What Are the Differences Between CBD Oil and Hemp Oil?


With the passing of a farm bill in 2018, it became legal to produce industrial hemp in the US (1). Along with it, doors were opened for the legalization of cannabidiol, better known as CBD. That being said, according to local laws, CBD still isn’t legal in all areas of the United States.

Since the bill was passed, the market has been taken over with cannabis-inspired products, especially when it comes to both beauty and skincare products. While many consumers are brand new to CBD products, hemp seed oil has been on the market for decades. Products with hemp seed oil have been available at health food stores and are used for both improving the quality of skin as well as cooking and preparing food.

With the current full swing craze for CBD products, many people find more confusion than anything when set out looking for a new brand or product. Exactly what is CBD oil? How is this any different from hemp seed oil? These are two of the questions people commonly have. For the record, no, hemp seed oil and CBD are not the same things. As a matter of fact, they’re completely different.

Hemp seed oil is used primarily for cooking and skincare. CBD oil, on the other hand, has far more uses. Yes, both compounds are produced from hemp. Because of this, it can be difficult to find out exactly which products are.

A common misconception, no, products that have been labeled or marketed with a hemp leaf doesn’t necessarily mean they are CBD products. Several of these products have simply been hemp oil-infused. This doesn’t specify exactly how much CBD the product contains. We will use the rest of this article to help you learn some of the differences.



One of the easiest and quickest ways you can differentiate between hemp oil and CBD oil is by checking both the ingredients and the label. Both oils are produced with hemp. This is a cannabis plant that has a very low level of THC while being very rich in cannabidiol.

Hemp seed oil is the more popular name for hemp oil. As you might think by the name, this oil is an extract from a hemp plant’s seeds. As mentioned earlier, this is very common for both beauty products and cooking. More than one brand of these products markets themselves as hemp oil. That being said, by looking over the ingredients that have been listed, you will find “raw, organic unrefined hemp seed oil.”

However, CBD oil can be produced from either hemp or other cannabis strains that are rich in cannabidiol. The whole hemp plant is used to make CBD oil, instead of only the plant’s seeds. More often than not, “whole-plant extract” will usually be labeled as the active ingredient. This is typically listed as CBD distillate or CBD isolate. A CBD tincture usually contains a carrier oil, such as olive oil or MCT oil. Other labels that you may commonly associate with CBD oil include broad-spectrum, phytocannabinoid-rich, PCR, or full spectrum.

Lately, CBD oil has become a phrase or term many associates with CBD vaping products inaccurately. Yes, there are similarities between these products and a CBD oil tincture. They both contain extracts that are hemp-based. That being said, any vaping product is specifically produced for the intent of vaping. Because of this, a CBD vape will also include ingredients such as propylene glycol, flavoring, and vegetable glycerine. While they are not made with nicotine, they will normally have CBD isolate or CBD distillate.

Production methods

Another significant difference between the two is how they are produced. Generally, hemp seed oil has been produced from using hemp seeds through a type of extraction known as “cold press.” Techniques of higher-tech extraction and the whole hemp plant are used for producing CBD oil. CBD oils are dark brown or light golden colors while hemp oil is usually green.

Related: Best Ways To Consume CBD

CBD content

Out of all the differences, we will list between hemp seed oil and CBD oil, this one may be the most important. If CBD is contained by a product, more often than not, there will be a label identifying the amount of CBD the product has in milligrams contained per serving, per unit. Because hemp’s naturally full of CBD, the entire plant is used in the production of CBD. The CBD level is naturally going to be high. However, there may also be other organic compounds that are naturally occurring, such as terpenes and phytocannabinoids.

A brand of CBD oil that is a higher premium will also provide the results of testing from a third party. These results will specifically break down the terpene and cannabinoid profiles and the metrics demonstrating the quality of the product.

To be completely honest, if you’re wanting a product that will provide you with CBD, the hemp seed oil isn’t exactly the best option for you. If the CBD amount isn’t provided in milligrams on the labeling of the product, there is a good chance what you are looking at isn’t even a real CBD product. One of the key factors you need to know is that hemp seed oil might have small traces of THC you won’t get with CBD oil. That being said, this isn’t nearly enough of an amount of THC to get a high similar to what you experience while smoking marijuana.


Hemp seed oil isn’t nearly as expensive to produce as CBD oil. Because of this, you will pay more for a CBD oil product than you will hemp seed oil. You are going to pay much more for a product claiming to be produced with a better quality of CBD oil. If a product catches your attention by how the price is, you need to pay attention to the details and specifics of the legitimacy of the product.

If you are looking for a CBD oil product, you need to be careful when shopping. There are plenty of products that have been produced with a hemp seed oil being marketed as a hemp-based product. Yes, technically, they are, even without containing CBD oil. A logo or package with a hemp leaf does not always equal a CBD oil product. While the price you are paying can always be a good indication of the product, never just assume you are getting what you want simply because there are hemp leaves on the product’s label.


You can find both CBD oil and hemp seed oil at a local grocery, health food store, or pharmacy. That being said, usually, you will discover the two types of products being sold in separate locations. A more premium brand of CBD oil may be bought directly online from the brand’s website. Many pharmacies, even some local corner stores, now carry plenty of authentic brands of CBD oil. You couldn’t say this five years ago.

You can buy hemp-seed oil at a beauty store, local grocery, and shops online such as Amazon. While they may be marketed as hemp oil, the list of ingredients will have to list “hemp seed oil” specifically. If a medical purpose is your reasoning for using CBD oil, you will not find the same benefits as from using a CBD oil product. That being said, the hemp seed oil is still a great source of both essential fatty acids and protein.

Hemp Seeds


Because CBD oil and hemp oil are different, there are some differences in how the two are applied. More often than not, hemp seed oil products are used for beauty products with skincare and hair and can be used for salads or cooking. CBD oil will normally refer to oral tinctures that contain CBD. This is sublingually taken through the process of placing drops under someone’s tongue. Also, CBD oil is the primary component in several products that are rich in CBD. Some of these products include topicals, edibles, and many other products that are cannabidiol infused.

Also, it’s very important, if a person says they are “vaping some CBD oil,” they mean to say they are vaping an e-juice that contains a kind of CBD extract or concentrate. It is usually produced by CBD isolates. This is a form of CBD that’s highly concentrated. A CBD oil tincture would be used as an oil-based carrier. Because of this, they aren’t suitable for a vaping product.

How is this confusing?

For someone to completely understand the differences between CBD and hemp seed oil, they will also need to understand the similarities between the two share. Both of these are extracted from the hemp plant. It isn’t uncommon for both of these to have the image of hemp leaves on a package label. Both CBD oil and hemp seed oil can be non-GMO, kosher, organic, vegan, etc. Often, both types of products can be purchased in the same place. Because of all this, do some research. Be careful, especially if a product is being used for medical reasons. Take a few minutes to read the information you find on the labels. These two can easily be mixed up. On top of this, a few brands and businesses have sunk as low to misrepresent the products they are selling to create an increase in profits.

It all boils down to, CBD oil isn’t the same as hemp seed oil. If you’re looking for a significant level of CBD, you will not find what you are looking for with hemp seed oil.

Related: Why CBD Isn’t Working for You?