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It is common to read ‘CBD’ and ‘hemp oil’ designating the same thing, however ‘hemp oil’ is too vague of a designation to be interchangeably used with CBD.
Hemp extracts, in particular hemp seed oil, have been widely used for some time in skin care products and cooking recipes, while CBD is an ingredient the public has been introduced too more recently. Since 2018 and the Farm Bill making the industrial production of hemp legal in the United States, there has been an overflooding of the market in hemp-derived products, and a lot of misleading labelling has happened.
Understand the basic botanical knowledge about Cannabis and Hemp oil
First, it is important to understand what ‘hemp’, ‘marijuana’, and ‘cannabis’ are. We have written about the breakdown of the Cannabis ‘family’ of plants in this blog and explain the fundamentals of the Cannabidiol molecule in this blog. You can also consult our Cannabis glossary here.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a phytocannabinoid, a molecule extracted from the Hemp plant. CBD is prevalent mainly in the flower of the Hemp plant, and therefore is extracted from its leaves. In that sense, CBD is a ‘hemp oil’, but not any oil. It can be consumed either as an isolate, in a powder form, or as a tincture, when mixed with a carrier oil. CBD is of best quality when produced using the supercritical CO2 extraction method.
There are other types of oils extracted from the Hemp plant, in particular hempseed oil. This one is extracted from the seed of the plant and does not require the same extraction method as for Cannabidiol and other cannabinoids.
CBD and hemp oil are often used interchangeably
Consumers must understand the difference between the two ingredients, and make sure they read the labels well. If you are looking for CBD in particular, the product label should clearly indicate the amount of CBD (in mg), the concentration present in the product (volume of container divided by amount of CBD in mg), and the carrier oil used if it’s a tincture.
With the ‘green rush’ after cannabis wellness products, some brands are jumping on the opportunity to market their cannabis-infused products by mixing the terms CBD and hemp oil or hempseed oil, sometimes intentionally.
Why would a brand intentionally market CBD and hemp oil as the same thing?
One of the reasons is that consumers are willing to pay more for CBD, which is a more expensive ingredient than hempseed oil. Therefore, some brands will add hempseed oil to a product, adorn it with an image of cannabis leaves, and market it as CBD, when there is no CBD in it at all.
Second, the regulation around CBD still being a grey area in many countries, some brands will market their product containing CBD as hempseed oil, in order to avoid complying with the restrictions.
When you look for a CBD product, you should pay attention to:
- The amount of CBD in the product (in mg)
- Check on the brand’s website for the lab test results, to make sure the product is of quality
- Check the extraction method -The best CBD is CO2 extracted
- Choose an organic certified CBD product