You’ve seen cannabidiol or CBD oil online, and you’ve seen hemp seed oil in your local health food stores. One costs about an order of magnitude more than the other. Further complicating and confusing matters is the variety of naming variations under which companies market their CBD products. You’ll see CBD oil sold under names like “CBD Hemp Oil” and “Full-Spectrum Hemp Extract.” If you search on a website like Amazon – which doesn’t allow CBD product sales – you’ll see small, expensive bottles sold only as “hemp oil.” Do those bottles contain any CBD at all? Who knows – but we certainly wouldn’t take a chance on any hemp-derived product unless it has transparent labeling.
You’re a cost-conscious consumer. You want to get the most that you can for your money. If you can get the same product for $10 that other companies sell for $100, you want to do that. As you might have already guessed, though, hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same things – but both products have benefits. When you’re done reading this article, you’ll understand the differences and will know how to buy the right hemp product for your needs.
- 1 What Is Hemp Seed Oil?
- 2 What Is CBD Oil?
- 3 Hemp Seed Oil Isn’t Cheap CBD Oil
- 4 Differentiating Between the Two Potential Sources of Hemp Oil
- 5 Protecting Yourself from Deceptive Marketing Practices
- 6 Choosing the Hemp Oil Product That’s Best for You
- 7 Protecting Yourself From a Disappointing Purchase
What Is Hemp Seed Oil?
Cannabis sativa seed oil – usually labeled just “hemp oil” – is the cold-pressed oil of hemp seeds. It has an appealing green color and a nutty flavor. Hemp oil is a rich source of heart-healthy fatty acids and has a greater omega-3 concentration than any plant oil other than flaxseed oil. Unrefined hemp oil has a low smoke point and isn’t suitable as a cooking oil. Instead, people usually consume it as a supplement or by adding it to smoothies or salad dressings. In addition to its fatty acid content, hemp oil also contains chlorophyll and amino acids. It’s not just good for your insides; it’s also beneficial when used topically on the skin and hair.
As we mentioned above, hemp oil can be a confusing product because some sellers actually use the term “hemp oil” to sell CBD oil on marketplaces that don’t allow CBD products. To ensure you’re getting the correct product, we recommend looking for the term “hemp seed oil” on the label.
CBD and THC Content
Hemp oil comes from industrial cannabis plants grown for their seeds and strong fibers. Hemp seeds themselves contain no CBD or THC. It is possible, though, for trace amounts of THC and CBD to find their way into hemp oil if the seeds aren’t thoroughly cleaned of plant fragments before pressing. You should not buy hemp seed oil for the benefits of CBD, though, as trace amounts of CBD aren’t enough to have many benefits. If you want to buy hemp oil with no trace THC or CBD, buy products from a company that provides lab reports for its products.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil contains the oils extracted from hemp plant matter rather than hemp seeds. Like hemp seed oil, CBD oil comes from a form of cannabis that was once cultivated exclusively for its seeds and fibers. Thanks to the enactment of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill, it’s legal to grow industrial hemp in all 50 states according to federal law. Hemp plants cultivated for their CBD content, though, aren’t quite the same as those grown for industrial purposes. Hemp grown for CBD needs a bit of extra room between plants to give the flowers space to develop; that’s where most of the CBD is.
Growing Hemp for CBD Oil
Comparing the production processes of CBD oil vs. hemp oil, the space required between plants is just where the differences begin – and it’s the differences that make CBD oil so much more expensive than hemp oil. For starters, there’s no way to collect the precious flower buds by machine; farmers must cultivate and harvest the plants by hand – and labor costs money. Even the seeds for CBD hemp plants are expensive. CBD oil producers don’t want to buy plants that won’t yield high amounts of CBD. Seeds guaranteed to grow into plants that yield plenty of CBD while remaining below the federally mandated minimum for trace THC content may cost up to $4.00 each – and that’s only if they’re purchased in bulk.
CBD Oil Production Process
At this point, you’re probably thinking that CBD hemp is a costly product to grow – and you’re correct. Although some farmers have made fortunes from growing hemp, others have barely recouped their investments or even lost money from their hemp crops – and CBD oil only becomes more costly from there.
