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As both CBD oil and hemp oil rise in popularity across the U.S., it’s important for everyone to understand the difference between the two oils. Despite sounding similar, there is a huge difference between CBD oil and hemp oil.

We put together this guide to help you better understand the differences, use cases, and sourcing methods for both CBD oil and hemp oil — whether you are a CBD or hemp manufacturer or consumer.

What is CBD oil?

CBD stands for cannabidiol and it’s the second most common ingredient found in cannabis (hemp) plants. There are over 80 natural compounds found in hemp and CBD is simply one of those compounds.

CBD is extracted from the flowers, leaves, stems, and stalks of fully grown hemp plants. Then, CBD oil is extracted through several different extraction methods including carbon dioxide, ethanol, or even olive oil. The extraction method used will play a role in the quality of the CBD. (Generally speaking, CO2 extraction methods are the safest for the manufacturer as well as the consumer.)

While much of the research around CBD is too immature to have any proven benefits, the biggest known benefit is how it interacts with your endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is a vast internal system of controls that help promote balance and homeostasis in your body. This is why many CBD users say CBD gives them a heightened experience of relaxation.

Although CBD is similar to THC in many ways, CBD does not have a psychoactive effect, meaning you will not get “high.”

Also, full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD benefit from the entourage effect — where each of the compounds found in CBD work synergistically together to enhance its therapeutic benefits.

(Not sure about the difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD? Read our article about the difference here.)

What is hemp oil?

Here’s where things get a little tricky.

Hemp oil usually refers to hemp seed oil. This is oil that’s been extracted from the seeds of the hemp plant. Hemp seed oil is a rich blend of nutrients including a high concentration of protein, healthy omega fatty acids, and vitamin E — which is why it’s mainly found in skincare and cosmetic products.

Hemp seed oil does not contain any cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids which are found in both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oils. Meaning, you will not experience the entourage effect or any of the benefits you would receive from consuming CBD oil.

However, many CBD brands have caused confusion in the market by labeling their CBD products as hemp oil products. They did this to avoid complications from the FDA in the shakier beginnings of the legalization of hemp and hemp-derived products such as CBD oil.

But in these special cases, hemp oil does not refer to hemp seed oil. Instead, they used this language in marketing their products to avoid upsetting the FDA.

So if a CBD product is labeled as a hemp oil extract, it’s important to check the ingredients. If CBD is listed as one of the main ingredients, then you’ll know it’s not meant to be hemp seed oil (which doesn’t contain any CBD).

Also, CBD products will come with a COA (Certificate of Analysis) whereas hemp seed oil products will not have a COA.

(Not sure what a COA is? Click here to read our article about it.)

What are the similarities between CBD oil and hemp oil?

CBD oil and hemp oil share a few similarities including…

  • They are both oils derived from the hemp plant
  • They don’t contain any psychoactive effects, unlike marijuana
  • They both provide an array of beneficial properties to the end user
  • They can both be either ingested or applied topically

What are the differences between CBD oil and hemp oil?

While there are some similarities between CBD oil and hemp oil, there are many more differences.

Some of the main differences include:

  • CBD oil is derived from the whole plant, whereas hemp oil is derived from the seeds in the hemp plant. 
  • Reputable CBD companies will provide a COA for CBD oil and hemp oil will not come with a COA. 
  • CBD can contain up to 0.3% THC — which is the federal legal limit. Hemp oil will not contain any THC. 
  • Hemp oil doesn’t contain any cannabinoids and users won’t benefit from the entourage effect, while CBD oil does. 
  • Hemp oil has been used in beauty and skincare products for years, while CBD is newer to most industries.

Interested in becoming a CBD oil manufacturer?

At GenCanna, we help new and existing businesses get started with CBD through our white label Quick Start Program and our Private Label Program. If you’re interested in selling CBD, you can click here to set up a call with our sales team.

(Fuzzy about the differences between a white label and private label program? Click here to read our article about the differences.)