Hemp seed oil vs CBD oil

by Tom Russell February 11, 2020

Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD Oil

Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are made from different parts of the hemp plant and contain different compounds. Why does that matter and what are they used for? Both oils can be used in the production of CBD products, but they differ significantly in value and cost. Confusing the two could result in an expensive mistake.

Scam Keyboard InternetWith so many options, buying CBD or hemp products can be a daunting process. There are new terms to learn, lab tests to interpret and customer reviews to read. One of the most confusing aspects of your choice is understanding the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil.

In the UK, retailers deliver CBD products made from an extract that comes from government-approved low-THC strains of hemp. So, when they sell it as an oil, you can understand why it is so often mistaken for hemp seed oil. This not only causes confusion but is often exploited by unscrupulous 'snake oil salespeople' wanting to make a quick buck.

To remove this confusion and allow you to understand exactly what you're buying, let's take a closer look at hemp seed oil and how it is different from CBD oil.

What is hemp seed oil?

Hemp Seed OilHemp seed oil is an oil made by cold-pressing hemp seeds. It is rich in nutrients, fatty acids and other bioactive compounds. The pressing of the small, almost spherical, hemp seeds produces a thick, dark amber to light green oil with a mild nutty flavour. Depending on how they intend to use it, some producers refine it to remove any visible phytonutrients making it almost clear and tasteless.

While CBD oil has only recently made it into our collective consciousness, hemp seed oil has been in regular use for thousands of years. The hemp plant has had nearly as much bad press as the intoxicating varieties of cannabis, but small amounts of it have continued to be grown throughout the world.

Hemp seed oil was one of the most common reasons for this, with the seeds consisting of about 30% easily extracted oil. Retailers and manufacturers could then use it for many things, including cooking and skincare.

What is the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil?

Hemp Plant LeavesHemp seed oil and CBD oil are both products of the hemp plant but come from different parts. Hemp seed oil is produced only from the seeds. CBD oil is made from the stems, leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in most parts of the hemp plant but is most abundant in its flowers.

To make CBD oil, they harvest the plant and extract the CBD using CO2 as a solvent. The CO2 allows them to collect an oily extract, which they purify using methods called 'winterisation' and 'short path distillation'. Finally, manufacturers combine the CBD extract with another oil to create a finished CBD oil product.

They select these carrier oils for the additional benefits they can add. Some such as MCT oil allow the CBD to be absorbed into your body more effectively. Others, like hemp seed oil, are selected for their texture, flavour, and to add beneficial nutrients and fatty acids.

Does hemp seed oil contain CBD or other cannabinoids?

Cannabinoid Profile Hemp Seed Oil vs CBD OilThe range of cannabinoids found in hemp plants, including CBD are only present in the plant itself. There is none in the seeds or the oil they produce. However, most manufacturers invest in other methods to ensure that none accidentally end up in the oil.

Some cannabinoids can be found in hemp seed oil if tiny particles of plant matter remain on the outside of the seeds. In modern production facilities, technicians thoroughly clean the seeds, and then test and filter the final product to ensure it is cannabinoid free.

Health-related benefits of hemp seeds/oil 

Despite not containing cannabinoids, hemp seed oil has several incredible benefits:

Health-Related Benefits Hemp Oil and CBD Happy Loving CoupleIt is nutritious - Hemp seed oil contains essential fatty acids Omega 3, 6 and 9, as well as vitamin E, which are vital to a balanced diet.

It tastes great - As with any oil, you wouldn't want to drink it neat, but the smooth texture and nutty flavour of hemp seed oil make an excellent accompaniment for many foods. It can be used as cooking oil, added to recipes or used to make tasty, nutritious dressings.

It can keep skin moisturised - Hemp seed oil provides fatty acids that effectively moisturise dry skin without clogging your pores. The moisturising action also regulates your skins own oil production make it perfect for use on dry, combination and oily skin. These properties have resulted in hemp seed oil being regularly used in skincare products.

It has antibacterial properties - In 2017, research studies uncovered the ability of hemp seed oil to inhibit bacteria. The complex composition of the many compounds in the hemp means that it prevents certain bacteria, like Staphylococcus aureus from thriving.

What are the pros and cons of hemp seed oils?

When deciding whether to buy hemp seed oil as a CBD carrier oil or as a tasty way to add nutrients to food, it is useful to consider the pros and cons:


  • Rich in fatty acids
  • Rich in nutrients
  • Tastes mildly nutty
  • Used in foods and dressings
  • Moisturises and hydrates dry skin
  • Can act as an antibacterial agent
  • Doesn't contain THC
  • Readily available in supermarkets, health food shops and online


  • Doesn't contain any cannabinoids
  • Can be confused with CBD oil
  • Unscrupulous retailers increase the price and attempt to sell it as CBD oil

Why is it used as a carrier oil for CBD products?

CBD extract that is taken with fat has an improved absorption rate. When cannabinoids are combined with the fatty acids from the hemp seed oil, they can 'piggyback' on their passage through your gut. This results in more substantial amounts of CBD being available for your body to use.

As well as the increased bio-availability and the pleasant nutty flavour, the high level of nutrients and active compounds from hemp seed oil adds an extra nutritional component to the CBD.


Hemp seed oil is a different product to CBD oil; it is rich in fatty acids and nutrients but contains no CBD or other cannabinoids. While it can be used as a carrier for CBD, it is often a much cheaper product used as a healthy oil for food or as a moisturising and balancing agent in skincare products. 

As with many hemp plant products, hemp seed oil has an incredible array of benefits and can be used as part of a healthy diet or skincare routine.

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Tom Russell
Tom Russell


Tom Russell writes extensively about CBD oil and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.

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