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What Is CBD Hemp Oil? A Primer Guide for the Newbie


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The question in the title is twofold: what is CBD? And what is Hemp? Does “CBD hemp oil” have a different connotation than the more generally utilized term “CBD oil?” If you’re just starting to learn about all things cannabis, then consider this post a 101 guide. You’ll learn everything you need to know about CBD, about hemp, and the different forms of CBD oil extract. Rest assured you won’t be scratching your head by the time you reach the final paragraph.

What Is CBD?

CBD, more formally and scientifically known as cannabidiol, is simply a form of cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. There are an estimated 80 to 85 cannabinoids in marijuana, each of which interacts with the endocannabinoid receptors in the human body in a different way. CBD, along with THC, are among the more well-known and extensively studied forms of cannabinoids.

CBD has a range of benefits, among of which include reducing pain1, inflammation2, anxiety3, and fighting off certain cancers4.

Read our previous introductory post for a more in-depth primer on CBD.

What Is Hemp?

Are hemp and cannabis interchangeable terms? Hemp is a species of the cannabis sativa plant and is industrially grown for its fibers, which provides a strong concentration of CBD minus the THC. This is an all-important factor because federal law prohibits THC concentrations over 0.3% in any cannabis extract products. THC is the psychoactive compound that creates that high and trippy feeling, hence why it’s outlawed.

CBD Hemp Oil Defined

So, now that you know what CBD and hemp are, you can probably put two and two together to have a good idea of what CBD hemp oil constitutes. This is essentially CBD oil derived from hemp rather than other forms of cannabis or the parts of the cannabis (its leaves and buds) that contain the psychoactive THC.

The majority of CBD oil items are hemp-derived to ensure the products remain within federal compliance. We must also point out that there are a lot of inferior products in the market labelled as CBD hemp oil that’s loaded with cheap and artificial preservatives. Some may even contain traces of THC above the legal limit. This is why you should only purchase from a reputable source, such as CBD Pure.

CBD Oil Vs. Hemp Oil

CBD hemp oil may not necessarily be CBD oil or hemp oil. Many users consider these terms interchangeable. While CBD and hemp oil share various properties and benefits, there are note-worthy differences as well.


When a product is labelled as CBD oil, it may be made from the various parts of the cannabis plant, including the stalks, flowers, and leaves. The oil is still usually derived from the hemp plant but may entail other species of cannabis. In any case, always read the label; various manufacturers have their own definitions and formulas that constitute their respective brands of CBD oil. Be mindful that some brands may contain higher traces of THC, perhaps even over the legal 0.3% limit.

Some CBD products, however, are marketed as CBD isolate oil, meaning that whatever source it’s derived from, the oil is extracted and continuously refined until only CBD remains. Such products often promise a 99.9% purity.

Likewise, some products may be marketed as full spectrum CBD oil, meaning the extract includes a wide spectrum of additional cannabinoids, potentially even including THC.

Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is derived specifically from the fibers and seeds of the hemp plant. Since hemp has very little psychoactive substances, users can get the benefits of CBD minus the THC compound. Hemp seeds are also rich in other nutrients. They contain all nine essential amino acids, are a good source of fiber, and have a bevy of trace minerals. As with CBD oil, read the label to be certain of its exact ingredient profile.

Much like CBD oil, Hemp extract may also have its own full spectrum variant, which may include traces of other cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and the much easier to pronounce cannabinol (CBN).

How to Use CBD Hemp Oil

How exactly do you use the oil? Do you apply it topically? Do you ingest it? Is it safe to put on your otherwise bland tuna salad?

CBD hemp oil has various applications:

  • You can ingest it; some are available in pill form. This is the simplest method; just pop it in your mouth like you would a multi-vitamin.
  • Oil may also be in the form of topicals like lotions and salves. Application in this manner does not cause the oil to enter the bloodstream. This method is ideal for relieving muscle and joint pain. Some people mix the oil with their shampoo, body wash, or hair/skin conditioner.
  • Some users apply the oil under the tongue due to sensitivity to the taste. Application in this manner also allows the oil to quickly enter the bloodstream without going through the digestive system.
  • Some oils come in those miniature glass bottles with a dropper. Squeeze a few drops under your tongue as in the above, or add a few droplets on your lunch. Some CBD hemp oils may include additional essential oils and natural herbs for better taste.
  • Oils can also be vaped. Vape the oil and inhale; you’ll be surprised at how much more relaxed you feel in just a few short minutes.

Regardless of application, never exceed the dosage recommendations.

A Final Word About CBD Hemp Oil

Before we go, we want to emphasize that while CBD hemp oil has numerous scientifically validated benefits, it is by no means a cure-all. Have realistic expectations if you’re a first-time user. CBD hemp extract use should be in conjunction with other lifestyle factors, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Finally, CBD hemp oil is not known to cause adverse side effects when taken with other supplements. If you have digestive issues, for example, then it’s absolutely fine to take a probiotic supplement, or a natural supplement for lowering blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic. You don’t have to discontinue other supplement use to use CBD extract or vice versa.

Medical References

Russo E. Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(1):245-259. [PMC]
Nagarkatti P, Pandey R, Rieder S, Hegde V, Nagarkatti M. Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Med Chem. 2009;1(7):1333-1349. [PMC]
de M, de O, Coutinho D, et al. Antidepressant-like and anxiolytic-like effects of cannabidiol: a chemical compound of Cannabis sativa. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. 2014;13(6):953-960. [PubMed]
Massi P, Solinas M, Cinquina V, Parolaro D. Cannabidiol as potential anticancer drug. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2012;75(2):303-312. [PMC]
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Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has a degree in Neuroscience from Duke University, and is the research writer for The Universal Plant. He has dedicated his life to helping men and women around the world educate themselves and take action to improve their health with natural plant-based and nutrient therapies. Follow him on Instagram @_christopherwalker