It’s more confusing than it should be: What is hemp oil exactly? Do you know the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil? Check out our comprehensive guide explaining what is hemp oil and it’s many benefits (including CBD).
what is CBD, and it’s difference compared to THC.elcome to our second article in our Hemp CBD Guide series! In our first article, we brought you up to speed on the basics of the cannabis plant family and defined precisely
Here in article 2 we’ll dive in and talk about exactly what is hemp oil, and some hemp oil benefits. Most importantly, we’ll clear up the confusion on the many types of product labels you see out there, and the difference between regular hemp oil and hemp-derived CBD oil.
What is hemp oil?
The first thing you need to know is that if you’re looking for the benefits of CBD, you need to buy a hemp oil with verified CBD content. We’ll walk you through that in detail later in this guide.
We’ve already talked about how CBD oil is an extract from the industrial hemp plant. In contrast, hemp oil (without actual CBD) is extracted from the seeds, stalks, leaves and flowers of the hemp plant (cannabis sativa).
Here’s a drill down into some of the common terms used to describe different types of hemp oil…
Hemp oil – This is a generic term for oil from any part of the hemp plant, whether it’s from just seeds or also includes stalks, leaves, and flowers.
Hemp seed oil – Because this oil comes from the seed only, it mostly contains fatty acids. It’s great for the skin, but doesn’t contain much CBD or other cannabinoids.
Hemp extract oil – This is a whole plant extract. Because CBD is found in the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, this is what you want to make sure you’re getting if you’re looking to tap into the medicinal properties of cannabinoids. This pretty green (or gold) liquid has more benefits than just CBD. With a full-spectrum hemp oil, you’re getting more than 80 other phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. A high-quality full-spectrum hemp extract oil will usually contain CBD, but it’s not an isolated extraction. And by sourcing your CBD from hemp instead of marijuana, any THC content will be 0 to 0.3%, which will not create any psychoactive “high” effect.
Be Aware: Because there are currently very few regulations regarding how companies label, name and market their products, just because a bottle says “CBD oil” or “Hemp Extract Oil” doesn’t mean there’s any actual CBD in it.
Be sure to ask for verified CBD content via third-party lab results (which you can often find on a reputable company’s website or by requesting them via phone or email).
That should clear up some terminology confusion. The bottom line is, to maximize the health benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids, you want a broad-spectrum… full-spectrum… or whole plant hemp extract with CBD, which means you’re definitely going to have to read the fine print.
Related Article: Before You Buy CBD Oil: 13 Things to Know
Why whole-extract or “full-spectrum” is better than a CBD isolate
It’s science! A 2015 study from Hadassah Medical School in Israel found that whole extract hemp oil was more effective at relieving pain and inflammation symptoms than CBD alone. Further, a whole extract improved the body’s response to CBD’s benefits. When a single molecule treatment (otherwise known as CBD isolate) was used, it needed a fairly narrow and precise dosage to be effective. If the dosage was too low or too high, the beneficial impact dramatically lessened.
When they used a full-spectrum extract rich in CBD and other phytocannabinoids, they saw very different results. The beneficial results increased with a higher dosage rather than falling off. They dubbed this the “entourage effect” because the synergy between all the phytocannabinoids created results greater than the sum of each cannabinoid’s individual effects by themselves.
(We’re always more powerful with our posse around us, right?)
They also found that combining CBD with other cannabinoids reduced the amount of CBD required to achieve therapeutic effects. In other words, if you’re using pure CBD isolate, you need a lot of it, until you get too much. If you have a whole plant or full-spectrum extract, you can use less CBD and still get great results – whether for pain relief, mood lift, or anything else!
What’s in hemp oil that makes it so beneficial?
As long as you’re careful to get a hemp extract oil that is full-spectrum or a “whole plant extract,” you’re getting all of the magic of the cannabis plant. Which means more than 80+ phytocannabinoids working with your body’s own endocannabinoid system to help balance and maintain the many complex systems of your body.
You’re also getting other plant compounds including polyunsaturated fats like Omega-6 and -3, Vitamin E, terpenes (a type of essential oil) and flavonoids (antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits). Put together, these cannabinoids have amazing anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial benefits.
Just a few of the benefits of hemp oil
Let’s explore some of the health benefits of hemp oil. For more information on using CBD to treat specific disorders and issues, see Article 5 of this series.
