Know the Difference: Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil

Know the Difference: Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil - WeedSeedShop Blog

Can’t decide between hemp oil and cannabis oil? First it is important to understand that they are two different plants. Hemp is NOT Cannabis and vice versa – one contains larger amounts of THC and one has more CBD. Both have benefits, and both have cons. Here we’ll explain the real differences between hemp oil and cannabis oil so you may make an informed decision!

A common mistake among those who are new to the world of weed is identifying hemp as cannabis and vice versa. While they both varieties of the same species, Cannabis Sativa, hemp and cannabis (or weed) are two different plants. Therefore, the oils from each have different properties.

Keep reading to learn more about hemp oil vs. cannabis oil and what it can do for you!

The Plants

Before we talk about the oils, let’s talk about the plants themselves. Hemp plants and cannabis plants vary, and here are the most noticeable differences between them:

1. Height and foliage

Hemp plants grow taller than cannabis, some reaching as high as 15 feet tall. A true cannabis plant tops out at about 4 feet once it reaches maturity. The stalks of a hemp plant are long and lean. Cannabis is a much leafier plant with thinner stems.

Cannabis also needs more spacing between plants to properly grow. Hemp can be grown in very close proximity to other plants.

2. Environment

One of the biggest differences in the two plants is the ideal growing environment. Hemp is much more versatile and can be grown without a lot of special considerations. It typically requires much less water than its cannabis counterpart as well.

Cannabis needs a more tropical type of environment to really thrive. Heat and humidity are ideal growing conditions for the cannabis plant.

Hemp oil vs. cannabis oil is a comparison that begins at the plants themselves. Now that you know about those, let’s take a look at what’s inside.

3. The Cannabinoids

Understanding the differences between hemp oil and cannabis oil also requires you to know the different types of cannabinoids. Simply put, cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in weed.

There are literally hundreds of cannabinoids present in both hemp and cannabis. The two that are generally most talked about are THC and CBD.

THC and CBD have different effects: THC is responsible for the “high” obtained by users of cannabis.

Hemp however is dominantly made up of CBD, which does not produce a psychoactive reaction. These two compounds are the basis of much of the ongoing legality debate of cannabis in many countries.

4. Specifically, THC content

As said, the hemp plant contains nearly nothing in the way of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), so smoking it will not achieve a “high” for the user. Cannabis has a much higher THC content and therefore much more potent in terms of psychoactive properties.

The potency of cannabis varies from plant to plant and depends upon several factors including:

5. Drug Tests

Using hemp oil or cannabis oil can also mean the difference in passing or failing a drug test. Hemp is found in many everyday products. The likelihood of failing a drug test while consuming hemp oil is minimal.

Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil: The extraction process

Another aspect when considering hemp oil vs. cannabis oil is the extraction process itself. The process for each is as different as the plants themselves.

Hemp oil extraction

Hemp oil is derived from the hemp seed itself. Before going through a press, the seed is cleaned to 99.9%. This eliminates the possibility of contamination and also removes all but the tiniest traces of THC.

The actual extraction process is referred to as “cold pressing”. The hemp is never exposed to temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius.

The result is an oil that can range from clear light green to dark green to colourless. It all depends on the process (or not) of refining the oil.

Cannabis oil extraction

Many of the extraction processes used to obtain cannabis oil involve solvents. Things like butane, CO2, and ethanol help to strip the cannabis down to a purer form. The results are oils that can have as much as an 80% THC content.

The alcohol extraction method has been around for quite some time. This method results in cannabis tinctures, which have been around for some 80+ years.

Many medical users of cannabis oil use tinctures. These little vials of highly potent, alcohol infused oils can be stored for many years. This is especially helpful considering that a tiny amount can have a big effect.

Cannabis oil is drawn straight out of the plant and can have a high or low THC content. This varies depending on the extraction method and of the potency of the plant itself.

The Pros

Now that we’ve covered the difference in plants, let’s talk about the pros of hemp oil vs. cannabis oil.

Hemp oil

Know the Difference: Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil - WeedSeedShop Blog

Hemp is known for its health benefits. The seeds are abundant in:

  • protein
  • insoluble fiber
  • potassium
  • iron
  • calcium
  • omega 3
  • omega 6
  • polyunsaturated fatty acids

The oils derived from hemp are known to increase immunity and can improve heart health. If you suffer from hormonal issues, hemp oil can also help regulate fluctuations and provide menopausal relief.

Certain studies have also shown that some properties found in hemp oil may actually fight skin conditions such as psoriasis. Overall, hemp oil is famous for its skin benefits. It is often used to treat dry skin and is found in many hair products such as conditioners.

Cannabis oil

Know the Difference: Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil - WeedSeedShop Blog

The benefits of cannabis oil are still being uncovered. Because of the high potency of THC, a little bit can go a long way. Here are just a few health issues where the study of cannabis oil is linked to positive treatment possibilities:

1. Insomnia

Because of the psychoactive elements in cannabis, cannabis oil can be used to treat more psychological issues. One of the more common reasons people turn to cannabis oil is for anxiety and stress.

THC is capable of inducing relaxation and releases pleasure hormones in the brain. For this reason, cannabis oil is also a good treatment for insomnia. Those who struggle with getting a good night’s sleep often do so because of anxiety and stress.

Because of the relaxed state, one can achieve by using cannabis oil, the body can more easily get into a restful mode.

2. (Chronic) Pain

Properties found in cannabis oil have made an impact in the way pain can be treated. For those suffering from chronic pain and inflammation, cannabis oil has been shown to provide blessed relief.

