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Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Learn the Difference

Posted by Jim Higdon on Sep 8th 2020

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Learn the Difference

If you are searching for the highest quality hemp-derived CBD oil, you may have noticed some confusion with "hemp oil" terminology. Don't feel alone! Learning the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil is super easy, and we are here to walk you through it.

The typical style of CBD oil packaging is a one ounce glass amber bottle with a 1ml dropper that has a rubber bulb on the end. Product labeling on CBD products may contain a variety of phrases which can refer to different types of CBD oil.

CBD oil is often referred to using these common terms:

  • Full spectrum CBD oil
  • Full Spectrum Hemp Extract
  • Hemp Extract Oil
  • Hemp CBD Oil
  • CBD Extract
  • CBD Oil
  • CBD tincture

Hemp vs Marijuana

Part of the problem is that many people yet don’t understand terms like hemp, cannabis, hemp seed oil, and CBD oil. These terms are often used interchangeably, and that leads to understandable confusion amongst first timers.

This confusion stems from the definition of hemp changing because of the Farm Bill. Hemp used to be interchangeable with “industrial hemp.” But then Congress legalized hemp in the United States by changing the definition of a hemp plant to mean any cannabis plant with a THC level not more than 0.3%, meaning any cannabis sativa plant above 0.3% THC is considered a marijuana plant.1 That opened the door for CBD companies to produce CBD-rich hemp, which was a new thing until quite recently.

Marijuana and hemp both come from the same cannabis plant species: cannabis sativa. Both marijuana and hemp produce CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids that interact with the human body through the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.2 Full spectrum hemp derived CBD engages with the body’s ECS through the entourage effect to bring the body’s systems into balance. The old strains of industrial hemp that were grown for fiber and seed do not have much CBD content, and wouldn't be a great source for CBD oils in today's quickly expanding market for full spectrum CBD, rather than CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD.

To put it simply: not many people talk about “industrial hemp” any more. Most conversations regarding hemp oils vs CBD oils are about the entourage effect and production of cannabinoids like CBD. If we grew industrial hemp for cannabinoids today, we would lose the various other minor cannabinoids, which come only from the CBD-rich female flowers of the hemp plant when at full maturity.

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil

Hemp plants are a variety of cannabis sativa pant with a legally compliant level of THC in trace amounts not above 0.3%.3 The cannabidiol content in CBD oil comes only from the flower or "bud" of the female hemp plant. Just like a marijuana plant produces THC in their female flowers, hemp plants produce high CBD levels near 10-20%, and THC concentration levels below 0.3%.

CBD oil is made by extracting this phytocannabinoid rich plant extract using several methods like sugarcane ethanol, carbon dioxide (CO2), and even cold infusion with coconut oil. Because of its rich cannabinoid content, CBD oil is popular for calming the body as well as the mind. Using extracts that contain a full spectrum of phytocannabinoid rich CBD, cannabis oil gives your body the balance it craves in the endocannabinoid system through a phenomenon known at the entourage effect.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you've probably heard about a few of the health benefits of CBD oil, or even that there is no risk of overdose. The benefits of cannabidiol CBD oil may include:

  • Pain relief for aches and pains*
  • A sense of calm during anxiety*
  • Healthy sleep cycles*

Hemp seeds on the other hand can be a very nutritious4 dietary additive, but they contain no cannabinoids. They are a great source of omega 9, omega 6, and omega 3 essential fatty acids, as well as vitamin E.5 Hemp seeds and hempseed oil, sometimes labeled as “cannabis sativa seed oil,” are commonly found at health food stores and in beauty products.

Hemp seed oil is used as a drying oil because it can harden into a polymer. Because of the fatty acids it contains, it is popular in varnishes, putties, paints, and plasters.6 But it’s not something that health professionals are begging their patients to take for their well being.

Hemp seed oil is more similar to fish oil or olive oil than to CBD hemp oil. Hemp seed oil does have some potential health benefits - and risks - due to its high fatty acid content. The benefits of hemp seed oil may include:

  • Supporting skin conditions*
  • Promoting a healthy heart*
  • Boosting the immune system*
  • Balancing digestive health*

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil Side Effects

Using hemp seed oil as a dietary supplement, or ingesting hemp seeds on their own, is generally seen as safe in the health and wellness community. However, the health benefits and side effects of hemp seed oil, or ingesting a hemp seed, may not be as cut and dry as one would hope. Because the DEA listed hemp as a schedule 1 drug, the research on hemp seed oil vs CBD oil is very limited.

Here are a few of the most commonly reported side effects of hemp seed oil:

  • Digestive issues*
  • Pregnancy risks*
  • Cardiac risks*
  • Blood coagulation*

On the other hand, CBD oil has exploded in popularity, and many CBD cannabis consumers don't report having any negative side effects at all. CBD mimics a cannabinoid that is already produced in our body, which means that most people won't react negatively. Because hemp seed oil contains no real cannabinoid content, it could produce negative side effects.

Here are a few of the most commonly reported side effects of CBD oil:

  • Heart burn*
  • Diarrhea*
  • Low blood pressure*
  • Increased heart rate*

Hemp Oil on Amazon

The e-commerce giant Amazon now accounts for over 50% of all online sales. Also, Amazon strictly prohibits the sale of CBD products on its platform. So, you won’t find anything on Amazon labeled “CBD.” CBD is short for cannabidiol,9 a cannabinoid found in the cannabis sativa plant.

However, Amazon offers a massive amount of products labeled “Hemp Oil” or products made with hemp seed oil, but hemp seed oil does not contain CBD.10 Some products even call themselves “cannabis sativa seed oil,” which is just another way to say hemp seed oil.

