By Max Branson
CBD oil has garnered a reputation in recent years as something incredibly accessible, healthy, and easy to understand. Thanks to the advent of all kinds of new and exciting CBD products, it feels like it is everywhere, and thus swiftly becoming commonplace.
Despite its rise in popularity and accessibility, there is still one confusing element that muddies the waters: Hemp oil.
They seem like the same thing, but they're not. So, what is the difference between CBD oil and hemp oil?
First of all, we need to completely and totally understand just what CBD oil is. CBD oil is a solution containing pure extracted CBD from cannabis plants that have been suspended within food-grade oil.
The CBD is extracted from cannabis plants in an extraction process called CO2 extraction. This means that cannabis and industrial hemp plants are subjected to a flow of carbon dioxide heated to a supercritical state. This allows it to act as a solvent, extract the cannabinoid from the plant, and leave everything else behind.
This CBD solution is then kept in food oil, both for preservation and for flavor. You can either stop there or subject it to a process known as winterization, wherein you freeze it at controlled temperatures for more filtration.
This process, which is similar to the one used to make brandy, is used to filter out any other cannabinoids or terpenes that might have come with the CBD. This results in CBD isolate, a more specific type of CBD oil that absolutely, 100% contains only CBD oil.
The choice of oil used can vary wildly between different manufacturers. Some prefer to use things like olive and coconut oil; however, others prefer to use something called hemp seed oil. This is where the confusion between CBD and hemp oil starts to emerge.
Hemp oil is commonly confused with CBD oil and is, in fact, sometimes erroneously sold as CBD oil. This is despite the fact that it does not contain any CBD at all. Hemp oil is much more conventional oil, at least as far as food products go.
Hemp plants produce seeds, like most flowering plants do, for proliferation. These seeds are especially oily and, when crushed and pressed, release their oil.
In much the same way as olives and coconuts, you can extract usable, healthy, and tasty oil from hemp seeds. Hemp oil is just like any other food oil, and can be used for the same purposes.
A common ingredient in kitchens, hemp oil is perfect for pouring over a finished dish to give it some added vibrancy, color, and brightness. The taste is comparable to an exceptionally rich extra virgin olive oil, but is unique in its own right.
However, a big problem with hemp oil is its name; it is easy to mistake one for the other, despite the fact that they are fundamentally different.
While it is sometimes a genuine mistake, a lot of manufacturers of hemp oil will deliberately over emphasize the cannabis origins of their hemp oil. This is usually for the principal purpose of misleading confused first-time buyers of cannabis products.
If you try and search for CBD oil online and you aren't careful about what sites you go on, you could be looking at regular hemp seed oil. This hemp seed oil will not contain any CBD whatsoever, yet it will be worded in such a way as to make you think that it is, in fact, CBD oil.
The critical thing to remember about the differences between CBD oil and hemp oil is that they are fundamentally different products. One is a food oil that comes from the seeds of hemp plants, and the other is a cannabinoid-rich solution designed to be used as a medicine.
It is easy to conflate the two accidentally, but don't be misled by false advertising designed to trick you.
The very best thing that you can do is to only shop at reputable CBD retailers, where they will only sell you real CBD oil. Stores like PureKana, among others, offer in-depth lab reports, which allow you always to be 100% sure of what you are getting.
As long as you can concretely know and understand the cannabinoid content of the product you are buying, you should be fine.