(December 11, 2020)--For thousands of years, people have used many varieties of the cannabis plant for different industrial, nutritional and medicinal purposes. But it wasn’t until recently that the medicinal value of this plant has gained a lot of interest by both the scientific community and consumers looking for a natural alternative to prescription medications.
Besides the notorious psychoactive compound “THC”, there is another compound in cannabis that has recently been widely used for different medicinal purposes, namely CBD.
Countless wellness stores across the U.S. and the globe have started offering CBD oil in recent years. Some companies call it CBD oil while others call it hemp oil, but what’s the difference between these two anyway? Let’s find out…
What is Hemp?
Hemp refers to varieties of the cannabis plant that contain less than 0.3% THC by weight. Unlike cannabis varieties that have a high THC content (aka marijuana), hemp only contains a minimal amount of THC that will not cause a high when consumed.
Hemp (aka industrial hemp) is legal in all 50 states in the U.S. and many other countries, where different parts of the plant are used in different industries, including food and dietary supplements.
What is CBD?
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of many chemical compounds found in cannabis and known as cannabinoids. Another well-known cannabinoid is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Unlike THC, CBD does not get you high -- in fact, CBD counteracts the psychoactive effects of THC in the body and the brain.
Cannabidiol is found in the flowers, leaves and stalks of hemp, while the seeds may only contain trace amounts of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids.
CBD can be derived from both low-THC cannabis (hemp) and high-THC cannabis (marijuana) plants, however, only hemp-derived CBD with less than 0.3% THC is legal in all 50 states.
Although there are many suggested therapeutic effects of cannabidiol and many people swear by it, there is still no conclusive evidence supporting its efficacy for treating most of the health problems it is commonly used for, nor has the FDA approved CBD for medical use, except for one product used for a rare medical condition in children.
Hemp Oil vs. CBD Oil
Hemp oil is basically any kind of oil made from the hemp plant, including whole-plant extracts and extracts from certain parts of the plant. Hemp oil made from whole-plant (or just the flowers and/or leaves) extract contains cannabinoids (including CBD). However, hemp oil made from the seeds contains no significant amounts of cannabinoids.
CBD oil is a type of hemp oil that has been processed and purified so that it has a certain concentration of CBD that should be listed on the label. In other words, it is hemp oil that is standardized to a specific potency or dosage of CBD as the main active ingredient.
In short, depending on which part/extract of the plant is used to make it, hemp oil may contain CBD, but it also may not. Make sure the label indicates the amount of CBD per serving or per bottle and don’t be shy to ask for a third-party lab report (COA).
Where to Buy Real CBD Oil?
Although it is legal to sell CBD for non-medical uses in the U.S., many popular retailers like Amazon and Walmart still do not carry any CBD products, although they do sell hemp seed oil and other hemp seed products -- Remember: Hemp seeds and their oil do not contain CBD.
The vast majority of hemp companies sell their products either at local cannabis/CBD shops or at their own online stores. If you are looking for high-quality, lab-tested CBD oil to buy online, here are some reliable vendors where you can find decent brands and good deals.
Other Things to Remember
There are a few important things you should be aware of and keep in mind when shopping for CBD oil, such as the following:
- Everyone’s body may respond differently to CBD and some people do not experience any positive results from taking it.
- Most of the health benefits of CBD are based on contradicting anecdotal evidence and lack scientific proof. Unless you have a good reason to take it and believe it will help you, save your money for something else!
- Full-spectrum CBD oil or tincture is generally more effective than broad-spectrum/THC-free formulations. The tiny amount of THC in full-spectrum products will not get you high, but it may still result in a positive drug test.
- Do your due diligence; check the company’s reputation and reviews on forums and social media and choose reputable companies that test their products for potency and safety in a third-party lab. There are lots of sub-par and over-hyped products being peddled all over the Internet, so keep your guard up and steer clear of shady companies and tall promises.