Hemp seed oil, CBD oil, full-spectrum hemp oil — all three are items readily visible on any online marketplace selling hemp products. Since the decriminalization of hemp in the US via the Farm Bill 2018, these are also available in brick and mortar stores of different types.
Editor’s note: The items discussed in this article are non-psychotropic cannabis products with little to no THC. It does not cover RSO oil, hash oil, shatter, wax, rosin, hashish or other psychotropic substances.
“oils” the same or different? Is hemp seed oil the same as full-spectrum hemp
oil? Is CBD oil at all? Unfortunately, some marketing tricks are also involved
in such labeling. It can be quite confusing, actually.
Clarifying the core vocabulary
From groceries to pharmacies and more are especially busy displaying and selling hemp-derived items, with “CBD oil” dominating the show. The same is true about online marketplaces.
Sometimes people simply say “hemp oil” and you don’t know if they are talking about seed oil or extract. Some people even refer to high THC “RSO” oil as “hemp oil,” when it is actually “hash oil” derived from marijuana, not from hemp varietals at all.
No wonder people are confused! Our research clarify the doubts and explain what exactly each one means. We follow that up with the comparative advantages and disadvantages of each.
First, let’s distinguish between cannabis, hemp, and marijuana. These are terms often used interchangeably in published literature, though they are distinct from each other. Cannabis Sativa L. is the plant species to which both hemp and marijuana belong.
The big difference between the plant ‘cousins,’ industrial hemp and marijuana, lies in the level of tetrahydrocannabinol presence. Better known as THC, that is the psychoactive substance that can cause a high. THC presence in marijuana is between 7.5-10% or more. Hence marijuana’s mind-altering effects.
Hemp, on the other hand, contains 0.3% or less THC and lacks marijuana’s psychotropic effects, therefore. Nothing derived from hemp, aka industrial hemp, is psychoactive. It is not a narcotic. It does not cause a high, no matter how you use the plant’s derivatives.
If you are wondering why hemp had remained banned in so many countries for so long, that is another story. In a nutshell, this important difference between hemp and marijuana got overlooked when they got prohibited together. A realization of the mistake has led to decriminalizing hemp in recent times.
say here relates to hemp, not marijuana.
CBD is a resin molecule, not an ‘oil’
CBD is a compound that is extracted from the flowers, leaves and, potentially, the stalks of the hemp plant. It is not oil at all but a cannabinoid molecule.
The extract then gets mixed with some carrier oil like coconut oil or hemp seed oil for dilution. Prior to mixing, it is known as CBD extract or CBD isolate.
You may also
find labels stating Cannabis Sativa oil. That could mean either hemp seed oil
or CBD extract mixed with hemp seed oil. Check for the ingredients on the label
to know exactly what the product is.
Decoding CBD: Pure, full or broad spectrum
CBD is the
abbreviated form of cannabidiol, a chemical compound present in high
concentration in the flowers, leaves, and stalks of hemp plants. The average
CBD content in hemp plants varies from 12% to 18%, says a Mayo Clinic article. Hemp seeds, however,
contain only traces of CBD.
ethanol extraction or the carbon dioxide extraction process is used to derive
CBD from the plant body. Sometimes referred to as hemp extract, CBD is the new
craze in the wellness market. It has both proven and claimed health benefits.
scientific evidence that CBD extract or CBD extract diluted in a carrier oil
has analgesic properties. A 2012 article in the Journal of Experimental Medicine demonstrates that CBD can
effectively reduce chronic and neuropathic pain.
A 2016 article in the Europen Journal of Pain reports that topical CBD application has
positive effects on arthritic pain. A 2015 article in Neurotherapeutics indicates the potential benefits of CBD extract
for treating a range of anxiety-related disorders. However, the study also
cautions that more research is necessary.
potential benefit of CBD extract is in treating acne vulgaris, a virulent form
of acne. A 2014 article in The Journal of Clinical Investigation reports this possibility.
