Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Learn the Difference

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Learn the Difference

Posted by Jim Higdon on Feb 18th 2022

What is the Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?

If you are searching for the highest quality CBD oil, you may have noticed some confusion with the terminology. Don't feel alone! Learning the difference between CBD hemp products and other hemp products 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 1-ml 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 such as:

  • Full spectrum CBD Oil
  • Full Spectrum Hemp Extract
  • Hemp Extract Oil
  • Hemp CBD Oil
  • CBD Extract
  • CBD Oil
  • CBD Tincture


Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the cannabis sativa plant. The seeds are the only part of the plant where the amount of CBD equals zero. Manufacturers can easily masquerade hemp seed oils, or hemp oils, as CBD oil products with clever labeling. But don't worry, we will show you the differences between hemp oil and CBD oil so you can avoid being misled when walking the aisles of health food stores. Text

Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil: Video

Watch this short video of Cornbread Hemp co-founder Jim Higdon explaining the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil.

Hemp vs Marijuana

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

The term "hemp" was once interchangeable with “industrial hemp.” But then the 2018 Farm Bill was passed by Congress, which legalized CBD oil and hemp products in the United States. It did this by changing the definition of a hemp plant to mean any cannabis plant with THC at not more than 0.3 percent.1

The 2018 Farm Bill dropped "industrial" from "hemp" to acknowledge of the potential wellness applications for CBD oil. This bill opened the door for CBD oil companies to produce hemp with high amounts of CBD.

Marijuana and hemp both come from the Cannabis sativa plant. Both marijuana and hemp produce CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids that interact with the human body through the endocannabinoid system, or ECS.2 The old strains of industrial hemp that were grown for fiber and seed do not have much CBD content. They wouldn't be a great source for CBD oils in today's quickly expanding CBD market.

CBD Oil vs Hemp Oil

Hemp plants are a variety of Cannabis sativa plant with no more than 0.3 percent THC content.3 The leaves and stalk of the hemp plant have little to no CBD, and hemp seeds have zero CBD content. CBD is mostly concentrated in the flower or "bud" of the female hemp plant. Legal CBD-rich hemp flowers can reach levels near 10 percent CBD or higher, while THC concentration stays below 0.3 percent.

To make CBD oil, cannabinoids are extracted from the raw material using methods like sugarcane ethanol, carbon dioxide CO2 extraction, or even cold infusion with coconut oil. Then the plant extract is blended with a carrier oil and diluted to the proper strength. High quality CBD oils contain phytocannabinoid rich Flower-OnlyTM cannabis extract blended with fast-absorbing carrier oils, like MCT coconut oil.

Using hemp extract containing the whole range of cannabis plant compounds gives your body the best chance to find comfort with the "entourage effect." This is called a "full spectrum oil," and it contains all of the CBD cannabinoids, and it will also contain THC in small amounts.

THC-free products like CBD isolate and broad spectrum CBD oils don't produce an entourage effect and therefore will not perform the same. It is like a team who is missing a few key players, they may try to play a good game, but they can't win without everyone on the team.

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seeds can be a very nutritious source of essential fatty acids,4 but they do not contain CBD or any other cannabinoids. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil contains omega 9, omega 6, and omega 3 fatty acids, as well as vitamin E.5 Hemp seeds themselves can often be found shelled and sold in the superfoods aisle at health food stores as a nutritious booster for smoothies, salads, and granola.

Hemp seed oil, or hemp oil, has many applications. Hemp seed oil, sometimes labeled as “cannabis sativa seed oil,” is commonly found as an ingredient in beauty products, and also with the cooking oils. It can be used as a drying oil because it can harden into a polymer. Due to its essential fatty acids, hemp seed oil is popular in varnishes, putties, paints, and plasters.6

Despite its usefulness, hemp seed oil is not the same as CBD oil. Since hemp seed oil contains high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids,9 it is more similar to fish oil or olive oil. It is also cheaper in price when compared to CBD oil. Hemp seed oil doesn't have some potential wellness benefits as phytocannabinoid rich CBD oils, but is considered to have benefits of its own thanks to its nutritional content.

Hemp oil vs CBD 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.”

However, Amazon offers a massive number of products labeled “hemp oil” or products made with hempseed oil.10 Some products are even labeled as “cannabis seed oil,” which is just another way to say hempseed oil.

Ever since CBD oils first became popular, people have been selling hempseed oil labeled as “Hemp Oil” on Amazon.11 And they sold a lot of it. Some of the top reviewed 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 stores across the United States.

Many of the bottles for sale come in the classic 1oz amber bottles, which 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 oil, these hemp oil products are almost always a simple mixture of hemp seed oil, which contains no cannabidiol CBD compounds whatsoever. CBD comes from hemp flower not hemp seeds. But does that mean you can’t find real CBD oil products on Amazon? Well, it’s complicated.

Be Wary When Shopping Online

When sketchy scammers started 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.

Man smiling at gummies.

How to Find Real CBD Oil

All cannabidiol CBD comes from hemp,13 but not all hemp products have CBD. Here are a few tips to help you determine if you are buying genuine CBD oil, or if you are looking at a fake CBD product that was made from hemp seed oil.

