What is Hemp Oil? A Beginner’s Guide

Now that hemp is a legal agricultural crop in the U.S., it’s important to recognize the major distinctions between the plant’s two primary oil-based derivatives: hemp seed oil and hemp-derived CBD oil.

Full story after the jump.

Much confusion has arisen when it comes to hemp and CBD. Hemp oil and CBD oil are highly sought after, but due to poor marketing regulations, many believe that the two products are one and the same. Unfortunately for consumers, they are different products and their main ingredients are extracted using different start materials.

The Difference Between Hemp, CBD, and Cannabis

Though the federal U.S. government might disagree, the difference between these three terms is mostly semantic. Cannabis is the scientific name for the plant often referred to as marijuana, weed, pot, and the other fun monikers. It is a word that encompasses all of the terms we mentioned as well as hemp and CBD. This reality changes when it comes to the legality of cannabis-derived products, however.

Hemp is legalized by the federal government under the 2018 Farm Bill, it is also defined in this regulatory mandate. Strictly speaking, hemp is a derivative of the cannabis plant that tests with quantities of THC below 0.3%. The term also implies that crops are being grown for industrial use. Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, is an isolated cannabinoid found alongside countless other compounds in the cannabis plant.

Hemp oil and CBD oil, however, are not the same. Hemp oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant while CBD is extracted from mature, flowering stalks, leaves and flowers of the hemp or cannabis plant. Hemp oil contains absolutely no cannabinoids, like CBD, but instead is a staple in modern skincare products and some health foods.

How Is Hemp Oil Made?

There are many methods for extracting CBD oil; however, there is really just one method for hemp oil extraction. Generally, the plant’s seeds are cold-pressed until their nutrient-dense essential oils are released. These oils are then used on their own or in product production to contribute amino acids, fatty acids, and other vital system support to the body. Making CBD oil requires a much more involved method than hemp oil, typically utilizing CO2 and expensive machinery to manipulate flowering cannabis to isolate and remove CBD from the plant matter. The main difference between the two end products, as we mentioned above, is that hemp oil does not contain a supplemental amount of CBD.

Hemp Oil in Food

While hemp oil is not a good choice for someone hoping to take CBD supplementally, it has been used in nutrition and skincare for decades. One common use for hemp seeds and hemp oil is in food. Compared to other cooking oils hemp has a low cooking temperature, which means it isn’t ideal for frying. It has a bright, nutty flavor much like sunflower seeds or walnuts which makes it splendid in salad dressings and pesto. Hemp oil is also delicious drizzled on a freshly smashed avocado toast or over some zesty tabbouleh.

Hemp oil is found in many kitchens because research shows it could be a source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Research suggests that those with a diet high in healthy fats could improve insulin sensitivity and stabilize heart rhythm. Most diets get these fats from fish or eggs, which makes hemp oil a viable alternative for someone who doesn’t consume animal products.

High quantities of omega-3 and omega-6 are natural in hemp seed extract. These polyunsaturated fats may show extensive benefits when added to a daily diet. Omegas 3 and 6 are partially responsible for the health of cell membranes which is why they can be responsible for healthy skin & hair, heart health, anti-depression, and more. These fats are also a great source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. Although it doesn’t contain CBD, THC, or any of their cannabinoid friends, hemp oil does have a valid place in the pantry.

Hemp Oil in Beauty Products

In the beauty industry, hemp is used in lotions, lip balms, body wash and more. This is because the nutrient-dense oil may be able to relieve stubborn inflammation-based skin ailments like acne, lichen planus, and eczema. On the basic level, hemp oil will hydrate the skin, which can moderate oil production, in turn cutting back on clogged pores and acne. But hemp oil also works at a structural level.

The omega-6 fatty acids contain high amounts of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Linoleic and oleic acids are essential in anti-aging products, and also happen to be present in hemp seed oils, which is why they’re popular with those looking to preserve soft, lustrous skin into old age.

Hemp oil can be many things. It can be added to a healthy morning smoothie or it can be the lustrous additive in shampoo. But one thing that hemp oil is not, is CBD oil. Plainly put, the two products are completely different and lumping them into the same category cheapens both of them. That is why it’s essential to know the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil before purchasing new products.

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