Is CBD Oil the Same as Hemp Seed Oil?

Just a quick disclaimer; we don’t make health claims about CBD, we just share the research. You’ll always find references to scientific literature to substantiate what we share. This is for informational use only. Always speak to your doctor before making any changes to your healthcare regimen.  

I bet you’ve been hearing a lot about hemp recently; its getting some serious attention in the wellness spotlight right now. There’s a good reason for that – hemp is a plant that just keeps on giving, sharing its gifts in many ways.

There’s a lot of nuances in the industry around hemp and cannabis, but because its vogue right now, its attracting a lot of new attention. There’s very little regulation around this new and emerging market, so naturally you’ll have people who pee in the swimming pool and ruin it for everyone.

Why There’s Confusion

Because hemp is such a diverse plant, almost all of it is used from seeds to flower, for a bunch of different things.

The main difference between CBD oil and hemp oil is that they both come from different parts of the hemp plant. Although they come from different parts of the plant, they both have unique health giving properties.

CBD oil comes from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. (stalks and stems). Its extracted using a process called supercritical Co2 extraction, which involves some pretty heavy duty machinery.

Whereas hemp oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant. This is commonly known as hemp seed oil, but some people may try to pass it off as CBD to con new users. Hemp seed oil is cold pressed; a process which preserves all the good stuff in the oil.

Although both are beneficial in their own ways, CBD has a totally different composition of nutrients, and therefore offers a totally different array of health benefits compared to hemp seed oil.

CBD oil contains the famous compounds known as cannabinoids. These are only found in the leaves, flowers, stems and stalks of hemp and cannabis plants. Research is steadily unveiling the significant health benefits of cannabinoids, and how they work

Hemp seed oil contains a lot of beneficial nutrients, but does not contain any cannabinoids, and therefore will not have the same degree of health benefits.

MJ & Hemp Plants

C. sativa L. is a species of plant which comes in several different varieties. Plants vary in shape and size, but are differentially classified by their cannabinoid contents.

MJ is a variety which contains high amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC, whereas hemp contains naturally low levels of THC. They both contain CBD and other cannabinoids.

In most countries MJ is illegal because it contains above the legal limit of 0.2 – 0.3% THC, which can produce a psychoactive effect and lead to addiction in susceptible individuals. Therefore, most CBD oil is levied from hemp.

However hemp seed oil comes exclusively from the seeds of hemp plants. Seeing as both plants can be referred to as C. Sativa L. this makes telling the difference between them quite tricky.

Sneaky Marketing

Some people sell hemp seed oil as hemp oil, because its easy to think you are buying CBD oil if you’re new to the market. Hemp seed oil is A LOT cheaper to make, so there’s money to be made by fronting it as CBD.

The constituents of CBD offer a higher degree of therapeutic value than those of hemp seed oil, which is why CBD oil sells at a premium.

For example, someone who’s had chronic pain for years is willing to pay a hefty price for relief, which has given opportunistic tricksters the chance to capitalise on the confusion between the two oils.

Look at the Labels

There’s sneaky marketing at work when it comes to passing off hemp seed oil as CBD, and the clues to getting duped are in the wording on the labels.

Also, don’t be fooled by pretty cannabis leaves on labels. These can represent hemp seed oil as much as they can CBD oil, so look out for the details below.

CBD oil and hemp oil are names that are used interchangeably by trickers and charlatans that are new to the market.

You can usually tell if the oil you are buying actually has CBD in if its labelled as one of the following:

  • Full spectrum hemp extract
  • Full spectrum hemp oil
  • Full spectrum C. sativa L. oil
  • Phytocannabinoid rich (or PCR) hemp extract
  • Just CBD or Cannabidiol in the ingredients

Hemp seed oil could be listed as one of the following:

  • Hemp oil
  • C. sativa L. oil

Alternatively, they could just outright lie and label hemp seed oil as CBD oil. The trick here is to look and see if there’s either a percentage or milligram (Mg) amount of CBD on the label.

Composition of CBD Oil

CBD oil is actually a term which refers to a hemp extract. These are called full spectrum hemp extracts because they contain all the other beneficial constituents found in the plant.

So when you buy CBD oil, you are actually buying an extract which is rich in other compounds as well as CBD. The CBD content may start at around 5% and go up to as much as 40%. 

