What exactly are the differences between hemp oil, CBD oil and marijuana?


CBD oil has started to appear in more and more health shops, and thousands of people are using CBD to help with pain, inflammation and for their sleep.

But it can be confusing to find out what CBD actually is, with some places saying it is from hemp, others from cannabis or marijuana. 

Today then we are going to look at what each of these terms mean, and how CBD can help.


It’s important to understand that at their core, all three are the derived from the same plant. Hemp, CBD and marijuana are all derived from the cannabis plant, though how they are treated and how they have been changed is what makes them different.


Hemp Oil

Firstly, hemp is a form of cannabis. In fact it is cannabis, but with the THC bred out of the plant. 

Hemp has been around for hundreds of years, and has been made into rope, clothes, sails, food, and much more over that time. What differentiates it from cannabis is the level of THC. To be called hemp there can only be a maximum of 0.3% THC in the plant, otherwise it is classified as cannabis.

That’s what makes hemp seed oil different, it has almost no cannabinoids such as CBD or THC and is made from cold pressing hemp seeds. 

Hemp oil is often used interchangeably with CBD oil, but the type of CBD product is what matters here. Hemp oil is typically made from the flower of the hemp plant, and so contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. This means a hemp oil product is likely a full-spectrum CBD oil product.

When it comes to CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD oil, these do not contain all the other chemicals in the hemp plant and so wouldn't (accurately) be called hemp oil - but you can start to see where confusion arises between 'hemp oil' and 'hemp seed oil'.


CBD Oil is actually normally taken from hemp plants as well (as hemp only has low levels of THC), however CBD products may require the THC to be extracted as it is a controlled substance. Hemp oil is made from the flower of the hemp plant and so could contain enough THC to make it illegal in the UK.

CBD Oil products are legal in the UK as long as they contain less than 1mg of THC per container (of any size). 


Like the other two, hemp and marijuana are just different names for the cannabis plant, denoting the level of THC. Normally the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant are dried and used to create Marijuana.

CBD is just one of the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant


Hemp Oil

Though CBD is where a lot of the reported health benefits of cannabis are to be found, that doesn’t mean Hemp seed oil doesn’t have anything to offer. In the oil there are a large number of unsaturated fats they contain, such as Omega 3 and Omega 6. 

All of these compounds are useful to the body, in fact in most health food shops you will sell you pills for each of these compounds. 

Hemp oil, made from the flower of the hemp plant, contains the full spectrum of compounds found in the hemp plant.


CBD Oil or cannabidiol, is one of the more than 540 phytochemicals found in the Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) plant. Normally it is actually taken from what we would call Hemp plants as they will be low in THC.

Like the Hemp oil, CBD oil can have a lot of the ingredients of cannabis, but with the CBD left in and the THC is taken out.

How the CBD oil is taken out of the cannabis plant, and what is kept in, creates different types of CBD oil. However all hemp derived CBD products will have the CBD ingredient in.


This is most of the cannabis plant, but not the same kind of cannabis that is used in CBD and hemp oil. Marijuana will use a cannabis plant that is high in THC (which is what causes psychoactive effects in cannabis) and so will both CBD and THC in.


Hemp Oil

Hemp oil, derived from the flower of the hemp plant, will contain a low level of THC unless it is extracted.

Hemp seed oil is made from the seeds of the hemp plant, so has none of the chemicals that are made by the plant (the cannabinoids) but does contain good omega fatty acids and vitamin E!


CBD oil is created from a cannabis plant that has been grown to have low levels of THC.

The extraction process to make CBD oil will also make sure that there is no more than 0.3% THC in the oil, but broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolate products will have the THC extracted to very low or non-existent levels.


The whole point of using Marijuana is the THC! The psychoactive agent is the main draw for this drug, and can be found in 10% to 25% (depending on the strain).

The levels of THC in Marijuana is also the reason that it is considered a Class B drug.


Hemp Oil

As there is no CBD or THC in pure hemp seed oil it doesn’t have the positive effects that the others do, however hemp seed is still full of antioxidants and other useful ingredients like unsaturated fats.

Like CBD oil, hemp oil can have anti-inflammatory effects, so it might be that the hemp seed oil that helps with anti-inflammatory has some CBD in.

As hemp doesn’t have much that actively affects you, there aren’t many side effects to consider either. That isn’t to say that you should take too much, but like a multivitamin you should   


CBD oil has all of what is in hempseed oil, and perhaps the most important part… the CBD.

Though CBD oil is still relatively new, what we do know about it seems to show a huge variety of uses.

The three main areas it can help with are: pain relief, inflammation and relaxation. Under those 3 issues though there are a huge amount of illnesses such as anxiety, arthritis, fibromyalgia to name just a few!