To become a CBD oil producer, the first thing that you’ll need to do is acquire a supercritical CO2 extraction machine. That’s the standard for modern CBD oil production, and it’ll set you back at least $100,000. Industrial-scale extraction machines cost more than $500,000.
Remember our hypothetical farmer who spent a fortune cultivating and harvesting his CBD hemp crop? You’re going to need to buy the flowers that he so painstakingly harvested, and it’ll cost you around $60,000 per acre. You’ll get thousands of pounds of hemp flowers for that money, but those flowers will only contain about 20 percent CBD at an absolute theoretical maximum. In practice, you’ll lose CBD content at every step of extraction, refinement, and production.
Hemp Seed Oil Isn’t Cheap CBD Oil
At this point, we hope that we’ve satisfied your curiosity about CBD oil vs. hemp oil. No, CBD oil sellers aren’t trying to get away with selling the same product as hemp seed oil at a higher price. CBD oil costs infinitely more than hemp oil to produce, and hemp oil – while very healthy – doesn’t provide the same benefits.
There are numerous factors to consider when purchasing CBD to ensure you are investing in quality products. If you’ve been considering your purchasing options, you may have noticed that the terms hemp oil and CBD oil are used interchangeably throughout the CBD industry.
Although this practice is not intended to cause frustration or confusion, it often does. Far too many unscrupulous companies are taking advantage of consumer confusion by selling misrepresented “hemp oil” unlikely to be of any value to those interested in the therapeutic potential of CBD.
That’s why it’s important to know there are two potential sources of hemp oil. You can protect yourself from misleading product information and sales scams by understanding one of the most deceptive marketing practices lurking within the shadows of the CBD industry, as companies intentionally confuse the distinctions between hemp oil and hemp seed oil.
Differentiating Between the Two Potential Sources of Hemp Oil
The hemp industry has made significant strides since pilot programs began in 2014. As consumer interest in hemp-derived CBD products increases, so does the number of companies hoping to profit from consumer demand. That’s normal. That’s the way business works.
While the industry as a whole has done a decent job helping customers navigate the differences between hemp-derived CBD oil and products sourced from marijuana, maybe there hasn’t been enough emphasis on warning CBD consumers that there are two types of hemp oil. One contains CBD; the other does not. Knowing the differences between the following types of hemp oil could help you avoid a disappointing purchase:
Although CBD (cannabidiol) can be obtained from either cannabis plant, most of the CBD products available in stores and online are sourced from industrial hemp. The product often referred to as CBD oil is extracted from the stalks, stems, and flowers of the plant.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is cold-pressed from hemp seeds. Hemp seeds are considered a superfood, an excellent source of protein, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids. Although hemp seed oil has significant health and wellness potential of its own, hemp seed oil does not contain CBD.
Hemp seed oil is inexpensive and easily accessible, a low-cost commodity with a potentially high-profit margin. The low cost, easy access, and similar origin make it easy for companies to produce “counterfeit” CBD and take advantage of unsuspecting customers.
Protecting Yourself from Deceptive Marketing Practices
Hemp seed oil is commonly used as a base for natural skin care products, a source of essential fatty acids, and for cooking. Of course, not all companies selling bottles of hemp seed oil are misleading prospective customers. Many legitimate companies offering hemp seed oil health and wellness products indicate their merchandise does not contain CBD.
Unfortunately, many others are intentionally blurring the distinctions between CBD-rich hemp oil and hemp seed oil hoping to profit from consumers interested in CBD. Even experienced CBD users can be misled. You can protect yourself from purchasing an inferior product by knowing what to look for when reading manufacturer descriptions, vendor websites, and product labels. Consider the value of the following suggestions:
Identify How Much CBD Your Product Contains
When you purchase a CBD product, it’s important to know how much CBD (cannabidiol) your selection contains. The higher the CBD content, the less product you will need a per dose. Most often, the label will reflect the total amount of CBD in the package, but some companies will also break down the amount of CBD per serving. If a company is using vague terminology like “full-strength” or “most potent formula available” without specifying the amount of CBD, it is unlikely the product contains enough (if any) CBD to be of any significant value.
Look for Third-Party Test Results
Hemp has a natural ability to pull toxins from the soil. Any pesticides, heavy metals, or other potential contaminants used during cultivation and processing will end up in the extracted oil. That’s why the most reputable CBD companies have their products tested by an independent lab to protect customers from microbial contamination and heavy metal toxicity. Since any corporation could claim their products are third-party tested, stick with companies that provide access to those test results. You can use posted test results to verify the CBD content, purity, and safety of the products you select.
