by Erica Garza
Not all oils are created equal, especially when it comes to those derived from the cannabis plant. Though often used interchangeably, hemp oil and CBD oil have crucial differences in how each one affects your body and health. In order to determine which cannabis product is right for you, explore the differences between hemp oil and CBD oil, as well as distinguishing ingredients to look out for.
Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil: Know the Difference
CBD oil is made from the leaves, flowers and stalks of the hemp plant—the only parts of the plant where cannabidiol is found. Hemp oil, or hemp seed oil, is made from hemp seeds, meaning there is little to no CBD content. Each type of oil offers its own potent health benefits.
Ingredients to Look For
The best way to determine if a product is CBD oil or hemp oil is to look at the ingredients listed on packaging. If the package doesn’t clearly include the words “hemp oil” or “hemp seed oil,” look for “cannabis seed oil” or “cannabis sativa seed oil,” which are the scientific names for hemp oil. To look for purely CBD products, you must find ingredients like “cannabidiol” or “CBD.”
Health Benefits of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil and CBD oil both show promise in enhancing one’s health, but in different ways. Hemp oil is often looked to for its nutritional power, due to its healthy fats and mineral content. There have also promising studies on its effect on skin disorders and PMS symptoms.
Hemp seeds are rich in essential fatty acids like linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). They are also an excellent source of protein and offer vitamin E and other health-enhancing minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.
Studies have shown that giving hemp oil to those with eczema may improve symptoms of the skin disorder, including dryness and itching. Studies suggest that these effects are due to hemp oil’s balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
PMS and Menopause
Hemp is a good source of GLA (gamma linoleic acid), which has been shown to decrease the inflammation that can occur with menopause. Hemp oil has also been found to alleviate symptoms of PMS, which can reduce the effect of the hormone prolactin in the body.
Health Benefits of CBD Oil
CBD is sought for its range of health benefits, which include relief from pain, inflammation and insomnia. For those sensitive to the “high” of THC, CBD offers the power of the cannabis plant without psychoactive effects.
Anxiety and Depression
CBD can also help those suffering from depression and anxiety. A report published in Neurotherapeutics found that CBD oil shows promise in the treatment of conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. And a survey published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research in 2018 showed that 62 percent of cannabidiol users reported that they used CBD to treat a medical condition, with the top three conditions being pain, anxiety and depression.
CBD can also help you sleep better, as determined by several studies. In one study, CBD showed promise for inducing deeper REM sleep, while another study of Parkinson’s disease patients found that taking CBD oil reduced symptoms of insomnia. And with CBD’s potential to relieve anxiety and pain, falling asleep becomes more likely, as these experiences can interfere with getting proper rest.
The next time you’re trying to decide between hemp oil versus CBD oil, consider which benefits you hope to gain. Always check ingredients on the packaging and consult with a healthcare professional if you’re still uncertain.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in Time, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, The Telegraph and Vice. She lives in Los Angeles.