Hemp Oil: The Complete Guide

Hemp Oil: The Complete Guide

What is hemp oil? Hemp is not marijuana, it does not get you high. Hemp and marijuana belong to the same plant family but function differently. Marijuana has high quantities of THC. Hemp has a very little amount of THC, but very high amounts of CBD. Cannabidiol or CBD is gaining popularity because of its usefulness in combating pain, inflammation, chronic illness, brain disorders, cancer, and so much more.


THC or tetrahydrocannabinol and CBD have the same basic molecular structure, but their arrangement of atoms is what makes the difference between getting high and not. THC in marijuana causes euphoria and alters the mind. Cannabidiol in hemp oil produces a calming and therapeutic effect. High amounts of CBD are present in this oil, THC is in abundance in marijuana. Therefore, hemp and marijuana are not the same things.

Cannabis and Hemp: Know the Difference

Cannabis has existed for thousands of years. Its origin is believed to be in South or Central Asia. Cannabis has two major species: Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. Both these species have varying quantities of psychoactive and non-psychoactive components. Stimulatory, mental effects are attributed to THC. Relaxing, body-calming effects are attributed to Cannabidiol. THC is responsible for the psychoactive effect while CBD is responsible for the non-psychoactive effect.

Medical researchers have increasingly become interested in the medical benefits of this product as it is reputed to help with a variety of medical conditions.

Though cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol are the most researched components of cannabis, this is not to say that they are the only ones found in the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant possesses many additional chemical compounds. For example, cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabidivarin (CBDV), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), Cannabigerol (CBG), flavonoids, and terpenes.

Research is ongoing to learn more about the other compounds. Whole-plant cannabis produces full-spectrum oil containing a full array of cannabinoids and terpenes. According to Researchers in Israel, full-spectrum oil is more beneficial than separate extracts of CBD or THC.

Cannabis and hemp can be confusing

Distinguishing between cannabis and hemp is confusing to many people. The cannabis Sativa plant species has many varieties with different quantities of THC and CBD. The hemp plant is part of the cannabis Sativa family and contains very small amounts of THC, less than 0.3 percent. Marijuana is another form of cannabis Sativa and contains much more THC (sometimes up to 25%). The main difference between the two is the amount of THC present.

Hemp is a Plant

Extraction is done from the seed and fiber parts of the Cannabis Sativa L, plant. The flower on the plant is legally considered to be ‘marijuana’. Oil is extracted from hemp seeds, leaving us with hemp oil. Hemp seeds and stalks are the raw materials for the extraction of the oil. Technically speaking, this is produced from the hemp plant. The hemp plant produces various kinds of oil. These oils are:

Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil can be used as a substitute for cooking oil. It can be used for cooking instead of olive oil, canola, or vegetable oil. It is preferred for cooking because it is rich in omega fatty acids and proteins. It can also be used as a topical for the skin. The oil is produced from the seeds of the hemp plant by pressing them, just like olive oil is produced by pressing whole olives. It is sold under different brands, usually in bottles ranging from eight to 24 ounces. You can also buy it in bulk.

Hemp seed oil is touted as a superfood because of its richness in omega-3s which improve cardiovascular health. Hemp seed oil and CBD oil are different in terms of content. CBD oil is produced from whole-plant cannabis strains and usually contains a high amount of CBD, along with a carrier oil (usually hemp oil or MCT oil). Whole plant cannabis oils derived from the stalks and seeds are considered to be hemp oil.

Phyto cannabinoid-rich hemp oil

The product that is rich in cannabidiol is produced from stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. These cannabinoids occur naturally, unlike synthetically produced oil. Phytocannabinoid offer a wide range of benefits. The benefits of cannabinoid-rich oils range from pain relief to the treatment of many other medical conditions. It is also rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

Phytocannabinoid products contain all the essential, beneficial properties of the hemp plant and more than 100 naturally occurring compounds. These include cannabinoids. A major benefit of full-spectrum Phytocannabinoid products is its easiness to dissolve, homogenize, and emulsify than isolate. This is property is a plus for home chefs, wholesalers, and store owners.

