CBD oil vs hemp oil: do you know the difference?

CBD oilCC: Kimbeley Nanney at Unsplash

In recent months, CBD oil has hit the headlines for lots of reasons. Here in the UK, it’s gathering popularity among those whose children have severe forms of epilepsy. In the United States, it’s already held in high regard by many physicians.

Because of its recent press, CBD oil is appearing in health stores everywhere. Unfortunately, a lack of advertising regulations means some stores sell hemp oil under the CBD name. Some may do this because they don’t understand the difference. Others may do it despite knowing better.

If you’re interested in using CBD oil to treat an ongoing condition, it’s worth understanding where the confusion arises.

How do people confuse CBD with hemp?

Most of the confusion between CBD oil and hemp arises because they come from the same family of plants. They both contain cannabidiol, which is also one of the most active ingredients in marijuana. Hemp oil only contains trace elements of cannabidiol, though. For this reason, it doesn’t have any therapeutic properties. But if you want to use it to cook with, it does taste fantastic and it’s an excellent way to reduce fat!

Why is cannabidiol so important?


The human body features lots of receptors that respond positively to cannabidiol. When the substance comes into contact with these receptors, it induces positive effects. This can include a feeling of relaxation, which is why it promotes a good night’s sleep and reduced anxiety. It also encourages the receptors to release dopamine into the brain’s reward system. This has a positive effect on conditions such as depression and other mood disorders. It’s the cannabidiol element of CBD oil that reduces the number of seizures people with certain forms of epilepsy experience.

As hemp oil only contains trace amounts of this compound, it doesn’t have the same effect as CBD. Therefore, if you’re relying on it to gain relief from a condition, you may be disappointed.

Is CBD oil safe to use?

As you may have already guessed, CBD oil stems from the same plant family as marijuana. This causes many people to believe that they’ll experience a high when using it. Fortunately, it’s lacking in the psychoactive substance that cannabis features: THC. This means it doesn’t carry the same risks with regards to hallucination, declines in the user’s mental state, or emotional reliance.

However, it’s worth noting that this oil does come with some side effects. Some users report experiencing nausea, nervousness, and a dry mouth when using it. As it’s a potential treatment for anorexia nervosa, it can induce serious food cravings.

Most shops that sell this oil do so under the recommendation that you use it as a supplement rather than self-medicating with it. So, although it’s more beneficial than hemp oil and less dangerous than cannabis, always seek medical guidance before using it.

About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.