Is CBD Oil and Hemp Essential Oil The Same Thing?

What is Hemp Essential Oil?

Is CBD Oil and Hemp Oil The Same Thing?

That’s a really good question because organic “hemp essential oil” can be argued as being any oil extracted from the various species of hemp or otherwise scientifically known as the plant genus Cannabis and its 3 main species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.

There are literally thousands of hybrid strains being developed every year.  Hemp seeds are also used to produce “hemp seed oil”.  As a result, it becomes necessary to make distinctions in terminology because it has become very confusing to most people who do not understand what marketers are trying to achieve.

So, I’ll try to classify terms more specifically, and hopefully clear up misconceptions and misunderstandings along the way too.  That’s the main purpose behind this article.  And due to this lack of distinction in this evolving nomenclature surrounding Cannabis and “hemp”, I must say that there are not enough clear delineations between terms like:

  • Hemp Oil

  • CBD Oil

  • Cannabis Oil

  • Marijuana Oil

  • Hemp Essential Oil

  • Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Essential Oil Products

What Hemp Essential Oil Is Not

The easiest to explain is Hemp essential oil is not the same as hemp seed essential oil which is a non-psychoactive oil made from cold-pressed hemp seeds of the Cannabis ruderalis species.  This species is used because it produces the largest amount of seeds per acre and dollar invested.   They are also the highest among Cannabis in species in essential oils – Omega 3,6 and 9 gamma linolenic acid (GLA).

Culinary chefs use hemp seed oil for what is described as an earthy, nutty flavor.  It is also consumed orally as a dietary supplement for Vitamin E and Omega 3, 6 and 9 essential fatty acids which are not produced by our bodies and must be delivered via foods and/or supplements.

Nor is hemp essential oil necessarily the same as CBD hemp oil, which is also non-psychoactive.

Additionally, it is directly identified with medical applications to treat numerous illnesses, diseases and medical conditions including epilepsy, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD, PTSD, depression, alcohol and narcotic rehabilitation, as well as and many forms of cancer.

Although CBD oil is often derived from industrial hemp varieties, the finest and most effective CBD oil is made from the flower tops of the aforementioned Cannabis Sativa species which contain higher levels of CBD (cannabidiol) than other parts of the plant or compared to other species of hemp such as Cannabis Indica, or industrial hemp (Cannabis ruderalis).


One such Sativa varietal is commonly called White Widow as seen in the photo to the right and above.  From this varietal, untold numbers of hybrid strains have been developed that have virtually no THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid).  It’s been bred right out of these high CBD content flowertops and produce significantly higher quantities of CBD to be extracted as opposed to “hemp” (Cannabis ruderalis).

Industrial Hemp Harvesting in France

Is CBD Oil and Hemp Essential Oil The Same Thing?

What Is Pure Essential Oil?

Historically speaking, the original term “essential oil” referred to the process of extracting what early observers called “the life force or spirits of the plant”.

Technically speaking, essential oils are extracted by the distillation of the flowers, stems, and leaves from specific plants that offer unique and desired characteristics.  Traditionally, low-pressure steam has produced the highest quality oils.  The same is true for what is often referred to as “Organic CBD Hemp Oil“

From a biological perspective, essential oils are those oils that are found to be rich in aromatic and/or therapeutic characteristics.  The very components of the Cannabis plant that protects it from predators and fungus are the same ones that give Cannabis oils their various distinctive aromas as well as the myriad flowers and plants used to produce perfumes and aromatic oils.

These fragrances are obviously varied and they are individually characteristic of various strains and hybrids of these flowers and plants.  As Mother Nature would have it, these fragrant and healing substances called “terpenes” are the very substances that first attracted humans (and many land mammals) to Cannabis, only later to discover its medicinal value.

One could say that they play as important a role in the pollination of the plants as they do for humans who have used it for thousands of years in beauty treatments, masking/attracting scents, aromatherapy, organic stimulants and aphrodisiacs.

Hemp production in America during WWII was as important as manufacturing resource re-assignment to rubber recycling.  You ask what happened?


What Is Hemp Essential Oil For?

Medical Conditions

Commonly known through millennia as “hemp”, the Cannabis plant has consistently been revealing its many values to mankind throughout recorded history via its essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids.  Not to mention clothing and construction materials.

