Difference Between Hemp Oil & CBD Oil

It’s easy to get confused, we understand why you are. 

The differences are real, and the terms are NOT interchangeable, though many folks do refer to CBD oil as Hemp oil. In fact, sometimes CBD oil is referred to as full-spectrum hemp oil due to regulations that may exclude the use of the term CBD in labeling of CBD Hemp products. 

Both products come from the Industrial Hemp plant. 

Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is an edible vegetable oil that is extracted from hemp SEEDS. It is also called hemp seed oil. This oil has a low smoke point (325 F), and is best used in salad dressings and finishing applications. 

Hemp oil has a lot of omega 6 and 9 fatty acids in it, is usually a lovely green color (from chlorophyll), and does not have eternal shelf stability. The highest quality hemp oil is pressed at low temperatures (expeller pressed) and should be used within 8 - 12 months of purchase for optimal quality. 

Since Hemp oil is made from the seeds of the cannabis plant, it does NOT contain CBD (cannabidiol) or THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the cannabinoid that is only legal for medical uses in most states, and gives people a feeling of being “high.”


CBD oil is oil that has been infused with Cannabinoids. Sometimes CBD oil is made with Hemp Oil, but more frequently it’s made with a more flavor-neutral oil like grapeseed or MCT Coconut oil. 

There are a number of ways this happens:

  • Extraction: CBD plant material from high-CBD genetics is processed in a lab to isolate the Cannabinoids. The resulting material is called distillate and is a sticky, honey-like resin that is pourable at first, but crystallizes over time. To create full-spectrum CBD oil, this material is melted into a carrier oil. 
  • Infusion: CBD plant material is basically soaked in a carrier oil, usually a vegetable oil, the same way you’d soak any other herb in oil to extract its potency. In this case, the CBD is suspended within the carrier oil, and the finished product would be the CBD oil.  This method is much less predictable than making CBD oil from extracted distillate, because there is no way to ensure how much Cannabinoid makes its way into the oil. 

Some folks call CBD oil full-spectrum hemp oil. They call it that because cannabinoids have been added to it, so the hemp oil contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids including CBD and THC as well as others.

However, all industrial hemp products, in order to be legal, must be at or below .3% THC in order to be legally distributed. 

Reputable sources of CBD oil will offer test results either openly or by request.

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