The cannabinoid CBD is quickly surpassing THC in popularity. The fact that it doesn’t cause a high definitely means hemp oil can appeal to a larger crowd. So does hemp oil contain CBD, as a general rule?
There has never been a more appropriate moment to use the famous Facebook catchwords “it’s complicated”. (Except of course when you’re actually in a relationship that is – well… complicated.)
CBD oil vs. hemp oil vs. hemp seed oil
Hemp seed oil often gets shortened to just hemp oil. As such, the term is used interchangeably by manufacturers for different types of hemp oil, some of which do contain CBD, while others don’t.
This doesn’t exactly make things any easier!
Hemp oil pressed from seeds does not contain CBD. Hemp oil extracted from fresh plant material (mainly the flowers) does, and that is the extract used in high CBD products.
Because CBD extract is very concentrated – comparable to an essential oil, if you are familiar with those – it is usually diluted in a carrier oil. In principal, any vegetable oil can function as a base. Popular ones are olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil (also made from coconut oil, MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides) and, keeping things in the family, hemp seed oil.
When CBD-rich concentrated hemp oil is extracted and added to the oil pressed from hemp seed, the end product for consumption is indeed a hemp seed oil with a high CBD content. But hemp seed oil does not typically come loaded with CBD first thing. So while you may find oils meeting this description, they have been manufactured.
The important takeaway is to keep in mind that not everything labeled hemp oil automatically contains CBD.
The label hemp oil gets thrown around liberally, referring to various items with some link back to agricultural hemp. You’ll find it slapped onto a wide range of products in various forms and receptacles. Gallon jugs, cosmetics, dropper bottles, syringes, balms, capsules and a few more.
To make things even more blurry, some brands label their high CBD oil as hemp oil. They aren’t wrong, because it is in reference to the source of the cannabidiol extract.
The term hemp oil being used loosely used for different things is grounds for confusion, but it doesn’t have to be. A scrutinizing look at the label can clear up a lot.
Here’s what to look for.
Does hemp oil contain CBD: Checking prices, labels & potencies
Just a grasp from product names and prominent text featured on the labels of different CBD and hemp oil products (in the form of oils, tinctures and extracts):
- HEMP CBD Oil Complex
- CBD Hemp oil herbal drops
- HEMP + MCT Oil
- CBD Tincture
- Premium Hemp Infused Liquid
- CBD Hemp Oil High Potency
A first clue on what you’re looking at is in the price. For example: The price tag here can quickly tip us off on how this hemp oil:
and this hemp oil:
aren’t at all the same thing.
The first one is around $70 for a gallon. This is organic, cold pressed hemp seed oil and does not contain CBD.
The second one, also labeled hemp oil, is between $30 and $80 for two ounces. CBD-containing hemp oil should always be labeled with a potency. The numbers 100, 300 and 600 refer to how many milligrams of CBD are in the bottle.
The brand CBDPure is a good example of what to look for when purchasing hemp oil that does contain CBD.
On their website, you’ll be able to find information about third party testing for potency and quality and view the certificate of analysis. CBDPure hemp oil is tested for cannabinoid profiling, terpene analysis, pesticides, residual solvents and microorganisms or harmful pathogens such as bacteria and fungi. It also specifies this hemp oil is full spectrum, which studies have shown has a stronger therapeutic effect than CBD alone – more on that in a minute.
Hemp seed oil is far from useless, for lack of containing CBD
Even though it doesn’t contain any noteworthy amounts of CBD or other cannabinoids, hemp seed oil is worth a closer look for its own set of properties and benefits.
Oil pressed from hemp seeds is very healthy and nutritious and can (among others) be used for cooking and in cosmetics. While not being a high CBD oil, it is a great addition to anyone’s diet.
Hemp seed oil doesn’t handle heat very well though. To keep its benefits intact, it is best kept in the fridge and used cold/raw, for example drizzled on pasta or salad. If you don’t like the nutty flavor, a great alternative to stock up on hemp’s famously perfect ratio of omegas is eating hemp seed.
Personally I much prefer hemp seed over hemp seed oil, because it blends so nicely with granola and yoghurt (not a great combo with hemp oil, ha) as well as any stir-fry (post-frying, to preserve the nutritional value). Depending on your favorite foods, one or the other might be easier to integrate.
