Understanding The Differences Between Hemp and Cannabis (Part 2)

Confusion remains around the differences between hemp seed oil and hemp/Cannabidiol extract. Variety is a great thing, as individuals have different health requirements, dosage needs and methods of delivery. If you are new to cannabis or hemp products, then it can be difficult navigating what is what. In this article we breakdown the differences between hemp seed oil, hemp extract and cannabis oil.

Hemp oil is extracted by pressing the seeds of the female cannabis hemp plant. The seeds are preferably cold pressed peeled and is highly nutritious in terms of a dietary supplement. However this oil lacks cannabinoids, the main compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant and hemp extract. There is no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol as found in cannabis and hemp extract respectively.1

Hemp for Health

Hemp oil is legal in most countries and commonly found in the food industry, typically it contains twice the levels of omega 3’s in olive oil and half the calories. Known for its high nutritional value, hemp seeds are particularly rich in Gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA), a building block for hormones and controlling inflammation.2 A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology demonstrated beneficial effects using hemp seed oil in relieving rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.3 Studies also suggest consumption of raw hemp seeds can help with cardiovascular health and lower blood pressure.4 This may explain why the hemp food industry is growing rapidly and has increased over 300 percent, to an estimated 25,000 products, in the past few years.5

Hemp Extract

Products containing hemp extract have a wide range of cannabinoids, with the exclusion of THC. Hemp extract is a specific oil that contains Cannabidiol and is obtained via extraction made from the aerial parts of the Cannabis sativa plant.6 This extract can be mixed with hemp seeds oil, olive oil or other types of oil to facilitate ingestion.

Until recently, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) was getting the most attention due to being the main ingredient in marijuana. However, the medical world is realizing that Cannabidiol, the major non psychoactive component of Cannabis sativa, has a list of therapeutic benefits — most notably serving as an effective sleep aid.7

According to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Cannabidiol benefits include anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, antiemetic, anxiolytic and antipsychotic agent.8

Not all hemp and Cannabidiol products are the same. Some companies use the term “hemp extract or hemp oil” when they really mean “hemp seed oil”. It can be a potent and powerful product, but poorly manufactured hemp products can either contain dangerous chemicals, or ingredients different than those listed on the label. The FDA is aware of the confusion regarding Cannabidiol products and made a statement on their website:9

“FDA has tested those products and, in some of them, did not detect any CBD. It is important to note that these products are not approved by FDA for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease, and often they do not even contain the ingredients found on the label. Consumers should beware purchasing and using any such products”

Cannabis Oil

Hemp seed and Hemp Cannabidiol extract types of products can be beneficial for increasing the quality of one’s life; hemp extract alone can provide relief for a wide range of ailments. However, the lack of THC does provide an issue for patients that have a treatment plan that requires high doses of THC, so it will depend on your specific use-case.

Cannabis sativa L. preparations have been used in medicine for millennia. However, concern over the dangers of abuse led to the banning of the medicinal use of marijuana in most countries in the 1930s.10 Only recently, marijuana and individual natural and synthetic cannabinoids have come back to being considered of therapeutic value.

Aside from THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, there are hundreds of other chemicals it contains, including THC’s cousin cannabinoids such as cannabidiol, along with other compounds called terpenes and flavonoids. The marijuana industry and a collection of researchers have espoused the idea that it is these compounds that can enhance or alter THC’s psychoactive and medicinal properties.10

The conventional science on this topic is scant, with marijuana, most of what you are dealing with is anecdotal evidence, according to Mowgli Holmes, a geneticist and founder of a cannabis genetics company.




  1. The Composition of Hemp Seed Oil and Its Potential as an Important Source of Nutrition, Cary Leizer David Ribnicky Alexander Poulev Slavik Dushenkov Ilya Raskin, 2000, Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods Vol. 2(4) 2000
  2. Gamma Linoleic acid http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/gammalinolenic-acid
  3. Hempseed oil induces reactive oxygen species- and C/EBP homologous protein-mediated apoptosis in MH7A human rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synovial cells, 2014, Jeong M1, Cho J1, Shin JI1, Jeon YJ1, Kim JH1, Lee SJ2, Kim ES3, Lee K4.J Ethnopharmacol.Jul 3;154(3):745-52. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.04.052. Epub 2014 May 9.
  4. The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed,Delfin Rodriguez-Leyva and Grant N Pierce, 2010, Nutr Metab (Lond); 7: 32.doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-7-32
  5. Industrial Hemp, 2015, http://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/fiber/industrial-hemp/
  6. Cannabis sativa: The Plant of the Thousand and One Molecules, Christelle M. Andre,Jean-Francois Hausman, and Gea Guerriero, 2016, Front Plant Sci. 2016; 7: 19.2016 Feb 4. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00019
  7. Effects of acute systemic administration of cannabidiol on sleep-wake cycle in rats, Chagas MH1, Crippa JA, Zuardi AW, Hallak JE, Machado-de-Sousa JP, Hirotsu C, Maia L, Tufik S, Andersen ML, 2013, J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Mar;27(3):312-6. doi: 10.1177/0269881112474524.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23343597
  8. Cannabidiol for neurodegenerative disorders: important new clinical applications for this phytocannabinoid?Fernández-Ruiz J1, Sagredo O, Pazos MR, García C, Pertwee R, Mechoulam R, Martínez-Orgado J.,2013, Br J Clin Pharmacol. Feb;75(2):323-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04341.x.
  9. 2016 Warning Letters and Test Results for Cannabidiol-Related Products https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm484109.htm
  10. Cannabinoids in Health and Disease, Natalya M. Kogan, Raphael Mechoulam, 2007, Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2007 Dec; 9(4): 413–430
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Discover our Practitioner Grade Health Products Hemp oil or hempseed oil is obtained by pressing hemp seeds. old pressed, unrefined hemp oil is dark to clear light green in color, with a nutty flavour. Learn More

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