What is the difference between hemp oil, cannabis oil and CBD oil?
It’s easy to get confused as a consumer if you are looking for a CBD-containing oil. Hemp oil, cannabis oil, CBD oil, at first you might think they’re all the same thing. However, there are major differences and it is important to be aware of this, especially if you are considering to use a CBD-containing product.
First, it is important to know that hemp is something different than cannabis. In the media these two words are often used interchangeably, so it is understandable that many people don’t realize that there is in fact a difference. In short, hemp and cannabis come from different plants. Both plants do belong to the same family though. The name of this family is “Cannabis sativa L.”. The flowers of some species in this family contain a relatively high concentration of THC. These flowers are what it is often referred to as weed, marijuana, or cannabis. Cannabis is often used as a recreational drug, but increasingly also as a medicine for various ailments. Hemp on the other hand has a much lower percentage of THC and is traditionally used for various different applications (such as the production of textiles and paper).
Even now that we’ve made this distinction it can still be confusing when it comes to CBD-containing oils. As a matter of fact, there are no set definitions for hemp oil, cannabis oil and CBD oil. The result is that people sometimes use the same name referring to different things. Here you’ll find our interpretation of various terminology.
Hemp (seed) oil
There are two parts of the hemp plant which may be used to produce oil: the seeds and the flowers. By cold pressing of the seeds it’s possible to produce hemp seed oil. This oil only contains cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) in very low percentages. By applying an extraction process to the flowers of hemp it’s possible to create an oil that has a relatively high CBD content (and a low THC content). Sometimes hemp seed oil is added to these flower extracts with a high CBD content, in order to keep the them in liquid form.
Hemp seed oil can be bought legally in the European Union, as long as the concentration of THC doesn’t exceed 0.2%. A THC concentration lower than 0.2% has no psychoactive effect. There are no restrictions to the content of CBD.
Oils which contain a relatively high percentage of CBD are usually referred to as CBD-oils. The hemp oil we’ve just discussed (which contains an extract of the hemp flower) could be referred to as a CBD oil as well. In general, a CBD-oil will also contain a low percentage of THC.
Cannabis oil or weed oil
Cannabis can also be taken as a basis for making an oil. This may be home-grown cannabis or cannabis bought at special dispensaries. By various extraction processes it is possible to dissolve the active ingredients of cannabis in an oil (click here for an overview of these extraction methods). The final product is an oil that has both a concentration of THC as well as a concentration of CBD in it. The percentages of CBD and THC are dependent on the cannabis that is taken as a basis. Compared with hemp oil (which has only very little THC), it is important to be careful with dosing. Cannabis oil, unlike hemp oil, can have a psychoactive effect (meaning that you could get high or stoned after consumption).
Weed oil is the same as cannabis oil.