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Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil vs Cannabis Oil: The Showdown (and the Lowdown)

 Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil vs Cannabis Oil: Whats the difference?

You've heard of CBD right? Maybe you know a lot, maybe you're just learning. Either way, at some point in your journey to a happier, healthier you, you're going to come across the #1 cannabis oil question:

"What's the difference between hemp oil, cbd oil and cannabis oil?"

At Enhanced Biotics, we're suckers for a fact-based, scientific showdown. And now we're going to give you the lowdown.

So sit back, relax and enjoy sucking up a fascinating combination of knowledge about the wondrous Cannabis plant that will blow your mind.

But first, let's do some basic housekeeping.

Please scroll down to: CBD OIL, HEMP OIL AND CANNABIS OIL: THE KEY DIFFERENCES for a clear comparison guide.


Before we can tell you about the specific differences, we have to start with some context and look at where each of these oils come from.

There's a great deal of confusion because they all come from that famous five leaf plant you know as Cannabis. The problem is that 'Cannabis' is a general term we apply to all the different cultivars and varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, of which there are literally hundreds, maybe thousands.

It's like how we (in the UK at least) call all vacuum cleaners 'hoovers,' when in truth there are many different brands and models within brands that have different qualities. Cannabis is just like that.

It's easy to get confused in the noise because all of the oils in the showdown; Hemp Oil, CBD Oil and Cannabis Oil are extracted from varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant. This is where the common Cannabis Oil Myths come from.


Myth #1: Hemp, CBD and Cannabis Oil all come from the 'Cannabis' Plant.

This is true. They can (and generally DO) all come from the same 'Cannabis sativa' species, but they do not all come from the same plant variety or cultivar. 

Sticking with our hoover analogy, a good way to think of it is if you take apart a 'Hoover' vacuum and lay out all the parts, then take apart a 'Dyson' vacuum and lay out all the parts, you'll find different parts in each. Yet they are both vacuum cleaners.

In the case of the plants, they develop their differences either through human-controlled plant-breeding or natural selection and genetics when grown in the wild.

These differences lend themselves to different traits and, more specifically in the case of Cannabis sativa, different strengths of chemical compounds known as cannabinoids.

The type and volume of cannabinoids in each variety are different and from these differences, we get the different varieties grown for either recreational, or industrial purposes.

They're all varieties of Cannabis, but they're all unique. Just like you.

Myth #2: Cannabis Oil, CBD Oil and Hemp Oil Are The Same

This one is absolutely not true.

Although they all come from the same plant species, they are not the same. Just like my eyes are brown and yours are blue.

There are several differences between the oils:

  • The way they're grown
  • The specific variety of Cannabis they come from
  • The method of oil extraction
  • The ingredients of each oil
  • The effect they have on your body
  • The legality (at least in the UK)

Given the large number of variants, it's clear to see they aren't the same. And they don't have the same effect on your body.

Myth #3: Cannabis Oil, CBD Oil and Hemp Oil Have the Same Properties.

Again, not true.

The reason why it is not true is because each plant variety has been bred for specific properties and purposes. These purposes can largely be split into 2 main categories; recreational use and industrial use.

The different uses are derived primarily from the chemical composition and the associated cannabinoids found within each variety.

Marijuana, for example, is bred for its high content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). You'll probably know that THC is the primary cannabinoid in the Cannabis plant that causes you to have a psychoactive reaction when you consume it.

Industrial Hemp, on the other hand, is bred for it's tougher tensile strength and multi-purpose industrial use. It contains very little THC and does not cause a psychoactive effect when you consume it.

Although Hemp contains very little THC, it does contain a higher concentration of a different cannabinoid; Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a different chemical compound found in the Cannabis plant that retains the properties found in Marijuana but does not cause any psychoactive effects.

It is for this reason (and that of a more relaxed legal framework) that we are now seeing a surge in clinical research studying the effects of CBD on the human body. Or maybe it's the other way round!

Whilst all the varieties of Cannabis sativa contain these cannabinoids to varying degrees based on how they're bred, it is the quantities of these distinct chemical properties in each that govern their usefulness for helpful properties.


Difference between cbd oil and hemp oil

Once you are aware of the different chemical makeups of each cannabis variety, it is easier to understand why some cannabis oils are more effective than others. But what denotes one oil from another? And how can you be sure you're buying the right cannabis oil for your needs?

Let's try and help with a simplified guide.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is the combination of the isolated extracted cannabidiol (CBD) from a variety of cannabis plant with high concentrations of CBD (usually Hemp) and a carrier oil. The carrier oil can be any oil with high bioavailability, such as hemp seed oil or olive oil. All of our unflavoured CBD oils use hemp seed oil as the carrier because of its high bioavailability.

CBD oil comes in varying strengths. The 'strength' of an oil determines how much cannabidiol you'll receive per dosage. And because it's such a common question, we wrote a big guide about CBD dosage and you can find our CBD Dosage Guide here.

CBD is legal and does not contain any THC and is therefore not psychoactive.

What is Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil is the result of the cold-pressing of hemp seeds and not hemp plants. Pure Hemp Seed oil does not contain any cannabinoids. That means no THC or CBD. It is, therefore, unable to offer you the same health benefits as either CBD Oil or Cannabis Oil.

Hemp seed oil does have some attractive properties, however, with the main one being it's essential fatty acid ratio of 3:1, making it perfect as a delivery mechanism for CBD.

If you infuse Hemp Seed Oil with extracted pure CBD, you will create CBD oil.

What is Cannabis Oil?

Keeping in mind our discussion earlier about both Hemp and Marijuana being in the 'Cannabis' family, Cannabis Oil could be any oil extracted from a Cannabis plant.

Typically, however, when you see Cannabis Oil for sale, you are seeing an oil that contains both the THC and CBD cannabinoids (and all the other cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant). Cannabis oil in this state is illegal in the UK because THC is a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Cannabis Oil contains the psychoactive properties of THC.

Of course, many many users swear by its health benefits and in our Ultimate CBD Oil Guide for 2019, we discuss many of these benefits in more detail.


The simplest way to be sure you're buying the right oil for you is to follow these steps:

  • Know specifically what you're hoping to achieve with the oil (recreation? health? etc.)
  • Buy from a reputed retailer
  • Check the ingredients of any product
  • Verify any claims by requesting to see the latest certificates and lab tests

If you want to buy from a reputed UK CBD Oil retailer, please visit our store and check our certificates.

Feel free to ask any other questions you might have on our facebook page or drop us an email at the address below.

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Jul 14 , 2020