With all the new products emerging in the ever popular cannabis market, it's easy for new consumers to feel overwhelmed. But with so many options, it is more important than ever that consumers consciously research products before they buy. Cannabis, hemp, and CBD products all have very different uses and effects, and improper use may lead to unwanted side effects and ineffectiveness. Understanding the difference in cannabis oil vs hemp oil vs CBD oil is the first step to finding a cannabis-fueled product that works for you.
Different from the Start: Cannabis Oil vs Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil
The first step to understanding the difference in all the different types of cannabis, hemp, and CBD products is understanding the different ways they are sourced. First, it’s important to understand that the term “cannabis” refers to an entire family of Cannabis plants, including three main genetic families: Sativa, Indica, and Ruderalis. The differences between these types of cannabis plants help define the key difference between the products made from them.
A better understanding of “cannabis” vs hemp and CBD is possible when using the term “marijuana”. Marijuana products, or whole-plant cannabis products, generally refer to cannabis flower or other formulations made using whole parts of the cannabis plant. Marijuana and cannabis products can be sourced from any one of the three cannabis families, but the plant used to source marijuana products will generally contain high levels of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis. Alternatively, hemp and CBD products are most frequently sourced from Cannabis Sativa plants that contain less than 0.3% THC and much higher levels of CBD.
Cannabis Oil vs Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil Effects and Uses
Besides the different ways that these cannabis products are sources, there are different effects to be expected from each type of product. The main difference between the many different types of products available lies in the cannabinoid and terpene content of each one.
Cannabis and marijuana products are known for their moderate to high THC content that produces psychoactive effects. THC is responsible for the high people feel when using cannabis, and many people choose marijuana or whole-plant cannabis products (like concentrates) when using cannabis recreationally.
However, THC has been linked to several positive health effects. Studies show that THC is one of the primary cannabinoids responsible for the pain-relieving effects of cannabis. THC may also be one promising cannabinoid in the treatment of cancer and common side effects to cancer medication. Another study shows that THC lowers intraocular eye pressure in patients with glaucoma. Plus, THC is often prescribed by doctors for medical use for managing a range of refractory symptoms from chronic disease, like pain, insomnia, poor appetite, nausea, and more. The psychoactive effects of THC are not appropriate or accessible to everyone. Legal restriction, health restrictions, and personal preference often limit people from using THC. Luckily, this is often when patients turn to CBD instead.
CBD products do not cause any psychoactive effects and have little to no effect on cognition at all. However, cannabidiol is useful in many of the same areas as THC. Studies have shown that CBD may also be effective for managing pain, inflammation, nausea, vomiting, and may even have anti-cancer potential. However, CBD shows no effect on eye pressure and does not seem to have the same appetite-stimulating effects of THC.
For people who are not THC restricted, CBD products may pose a different type of medicinal benefit. Studies show that CBD may interact with THC to boost its medicinal effects and create a “balanced” psychoactive effect, meaning people have experienced less harsh effects on cognition as well as greater relief from ailments when using CBD and THC together. Unfortunately, many strains of cannabis that are naturally high in THC are also naturally low in CBD. Consumers frequently use CBD products to boost their intake alongside regular cannabis or marijuana products.
Hemp products are a whole different type of product since they are not required to have high levels of either THC or CBD. Hemp is actually characterized by its inherently low THC content. The term “industrial hemp” refers to hemp plants that contain less than 0.3% THC. While most hemp products do contain some amount of CBD, they generally focus on other properties of the hemp plant. For instance, hemp may contain small amounts of all cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant, which may have a sort of synergistic effect on the body.
Furthermore, hemp products (like hemp oil for cooking or hemp topicals for skin care) often focus on the natural fats, nutrients, and minerals found in the hemp plant. Hemp oil is generally sourced from the seeds of the hemp plant, which get 75% of their weight from essential fatty acids, like omega-3, 6, and 9. These nutritional fats and other minerals are the reason that people use hemp oil as a nutritional supplement and skin care product.
Cannabis Oil vs Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil Price and Availability
Again, the price and availability differ greatly both depending on the type of hemp, CBD, or marijuana product you choose and by location. The most distinct deciding factor is legality. THC is still considered illegal under federal laws, and though some states have legalized cannabis for medical use (and a few even for recreational) it is still mostly inaccessible for the rest of the country. The price ranges by area, too, and can range from $8-$20 a gram for cannabis flower and more for cannabis or THC concentrates. Medical card holders who purchase cannabis for medicinal purposes often save money by avoiding taxes placed on recreational cannabis.
Because of the 2018 Farm Bill and the new legalized status of hemp, CBD products are more accessible than ever. The price still ranges greatly for CBD products, and it compares to the price mark on THC and cannabis products. The price of CBD can range anywhere from $1-$5 per milligram, but you will definitely pay a bit more for high-quality products. Often, cheaper products are not sourced from high-quality plant material and may not have undergone proper safety testing before labeled for sale.
Hemp products are often cheaper than CBD and marijuana products and can range greatly based on the type of product, materials used, and how it was made. CBD cooking oil is often a bit pricier than basic vegetable cooking oil or canola oil but compares in price to other “healthful” cooking oils. Hemp topicals are often less expensive than CBD topicals or THC topicals, but because they still include premium ingredients, may be a bit more expensive than basic drugstore lotions and creams. Like CBD, hemp is easily accessible and legal in all 50 states.
If you are comfortable understanding the difference between cannabis oil, vs hemp oil vs CBD oil, you may be ready to try one out for yourself. When choosing a product, you’ll need to consider which type of product best suits your needs and is most accessible in your area and for your budget. If using cannabis, CBD, or hemp for health-related reasons, always talk to your doctor before choosing a product. If you’re still looking for insight on which product is best for you, you may also be interested in reading “Understanding Weed’s Effect on Brain Functions.”