Pharmacological experiments with CBD for treating epilepsy has also been
ongoing for some time.
medicine for certain forms of epilepsy that cause violent seizures, is the only
CBD-containing drug approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration). UK-based
GW Pharmaceuticals have come up with this medicine.
Understanding info on CBD labels
You are likely to find at least three different varieties of CBD on labels: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate. CBD derived from the whole hemp plant minus seeds gets labeled as full-spectrum CBD. It has CBD in combination with all the other natural elements such as non-THC cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes.
enthusiasts opt for the full-spectrum CBD extract for the synergistic
interactions between the different elements of the plant. Brands producing
full-spectrum CBD oil, i.e. the extract mixed with a carrier oil, claim that
the synergy heightens the therapeutic effects of CBD.
is little scientific evidence to back that claim. Also, full-spectrum CBD is
likely to have traces of THC as hemp does contain some THC, though in extremely
low quantities. Broad-spectrum CBD is the extract from the whole plant, sans
the seeds, with traces of THC removed.
CBD extract or
CBD isolate is the pure CBD content separated from all the other elements
derived from the flowers, leaves, and stems of the hemp plant.
This is the stuff that CBD purists want. This is also the substance used in
Nutritious hemp seed oil
Hemp seeds are
rich in oil content, extractable by cold-pressing the seeds. That is hemp seed
oil, which contains only traces of CBD. Hemp seed oil comes with its own proven
health benefits and has been in the market for longer than CBD.
First of all, hemp seeds have an exceptionally rich nutritional profile. US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data informs that 100 grams of hemp seeds contain 31.56 grams of protein, which is higher than other plant proteins such as chia and flax.
Hemp seed oil
is a rare source of complete protein for vegans, containing all the essential amino
acids necessary for human health. Hemp seed oil also contains a 3:1 ratio of
omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids, considered ideal for human health.
of hemp seed oil is that it is rich in the fatty acids good for us, and
contains little or no amount of the bad fats. Hemp seed oil as a dietary
supplement supplies the body with several essential minerals and vitamins,
informs a 2004 article, reconfirmed by a 2012
Several articles published in reputed scientific journals report on the beneficial effects of hemp seed oil as a dietary supplement on cardiovascular health. These are studies involving voluntary human trials.
There are also
several animal study reports that reflect that hemp seed oil helps blood
pressure control and fastens recovery after a heart attack. Experiments with
animals have also demonstrated that hemp seed oil reduces the chances of
forming blood clots.
equal number of studies involving both voluntary human trials and experiments
with animals reflect the advantages of hemp seed oil usage for several skin
disorders. Acne vulgaris and psoriasis are among such disorders.
Hemp seed oil
has the proven ability to hydrate the skin without clogging the pores. That
makes it good for general skin and hair health also. There are many other
therapeutic claims about hemp seed oil that lack scientific evidence as of now.
The take away from current research
then, CBD is an extract from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the hemp plant
with or without the other natural elements. When diluted with a carrier oil
like coconut or hemp seed oil, CBD extract gets the label of CBD oil.
Hemp seed oil is the cold-pressed oil derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, high in its nutritional content. Hemp seed oil does not contain CBD.
medicinal benefits of CBD relate to anxiety disorders, epilepsy, and pain
relief. Hemp seed oil has proven therapeutic effects on cardiovascular and skin
health. It also has a rich nutrient profile with many components that the human
benefits of CBD extract mixed with hemp seed oil as the diluter should
logically contain the benefits of both. However, there is little or no
scientific evidence for that yet.
A note of caution before you proceed
may mean several things. It may mean CBD extract diluted in a carrier oil or
hemp seed oil. But it may also mean oil or extract derived from marijuana,
which has limited legal use in treatment as of now.
caution when you buy: check the label of ingredients to know what you are
Vishal Vivek, Co-founded the NGO Hemp Foundation to increase awareness about the most misunderstood plant on the planet. He believes that we can fight climate change, water crisis and plastic pollution with Hemp. Times Group recognized him as a legendary entrepreneur and published his biography in “I Did IT- Vol 2” at the age of just 30.