Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Understanding the Difference

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Understanding the Difference


Hemp oil and CBD oil are both popular supplements today. Though both of these oils are derived from the same plant, they actually serve very different purposes. From cooking and beauty tips to anxiety and pain relief, there are a lot of benefits to using these oils.

The problem that’s surfaced is that many people don’t know the difference between the two and think they can be used interchangeably. However, these two oils are very different in make-up and are each used for very different things.

In this article, you will learn the basics of hemp oil and CBD oil. You’ll learn where they come from, what makes them different from each other, and the benefits of each. That way, you know which product to use to receive which benefits.


What is CBD Oil?


cbd vs hemp

CBD oil, or cannabidiol oil, is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant using the flowers, leaves, and stalks. There is no THC in CBD oil, so it does not provide the high that you might expect from the cannabis plant. What CBD oil does have is cannabinoids. These cannabinoids work with your body’s natural endocannabinoid system.

This system has receptors all over the body and brain. When you ingest CBD oil or apply CBD-infused products topically, your body absorbs the cannabinoids and uses them to benefit your body in all kinds of ways.

The reason that CBD oil has become so popular is that it can provide benefits without any serious side effects or potential for addiction. Traditional treatments for some of these conditions are very physically or mentally taxing. So, CBD oil offers an alternative that is less dangerous.

CBD has only recently been removed from the list of controlled substances in the U.S. The 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for business to start using CBD products as long as there was no THC present, as THC is the high-inducing chemical found in cannabis Sativa. 

Since becoming legal, there has been an enormous influx in product development and consumer demand. New businesses have started solely on the basis of providing CBD oil or other CBD-infused products. 

These products include, but are not limited to, oils, supplements, beverages, topical creams, vape solutions, tinctures, and even CBD-infused clothing. There are many ways that people can take advantage of the benefits of CBD now. How you take it, how often, and how much all depends on the effects that you’re trying to achieve.

As we continue to study CBD and its benefits, it’s likely that we’ll find more reasons to use it. The more reasons we find, the more products become available. The CBD oil industry is booming, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down soon.


What is Hemp Oil?


Hemp oil is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant using only the seeds. There are trace amounts of CBD in these seeds, but not enough to provide the benefits of pure CBD oil.

Think of hemp oil the same way you might think of avocado oil or coconut oil. It’s great for beauty products and benefits the skin, hair, and nails, but doesn’t treat any conditions or illnesses.

Hemp seed oil is also popularly used for cooking at low heat or making homemade dressings and condiments. The protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E content make it a great addition to your diet, though it is high in calories.

Like CBD oil, Hemp oil also contains no THC so there is no risk of a high.

Hemp oil has been on the market for quite some time; it is not a newly developed product. However, the popularity of CBD oil and other CBD products has put a bit of a spotlight on it.

With the increased discussion surrounding the marijuana plant, hemp oil has become relevant again. It is often sold and shelved in the same place where you would find CBD oil. This can cause confusion among consumers who haven’t done their homework about which product suits their needs.

Some hemp oil producers have noticed this confusion and the recent popularity of CBD. Because of this, they intentionally make packaging and labels that look similar to take advantage of what the industry is calling “the green rush.”

Hemp oil does have a lot of benefits and applications for beauty products and cooking. However, the benefits and uses of hemp oil are pretty different from those of CBD oil. There is some overlap, but only a little bit. 

So, when you shop for either CBD or hemp oil, it’s important that you know ahead of time what effects you’re trying to achieve and which product will best help you achieve them. You can’t always trust what you read on the bottle or packaging.


Differences Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil

differences hemp

The first difference you’ll notice in hemp oil vs. CBD oil is the part of the cannabis sativa plant that these oils come from. The different parts of the plant have different chemicals within them. Where the stalks, flowers, and leaves are high in CBD content, the seeds only have very small amounts of CBD.

This is the foundation of all other differences between these two oils.

Hemp oil is generally used for cooking or in beauty products. 

The main benefit  seen from regular hemp oil usage include stronger nails, healthier hair, and healthier skin. The vitamins and nutrients in the oil help to hydrate skin and prevent wrinkles without causing breakouts or clogging pores.

It also has a nutty taste that works well in cooking and provides health benefits by introducing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin E. Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E both strengthen and improve the appearance of hair, skin, and nails.

Hemp oil is most often used to improve your appearance or help you get vitamins and nutrients in your diet that are hard to find elsewhere. These are relatively basic and simple benefits. On the flip side, CBD oil is often used as an alternative treatment to a variety of conditions. These benefits tend to be more complex.

The cannabinoid content in the leaves, stalks, and flowers of cannabis sativa make all the difference when discussing these two products. Cannabinoids help your body in many more ways than hemp oil does. These benefits include reducing inflammation, helping to manage chronic pain, and treating mental conditions like insomnia, depression, and anxiety.

