It’s normal to be confused between all the terms associated with the cannabis plant. In some cases, it’s called hemp, sometimes it’s marijuana. Still other times it’s simply referred to as cannabis. Some companies even use them interchangeably. However, they are actually two very different things. So what is hemp?
Well, first thing’s first: hemp and marijuana are different names for the same plant. How can that be, when hemp is legally grown industrially and marijuana is federally illegal within the United States?
Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Real Difference?
Hemp and marijuana have vastly different cannabinoids present. Marijuana plants also have significantly higher levels of THC, the psychoactive component traditionally associated with marijuana use, while hemp plants contain almost no THC.
Therefore hemp offers no mind-altering effects if inhaled or ingested. Both products are also grown for very different reasons.
One primary cannabinoid found within both versions of the cannabis plant is called cannabidiol (CBD). It is currently being fervently pursued throughout the scientific and medical worlds for its profound and powerful medicinal benefits. It can be extracted from either plant, although there are differences between CBD oil from hemp, and CBD oil processed from marijuana plant.
Marijuana remains illegal in many parts of the world, and federally in the United States. It is possible to get CBD oil derived from marijuana in states where it is legal. However, it would still be illegal in any outside states that haven’t approved marijuana use medically or recreationally.
Hemp sourced CBD oil, on the other hand, is completely legal throughout the U.S. Oil from a marijuana plant could also potentially have higher levels of THC than preferred by the patient.
On top of all these differences, there is an additional layer of confusion about hemp, which is also cultivated to produce hemp oil. So, if the same plant is processed to produce CBD oil and hemp oil, why are these two products so different?
What is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil – more accurately called hemp SEED oil – is primarily used as a cooking oil. It is also used for industrial and cosmetic purposes and produced using a cold-pressing process of the seeds similar to other edible oils (canola, avocado, etc). It is not grown for its medicinal properties, although some people do use hemp seed oil as a supplement.
What is CBD Oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is used and studied for its medicinal purposes almost exclusively. It is processed from the leaves and stalk of the cannabis plant through a variety of extraction methods such as CO2, ethanol, or olive oil extraction. Its cannabidiol content is markedly higher than the minimal levels found within hemp seed oil. It can be sourced from hemp, as well as marijuana plants, and can be packaged in a variety of ways.
The primary difference between CBD oil and hemp seed oil is that one is cultivated, processed, researched and sold as a medicine while the other is primarily a non-medicinal ingredient or industrial lubricant. This means that the CBD found within hemp seed oil is typically less than 25 parts per million, while CBD oil from hemp plants is usually over 15% CBD.
Hemp seed oil is particularly high in essential fatty acids. It contains a 3:1 ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids, which is easily absorbed and processed by the digestive system. Up to 80% of hemp seed oil, especially unrefined, is essential fatty acids. Therefore consuming a very small amount (a tablespoon a day) will provide you with the recommended amount of essential fatty acids.
The list of medicinal benefits associated with CBD oil is long and growing. The most exciting benefits are surrounding its potential for cancer treatment, as well as its ability to stop seizures resistant to traditional pharmaceuticals.
In 2018 a British company, GW Pharmaceuticals, received U.S. Federal Drug Administration for a CBD-based drug to treat two types of epilepsy in children. Studies and usage show CBD also has potential to reduce and eliminate depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses associated with serotonin receptors. It also works to reduce chronic pain and shows anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Hemp seed oil on the other hand doesn’t have any profound medical benefits. It is an extremely healthy cooking oil to use, but its contents have so far proven to have limited medicinal components. When ingested, hemp seed oil is said to be good for heart health, for good skin, hair and nails, and is also considered brain food because of all the essential fatty acids.
Primary Uses of CBD and Hemp Oil
It’s obvious that CBD oil is primarily used as a medicine. It is used by millions of people around the world to treat a large variety of health issues. It doesn’t have any psychoactive components so it is not used to elicit a high feeling like marijuana can.
What are the applications of hemp seed oil? Hemp oil is mostly used for industrial purposes, like ethanol production, lubrication, and plastics. It is also used as the base for many cosmetics like lotions, creams, and soaps. Finally, it is also used as a cooking oil and supplement. It has a high smoke point, but can easily become rancid if not stored properly.