This is a very common question and we need to get to the bottom of it.
Right now, 1000's of people are buying "hemp oil" on Amazon with very questionable attributes.
With any explosive market like that around CBD, there will be many companies looking to simply cash out on the buzz.
That's exactly where we are right now!
We have 1 million+ words on research around every pathway with CBD so let's bring that to bear on this question.
Is hemp oil better or the same thing as CBD?
It's like asking if gold is the same thing as a piece of rock with small amounts of gold in it.
Which would you want?
We'll explain with the following topics:
- What is hemp oil
- What is CBD oil
- Is CBD the same thing as hemp oil?
- Is hemp oil better than CBD oil?
- What does research show for hemp oil versus CBD oil
- What is the cost difference between CBD oil and hemp oil
Let's clear the air so you can make an informed decision.
What is hemp oil
Hemp oil is oil that's derived from the cannabis plant that meets certain legal definitions under the 2018 Hemp law.
The big rule is that cannabis must naturally have less than .3% THC (see CBD versus THC).
There are still some question marks on THC Delta 8 (see CBD versus Delta 8) which is like a discount version of the main THC everyone knows.
Essentially, hemp oil is like olive oil…
The hemp plant is pressed to remove the natural oil inside the plant.
Hemp grows literally like a weed (hence the nickname for cannabis) so hemp oil should really be the same price as olive oil but we'll leave that to the section on price.
In theory, you have the primary cannabinoids found in hemp oil minus the THC restriction.
We've covered the major ones in detail at our CBD versus CBG versus CBN
The levels of these various cannabinoids tend to be pretty small compared to CBD naturally found in hemp oil.
Add to this the various other "green" chemicals such as terpenes and flavonoids which are found in most vegetables and fruits that you eat.
There can be health benefits with these substances but they are generally found in small amounts that do not match the concentrated research.
That being said, they are generally good for our health. Again, similar to eating vegetables and fruit.
To some extend, hemp oil notoriety is piggybacking off of the robust research on CBD alone.
We'll compare the two below.
So, hemp oil is the raw material...what's CBD?
What is CBD oil
Hemp oil can be processed down to extract out CBD directly.
There are various ways to do this but we focus on CO2 cold-processed since it's the cleanest and avoids the nasty solvents and petroleum products used in other "hot" processing methods.
We actually get all the way down to CBD isolate which is CBD by itself as opposed to full or broad-spectrum CBD.
We covered why we do this in our CBD isolate versus full spectrum but the main reasons are:
- All the research is on CBD by itself (isolate)
- Histamine issues with the plant material
The latter one applies to hemp oil as well and we'll discuss that below...it's a huge deal for 40-60% of the population.
Generally, CBD oil is either added back to a base oil (MCT, hemp, olive, etc).
Essentially, it's a concentrated form of CBD and with isolate, it's all CBD (plus the base oil).
You learn about what exactly is CBD here or how CBD works.
This brings up the general question…
Is CBD the same thing as hemp oil?
At it's best, CBD is concentrated and added to hemp oil.
Usually, hemp oil is just hemp oil with the natural level of CBD in the mix.
The issue with this is that research points to much higher levels of CBD than what naturally occurs.
- 160 mg for sleep - see CBD and sleep
- 300 mg for neurogenesis or brain repair (see CBD for brain repair)
- 600-800 mg for serious, episodic uses (see CBD and schizophrenia or CBD and opioid withdrawal)
How much CBD does a bottle of hemp oil have in it?
The best calculation we can make from the largest brand out there is about 80 mg. For the entire bottle.
Again, this mirrors what's actually in the hemp plant itself.
The sad part is that many companies (including those on Amazon) will sell this oil for the same price that we sell CBD isolate for even though all the research is on CBD by itself (isolate).
This all brings up the real question.
Is hemp oil better than CBD oil?
Hemp oil is likely good for you. Equivalent to olive oil or MCT oil (from coconut).
There's a rich blend of fatty acids, flavonoids, and terpenes plus low levels of cannabinoids including CBD.
We have limited research on hemp oil by itself but the constituent parts should be beneficial.
As for CBD, we have a great deal of research. In fact, we have reviewed much of it at our 1 million+ words of deep dive into this research.
This then becomes a matter of scale.
Hemp oil likely has a general health-supportive role.
CBD has research on actual pathways including:
- Inflammation - see CBD and autoimmune or CBD and brain inflammation
- Mental health - see CBD and mental health
- Pain - see CBD and pain or CBD versus NSAIDs
- Sleep - see CBD and sleep
100's of NIH studies and we've covered most of them.
What do you get when you look up hemp oil research?
What does research show for hemp oil versus CBD oil?
Google research for hemp oil such as "hemp oil NIH".
The first page is mainly on….CBD research!
This makes sense.
Look at the cannabinoid breakdown from the one big review of hemp oil:
- % Total Weight
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
- Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ8THC)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9THC)
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA)
Roughly 93% of the makeup is CBD and CBDV (a precursor to CBD).
So...the benefits of hemp oil-primarily derive from...CBD!
As for CBD research, you can drill down into very specific and powerful pathways.
Those are the targets of SSRIs and benzos respectively.
All these matters in one key comparison.
What is the cost difference between CBD oil and hemp oil?
This is the part that makes us angry.
Many people are charging for hemp oil what should be charged for high-quality CBD.
Hemp oil is very easy to process.
Think of an olive press...not that much different.
The cost should be equivalent to olive oil especially since hemp grows so readily.
Companies are charging $25-60 for 1-ounce bottles of hemp oil. This is a total rip-off.
Our 1000 mg of CBD bottle is $58 before discounts up to 50%.
The goal is the cost per mg of CBD. We price our 6000 mg bottles at 2 cents per mg before discounts up to 50%.
If a company is charging $30 for 80 mg of CBD (the example above), that's 37 cents per mg of CBD!
Total rip-off. They're basically taking advantage of people's lack of knowledge on the difference between CBD itself (isolate) and hemp oil.
That's our whole point in writing this article.
We also looked at CBD isolate versus full spectrum here but there's a similar issue with hemp oil.
40-60% of the population has histamine (allergy) issues.
This goes up as we get older and for women (thanks for leaving, progesterone).
Hemp oil or full-spectrum oil can have a completely different side effect profile than CBD isolate for these people.
That's how we found CBD isolate to begin with...bad reactions to 2-3 of the biggest brands out there for hemp and full-spectrum CBD oil.
Almost no one is talking about this but then again, they just need to look at the research (why CBD isolate is best for histamine response).
We're happy to go through any questions via the chat function to the right.
Be well. Take care of each other. Take care of yourself.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.