Consider the Extraction Method
Some product manufacturers using hemp seed oil are further confusing issues by specifying the total amount of hemp seed oil in their products. That makes product labels look legitimate to consumers who know to look for CBD content in mg. If available product information makes it difficult to determine if those specified amounts are referencing CBD or hemp seed oil, look to the extraction method for clues. Hemp seed oil is cold-pressed; CBD extracted from aerial plant parts is not. Most CBD companies use food-safe CO2 or ethanol (ethyl alcohol) to separate hemp oil (hemp extract) from plant matter. If a product you are considering is made from cold-pressed “hemp oil,” it is unlikely to contain CBD.
Read Customer Reviews with a Critical Eye
You can tell a lot about a product and a company by reading customer reviews and testimonials, but you cannot be sure a product contains CBD by reading positive reviews. Companies selling misrepresented hemp seed oil receive numerous positive reviews claiming their products can do everything you might hope for from CBD. Since hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids, you are likely to read first-hand accounts of a placebo effect. While review can help you assess the integrity of the company you purchase from, positive comments are not conclusive evidence.
Be Skeptical of Large Bottles of Low-Priced Hemp CBD
When shopping for CBD oil, it’s important to know that the size of the bottle is not a good indication of the product value. The factor most important is the amount of CBD the item contains. If you find CBD products priced significantly lower than competitors, or bottle sizes providing considerably more product, proceed with care. Although CBD tinctures commonly contain a blend of hemp extract and a carrier oil, low-priced products are likely diluted with large amounts of coconut oil, olive oil, or hemp seed oil. Having to use a considerable amount of product to achieve your desired dosage can negate any potential savings.
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Choosing the Hemp Oil Product That’s Best for You
Now that you understand the significant differences between hemp oil (hemp extract) and hemp seed oil, it may also be beneficial to know there are two main types of hemp-derived CBD. Some products are made with full-spectrum hemp extract; others are made with CBD isolate.
While CBD isolates products and full-spectrum CBD both have significant health and wellness potential, full-spectrum CBD contains all the plant elements found naturally in hemp plants, including trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the plant component that causes the high which marijuana is known for.
Although full-spectrum hemp oil does not contain enough THC to cause intoxication (.3 percent or less), many people are more comfortable using products made with CBD isolate, a purified form of CBD. There are significant advantages to using isolate products, including the following:
- Isolate is THC-Free– trace amounts of THC are removed as the oil is extracted and processed
- A flavorless, odorless option– no cannabis aroma or characteristic “earthy” flavor
- Product versatility– adding CBD won’t alter the taste of your favorite recipes
- Product potency– CBD isolate is a crystalline powder that is nearly 100 percent pure cannabidiol (CBD)
Although numerous people appreciate having a THC-free CBD option, many others believe full-spectrum CBD products to be considerably more potent than their isolate counterparts. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the additional cannabinoids, plant terpenes, flavonoids, and other nutrients found in the same ratio as the original plant source. Research shows these elements combine to intensify CBD’s therapeutic potential, a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
Protecting Yourself From a Disappointing Purchase
Although hemp seeds are a significant source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, hemp seeds do not contain CBD (cannabidiol). The cannabinoid-rich oil so many people are looking for is extracted from the stalks, stems, and flowers of industrial hemp plants. Knowing how to identify some of the potentially misleading practices lurking in the shadows of the CBD industry will help you avoid purchasing products unlikely to give you the results you are looking for.
You can protect yourself from misleading sales tactics by identifying the source of the hemp oil used in the products you select, the amount of CBD in the product, and the extraction method. You can also avoid purchasing questionable products by placing your trust in companies that allow you to view their third-party test results, the Certificate of Analysis.
CBD is not a cure or medical treatment for any known health concerns. The evidence supporting the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol is based on lab testing, animal studies, and the testimony of customers using hemp-derived CBD products. If you take medication or have been diagnosed with a medical condition, please consult your health care provider before purchasing hemp-derived CBD products. CBD can interact with several prescription and non-prescription medications and may not be advisable for certain medical conditions.