Last Updated on 2 weeks by Plain Jane
When hemp first became legal, companies quickly hopped on CBD as the centerpiece of hemp’s chemistry. Now, years after the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD remains the focal point of the industry despite research revealing a plethora of other cannabinoids of equal value and importance.
Needless to say, customers have been mentally conditioned into seeking out CBD in all of their hemp products because of how companies propped it up as the ultimate cannabinoid. And while you might think all hemp products contain CBD to some degree, hemp extract might surprise you.
What is Hemp Extract and Where Does It Come From?
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The 2018 Farm Bill effectively legalized every part of the hemp plant — from its leaves to its stems, roots, and even seeds. And that’s precisely where hemp extract comes from. Contrary to its name, hemp extract doesn’t actually come from the flower, but from the seeds.
Hemp seeds appear as small kernel-sized pellets with hard brown exteriors. When you crack them open, they reveal a soft, fleshy, green interior. Pressing these seeds produces hemp seed oil or hemp extract which has found purpose in numerous industries.
Incorporated into hair and skin care products for its moisturizing, and nourishing benefits, hemp seed oil also finds its purpose as a dietary supplement. Rich in essential fatty acids, hemp extract may support cardiovascular wellness among many other things.
Here are some of hemp extract’s main contents:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Omega-6 fatty acids
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin D
- Linolenic acid
But what about CBD content? Despite coming from the hemp plant, hemp seeds contain next to zero CBD. To be specific, hemp extract contains 7.19μg/g of CBD which is too little to produce any noticeable effect. And while it contains a cocktail of other cannabinoids, they come at even lower levels.
So in spite of its name, hemp seed oil or hemp extract doesn’t actually contain any of the organic compounds (particularly cannabinoids) that make hemp.
What is CBD Oil?
If hemp extract comes from hemp seeds, CBD oil comes from hemp flowers. Despite its name, CBD oil doesn’t only contain CBD but the entire range of hemp flower’s chemistry. This includes a variety of other cannabinoids and terpenes.
So why call it CBD oil? Remember that cannabidiol or CBD became the poster child for all things hemp when it first became legal. The popularity kind of stuck after all of these years, so many people still refer to hemp flower oil as CBD oil.
But while hemp chemistry boasts CBD as its most prolific contributor, it also contains over a hundred other forms of cannabinoids including names like cannabigerol and cannabinol. It’s also rich in terpenes — a group of organic compounds that give plants their distinct aroma and flavor.
When you hear the term ‘CBD oil’, marketers could pertain to one of three distinct products. These include:
- Full spectrum CBD oil – Extracting whole hemp plant chemistry products full spectrum CBD oil. This complete package brings you every cannabinoid and terpene in hemp chemistry, and banks on the principle of the entourage effect.
This theory postulates that when you leave all of hemp’s organic compounds to work together, they effectively enhance and magnify their effects as a whole. In simple terms, extracting whole plant chemistry produces more potent effects.
- Broad spectrum CBD oil – Unlike full-spectrum oil that makes zero exclusions, broad-spectrum oil scratches out THC. Manufacturers developed this particular formulation for buyers who want to avoid THC at all costs.
What makes broad-spectrum CBD oil particularly special is that it contains most of the hemp’s cannabinoids and terpenes, thus allowing the entourage effect to some extent. But then again, it contains zero THC which makes it a much safer choice for careful consumers.
- CBD isolate oil – As its name suggests, CBD isolate contains just CBD. Manufacturers do this by extracting hemp’s chemistry and then subjecting it to tedious processing steps that isolate pure, unadulterated CBD.
Obviously, this surrenders any possibility of an entourage effect. But because many believe that CBD offers particularly powerful effects on its own, CBD oil maintains relevance and popularity across the market.
Essentially, the term ‘CBD oil’ could pertain to any one of these formulations. So it pays to read the labels and ask your vendor if you’re in search of a specific type of CBD oil.
Legal Status: CBD Oil vs Hemp Extract
We can’t really talk about CBD oils and hemp extracts without dabbling in legality. That’s also because many people continue to believe that hemp itself isn’t entirely legal, which might not be the whole truth.
In 2018, the Farm Bill removed hemp from the country’s list of controlled substances officially making it federally legal. The only reason why hemp was on the list in the first place is that lawmakers thought it was no different from marijuana since they come from the same plant.
But years of research and careful farming proved that hemp and marijuana provide different results. That’s because of their THC content. This mind-altering cannabinoid brings about the effects of a high. Decreased inhibitions, impaired decision-making skills, and hallucinations are just some of the risky effects of THC.
In the case of marijuana, THC expression naturally occurs at levels of 20% to 25% — more than enough to deliver profound psychoactive effects. With hemp, however, those numbers dwindle to just 0.3% THC or less.
That said, if your CBD oil comes from verified hemp, you can bet your bottom dollar it would contain 0.3% THC — making it a legal product. Hemp extract on the other hand contains far less THC, and rarely ever raises questions about legality.
Keep in mind though — some states, cities, and counties continue to control hemp-derived products. Make sure to read up on your local laws to get a better understanding of where these products stand in your area.
Not Exactly the Same Thing
Despite both coming from hemp, CBD oil and hemp extract provide entirely different benefits. Containing high concentrations of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, hemp seed oil may find a worthy spot as one of your daily wellness supplements.
On the other hand, CBD oil contains a unique blend of organic compounds that exist solely in hemp. And while studies about their effects are still underway, findings suggest that they can soothe or stimulate, depending on cannabinoid concentrations.