What is Hemp Oil? A Guide to Hemp Oil.

Jay Hartenbach

by Jay Hartenbach

February 7, 2020

Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, has been around for thousands of years. Often a staple of body and beauty care, hemp seed oil is made by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant. Rich in nutrients and fatty acids, it contains many useful compounds while not holding the same sedative properties often believed to be associated with hemp or cannabis-based products.

The hemp plant, itself, can be broken up into many parts that are useful – stalks, leaves, flowers and, yes – the seeds. The seeds are highly nutritious which is why they’re able to be found at a grocery that may sell health and nutrition items. If they’ve been shelled, they’re usually called “hemp hearts”.

This edible seed can be eaten raw, roasted, toasted or ground for a hemp powder to be added to recipes or smoothies. When pressed, the resulting hemp seed oil can be purchased in many ways. It can be found by itself – like any cold pressed oils – or included in products. This oil can be a base for salad dressings and other dishes. One may try using it as the oil of choice in making homemade hummus or other dips, too.

Because hemp oil has a low flash point (it will begin to degrade and smoke at lower temps than other cooking oils), it is best used as a “finishing oil” and consumed closer to its raw status.

Hemp seeds are loaded with fiber, nutrients, high-quality fats and proteins. Whereas Chia and Flax – additional types of nutritious, edible seeds – average around 18% of their total calories coming from protein, hemp seeds have a fitness-loving amount of 25%. This is why it is a popular base ingredient in many available protein, post-workout powder-based supplements.

These magical nuggets of nutrition also carry an impressive 3:1 ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids. Many health studies have shown that a lower ratio of Omega 6 and 3 – such as the one that is in hemp seeds – is helpful for the body in areas of heart health and inflammation. In topical form, such as in beauty products, these same compounds help retain moisture, soothes dry, irritated and inflamed skin while also stimulating cellular strength. They’re also high in antioxidants, an oft-essential part of any body care routine.

Externally, hemp seed oil can be used by itself as a skin oil – directly – or blended with other skin-friendly oils like Jojoba.

Is Hemp seed oil the same as CBD oil?

No. While both hemp seed oil and CBD oil come from the hemp plant, they’re different in their construction and potential usage. Hemp seeds have been available for a multitude of years – much longer than hemp-based CBD products have been available. This is because the seeds carry a very low level of CBD, or other compounds, that are found in CBD oils on the market, today. CBD-based products are made from the extraction of the other parts of the plant and not the seeds. The reason why the seeds are not a part of the CBD oil manufacturing is because there isn’t enough CBD in the seeds to be a viable or legitimate CBD product.

According to the Hemp Industries Association, the level of CBD in the hemp seed is only 25 parts-per-million (ppm) whereas the amount of CBD in the rest of the plant is around 150,000 ppm.

How can I tell the difference?

With hemp-derived CBD oil products being made available to the masses, it is easy to understand how there may be some confusion as to which is what. In order to be able to distinguish the two, and to be sure of what one may be purchasing, a little due diligence will go a long way. If in a local grocer, the non-CBD hemp oils are most often found with the other recipe oils like Olive and Avocado.

When shopping online, however, being able to differentiate the two can often seem difficult, especially if the consumer is new to learning about hemp and CBD. It is vital to take the time to read the ingredient label and to research the manufacturer.

If shopping for CBD, the ingredients should state “CBD” or “Cannabidiol”. There should also be a number of milligrams printed on the label – this is the amount of CBD within the product. Under “supplement facts”, usually found on the back label, there will be a breakdown of serving sizes and milligrams per milliliter of CBD that each serving will contain. Naturally, non-CBD recipes and health oils like hemp oil won’t have these descriptors and amounts with it, as they don’t have the cannabidiol element that the rest of the plant’s extracts hold.

When taking the time to check out the product’s manufacturer, a CBD brand will need to be compliant with regulatory bodies and also provide access to their Certificates of Analysis, or “COAs”, as they’re often called. These test results will list the compounds in the finished product as well as their amounts.

Conversely, if the product is hemp seed oil, then COAs are not necessary.

No matter which type of hemp-based product you’re looking for, there are multitudes of options available as hemp is one of the most diverse plants in agriculture. With tens of thousands of uses, the popularity of hemp is only going to continue to grow.

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