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Hemp CBD Oil vs. Cannabis CBD Oil: 7 Differences You Need To Know

You’ve probably seen hemp CBD oils sold online or even in a local convenience store.

With CBD’s therapeutic benefits becoming more widely known, you may have wondered if there’s a difference between oils labelled as “hemp” and “cannabis.”

Some people buy hemp CBD oil assuming it has the same therapeutic benefits. In reality, they are two separate products with different uses.

In this post, we’ll highlight the 7 major differences between hemp CBD oil and cannabis CBD oil.

Difference #1: How It’s Derived

As you can probably guess, hemp CBD oil is derived from the hemp plant whereas cannabis CBD oil is derived from marijuana.

Cannabis and hemp are different strains that originate from the same plant species. The hemp plant is not thought of as medicinal because it’s very low in chemical compounds, also known as cannabinoids.

While the cannabis plant is used to make medicine, the hemp plant is most commonly used to make food products (derived from hemp seed) and other products such as hemp clothing, paper, etc. (made from the fibers and stalks).

Difference #2: Hemp CBD Oil Is Illegal 

Since hemp CBD oil is illegal, it is unregulated.  In fact, if you find a CBD oil in a health food store or from an unlicensed producer, you can probably assume it’s derived from the hemp plant.

Cannabis CBD oil is currently only sold by licensed producers as a medicine, which you currently need a prescription to obtain.

Difference #3: Cannabis CBD Oil Contains More CBD

If you’re looking to buy a CBD oil, it’s presumably because you want to get the benefits of CBD. Because cannabis-derived oil is more concentrated, it has a better therapeutic value.

Cannabis CBD oil typically has a 20% CBD concentration.

The amount of CBD in a hemp-derived oil varies by seller and depends on the plant it’s made from. Some hemp plants are bred to make oil while others are bred for industrial uses and contain lower amounts of the cannabinoid. Typically, hemp-derived oil has a low concentration of 3.5% CBD. Because this count is so low, you’d need to take a significant amount of the oil to get any effect.

Furthermore, because Hemp CBD oil is unregulated, you have no idea the actual CBD/ THC content, or how the product is made and tested.

Difference #4: Cannabis CBD Oil Contains a Little More THC

Because hemp CBD oil is sold by unlicensed producers, it contains less than 0.3% THC. In contrast, cannabis CBD oil usually has under 2 mg/ml of THC. Although this isn’t a significant amount, it’s enough to also get the cannabinoid’s benefits.

Even if you don’t want the psychoactive effects or the “high” created by THC, it’s still a useful chemical to have in your oil. When both THC and CBD are present, they work together in what’s known as the entourage effect. This means that each cannabinoids’ therapeutic benefits are multiplied when they’re present together. Unlike hemp, cannabis also contains terpenes that contribute to this effect.

Hemp-derived CBD oil typically doesn’t contain enough THC to get this benefit.

Difference #5: Reliability & Regulation of Hemp vs. Cannabis CBD Oil

Licensed producers who sell cannabis products are subject to regulation and inspections by Health Canada. Since their products are tested before they’re sold, you can trust that their labeling is correct.

On the other hand, hemp-derived products are not regulated. The conditions hemp plants are grown in and whether they contain any toxins can be an area of concern. As we discussed above, since hemp has far less CBD than a cannabis plant, a significant number of hemp plants are needed to make an oil. This raises the risk of contamination.

In addition, unless the hemp oil has been tested by a third party, there’s no way of telling how much CBD it contains, if any. In fact, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (FDA) in the U.S. has sent several warning letters to companies who sell hemp oils claiming they contained CBD. When tested, the FDA found that many of these products falsely labelled the cannabinoid content.

If a product is unreliable, it makes dosing difficult and ineffective.

Difference #6: Safe vs. Unsafe Additives

To make cannabis CBD oil, the cannabinoid is often mixed with a healthy fat, such as coconut oil. Mixing CBD with a fat makes it easier for your body to absorb, meaning your medication will be more effective.

Since medical cannabis CBD oil is not vaporizable, some people may consider hemp CBD vape oil a good alternative.

However, many hemp CBD oils that are designed for vape pens contain the thinning agent propylene glycol. The FDA has deemed this chemical safe when used topically or ingested. But, it may be toxic when heated and inhaled. Since there isn’t enough research to say propylene glycol is safe to vaporize, you may want to consider avoiding this chemical.

Difference #7: Practical Uses

Because of the differences we described above, these oils do not have the same uses. If you see a medical marijuana doctor and they think CBD is a good treatment, they will prescribe you a cannabis CBD oil, not a hemp CBD oil.

Cannabis CBD oil can be used as a treatment for a variety of conditions, including:

  • Seizures (epilepsy or Dravet Syndrome)
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
  • Cancer
  • Helps with alertness or focus

Cannabis CBD oil can be easily taken under the tongue using a syringe or dropper. Alternatively, you can add it to a drink or food. Some people make capsules and sprays out of the oil.

For more information, read our guide What is CBD Oil?

Cannabis CBD oil can treat a variety of conditions. Medical marijuana products are most effective when bought through a licensed producer and when treatment is supervised by a doctor. To learn more, talk to us today or schedule an appointment.

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