Back in December, we saw the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, making industrial hemp-derived CBD legal across the country. This means that for the first time, hemp, which is a form of the cannabis plant that doesn’t make users high, became federally legal. This development in the cannabis world has potentially just sparked a new cannabis oil boom.
However, there’s still a lot of confusion around CBD and hemp. Many people use the terms hemp oil and CBD oil interchangeably, basically assuming that they’re the same thing. Then you will hear other people saying that hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil and you shouldn’t buy it. This has left many cannabis users confused and unsure about what the difference is and which one they should buy.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same things. There are many differences between the two and determining which one is best for you will depend on why you want to use it. In this article, we will take a close look at these differences.
The Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp
Knowing the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil can be as easy as understanding where each comes from. So to start off, we will explain the cannabis species as a whole.
Cannabis (also often referred to as marijuana) and hemp are two different varieties of the same plant species; Cannabis sativa. There are a variety of differences between the two, but the key difference is the concentration of THC present in the plant. Hemp contains very little THC, which is the psychoactive compound of marijuana, meaning that hemp will not get users high. Marijuana, on the other hand, often has high levels of THC.
To better understand the difference between hemp and marijuana, you need to know a bit about the subtypes (cultivars) of the cannabis plant. Cultivars are the breeds of a plant species which are bred for different purposes. Here are the three types of cannabis cultivars:
- Cultivars that are grown mainly for industrial use – they have large stems and fewer branches.
- Cultivars that are grown mainly for their seeds – these can be eaten or pressed into hemp oil.
- Cultivars that are grown mainly for the active cannabinoids (THC and CBD) which are present in the buds – used either for medicinal or recreational reasons.
Typically speaking, number one and two tend to be the hemp plant, while number three tends to be marijuana.
One of the other main differences between marijuana and hemp is the environment in which they are cultivated. Marijuana can be very difficult to grow, and often calls for very specific conditions. Usually, the individual plants are grown quite far apart, as opposed to industrial hemp where plants can be grown as close as 4 inches apart.
Typically, marijuana takes 8 to 10 weeks to flower, and it can only be grown in a hot and humid climate and in a carefully controlled environment. Those who grow marijuana have to be very careful with everything that they do, right down to the level of nutrients that are in the soil.
Hemp, on the other hand, can grow just about anywhere, but it takes a lot longer to grow – usually 108 to 120 days. Hemp is a very hardy plant and doesn’t need much tending to. It can grow in just about any kind of soil, including polluted and toxic soil. Of course, this means that those who are cultivating hemp for consumption purposes need to be very careful to avoid any contamination.
What is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil is derived from the hemp plant, and it is typically grown for industrial purposes. These plants contain low levels of cannabinoids, like CBD and THC and the oil is extracted directly from the hemp seeds. The seeds don’t contain any psychoactive substances, but trace amounts could be found on the surface because of the close contact the seeds have with the plant.
Hemp oil is full of nutrients and is great for cooking. It can provide a nutty and crispy taste to foods and is often a wonderful replacement for olive oil in salads. It’s also a great natural moisturizer that may be used after a shower.
Hemp oil contains little to no THC, and although it contains trace amounts of CBD, it’s typically diluted in comparison to CBD oil.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is extracted from cannabis or hemp, but the whole plant is used rather than just the seeds. CBD must be extracted from either the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the plant, which means that the process is a bit more complex. As you may have already guessed, cannabis strains that are known to have high levels of CBD are typically chosen when producing CBD oil to maximize the potency of the end product.
CBD oil has become very popular in the medical cannabis world because it can be very helpful in the treatment of a variety of health conditions and it doesn’t have the typical intoxicating effects that are usually associated with cannabis use.
What are the Benefits of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil is rich in omega-3 and omega- 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In fact, it happens to be the only edible oil that contains more than 80% polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. Linolenic acid (LNA) and Linoleic acid (LA) can be found in a ratio of 3:1, which nutritionists believe to be the optimal ratio.
Another great benefit of hemp oil is that it contains high levels of Vitamin E. 100g of hemp oil will contain 100–150 mg of Vitamin E on average. Vitamin E is well-known for its antioxidant properties. This is why the cosmetics industry can’t stop raving about the anti-aging properties associated with this natural nutrient.
It’s also common for people to create their own CBD tinctures from hemp oil. However, hemp oil alone doesn’t contain CBD or any other cannabinoids.
The Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS) and offers an array of health benefits. It is commonly used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, pain, inflammation, neurodegenerative disorders, and even has potential in cancer treatment.
CBD oil will not make users high because it doesn’t contain high enough levels of THC or any other psychoactive compound. Using CBD oil as a supplement helps to improve homeostasis and can be dosed accurately with a couple of drops placed under the tongue.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil vs. Hemp Oil
Hemp and cannabis are cousins in the plant world, but each offers very different effects. The main difference between the two oils is the cannabinoid content. Cannabis has a much higher THC and CBD content than hemp. Hemp oil contains very low levels of CBD – typically less than 25 parts per million. CBD oil, on the other hand, can contain up to 15% CBD.
Hemp oil is primarily a nutritious dietary supplement, while CBD oil is a healthy option with the purpose of treating specific medical conditions. Ultimately, what should now be absolutely clear is that one is medicinal and the other is used for cooking and manufacturing purposes.