Phytocannabinoids are not soluble in water but soluble in fat, alcohol, and other non-polar organic solvents. Phytocannabinoids are found in abundance in the viscous resin produced by glandular structures in the cannabis plant called trichomes.

Hemp Extract

Hemp extract is known to promote health and keep people resilient in their environment. Hemp is used in dietary supplements, clothing, skin products, paper, and more. Just like lemons and oranges are both citrus, hemp and marijuana are both cannabis, but have different functionality and look different too.

CBD Oil vs Hemp Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Industrial Hemp, and Cannabis Oil

Hemp Oil

Is derived from the stalk of the cannabis Sativa plant, mainly for its CBD content. Hemp oil must have less than 0.3 percent THC.

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil is extracted from hemp seeds. It contains little to no THC or CBD and is instead extracted for its healthy fatty acid profile.

Industrial Hemp

It is from the Cannabis Sativa plant with a much stronger fiber. This fiber can be used in the manufacture of rope, blankets, and paper. On the other hand, marijuana fiber has low tensile strength and breaks easily. So, it is a poor fibrous plant when compared to industrial hemp.

One characteristic of industrial hemp is low THC levels. This is attributed to the formation of most THC in resin glands on the buds and flowers of the female cannabis plant.

Since industrial hemp is not cultivated to produce buds, it lacks the primary component that is characteristic of making people feel high. Industrial hemp has higher concentrations of a chemical called Cannabidiol Oil, or CBD oil.


CBD oil is extracted from hemp. It is made from the whole plant; not certain parts of the plant like in hemp oil and hemp seed oil. CBD oil is extracted from the whole hemp plant, including the flowering portion. In some states, it is required that CBD oil is strictly produced from the stalks of the hemp plant.

Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oil is derived from the cannabis Sativa plant that contains both CBD and THC in varying concentrations. Cannabis oil is restricted in states that have not legalized the sale of cannabis. It can contain a high concentration of THC, which could be a problem for those not seeking psychoactive effects.

Hemp Extract

Hemp extract contains naturally occurring terpenes, flavonoids, and other useful phytonutrients. Hemp extract is produced from the hemp plant. It is free from harmful solvents. The extraction process is gentle, uses a low temperature, and is alcohol-free. Therefore, this process produces the purest form of extract you can find. Because of the high-quality extraction process, the product produced is of a very high standard. This hemp extract oil retains a broad spectrum of terpenes and other phyto compounds found in the Cannabis Sativa industrial hemp plant like CBD oil. Hemp extract is produced from the entire hemp plant, including the leaf, stem, and seed.

Hemp Oil Extraction Process

Hemp oil is extracted for its CBD and fatty acids. CBD is an acronym for Cannabidiol. CBD is one form of cannabinoids found in hemp. CBD is desirable for those looking for a potential remedy for pain, anxiety, spasms, inflammation, psychosis, seizures, and other conditions. It doesn’t possess the disconcerting feelings of lethargy or dysphoria.

The hemp extraction process involves using a solvent to extract the oil from the hemp stalk. There are several solvents used commercially in extraction, all of which have benefits and drawbacks.

This product is extracted from industrial hemp, which contains only CBD. Or from a high-CBD cannabis strain. There are various extraction methods which are very simple and require little equipment. The use of a solvent is the most common method. This can be a liquid solvent such as ethanol, or another oil solvent.

Liquid Solvents

Plant material parts like stalks and flowers are put into a container. Liquid solvents, for example, ethanol, hexane, butane, or isopropyl alcohol is run through the plant matter to strip it of the cannabinoids and flavenoids which are then transferred to the liquid. The liquid is then evaporated away from the mixture leaving only concentrated chemicals and flavors in the form of an oil.

The use of liquid solvents for extraction offers many benefits, yet it is the simplest, equipment-free, and most affordable way to extract the hemp. One concern is solvents can leave behind traces of impurities in the final product.

Ethanol extraction

The ethanol extraction method is safe and not toxic if used in small quantities. The downside is ethanol extraction destroys the plant waxes, which some researchers claim have health benefits.