Hemp versus ‘marijuana’
Hemp (or industrial hemp) is a tall cannabis sativa plant grown for its fibers and seeds. Not to be confused with its notorious cousin by the same name cannabis sativa: marijuana.
Hemp contains barely any THC, but it does contain other cannabinoids. Cannabidiol or CBD is one of the many cannabinoids that are not psychoactive. Not the seeds, but CBD-containing flowers and other fresh cannabis plant material are used for CBD extraction.
Both hemp and marijuana could in theory be grown for their CBD content, but since the latter can not be grown legally in many places, hemp is a much more practical choice.
Full spectrum hemp oil
Depending on how you look at it we could say CBD is popular because, or even though, it doesn’t cause a high. The cannabinoid CBD (short for cannabidiol) works really well for many people. With that said, there is some value in using not just a single one, but the complete package of cannabinoids present in cannabis, and possibly also in hemp. While it is no mystery that marijuana contains both CBD and THC as well as many more cannabinoids, agricultural hemp also contain more cannabinoids than CBD alone.
What is the entourage effect of CBD?
Full spectrum means something contains the entire range of cannabinoids present in the plant instead of isolating one cannabinoid (such as CBD) for use.
Science has a hard time pinpointing exactly why it is that the full spectrum of cannabinoids works so good. In case of unadultered, whole-plant medicine, cannabinoids and terpenes simply work in synergy, improving on each other’s effect. This observation of the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes adding to each other’s succes is called the entourage effect.
Cannabis a.k.a. marijuana contains many different cannabinoids, of which THC is – as far as we know – the only one to cause a high. Cannabis a.k.a. hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, but also other cannabinnoids besides CBD.
As such, full spectrum cannabis oil made from THC-containing cannabis or marijuana contains CBD, THC and many other cannabinoids. When hearing full spectrum, many people immediately think of marijuana. Hemp however has its own spectrum of cannabinoids as well. As the word on the benefits gets out, we now see more full spectrum hemp oil hitting the shelves.
Once again – no panic. In the case of agricultural hemp, the full range of cannabinoids still does not contain any noteworthy amounts of THC. Even hemp oil labeled as “full spectrum” should not cause any high.
You’ll find the term Hemp oil is used a lot on bottles of hemp seed oil as well as CBD oil or extract. In the case of CBD containing products the use of the term makes sense due to the presence of:
- CBD (short for the cannabinoid cannabidiol), or
- the full range of cannabinoids present in industrial hemp plants.
Even when they are dissolved in a base of coconut or other oil, the active ingredients are cannabinoids extracted from hemp – hence: hemp oil.
However, oil pressed from hemp seeds is also rightfully called hemp oil. This hemp oil (short for hemp seed oil) is not what you’re looking for when the aim is to ingest any noteworthy dose of CBD. Hemp seed oil is great for skin care and consumption and very nutritious, though. It’s just not loaded with cannabinoids.
Different brands use different oils (or blends of oils) to dissolve the CBD and other cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil can be used as a base for high CBD products. In that case, you have one or more cannabinoids extracted from hemp, suspended in oil pressed from seeds of the same plant.
The importance of high quality & purity of CBD hemp oils
Now that we’ve gone over labeling of hemp oil products in general, there is one more thing.
On a first level, simply reading the small print gives clarity on what kind of hemp oil you’re looking at and whether it contains CBD or not, as well as how much. On a second level, there’s a deeper lying issue with CBD related concoctions.
The market is literally exploding with products right now, and use of the term CBD is not controlled. We simply need to go with the suppliers on what they say they sell.
What is advertised on the label is one thing, but whether the indicated amount of CBD is really in there is another all together. And what about the quality of the extract? How can you be sure it is not contaminated with toxins and other nasties?
While you’ll find heaps of CBD and hemp oil items on Amazon, in this particular case it’s probably worthwhile to get some from a trusted manufacturer. Or at least look into the brand’s website and which quality control measures they abide by. Examples of high quality CBD hemp oils are CBDPure and Elixinol.
If you are still on the fence about a certain brand or type of oil and what it contains, don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments. Or send a private message, if you prefer. There are real people behind this website and we’d love to help!