Hemp Oil: Hemp Extract Oil vs Hemp Seed Oil – What’s the Difference?

As hemp products become increasingly popular due to the natural healing benefits they offer, there’s a need to clarify the terminology that’s being used for the different types of oils that come from the hemp plant. This article explains the difference between hemp seed oil and hemp CBD oil and includes a list of interchangeable phrases that you may see to help you make the right choice when shopping for hemp products.

Is Hemp Oil the Same as CBD Oil?

Unfortunately, the broad term “hemp oil” is often used to describe both hemp CBD oil and hemp seed oil, which are two very different things. This has become a common source of confusion for consumers, as the names have come to be used interchangeably in many instances. Hemp seed oil and hemp CBD oil are both derived from the Industrial Hemp plant, a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant. However, they come from different parts of the plant, which gives them unique properties and healing benefits.

Hemp seed oil is extracted from the hemp seeds and is often used as a mild carrier oil in tinctures or balms, but it contains only trace levels of cannabinoids, including CBD. It is widely considered to be a superfood because of its high Omega-3 and Omega-6 content, and is often used in the kitchen, adding essential fatty acids to dressings, smoothies, etc. Typically when the term hemp oil is used, it is referring to hemp seed oil, yet this is not always the case today. In the past, it was only legal in the United States to sell hemp seed oil, so there wasn’t a need to clarify the terminology.

Unfortunately, there are many misleading products on the market that are primarily hemp seed oil, but branded as CBD-rich hemp extract. Ingesting hemp seed oil alone or using it topically is not a reliable or effective way to get cannabinoids, including CBD, into your system.

Hemp CBD oil or Hemp Extract oil is primarily extracted from the flowers of the hemp plant (often called buds), which are rich in CBD and various other cannabinoids and terpenes, but can be found in small amounts in the seeds and stalk. CBD stands for cannabidiol, which is one of the compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa plant and is responsible for many of the healing benefits that users report. Full spectrum hemp extract oil is not psychoactive, as it typically contains trace amounts of THC that would not create an intoxicating effect. 

Depending on a product’s formulation, the CBD listed in the ingredients could be sourced from an isolate, broad-spectrum hemp extract, or full-spectrum hemp extract. While there is still more research to be done, there are studies that show cannabinoids found in broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD oil (primarily CBD, CBG, CBC, CBD, and THCv) and terpenes work together to influence each other. This synergistic effect is called the entourage effect that is claimed to enhance efficacy.

Products that are infused with CBD isolate lack the naturally occurring compounds that a broad or full-spectrum hemp extract offers and there is growing concern about the efficacy of products that are infused with only CBD isolate.

CBD oil is usually ingested on its own or in a product such as chocolate. It can also be used topically as a balm applied directly to the skin. 

Various Interchangeable Terminology  

Now that legislation has made hemp legal and companies are utilizing other parts of the Cannabis Sativa plant, it has become increasingly important that consumers are properly educated on the difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oil. Because the term “Hemp Oil” is often used for both, to help eliminate confusion, we’ve put together a list of various interchangeable terminology that you may see when shopping for hemp oil.  Whether you want hemp seed oil or hemp CBD oil, it’s important to always read labels carefully to ensure that you’re getting the type of oil that you desire.

Hemp Extract & CBD Oil Terminology

Hemp Oil (Used for CBD Oil and Hemp Seed Oil)


Hemp Extract

CBD Hemp Oil

Full Spectrum Hemp Extract

Broad Spectrum Hemp Extract

CBD Isolate (pure Cannabidiol) – [Read our article on CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD]

PCR – Phytocannabinoid Rich Hemp Oil


Hemp Seed Oil Terminology

Hemp Oil (Used for CBD Oil and Hemp Seed Oil)

Hemp Seed Oil

In addition to understanding the difference between hemp seed oil and hemp CBD oil, there are other aspects to pay attention to when determining which type of product is right for you. When purchasing CBD oil you’ll want to know the product’s potency, whether or not it’s full spectrum or isolate, and whether or not there are any additives. Always seek brands that offer the utmost transparency with their CBD products, especially those who make published lab results available so that consumers can verify the active cannabinoid content.


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