As you’ll know if you’ve already read our What Is CBD Oil article there are some major scientific differences between cannabis and CBD (cannabidiol). Despite coming from the same plant – cannabis sativa – they are different compounds. While cannabis, also known as marijuana, contains THC – a compound that gives cannabis its distinctive properties (and makes it illegal in most of the world!), CBD has only trace elements of THC (make sure to buy products that are 0.2% THC or less).
What is THC and what does it do?
THC, which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive substance that gives people a high when they use cannabis. It’s responsible for that foggy-brain, stoned feeling, as well as the infamous ‘munchies’ – a big increase in appetite. To be fair to it, it’s also linked to various medical benefits and is the reason why cannabis medications are occasionally prescribed to people by doctors…but that’s another story! Marijuana contains around 10% or more THC.
Does CBD oil contain THC?
While some people have adverse reactions to THC, there is very little in good quality CBD (look on the label for 0.2% THC or less in your oil or cream) and the World Health Organisation states in this report [hyperlink https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/CannabidiolCriticalReview.pdf] that CBD has little to no negative side effects.
So what’s hemp oil? Is that the same as CBD?
Essentially, both hemp seed oil and cannabidiol come from different parts of industrial hemp plants. Neither have significant levels of THC, although their uses are different.
Hemp seed oil is made by pressing the seeds from non-drug strains of hemp plans, that have naturally low levels of cannabinoids. It’s often used as a food supplement or a beauty ingredient. It’s actually a great way to top up essential fatty acids including omega-6 and omega-3, which is handy for vegans who often miss out on dietary fatty acids.
While hemp oil comes from seeds, CBD or cannabidiol is extracted from the flowers and leaves of the same plants. It’s an oil-soluble substance, so that’s why it’s blended with oils to help your body absorb it. It’s used as a food supplement which many people find has a relaxing effect, or helps to reduce pain.