Knowing the difference between hemp oil and CBD oil is important, mainly because their use differs drastically. Also, once you understand cannabis and its compounds, saying "hemp oil vs CBD oil" is somewhat the same as saying "Hollywood vs movies"—a bit nonsensical.
This distinction was created by the industry, but for your shopping list, it would be necessary to know which is used for what.
Distinctions Between Hemp and Marijuana—Getting the Facts Straight
In order to understand hemp oil vs CBD oil, let's look at a few important facts about cannabis in general:
- Cannabis refers to the Cannabis sativa L plant. The plant contains numerous compounds that have been studied over the years for diverse purposes, mainly medicinal. Cannabinoids are the most well-studied of these compounds.
- A distinction is made between hemp and marijuana. Both are strains from the Cannabis sativa L. plant, but hemp is usually grown for industrial purposes, while marijuana is cultivated for medicinal and recreational use. Hemp is increasingly grown for medicinal purposes, too. However, these two terms are used interchangeably in the medical literature, which can cause confusion.
- Both hemp and marijuana contain all the cannabinoids. However, the hemp plants tend to be higher in CBD, while marijuana is cultivated to be higher in another cannabinoid—tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The THC limit that hemp is legally allowed to contain is 0.3 percent.
- THC has many healthful properties, but it is also known for its psychotropic effects, which includes the famous “high” marijuana users often chase.
- Cannabidiol (CBD), also a cannabinoid like THC, doesn't have the same effect as THC. Studies are increasingly showing that CBD is an important cannabinoid that supports a wide array of medical problems, but it doesn't cause the “high” marijuana is known for. 
Why Are the Distinctions Between Hemp Oil Vs CBD Oil Important?
So, it is clear that both hemp oil and CBD oil come from the same plant, contain components sought after for their healthful properties, and have established themselves as useful products— for different reasons.
These differences are especially important for consumers who may think that both oils provide the same thing. Confusing regulations regarding labeling mean that some producers might describe products as medicinal when their effects haven’t actually been proven, encouraging these misconceptions.
Knowing the key differences between the two will help users better discern what to look for when shopping and to know whether they want to add these products to their health regimen.
CBD Oil Extraction Process
CBD oil is extracted from the stalks, leaves, and buds of hemp plants. Extraction methods vary, but the safest known processes are the oil-based and the CO2-based methods.
In the first, the plant is soaked in a carrier oil—typically hemp or olive—to separate the components.
The second extraction method is used by larger and better-funded operations. Here the plant material is placed under high pressure for extraction. This method offers the safest alternative and produces the purest end product.
CBD Oil's Usefulness as A Therapeutic Remedy
The resulting oil is rich in CBD and low in THC, making it ideal for those seeking the benefits of cannabis with none of the psychoactive effects.
The oil has been shown to help treat epilepsy and psychological problems, aid in cancer treatment, and act as an anti-inflammatory. Additionally, CBD inhibits the uptake of THC, reducing many of the negative aspects of marijuana while still producing a calming effect.  
More clinical research is needed before CBD will be established as a medicine for these and other indications, but there is good progress. Recently, the FDA has also approved the first-ever CBD medicine, which is indicated for rare and severe forms of epilepsy. 
THC Traces in CBD Oil
Most CBD products contain some THC, as it often improves and expands the product's therapeutic properties. This is sometimes referred to as the "Entourage Effect." 
However, the amount of THC in these products is strictly limited, and it reflects doses and concentrations permitted by law. Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal everywhere in the U.S., while marijuana-derived products are still considered illegal in most states. For this reason, it’s important to understand the difference and read product labels when finding the right CBD oil for you.
Hemp Oil—It's All in The Seed
Hemp oil can be made from the seeds of any plant in the cannabis family, but it is primarily derived from hemp. The seeds themselves contain as much as 50% of their weight in oil, which is easily extracted. For the most part, these seeds are used for their nutritional value rather than as a medicine.
The seeds themselves contain some CBD, but not nearly enough to offer medicinal benefits. Likewise, the seeds only contain trace amounts of THC.
Health Benefits of Hemp Oil
Hemp oil has a strong nutritional value—as it is, according to one study, a complete source of all essential amino and fatty acids. It is also high in the antioxidant vitamin E. 
Because of this profile and its low amount of saturated fats compared to other oils, hemp oil has found a spot in many kitchens around the world. It can have a nutty to grassy flavor, depending on how it’s refined, and high-quality brands can be used for salad dressing and cooking.
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Other Uses for Hemp Oil
Hemp oil is also found in a myriad of health products, from shampoos to skin conditioners to soaps. Producers take advantage of its high fatty acid and vitamin E content, which helps to replenish and protect the body from cancer-causing free radicals.
Much like other vegetable oils, hemp oil can be used for plastics, fuel, and as a base for non-petroleum paint products.
It should now be clear now that when shopping for hemp oil vs CBD oil, it really depends on what your needs are. Both have health benefits, but CBD oil is likely to be of more therapeutic value.
- Note: Article loosely based on one by Lift News with the same title.