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Hemp Seed Oil: Hemp Oil Uses, Benefits, and How it Differs from CBD 

When searching online for information about hemp oil products, it’s not uncommon to find a significant amount of conflicting information. You will likely find many sources that state hemp oil is extracted from the stalks and stems of industrial hemp, and numerous other sources specifying that hemp oil is extracted from the seeds of the plant.

Only one of these answers is correct. The oil extracted from hemp seeds is hemp seed oil, not hemp oil. This is an important distinction. While both oils are extracted from different parts of the same plant, Cannabis sativa L., the resulting products have significantly different properties. We can clarify the confusion by guiding you through some of the many uses for hemp seed oil and how this hemp-derived product differs from CBD.

What is Hemp Seed Oil?

Hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of industrial hemp. Known for its high levels of essential fatty acids, hemp seed oil is used in numerous products including salad oils, personal care items, as well as industrial products such as lubricants, solvents, and diesel fuel. While hemp seed oil has exceptional nutritional value, the oil extracted from the seeds of the plant does not contain CBD or any other potentially beneficial cannabinoid.1

Quick Facts About Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil is quite inexpensive compared to CBD, so there are a significant number of companies looking to profit from the confusion between the two product types. You will have a much easier time spotting inconsistencies and misrepresentations knowing a few quick facts:

  • How Hemp Seed Oil is Processed 

    Hemp seed oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the plant, a process accomplished with pressure and grinding. Cold-pressing preserves the flavor, aroma, and nutritional value of the seeds. Unrefined cold-pressed oil is green in color and has a nutty flavor. Refined hemp seed oil is clear and odorless, but lacks the nutrition and antioxidant properties of unrefined oil. Those looking for the health and wellness potential of hemp seed oil commonly select unrefined products unless they prefer to avoid the somewhat nutty aroma of hemp seeds.2

  • Hemp Psychoactivity 

    Although many people still associate the word cannabis with the psychoactive properties of marijuana, all products sourced from industrial hemp are non-intoxicating. While hemp and marijuana both contain cannabinoids that function similarly to neurotransmitters, hemp contains only trace amounts of THC (0.3 percent or less), which is not enough to cause intoxication. Hemp seed oil does not contain THC, CBD, or any other potentially beneficial cannabinoid.

 The Differences Between Hemp Seed Oil and CBD Oil

Hemp oil and hemp seed oil do not have the same effect on your body, but some of the potential health and wellness benefits overlap. It’s the overlapping benefits that generate the most confusion. When selecting hemp products, it’s important to be aware of the following differences between hemp seed oil and CBD oil:

  • Plant Type

    There are two potential sources of CBD oil, hemp and marijuana. It’s the plant extracts that contain CBD (cannabidiol). Most of the hemp oil available to the general public is extracted from hemp. That’s why the terms hemp oil and CBD oil are used interchangeably throughout our industry. Hemp seed oil has only one possible source, hemp seeds.

  • Production Type

    Hemp oil, the plant extract that contains CBD, is extracted from the stalks, stems, and flowers of industrial hemp. Hemp seed oil is pressed from, you guessed it, the small seeds. If you are looking at a product description, the extraction methods could help you decipher vague terminology. If the product is cold-pressed, it is more likely to be derived from hemp seed oil. 

  • CBD Content

    Reputable product manufacturers specify the amount of CBD in their hemp oil products in milligrams (mg). If the amount of CBD is not specified, or suggested in vague terms like “high potency,” those products are likely made with hemp seed oil.

The Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil 

Hemp seeds are a natural, renewable resource. Although hemp seed oil does not contain cannabinoids like the oil extracted from the stalks and stems of the plant, it does provide significant health and wellness potential. Consider the following benefits of hemp seed oil:

  • Nutritional Profile

    Hemp seeds are so nutritious that they are commonly referred to as a “superfood.” Hemp seeds are high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive compounds. Research shows that hemp seeds contain significant amounts of gamma-linolenic acid, a fatty substance shown to combat inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.3

  • Skin Care Properties

    Cold-pressed hemp seed oil is 75 percent essential fatty acids and a significant source of skin-soothing vitamin E. When used in skin care products, hemp seed oil is shown to soothe inflammation, balance oil production, and protect skin from the signs of aging.4

Hemp Seed Oil Precautions and Side Effects

When you first start using hemp seed oil for skin care, cooking, or as a dietary supplement, it’s important to start with a small amount at a time to see how your body reacts. Some people do experience mild irritation from applying hemp seed oil directly to their skin. Some of the other known precautions and potential side effects of hemp seed oil include:

  • Digestive Issues

    Hemp seed oil is mostly comprised of  polyunsaturated fat and is often called “nature’s most perfect oil.” Polyunsaturated fat is shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular function. But consuming too much hemp oil can have negative consequences, including digestive disturbances and loose stools.5

  • Oxidation at High Temperatures

    Hemp seed oil is not recommended for cooking on high heat because the oil oxidizes when heated. Oils that oxidize react with oxygen and form free radicals and other potentially harmful compounds. Rather than cooking with hemp seed oil, consider adding hemp seed oil to your hummus recipe, smoothies, or salad.6

What to Look for When Buying Hemp Seed Oil

When shopping for hemp seed oil, it’s important to select high-quality oil from a reputable merchant. Hemp has the remarkable ability to pull chemicals and heavy metals from the soil. Any hemp seed oil you purchase should be grown using natural farming methods and tested for purity. A few other important points to consider include:

  • Extraction Methods – Hemp seed oil should be cold-pressed to preserve the nutritional value of the extract and keep solvent residue from the final product.
  • Added Ingredients – Your hemp seed oil should have few, if any, added ingredients. Once opened, store your hemp-seed products in the refrigerator to extend their freshness. If your product contains CBD, it is not hemp seed oil.
  • Happy Customers – You can tell a lot about a product from customer reviews. When reading reviews and testimonials, look for recurring themes. If you see a significant number of customer comments complaining about the lack of CBD in their product, the company may be guilty of misrepresentation. Again, hemp seed oil does not contain CBD.

Choosing the Best Hemp-Derived Oil for Your Needs

If you are looking for a source of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and protein, hemp seed oil may be your product of choice. Knowing the differences between these distinctly different oils can help you determine if you have found the best hemp-derived product to suit your needs.

Selecting High-Quality Hemp Oil Products

When purchasing CBD, it’s important to know how much CBD your product contains and to have the ability to verify the CBD content. To ensure the potency and purity of your products, be sure to shop with reputable companies who provide access to third-party test results.

For high-quality hemp CBD at reasonable prices, visit CBDistillery. Our selection of CBD tinctures, capsules, vape pens, and topicals are sourced from non-GMO hemp seeds grown using natural farming methods. You can verify the purity and potency of CBDistillery hemp oil products by viewing the batch test information in our product descriptions or scanning the QR code on your product label.

Additional Sources

  1. Kings Report. (2003) Review of Nutritional Attributes of Good Oil (Cold Pressed Hemp Seed Oil) By Professor Tom Sanders and Dr Fiona Lewis, Nutritional Sciences Division, Kings College London.
  2. School of Natural Skin Care. (2019) Unrefined vs Refined Carrier Oils: Which is Best?
  3. Nutrition and Metabolism. (2010 April 21) The Cardiac and Haemostatic Effects of Dietary Hempseed.
  4. Healthline. A Gotter (2018 August 30) Hemp Oil for Skin.
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