Ever since CBD oils first became popular, people have been selling hemp seed oil labeled as “Hemp Oil” on Amazon.11 And they sold a lot of it. Some of the top reviewed Hemp Oil products received over 2,000 reviews, many citing omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids as the source of their positive experience. These include lotions, ingestible oils, capsules, pet products, and beauty products, many of which are (sadly) also sold in health food stores and pharmacies across the United States.

Many of the bottles for sale come in the classic 1-oz amber bottles that most legitimate hemp brands use to package their authentic CBD oils. They even contain a milligram level on the front of the bottle or box.

But when you dive deeper into hemp oil vs CBD, these hemp oil products are almost always a simple mixture of hemp seed oil, which contains no full spectrum cannabidiol whatsoever. CBD comes from the flower of cannabis plants, not the hemp seeds. But does that mean you can’t find real CBD oil products on Amazon? Well, it’s complicated.

CBD Oil on Amazon

With sketchy scammers selling knockoff CBD products labeled “Hemp Oil” on Amazon,12 real CBD companies took notice. In their fight to stay alive in a saturated market, these real companies started labeling legitimate cannabidiol CBD oil products as “hemp oil” to cater to Amazon’s policies, while cashing in on the demand.

This includes some of the largest brands in the country who just recently decided to take the plunge on Amazon CBD sales. The trick is to make the label more vague so that it does not include the phrase “CBD.” This system seems to work fine for Amazon. But it does cause more confusion for consumers trying to find the real thing.

How to Find Real CBD Oil

All cannabidiol comes from hemp,13 but not all hemp oil comes from the flower of the hemp plant. Here are a few tips to help you determine if a CBD oil vs hemp oil product is derived from a hemp plant, or if it's a fake hemp oil CBD product that was made from hemp seed oil.

Look for a QR Code

Every legitimate CBD company will provide access to their third party lab reports. But those lab reports should also be linked to a QR code on the product packaging. When scanned with a smartphone camera, this QR code should link directly to the library of lab reports that coincide with the batch number and production date.

Look for Lab Reports

When determining if a “hemp oil” product is actually a cannabidiol product in disguise, the cannabinoid potency test is very helpful. In addition to telling you whether it’s legal or not, it can also tell you if there’s CBD present, and how much. This is especially important when choosing between different types of CBD oil like CBD isolate and broad spectrum CBD oil, or when trying to avoid any THC concentration, the cannabinoid that can get you high.

Third party lab tests can also tell you about the quality of the full spectrum CBD oil, and whether the hemp extract actually contains a full spectrum of cannabinoids. Many CBD companies sell products labeled as full spectrum CBD, when in reality the lab reports show little to no minor cannabinoid content or THC. These elements are critical for experiencing the most potent entourage effect with CBD products made from the cannabis plant, which is why we never use CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD extracts before blending them with a high quality organic cocon carrier oil.

In addition to testing for cannabinoids, a good CBD brand will also test every batch of product for contamination and impurities. Look for lab reports that test for pesticides, heavy metals, solvents, bacteria, mold, fungus, etc. If a company does not test for these things, it is either lazy or trying to hide something. Either way, they don’t deserve your trust, especially if there is any confusion as to whether the "CBD product" contains hemp oil and CBD.

Look for the USDA Organic Seal

The USDA organic seal is a symbol of trust across the natural products space.14 To obtain this organic certification, farmers must prove that their soil has been free of pesticides or fertilizers for three years, and that no synthetic materials have contaminated the soil. Additionally, every ingredient in our supply chain, including even our carrier oil, is audited and approved to be organic by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, who oversees the National Organic Program for the state of Kentucky.

Being a certified organic hemp company isn't easy. It takes time, money, and a whole lot of effort. At Cornbread Hemp, we know how important it is to have confidence if the source of your CBD oil, and that's why we work exclusively with the best USDA organic hemp farmers in the state.

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil Conclusion

To recap, what’s the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil? Products labeled “hemp oil” while appearing to be CBD oil should be viewed with skepticism and caution. The only way to truly know if a “hemp oil” product contains any cannabidiol is through a chemical analysis and a lab report.

Many products labeled “hemp oil” are actually hemp seed oil and not CBD oil. Even if they come from the same cannabis plant, the content will be different depending on which part of the plant is extracted: the seeds or the flowers. If you're looking for authentic full spectrum CBD oil products that actually work for issues like everyday stresses, aches and pains, and anti inflammatory support, then you'll want to choose CBD oil vs hemp oil.

Put simply: the difference between hemp oil vs CBD oil is worth knowing if you are serious about CBD. Whoever you purchase CBD online from, make sure you choose a trustworthy brand like Cornbread Hemp. Our CBD tinctures contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids for the most potent entourage effect, with third party lab results to prove it. And to avoid confusion, we never use hemp seed oil, broad spectrum hemp extracts, or CBD isolate to produce any Cornbread Hemp CBD product.

That’s because we take our job very seriously at Cornbread Hemp, and we know cannabis plants like JIF knows peanuts. As a CBD consumer, make sure you do too. Finally, if you have any serious medical conditions, or are taking any medications, make sure to speak with your healthcare professional before starting any CBD oil product. Thanks for reading!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.*



Peter Grinspoon, M., 2020. Cannabidiol (CBD) — What We Know And What We Don’T - Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: Accessed July 29, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence


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Callaway JC. Hempseed oil in a nutshell. Published March 2010. Accessed July 29, 2020. 1st paragraph, 3rd and 4th sentence

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Hudak, J., 2018. The Farm Bill, Hemp Legalization And The Status Of CBD: An Explainer. [online] Brookings. Available at: Accessed July 29, 2020. 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence

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