBD oil).
- Still others simply take it as a health supplement because it contains good levels of fatty acids, vitamin E and other minerals.
Those looking for legal medical cannabis will often buy hemp seed oil as the next best alternative. CBD oil, whether it is made from hemp or cannabis, is a different thing, however, and you should not expect to see the same benefits from the shop bought variety you see every day.