Cannabis has a long history dating back thousands of years. Our ancestors recognized the diverse utility of the plant and cultivated it for all kinds of applications, using every part from the roots and stalks to the flowers and leaves. Its tough fibers were used to make cloth and rope, its seeds were nutritious, and its leaves and flowers were utilized in ritualistic ceremonies and as medicine.
In this blog post, we’ll address the following:
The cannabis varietals grown today are much different than the plants of ancient times, having been selectively bred for thousands of years to accentuate certain characteristics. Marijuana comes to mind as a prime example, with hundreds of strains and counting available in the legal market—each with its unique effects and traits. But hemp, marijuana’s close cousin, has also undergone some genetic overhauls.
While it shares some characteristics with marijuana, hemp lacks the THC content necessary to cause euphoria. It is a primary source of CBD and is defined by the Controlled Substances Act as any cannabis plant containing less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Any more than 0.3% THC and the plant is considered marijuana and thus federally illegal.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp nationwide, compelling growers across the country to breed strains of hemp that are as high in CBD as possible without breaking the 0.3% THC barrier. The full legality of hemp has paved the way for both CBD and hemp oil markets. As more consumers enter these markets, it’s important to note the distinct differences between the two products.
To answer the question of whether CBD and hemp oil are the same thing, we need to consider how and from where they are extracted. Whereas CBD oil is derived from the resinous, cannabinoid-rich trichomes of the buds and leaves of hemp, hemp oil (or “hemp seed oil”) is derived solely from the seeds, which contain no cannabinoids.
CBD is extracted from hemp using sophisticated ethanol or CO2-based methods, which allow for the high level of cannabinoids in the resulting oil. Hemp seed oil, on the other hand, is produced by a simpler process of cold-pressing the seeds into an unrefined, raw product. Although both CBD and hemp seed oil has therapeutic value, it is where they’re extracted from and the cannabinoid levels that set them apart.
The effects of CBD rely upon its activation of cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Because hemp seed oil contains no cannabinoids, it will not influence these receptors, although it does have certain nutritional and industrial applications. Being rich in nutrients and fatty acids, hemp oil may benefit skin health and could potentially mitigate inflammation, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Another important difference between CBD oil and hemp oil is how they’re categorized by the Food and Drug Administration. The regulation of CBD remains very limited, and so far the FDA has only approved one CBD-derived drug known as Epidolex. Conversely, hemp seeds and hemp seed oil have been deemed safe by the FDA for public consumption, leading to much lower costs and easier access for these products.
The market for hemp products has never been as big or far-reaching. Additional research and development will drive the expansion of both CBD and hemp seed product lines, and with the prospect of additional cannabis legalization measures soon, we won’t be seeing hemp products go away anytime soon.
For educational purposes only