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The Difference Between CBD Oil and Hemp Oil

A beginner's guide

Ahhhh, CBD. It's seemingly everywhere these days—on the shelves at grocery stores and pharmacies, added to your common every day items like skincare and lollipops, and even prominently featured on your mom's Instagram feed! However, with so much exposure for an ingredient that wasn't even on our radar 5 years ago, you also get a ton of misinformation. From brands proclaiming it to be a miracle cure-all to others who misstate the amount of CBD in their products, it can be a tough landscape to navigate.

If you are looking for more general information about CBD you can head over to our blog at yesterdaywellness.com. Today, however, we want to focus on one key question that seems to come up over and over again: What is the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil?

Hemp oil at its core is "Hemp Seed Oil". It's packed with Omega Fatty Acids, Protein and various Vitamins and Minerals. Hemp Seeds do not contain any CBD. In fact, they do not contain any cannabinoids whatsoever. However, this doesn't stop companies from bottling them up in similar tincture vessels as you'd find for CBD oil, adding some form of "MG" component to the labelling to make it appear like it contains a ton of the active ingredient CBD, and then selling it at a fairly hefty mark-up for compared to what you'd typically find Hemp Seed Oil sold for at the grocery store. This is done on purpose: to the uninitiated, this "hemp oil" appears to be at a discount to typical CBD on the market, and you might even think to yourself: "what the heck, let's give it a shot". But do not be fooled—this is not CBD oil!

By Ryan Ancill on Unsplash

And we understand the confusion. Even we label our products as "broad-spectrum hemp oil"! But let us take a second to explain—there are two different types of CBD sold on the market today: Isolate and Distillate (Broad Spectrum or Full Spectrum). Isolate is exactly as it sounds: the CBD in hemp is isolated and turned into a powder. This CBD contains none of the other beneficial components of the hemp plant (Terpenes, other active ingredients, etc). It is then reconstituted in a carrier oil and sold as CBD oil containing CBD isolate.

Distillate on the other hand is a thick oil extracted from the hemp plant, often through Co2 extraction. Think of this like you would alcohol—you might distill a gin, and that gin might contain 40% alcohol content. Well, the CBD distillate from hemp contains anywhere from 85% to 95% CBD. This is a gooey, thick oil that no-one would want to consume. So instead it is mixed with a carrier oil—like MCT or (to further the confusion) Hemp Seed Oil! But make no mistake—this is hemp oil. It's not 100% CBD (think back to the alcohol example: it isn't labeled Alcohol, but Gin).

So whether you call it hemp oil or CBD oil it might very well be the same thing. What you are looking for however is some indication of the type of extract it contains (Isolate or Broad Spectrum/Full Spectrum Distillate). If it only says 1,500 MG with no mention of the type of extract that it is, it most likely is Hemp Seed Oil trying to pass itself off as CBD oil.

Read next: What is Black Cannabis?
Eric Balshin
See all posts by Eric Balshin

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