Like hemp oil, CBD oil can be applied topically for beauty benefits. Both hemp oil and CBD oil are anti-inflammatory. But, hemp oil is known for being a great, lightweight moisturizer that will not clog pores. CBD oil is better used to calm and treat acne or skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. 

In that example, you can see what I mean by simple benefits vs. more complex benefits. While hemp oil can improve the appearance of skin, CBD oil can actually treat conditions that affect the health of your skin.

That is about the extent of the overlap between the two products. Beyond that, CBD oil provides a pretty long list of benefits to the entire body. 

To sum up, hemp oil is generally used topically or as a dietary supplement. CBD oil is also used topically but is also ingested to benefit a more significant amount of internal issues.


Benefits of CBD Oil not Achieved with Hemp Oil

You’re probably looking into CBD oil and hemp oil because you’ve heard about the benefits of the products. We’ve already covered the main benefits that hemp oil provides and how they overlap with CBD oil. However, there is a significant number of benefits that you can receive from CBD oil that you cannot receive from hemp oil. 

Those benefits include:


  • Anxiety and Depression Relief


One of the most popular reasons that people try CBD oil is to reduce anxiety and depression. The benefits of CBD oil for these mental conditions have been tested and proven. When an individual takes CBD oil during or before a stressful situation, they are able to stay calm and be more resilient.

CBD oil is often used to treat these conditions because traditional treatments can have a significant number of negative side effects, including the potential for addiction.


  • Insomnia Relief


Insomnia relief from CBD oil stems from its anti-anxiety/anti-depressive and chronic pain relief traits. CBD oil calms the mind and body long enough for people with insomnia to fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. 


  • Treat Cancer-Related Symptoms

cancer symptom


While there is some speculation that CBD may actually have anti-cancer properties, there is still a lot of research needed to prove those properties beyond a doubt. In the meantime, CBD oil has proven beneficial in treating side effects related to cancer and cancer treatments, like nausea, pain, and difficulty sleeping.


  • Treat Chronic Pain

pain relief

Pain management has already been mentioned in a couple of these points. This is another very popular reason that people pursue CBD oil. One study was done on individuals diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis where Sativex, a CBD-based drug, helped muscles relax to reduce nerve pain and cramping.


  • Manage Arthritis


People diagnosed with arthritis have begun to use topical creams infused with CBD oil regularly in combination with massages. The topical cream helps reduce the frequency and intensity of the pain. While it doesn’t heal or reverse the damage, it does help to manage side effects.


  • Treat Epilepsy


Treating epilepsy is the only FDA-approved usage of CBD. There is currently a drug on the market containing CBD for this specific purpose. The drug, epidiolex, reduces the frequency of seizures in people diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.


  • Quit Smoking/Substance Abuse Recovery

quit smoking

CBD can help smokers quit by providing anxiety, depression, and chronic pain relief during the quitting process. In this way, it can also help people who have turned to substance abuse.

Many people who suffer from these conditions use smoking or other substances as a crutch. When they try to quit, the stress of quitting on top of existing conditions can make it very difficult. CBD oil can help relieve some of the stress and side effects of other conditions to make quitting easier.


  • Manage Parkinson’s Disease

parkinson's disease

CBD oil can improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Similar to the effects on Multiple Sclerosis, CBD oil can help reduce muscle spasticity. When that spasticity is reduced, movement, speech, and sleep become easier. 

CBD oil can help people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease manage their symptoms so that everyday life can be a bit easier.


  • Reduce Inflammation


The capability of CBD oil to reduce inflammation is beneficial for the management of many different conditions. This applies to people diagnosed with diabetes, people with acne, people who suffer from epilepsy or Alzheimer’s Disease, and many more. 

Inflammation reduction in the body means reduced pain and nerve damage. In the brain, it means preventing neurodegeneration. In both of these areas, the benefits are significant.



If the green rush has piqued your interest, make sure to do your research on the benefits of both hemp oil and CBD oil. This article is a good starting point. But, before you start shopping make sure to also research the brand that you’re buying from. All of these benefits and applications mean nothing if you purchase a low-quality product. 

To sum up what we’ve learned in this article:

  • Hemp oil is great for its beauty benefits, meaning that it strengthens and improves the appearance of hair, skin, and nails. It is also great for cooking and is a good way to incorporate more omega fatty acids and vitamins into your diet. These vitamins and nutrients can be difficult to get from other food, so hemp oil can be a good alternative.
  • CBD oil has benefits when applied topically and when ingested. The list of benefits goes on and on. Some of the most popular benefits include anxiety/depression relief, pain management, and reduced inflammation. Incorporating CBD oil into your daily routine can provide relief from a number of conditions while side-stepping severe side effects.