How CBD does this though is a little complicated, and is to do with a part of the body called the endocannabinoid system. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it, as the endocannabinoid system has only really been discovered in the last 20 years.

Despite the fact that we only just discovered it,  the endocannabinoid system (or ECS) seems to be a vital part of our bodies as the major way the body talks to itself and the brain. 

To be a bit more specific, the ECS is a huge collection of cell receptors that stretches from our brain to our immune system and all through our bodies, and seems to be a part of the way we control and transmit pain, inflammation and more. 

CBD oil affects the ECS as the ECS works by chemicals called endocannabinoids (which are naturally made in our bodies) carrying information from one cell receptor to another.

As CBD is a cannabinoid, CBD can interact with the ECS and gives it a boost, helping it work more effectively and give it a boost. 


As the CBD and the hempseed oil are both derived from the cannabis plant, Marijuana will also include these elements as well. However as you will be smoking Marijuana rather than taking it orally or in food form this can have an affect on how Marijuana affects you. 

There have been health benefits shown with Marijuana, which can be linked to the CBD in cannabis. 

The biggest difference though is that Marijuana has THC in, which means that you will be getting the psychoactive element that is taken out of Hempseed oil and CBD oil. Depending on the dose of THC this will affect you very differently, from a slight affect to “getting high”.

There are cases where medical marijuana is being used to treat illnesses, but that is for rare cases as of this time.


Hemp Oil

Anything taken to extremes will be unsafe, however there really isn’t much in hempseed oil that can harm you.

As long as you make sure to follow the instructions on the package, and don’t overuse it, then you should have no issues.


Like with Hempseed oil, there isn’t too much in CBD oil that can hurt you. However CBD itself does have the “grapefruit warning” which means that it can affect certain types of medication like grapefruit can.

If you are on medication then it would be an extremely good idea to check with your doctor or a medical professional to see if CBD will negatively affect you.


Though Marijuana has all the benefits of the previous two items, you will be taking in these compounds via smoke through the lungs. Even though it isn’t tobacco smoke, any smoke in your lungs can be harmful, and can lead to respiratory issues. Also the act of burning creates carcinogens which will also be taken in through the lungs.


Hemp oil

There is nothing in hemp oil that is addictive, and as there are only useful compounds that can help there isn’t even much of a chance of a psychological addiction either. If you got addicted to hempseed oil, it would be the same as getting addicted to a multivitamin tablet. Technically possible (as people can become addicted to almost anything) but not very likely. 


Like Hemp, there isn’t much in CBD that can get you “hooked”. The CBD compound is not an addictive substance at all, however if you are in pain and CBD is able to help with that, then you might become “addicted” to the reduced pain.


Unlike the other two, marijuana has THC in, which is a psychoactive agent. Though not a addictive substance in itself, the feeling you get from taking THC can be addictive. Much like alcohol, the way it makes you feel, and the need to take more and more to feel like you did can lead to a full blown addiction. 

CBD Products sold in the UK must not have more than 1mg of THC in a single container


Hemp oil

As Hemp doesn’t have the THC or the CBD all that are left are some useful compounds like unsaturated fats and amino acids. This means that hempseed oil is perfectly legal to buy and use.


Like hempseed oil, CBD doesn’t have THC in, but unlike the hemp it does contain CBD. The good news is that in the UK CBD is legal to use and buy as there are no ingredients that are harmful or are psychoactive (by which we mean the THC). 

CBD oil and other CBD products have even been given the go ahead by the MHRA (Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and are allowed to be sold as medicine. Most CBD products are not classified as medicines due to the large amount of issues involved.

In order for CBD to be legal though there has to be a maximum of 1mg THC in a single container, if there are more than the smallest amounts of THC in CBD oil then it is technically illegal in the UK.


As you may have guessed, marijuana is not legal! As it will contain a large amount of THC it is classified as a class B drug.


Hemp oil

Hempseed oil is a great way to get some healthy fats, omega C and other useful compounds into your diet and for some people could replace multiple vitamin and heath supplements they are already taking.


Due to the way that CBD interacts with the ECS, especially with pain, inflammation and relaxation there is growing evidence that it can help with a whole host of issues.

To name a few:

This is by no means a full list, but it does go to show how CBD can help! CBD will not cure any of these, but in each case there is growing evidence that CBD can at least alleviate the symptoms.


Because marijuana has CBD in as well, it has also been shown to help with these issues. There is even some evidence that the THC in Marijuana can also be of help. However at the risk of time in jail, it might be safer to stick with CBD for now.


There we have it, if you have ever wondered what the differences between the hemp, CBD and Marijuana are we hope this has helped show the similarities and differences between each product.

If you are interested in trying CBD, then why not have a look at our great range of CBD oral drops and CBD gummies?

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