As CBD has grown in interest, there has been renewed interest in hemp oil as well. In fact, there are some common questions about CBD oil vs. hemp oil because both products are extracted from the hemp plant, yet have very different effects on the body.
If you are searching for CBD products, here are a few things to look for as you shop:
Hemp oil vs. CBD oil
Since the FDA has yet to formally evaluate CBD products, the market is highly unregulated. As such, consumers are advised to do their homework and to be careful when browsing different CBD oil products online.
There are also some important distinctions in the way CBD oil and hemp seed oil are processed. The latter is usually made through cold-pressing hemp seeds to create a dark, thick oil that is highly concentrated and nutrient-rich. CBD oil, on the other hand, is made from different processes such as ethanol or CO2 extraction, which draw from the whole hemp plant and create a final product that contains more beneficial plant compounds, like cannabinoids and terpenes.
Hemp seed oil is rich in some vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (EFAs), and as such, it can offer some basic nutritional benefits. Perhaps one of the most common advantages of taking hemp seed oil comes from its omega-3 and omega-6 composition, as it contains the ideal ratio for a healthy diet. These EFAs might also support heart health in a number of ways—for instance, slowing the buildup of plaque in arteries and lowering blood pressure, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. However, it's important to note that hemp seed oil lacks the therapeutic potential of CBD since most of these "hemp oils" contain no amount of CBD.
Our bodies actually make their own endocannabinoids to help keep us in balance or homeostasis. But researchers theorize that sometimes we become deficient in endocannabinoids, which can lead to chronic conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or migraines. When taken as a supplement, phytocannabinoids, which come from plants, may be able to help ease some of the symptoms by helping our endocannabinoid system perform its delicate balancing act.*
When you take a full-spectrum supplement rather than a CBD isolate product, the hemp plant’s hundreds of compounds have a way of working together to boost the product’s overall benefits. Researchers call this synergy the entourage effect: when cannabis compounds work together, they’re more powerful than any one cannabinoid on its own. “I think about it in a sports metaphor, where you’ve got one star player, but you need the team,” explains renowned integrative physician Robert Rountree, M.D. “It’s the mix that’s important.”
What “full-spectrum” means on a hemp or CBD label.
Terpenes, responsible for the aroma of cannabis, enhance how we process the plant’s many cannabinoids. And flavonoids—also abundant in tea, fruits, veggies, and more—are phytonutrients known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects.
“When you mix all those phytocannabinoids together and not just the phytocannabinoids—but their supportive compounds and antioxidants that are in the [hemp plant] stalk—it’s a whole mix,” Rountree explains. “There’s this whole system at work.”
So what are all those compounds, and what do they do? First, cannabinoids affect the body’s endocannabinoid system, the body’s “master regulatory system,” which plays a role in maintaining the immune, digestive, and central nervous systems.