What’s The Difference Between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?

One of the most common questions asked by those looking to buy CBD hemp oil products is “What’s the difference between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil?” It’s understandably confusing since these terms are often used interchangeably. The lack of uniformity in product labeling by companies selling these products only adds to the confusion. The goal of this article is to explain the differences so you’ll know whether a product has CBD in it or not.

Here are some common terms that you’ll see when you start researching CBD hemp oil products: Hemp Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, CBD Oil and Hemp Extract.

Hemp Oil

Hemp Oil is the most broad of these terms. There are some products labeled Hemp Oil that have CBD in them and some that do not. To know whether something labeled Hemp Oil has CBD in it, you need to understand the difference between Hemp Seed Oil and CBD Oil.

Hemp Seed Oil – Contains No CBD

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil is basically the hemp equivalent to olive oil, coconut oil and grapeseed oil. It’s good for cooking and can make an excellent salad dressing but it contains no CBD. It’s generally not considered to be medicinal. The seeds of the cannabis plant, whether it’s hemp or marijuana, don’t produce any CBD. So if you’re looking for CBD hemp oil, Hemp Seed Oil is not what you want.

How do you know if a product labeled Hemp Oil is just Hemp Seed Oil? The product label will typically just describe the product as “unrefined cold-pressed hempseed oil.” The most obvious giveaways are the cheap price and the large bottle. Nutiva, a popular brand of Hemp Seed Oil that is sold on Amazon and grocery stores, sells for less than $20 for a 24 ounce bottle. Most CBD Oil products come in 1 ounce (30 millileter) bottles and cost considerably more than $20.


CBD Oil is extracted from the aerial flower parts, stalk and/or stems of the hemp plant. Unfortunately, it’s typically not easy to know if a product contains CBD just by looking at its label. Many products containing CBD, including those from industry leaders like Charlotte’s Web and Bluebird Botanicals, don’t mention CBD anywhere on the label. That’s because saying CBD on the label or website can increase the company’s risk associated with FDA regulations and credit card processing agreements.

Charlotte’s Web Label

Hemp Extract

Instead of just saying CBD on the label, many products that contain CBD list the primary ingredient as Hemp Extract. To add to the confusion, they may also list hempseed oil, olive oil or MCT oil as ingredients. This can lead some people to mistakenly think there isn’t any CBD in the product. Those other oils listed are the “carrier oils.” Carrier oils dilute the concentrated hemp extract (which includes the pure CBD) to improve the taste of the product.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully you now have a better understanding of the different types of Hemp Oil. If you’re wanting to buy a hemp product that definitely has CBD in it, here are 3 suggestions:

  1. Reach out to the company selling the product and specifically ask them if their product contains CBD or not.
  2. Look at third party lab reports that are available from all reputable sellers of CBD hemp oil products to confirm the presence of CBD.
  3. Buy a CBD hemp oil product from one of the companies on our recommended CBD sellers list. The products from all of these companies include CBD and have been vetted for product quality, customer service and feedback from customers.

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  1. Reply
    Eleanor Van Buskirk January 11, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Thank you so much. I’m a beginner CBD user. I have 5 diagnosis, each very painful. I am grateful for all the info I can handle and this info has opened my eye, unfortunately, I ordered already online, but, many thanks again.

  2. Reply
    Tammy Main December 4, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Thank you for clearing this up! Very helpful!!

  3. Reply
    Linda Hopkin November 19, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Great Article Sarah. Very informative and a good definition as to why some CBD cos don’t post. I hate that the FDA may eventually require us to get a script to purchase.

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