Among many other nutrients found in Cannabis is a particular globulin legumin protein called edestin which is very close in structure to the globulin in the blood plasma of humans.  Again we find synergies in bio-chemistry between humans and Cannabis.

There are two main cannabinoids, organic chemicals found in the Cannabis plant that are the leading sources of medicinal and therapeutic research and treatment.

The first is Cannabidiol.

More commonly known as CBD, it is one of over a hundred cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant.


CBD affects a wide variety of neurological and reparative processes in humans and animals and has been known to have anti-psychotic effects.  The second is much maligned, Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is characterized by it’s pleasant and euphoric “high” and thus the principal psychoactive constituent in Cannabis.

Common uses Cannabis Oil containing THC are the treatment of anorexia from dietary problems and AIDS, and treatment for nausea and vomiting common to chemotherapy patients as well as significant pain relief.


Whether used as a standalone aromatherapy source or in combination with other fragrant oils, hemp essential oil benefits are noticeable to body and mind.  It has been shown to cause the release of pleasure producing hormones (like anandamide and serotonin) that relaxes the mind-body connection thus relieving stress and anxiety.

Ask yourself, does your cologne, candles and soap help reduce stress and relax your body?  Mine does.

Skin & Muscle Conditioning

Applied topically to the skin, hemp essential oil (more specifically nano CBD oil) also affects the ability to relax sore muscles and is therefore used in quality athletic ointments, massage oils, bath oils, and traditionally for arthritis pain relief that is non-toxic and without side effects or damage to our filtering organs like the liver.

I use hemp oil personally for my skin care and prevention and cure of actinic keratosis growth (pre-skin cancer) as well as other skin irritations.  Works like a charm!  Also commonly used for the treatment of eczema, acne, and as a general agent I use CBD Living Freeze.

Hemp seed oil is commonly used for the treatment of eczema, acne, and as a general skin conditioner and moisturizer as well as it’s more traditional use in cooking.

High in essential fatty acids, hemp seed oil also nourishes the scalp while giving hair a shinier and more healthy appearance.


Insomnia/Sleep Disorders

Although I don’t suffer from any problems sleeping, my better half does.  For any number of reasons she sometimes has a hard time getting to sleep.  As a business owner, she often has a hard time keeping her mind from “pre-detonating” as she calls it while trying to get to sleep… the motor keeps running.  How about you?

Apparently, my love of cars and motorcycles has affected her more than I thought.  But more to the point, her ritual of burning hemp essential oil candles before bed and combining CBD oil with her “night cream” have both contributed to much less difficulty getting to herself to sleep more regularly.  She also uses a nano CBD product that has been recommended for sleep called CBD Living Sleep Aid which includes a combination of CBD and melatonin in a syrup form.

Industrial Applications

“Refined” hemp seed oil is clear and colorless and lacking flavor or nutrients, however, it has been used for hundreds of years in paints, inks, and lubricants.

More recently it has been recognized as a fundamental feedstock for biodiesel production, and also used in soaps and shampoos.

Its recent use in plastics and manufacturing is simply astonishing.  I look forward to expanding on the subject of industrial hemp applications such as “The Hemp Car”… which is no joke!

Commercial Uses for Hemp Oil


So, I think we can all agree that given the cross-pollination of terms over the years and various language translations it has become difficult to answer the question, what is hemp essential oil?  As you can now understand, mixing terms (often mismatching) causes more confusion.   For an updated post on “What is CBD Hemp Oil?” please click here. 

I hope a big take-away for your readers and Cannabis Animus Members is that CBD is not made from hemp (Cannabis ruderalis) these days.  Modern bio-chemistry and creative horticulturalists have bred the THC right out of high CBD containing Cannabis sativa strains that have been bio-engineered to produce high volume CBD from the flower tops.

Hemp oil from hemp plants is only used for industrial purposes and applications… of which there are currently in excess of 25,000 products currently made with another 25K to come in the next few years.

So, I hope this helps clarify any confusion you may have had with the various types of oils derived from the cannabis plant.  Do you feel the use of the adjective “essential” should apply to all the other cannabis-related oils like CBD oil, cannabis oil, and hemp seed oil inclusively?

We’d love to hear from you.  Please don’t go without leaving a comment or question below!

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