Look for a QR Code

Every legitimate CBD company provides access to their third party lab reports. But the best companies will provide a scannable QR code on their product labels. When scanned with a smartphone camera, this QR code should link directly to the 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, 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 best results from hemp derived CBD products, which is why we never use CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD extracts before blending them with a high quality organic MCT coconut 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 oil product" contains hemp oil or 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 and synthetic fertilizers for three years, and that no synthetic materials have contaminated the soil. Additionally, every ingredient in the supply chain, including 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.

Offering certified organic hemp products 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 in 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” should be viewed with skepticism and caution. Many products labeled “hemp oil” are actually hempseed oil and not CBD oil. Remember, hemp seeds do not contain any CBD. So always look for third party lab analysis to prove that it is CBD oil.

Put simply: the difference between hemp oil vs CBD oil is worth knowing if you are serious about CBD. Wherever you purchase CBD online, make sure you choose a trustworthy brand like Cornbread Hemp. All of our products go to a third party for un-biased lab testing. The test results display the full cannabinoid profile for each of our small-batch hemp extracts, as well as safety screening for quality assurance. And, to avoid confusion, we never use hemp seed oil, broad spectrum hemp extracts, or CBD isolate to produce any Cornbread Hemp CBD product.

We take our job very seriously at Cornbread Hemp. We believe in the benefits of hemp, and strive to make the best Kentucky-grown organic hemp products available to everyone. As a CBD consumer, we encourage you to research your CBD products before you buy. Finally, if you have any concerns about starting CBD in your routine, speak with your healthcare professional before starting to use CBD oil hemp products for your health benefits.

About the Author

Jim Higdon, Co-founder

a native of Lebanon, Kentucky. He holds degrees from Centre College, Brown University, and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Jim published Cornbread Mafia in 2012, full author bio here.

CBD Oil and Hemp Oil FAQ's

What is hemp oil?

Hemp oil and hemp seed oil are usually the same thing, and they do not necessarily contain CBD. With the popularity of authentic CBD oils on the rise, some untrustworthy businesses have tried to cash in on the craze by selling products that resemble CBD oil, but are actually just inert hemp seed oil. CBD comes from the flower of the hemp plant when it is at full maturity, seeds have zero CBD content.

What is CBD oil?

CBD oil is a mixture of a CBD extract and a carrier like MCT coconut oil. CBD cannabidiol comes from the flowers of the hemp cannabis plant. After the plant is harvested at full maturity, the flower buds are dried and cured to preserve the full spectrum of cannabinoids before entering the extraction process. CBD oil can be full spectrum, meaning it contains up to 0.3% THC, or it can be made with THC-free broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate.

Even if full spectrum products have legal trace amounts of THC, they will not get you high.

Can hempseed oil get you high?

No. Hemp seeds contain no CBD and no THC, the psychotropic component in marijuana that gets you high.


1.  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

2. Gayo J. Can You Buy CBD Oil on Amazon? Everything You Should Know. USA. Published June 3, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020. Under ‘what’s CBD? Section, 4th paragraph

3. Gayo J. Can You Buy CBD Oil on Amazon? Everything You Should Know. USA. Published June 3, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020. Under ‘what’s CBD? Section, 4th paragraph

4. Gayo J. Can You Buy CBD Oil on Amazon? Everything You Should Know. USA. Published June 3, 2020. Accessed July 29, 2020. Under ‘what’s CBD? Section, 4th paragraph, 1st sentence

5. 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 2020. Human Endocannabinoid System - UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative - Los Angeles, CA. [online] Available at: Accessed July 29, 2020. 1st paragraph, 1st sentence

7. 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

8. Weiblen GD, Wenger JP, Craft KJ, et al. Gene duplication and divergence affecting drug content in Cannabis sativa. New Phytol. 2015;208(4):1241-1250. doi:10.1111/nph.13562. Under ‘summary’, the 1st bullet point

9. Rodriguez-Leyva D, Pierce GN. The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010;7:32. Published Apr 21, 2010. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-32. Under ‘introduction’ section, 4th paragraph, 1st and 2nd sentence

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

11. 2018. Favoring Female Flowers In Hemp Horticulture. [online] Available at: Accessed July 29, 2020. 7th paragraph, 1st sentence

12. 2018. Favoring Female Flowers In Hemp Horticulture. [online] Available at: Accessed July 29, 2020. 7th paragraph, 1st sentence

13. 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

14. 2020. Organic 101: What The USDA Organic Label Means. [online] Available at: Accessed July 29, 2020. 2nd paragraph

All rights reserved. The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products and the benefits of CBD oil has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to health information about benefits of CBD from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any hemp plant derived CBD product. 

Cornbread Hemp works with suppliers who guarantee a less than or equal to 0.3% THC content. With these trace amounts of THC, it is possible that users may fail a drug test. Cornbread Hemp does not take any responsibility in the instance a customer fails a drug test while using any cannabis plant derived products.

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