What's the Difference Between CBD and Hemp Products?

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Both hemp and CBD oils are touted to be incredible for your health, but there’s a lot of confusion about which is which and how they both work. Here, we break it down for you:

How are hemp and CBD oil related?

There are a lot of similarities between the two, but they’re pretty different. Both hemp and CBD oil are created from hemp (also known as cannabis sativa), but they come from different parts of the plant. Hemp oil is extracted from the stem of the plant and must have less than 0.3 percent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol—the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects) in it to be labelled as such.

CBD (cannabinoid) oil is made from the whole plant, from seed to flowers, depending on where it’s made. If it’s made somewhere where marijuana is illegal, it’s only made from the stems where there is almost no THC in the plant.

Hemp seed oil is also made from hemp. It’s pulled from the seeds—as you might have guessed from the name. Like hemp oil, it has the same or lower amounts of THC in it. However, hemp seed oil is mostly used in cooking rather than for medicinal use.

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What does hemp oil do?

Hemp oil contains a small amount of cannabinoid as well as a ton of nutrients, fatty acids, and useful bioactive compounds. The nutrients in it can be helpful in the long term for heart, brain, and muscle health, but it doesn’t have much of an impact on users in the short term.

What does CBD oil do?

CBD oil, on the other hand, is all about the short-term effects. It works as a mild sedative, and has been found to help with pain relief, anxiety relief, and lower the blood pressure of people who use it regularly.

It can also occasionally include THC, which is another cannabinoid from cannabis. It’s the kind that can get you into trouble if you don’t live in a state that has legalized recreational marijuana. Some people, however, find that they feel the opposite of the curative effects of CBD oil.

How do you use them?

Both CBD and hemp can be taken in an oil form or used topically. They also can be taken in food, water, or used as vaping liquid. They tend to be more effective when taken internally, but it’s up to you as to how you want to use them, and how much you want to take.

A warning

Both hemp and CBD oil can have negative effects if you take them with the wrong combination of medicines or bodily issues. Make sure that you talk to your doctor before trying either of them, especially if you have liver or kidney issues.

If you do start taking either, start at a low dosage and work your way up until you find the right amount that helps. If you find yourself feeling negative effects, stop taking them immediately and seek medical attention to make sure that you don’t cause irreparable damage. — Amelia Noble

Amelia Noble is a researcher with the CBD Awareness Project. When she's not working, you can find her playing board games.