You can expect to find other cannabinoids like Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabichromene (CBC) and small amounts of THC (<0.2%) in hemp.

There are also other compounds called terpenes, which also have their own therapeutic benefits. Terpenes are found in many plants, and give certain types their characteristic aromas. Lavender, rosemary and pine are a few examples of plants that have a unique mix of terpenes that give them their smell. 

It doesn’t stop there. Full spectrum hemp extracts also contain:

  • Fatty acids
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Composition of Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seeds contain nutrients which serve more as an edible source of energy than CBD oil. They have even been dubbed a superfood because of the high diversity and concentration of nutrients they contain.

Dietary analysis with Nutritics shows that 100g of hemp seeds contain:

  • Energy: 614 Kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 7.1g
  • Protein: 35g
  • Fat: 50g
  • Magnesium: 131% Recommended daily intake
  • Vitamin B2: 71% Recommended daily intake

Fatty acids in hemp seed oil:

  • Linolenic acid (Omega-6) – 52-62%
  • Alpha Linolenic acid (Omega-3) – 12-23%
  • Oleic Acid (Omega-9) – 8-13%
  • Palmitic Acid – 5-7%
  • Stearic Acid – 1-2%
  • Gamma Linolenic Acid (Omega-6) – 3-4%

CBD content for 11 different hemp seed oils were found to not exceed 0.027%, and 0.0069% for THC (1).

Benefits of Hemp Oil

Hemp seeds are said to be a complete protein source, providing all of the essential amino acid building blocks for the body to function and continuously renew.

Specifically, high amounts of methionine, cysteine, arginine and glutamic acid are found in hemp seeds (2)

  • Methionine and cysteine are important for detoxification and antioxidant defence. 
  • Arginine has been shown to benefit cardiovascular health and blood pressure by keeping inflammation in check (3)
  • Dietary arginine from plants sources has been found to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome by 42% (4).

They are also one of the best plant sources of omega 6 and 3 fatty acids around. The ratio of omega 6:3 fats (3:1) is considered optimal for human health.

Immune system function depends on 6:3 balance. Whilst omega 6 is important, too much can cause inflammation which omega 3 helps counterbalance.

Hemp seeds are rich in ALA; 1 Tbsp provides 52% of the recommended daily intake.

ALA Helps:

  • Support brain and mental health (4)
  • Skin health (5)
  • Protect heart and circulatory system (6)
  • Reduce cholesterol (7)
  • Reduce inflammation (8)

Hemp seeds are also rich in an important omega 6 fatty acid called GLA (9). GLA can also reduce inflammation and benefit skin health (10).

Clinical Trials with Hemp Seeds

In a trial of 120 participants with constipation, hemp seeds were given as the main part of a Chinese Herbal Medicine preparation. Those receiving the hemp seeds had significant improvements in bowel movements after 8 weeks compared to placebo (11).

In a trial of 100 Multiple Sclerosis patients, hemp seed oil combined with evening primrose oil and a special diet improved markers of inflammation, cellular damage and the activity of liver enzymes (12). These are all factors which drive MS progression.

Benefits of CBD Oil

Although there’s not an awful lot of research out there on CBD, a few pre-clinical studies suggest that it may be helpful in the following cases:

CBD oil stacks up to provide more of a therapeutic punch than hemp seed oil, principally because it contains cannabinoids.

You Can Have It Both Ways

Whilst CBD oil and hemp seed oil both support health in different ways, they can be combined to produce a powerful synergy.

CBD containing full spectrum hemp extracts are diluted with carrier oils to aid their absorption. Often CBD is combined with hemp seed oil to add more anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as providing additional minerals and beneficial fats.

Believe it or not, but the omega fatty acids in hemp seed oil can also help the endocannabinoid system stay healthy and balanced. Endocannabinoids are made from omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, and omega-6 fatty acid AA (19).   

Helping regulate endocannabinoid synthesis with hemp oil could add extra perks for people with a dysregulated endocannabinoid system.

Diets particularly rich in omega-6 and devoid of omega-3 have been linked to problems with the endocannabinoid system (20). Ensuring a balanced intake of omega fats could help keep the endocannabinoid system working in harmony.

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