To treat disease
There’s more data supporting the medicinal benefits of hemp CBD oil than the US government has historically lead us to believe. Again, the key to the power of cannabinoids is there their ability to regulate multiple systems, and also their powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
For example, there are decades worth of data to show hemp CBD oil’s efficacy in treating epilepsy. A 2016 retrospective study showed that 52% of patients reduced their seizures by 50% or more thanks to CBD enriched medical cannabis. In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Epidiolex, a synthetic CBD oil, to treat two rare forms of epilepsy: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
There’s also a growing body of evidence that demonstrates CBD’s ability to treat symptoms of diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
CBD’s analgesic effects are well documented at this point, though more research is sure to come now that legal restrictions have been lifted and researchers won’t have to do so much bureaucratic hoop-jumping to test its efficacy!
Another exciting use of CBD hemp oil is to treat anxiety and other mood disorders. Many CBD enthusiasts purchase their CBD products based on the mood the product can produce. There are CBD products that specifically generate calm… focus… bliss… or that produce mental relief to assist with sleep or downregulating an overactive mind or body after a hard days’ work.
Researchers think this overall mood-boosting effect is due to CBD’s ability to dampen activity in the anxiety-producing parts of the brain, and its effectiveness in increasing activity in the parts of the brain that help regulate mood.
For general well-being
Here are just a few ways CBD-rich hemp oil supports your overall health.
Heart and Brain Benefits
Hemp oil provides essential fatty acids to your body. An essential fatty acid is one that your body cannot make for itself and so you must get it through your diet. Hemp oil contains high concentrations of both Omega 3s (which are good for brain health and vision and help reduce inflammation) and Omega 6 fatty acids (which help lower the risk of heart disease).
Many people take supplements of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) to get enough of these essential fats. However, supplements from fish sources can contain mercury contamination from polluted oceans. Hemp presents an alternate source for these important nutrients.
Immune system support
All those fatty acids are also good for your immune system and gut health. Further, some studies show that cannabinoids help dampen an immune response in autoimmune diseases by decreasing inflammation, making it an important treatment opportunity for this class of diseases.
Hemp oil can help your hormonal balance thanks to gamma-linolic acid (GLA), an Omega 6 fatty acid. GLA is an often overlooked Omega 6 found in borage oil as well as hemp and some experts believe it’s just as an important a supplement as DHA and ALA.
And finally, let’s not underestimate its effect on inner- and outer-beauty. All those fatty acids give you glowing skin. And all those anti-inflammatory and anxtioxidant properties of CBD help reduce the appearance of age and, most importantly, help you repair skin from the inside-out.
You can get these benefits from a CBD hemp oil tincture you take orally (try it in a beverage or CBD cocktail!), or you can deliver immediate nourishment and relief to skin with CBD topicals and CBD-infused beauty products.
We ❤️ hemp and CBD. Truly. But just as the massive opportunities and gold rush of the wild west inspired numerous “snake oil” salesmen… we’re seeing a similar environment in hemp and CBD products, because historically, these products have not been regulated.
Until December 2018, with the passage of the 2018 US Farm Bill legalizing hemp production and taking CBD off the federally controlled susbtances list, hemp and CBD products have existed in a legal grey area. For the most part, the government did not go after consumers buying and using CBD products. But because they weren’t strictly legal either, the US government hadn’t created any regulatory oversight for companies selling such products.
And so the consumer often paid the price: in confusion, in time wasted researching online, and in wasted money as many online CBD retailers were selling products mislabeled or misrepresenting the actual CBD content in their formulas – which was the active ingredient they were marketing, but which wasn’t necessarily even in the product sold.
Hence, the Hemp CBD industry has been crowded with… shall we say… some less than trustworthy purveyors. A recent blind study discovered that more than 70% of CBD products sold online misrepresent or flat out lie about their ingredients, quality, CBD levels and more. We believe this will change drastically over the next two years (into 2020) as new regulations are formed to oversee the now legal hemp CBD market.
But until then, take the time to really know what you’re buying and to verify what’s in the product, including that there is lab-verified CBD content.
To help you hit the ground running, check out Article 3 in this series, which walks you through a checklist of the 13 things you need to know before you buy.