It is well-documented that many cancer patients turn to cannabis during the course of chemotherapy treatments. Pain and nausea relief are two of the main reason why this happens.

3. Heart and skin diseases

Here is where we see some similarities in the hemp oil vs. cannabis oil debate. Both oils provide heart and skin benefits. But remember the difference in THC concentration.

Cannabis oil is capable of lowering cholesterol. It is also known to help balance out the negative oils already in your body. Both of these factors can lead to a much higher degree of cardiovascular health.

Psoriasis and eczema are chronic skin conditions that plague many. Cannabis oil can be ingested and/or used topically to help protect skin. The cell regeneration aspects of cannabis oil can help dead skin be shed more quickly.

4. Glaucoma and headaches

Glaucoma is one of those most common issues affecting eye health, particularly as we age. Cannabis has been found to reduce glaucoma and improve eye health.

Headaches plague millions of people every day. Simply applying cannabis oil to the spot of pain has been proven to provide effective relief. Migraine sufferers in particular might stand to benefit the most from this natural remedy.

5. Weight issues

Does the term, “the munchies” sound familiar? People who are familiar with cannabis are familiar with the fact that it can increase one’s appetite.

Many patients struggle to gain weight after a long illness. Cannabis oil can be a great tool to help them regain a healthy appetite. This is also true for those in recovery from anorexia nervosa.

On the flip side, the opposite can also be true. Certain types of cannabinoids can help control appetite and suppress it. This can be helpful for those struggling with obesity.

6. Asthma

Using cannabis oil to treat breathing issues has been around for centuries. The anti-inflammatory agents in cannabis oil can relieve aggravation of bronchial tubes. It can also help the tubes to dilate and allow more oxygen to flow through them.

7. Cancer

There is still decades of research to be done regarding how cannabis oil can be used to treat or prevent cancer. This is one area where there is a stark contrast in hemp oil vs. cannabis oil.

The most positive research on these possibilities so far has been conducted using animals. Different types of cannabinoids have shown to effect:

  • preventing cancer cells from spreading
  • keeping tumours from forming from new blood vessels
  • killing cancer cells

While all of this sounds good in theory, there is still much more research – human research – that must be done.

8. Neurological disorders

Several diseases have been studied using the effects of cannabis on both symptom relief and disease progression. Disorders such as:

  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • ALS
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis

There have been many encouraging signs that cannabis could greatly benefit those who deal with such devastating illnesses.

The Cons

When comparing hemp oil vs. cannabis oil, you should also be aware of the downsides with each.

Hemp oil

Just because there are proven benefits to using hemp oil doesn’t mean that you should do so without precaution. If you have prostate cancer or take a blood thinner, hemp oil should definitely be avoided altogether. Here’s why:

The anticoagulant properties of hemp oil can prevent clotting. For those who are already taking blood thinners, the use of hemp oil could create a major bleeding issue.

Hemp oil helps in the regeneration of cells, which is why it’s great for the skin. This element is NOT good for those potential users who are dealing with cancer. The same properties that regenerate the good cells could regenerate and increase the growth of tumours.

As with any natural remedy, it’s best to start small before using larger quantities. See how your body is going to react to hemp oil before you begin using it on a more regular basis and in larger consumption.

Cannabis oil

The cons of using cannabis oil are quite similar to using any type of psychotropic substance.

A very small amount of highly potent cannabis oil can produce results that are overwhelming. Inexperienced users could experience paranoia, depression, and hallucinations.

These types of reactions typically appear in those who have never used cannabis oil before. Those who consume too much cannabis oil can also experience such side effects.

The effects experienced by those using cannabis oil can be much stronger than those who actually smoke cannabis. This is due to the highly concentrated levels of THC found in the oil. For this reason, users of cannabis oil need to make sure it also will not interfere with any medicines they take.

Cannabis oil is also still illegal in many parts of the world. Many people who could medically benefit from it simply cannot legally purchase cannabis oil at this time. This is also another major difference in hemp oil vs. cannabis oil. Hemp oil is widely available for purchase. Cannabis oil is not.

The Debate

The ongoing research uncovers new information every day. The health benefits are starting to become more appealing to mass amounts of people. The stigma is starting to slowly dissipate.

Cannabis legalization is becoming the norm in areas of the world where, just a short time ago, it was still a crime! This fact speaks volumes about the research already completed.

Still, there are many individuals that remain in the dark about the positive uses and differences in hemp oil vs. cannabis oil. Taking the time to educate oneself can be an eye-opening experience for many. Let alone actually experiencing the positive benefits in a personal way.

It’s not a debate that will soon go away. Based on the information already available, both oils have their pros and cons. One thing, however, is certain: there is a lot of encouraging research that continues to point to the benefits of both.

Hemp Oil vs. Cannabis Oil: Which one is right for you?

What are your experiences with these oils? Let us know in the comments, we love to hear from you!


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  • Author_profiles-WSS-Emma Ryte

    Emma Ryte

    Born in Germany, lived in England my childhood years and spent my high school era in the US. My parents are basically hippies and that is why I have had the possibility to speak freely and explore my passion for the cannabis plant. My love for writing followed soon after. Writing about this subject has taught me so many things about the use, cultivation, health benefits and industrial options, and I love that I can share this knowledge with you! I visit Amsterdam as often as I can and I love the vibe there when it comes to weed, it lets me try new things and learn about the newest developments in the industry. The one person I would love to smoke some with would have to be Stevie Wonder. I love relaxing to his music while high and I would love to meet him!
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