clock author BAS Research

What is commonly known as hemp oil is not to be confused with what is being advertised as cannabis oil, although they originate from the same plant species.


The main difference between the two plants is the purpose for which each one will be used, the hemp plant can be cultivated with two purposes in mind, to extract non-CBD oil from its seeds or to extract CBD-Rich oil with non-detectable THC from the whole plant. Due to its stem and fibers, the hemp plant is also cultivated to be used in the clothing, construction, and paper industries.


On the other hand, the cultivation of cannabis is focused on its wholeplant potential. Therefore, the stem and fibers are not used, and what matters the most are its flowers, which are the part of the plant with the highest concentration of THC and CBD


The method of cultivation is also entirely different. The Hemp reaches from two to four meters high and is planted in natura, outdoors, with male and female plants put together to encourage proliferation.


The Cannabis can also be grown outdoors but are usually grown in greenhouses so that temperature, light, and humidity can be 100% controlled to maximize THC and CBD levels. The male plants are removed from the enclosure for the females not to fertilize, since if this happens, the energy of the plant is concentrated in the production of seeds, reducing the production of flowers. Unlike the Hemp plant, the Cannabis plant is low in height and has many flowers.


For a Cannabis Sativa to be considered Hemp plant, it must have less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in its properties, while the Cannabis plant’s level of THC concentration usually ranges from 10% to 30%.

Main Differences Between The Oils


Now that the differences between the Hemp plant and the Cannabis plant are clear, let’s learn the distinctions between the oils extracted from them. If the Hemp oil is made from it’s seed, it will probably be used as an ingredient for cosmetics or foods as it contains important nutrients like omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamins. But if the Hemp oil is made from the wholeplant instead of it’s seeds, it’s outcome will be a CBD Rich Hemp oil with non-detectable THC.


The Cannabis oil is made from two specific parts of the plant: Leaves and Flowers, these are the parts of the plant where we are able to find the trichomes, which are responsible for the plant’s production of  cannabinoids and terpenes. You can learn more about them in our special article.


To further confuse matters, CBD-rich hemp oil and hemp seed oil are often both termed hemp oil, yet are fundamentally different. Each of these products contains very different levels of active biomolecules, producing very different effects on the body, so knowing how to tell each apart is very important.


The genetic variations of the strains, as well as how the plant is grown and utilized, will determine which term is correct. All hemp is technically cannabis, but all cannabis is not hemp.  If the cannabis plant was a hemp variety and both the plant and the extract have less than 0.3% THC, then it is often called CBD-rich hemp oil, or just plain CBD oil.


This technical classification is highlighted in a governmental distinction between hemp and marijuana in the Agricultural Act of 2014 known as the “Farm Bill”. What is now known as cannabis oil, comes from what has historically been known as marijuana. Because of the negative stigma commonly associated with marijuana, the term cannabis has recently been adopted by the industry. In 2018 a new reformulation of the “Farm Bill” included the legalization of the hemp plant in 50 states of the USA. For further information, check our post that talks about the “Farm Bill” update!


Below is an infographic comparing the difference between Hemp seed oil, CBD-rich hemp oil, and Cannabis oil:

Extraction Process


Another aspect when considering hemp oil and cannabis oil is the extraction process itself. The process for each is as different as the plants themselves.


  • Hemp Seed Oil
    Hemp oil is derived from the hemp seed itself. Before going through a press, the seed is cleaned. This eliminates the possibility of contamination and also removes all but the tiniest traces of THC.

    The actual extraction process is referred to as “cold pressing”. The hemp is never exposed to temperatures higher than 40 degrees Celsius. Cold pressing will yield extremely low levels of CBD.


  • Cannabis Oil and Hemp CBD Oil
    Many of the extraction processes used to obtain cannabis oil and CBD-rich hemp oil involve solvents. Substances like butane, carbon dioxide (CO2 ), and ethanol effectively refine the cannabis down to a purer form. The results are oils that can have over 80% THC or CBD content, depending on the strain and method.

    Many medical users of cannabis oil use tinctures. These little vials of highly potent, alcohol-infused oils can be stored for many years. Tinctures are often a desirable way to receive the medicinal benefits of cannabis because one can control the dosage easily. This is especially helpful considering that a tiny amount can have a big effect.



Therefore, we can say there are differences between Hemp oil and Cannabis oil. Even though both of them come from the same plant, the Cannabis sativa, their effects, dosages, and quality differ according to how it’s cultivated and extracted.


BAS Research aims to provide quality for the consumers who need these oils, and in addition to that, we always seek to bring reliable information for our customers and also for those who don’t know us yet. So be sure to check our blog to learn more about Cannabis!

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