Butane or Hexane extraction

Butane or hexane are excellent in the extraction, but some remain after the extraction process and can be harmful to your lungs.

Also, some liquid solvents can remove the green matter from the plant, together with cannabinoids and flavors. This would leave the final oil with a greener color and a more bitter taste. However, these drawbacks can usually be countered by adjusting specifics in the process. Extraction using liquid solvents remains the most common method.

Oil Extraction

Other oils can be used to extract hemp oil. This method is a favorite among home-producers as it is a simple method. First, the hemp plant is heated to a specific temperature for a certain length of time to activate the chemicals in the plant. Plant materials are then plucked and added to olive oil then heated to 1000C for 1 to 2 hours. This is to extract the hemp. Since the olive oil cannot be evaporated away after the process, users must consume much higher quantities if this extracted oil. This is because it is not highly-concentrated oil like those produced by the other methods. Thus, the oil extraction method is not viable for commercial producers, but a simple, safe, affordable option for home oil extraction.

CO2 Extraction

CO2 or carbon dioxide can function as any state of matter: solid, liquid, or gas, depending on the pressure and temperature of the process. CO2 extraction is usually performed with a piece of equipment called a ‘closed-loop extractor’. This piece of equipment is needed because variables like pressure and temperature must be controlled to very specific limits.

This piece of equipment is composed of three chambers. The first chamber houses solid, pressured CO2 known as dry ice. The second chamber houses dry plant material. The third chamber is for the separation of the finished product.

This is how the process of extraction using CO2 occurs: solid CO2 is pumped from the first chamber into the second chamber housing the plant material. The second chamber is a controlled environment with specific pressure and temperature. This forces CO2 to behave more like a liquid, although actually it’s in between a liquid and gas state. This state is referred to as supercritical CO2.

CO2 in this state runs through the plant material and extracts chemicals and flavors, much like in the liquid solvent process. The CO2-hemp oil mixture is pumped into the third chamber. Here, it is kept an even lower pressure and higher temperature. This causes CO2 to rise to the top of the chamber, leaving at the bottom containing flavors and other chemicals.

One of the unique things about CO2 extraction is it does not require a long evaporation process like liquid solvent extraction. It also eliminates the risk of contamination in the final product. CO2 extraction is very useful as it can also be used to separate CBD and THC from cannabis.

Since CBD extracts at a lower temperature and pressure than THC, adjustments can be made of pressure and temperature in the second chamber to isolate the specific cannabinoid of interest.

However, the piece of equipment used—the closed-loop extractor, is very expensive. Thus, CO2 extraction is only used by commercial CBD producers.

Each extraction method is best suited for a specific outcome. This can depend on whether you are a company, an individual, have the desired flavor or what type of product you are wishing to extract.

The major component of hemp oil and where it draws its primary functionality is CBD. So, let’s look at how CBD works.

How Does CBD in Hemp Oil Work?

To understand the benefits, we need to learn how CBD in hemp oil works.

As mentioned earlier, hemp oil is primarily composed of CBD with less than 0.3 percent THC. So, in knowing how CBD works, it gives you an insight into the functionality of the hemp oil.

Unlike THC, CBD is completely non-psychoactive. This allows us to benefit from the many health properties of the hemp plant without the downside effect of getting high. That is why full-spectrum has become a very popular option for people seeking a natural alternative to treat conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, sclerosis, mental disorders, PTSD, among others.

Furthermore, CBD possesses many properties that can possibly be used to diminish ailments since it is an anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiolytic. This allows it to act as a natural stress reliever, fight anxiety, and help treat chronic pain.

Our bodies are self-regulating. For example, when you become too hot, the body produces sweat to cool you down. When blood sugar levels rise after a meal, the body produces insulin to lower the level. When the body is dehydrated, the body sends signals to the brain telling you that you need to drink water. The human body constantly shifts to produce a balanced and healthy bodily system. This process is called homeostasis. One way the body promotes homeostasis is with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

The ECS system is composed of receptors on cell membranes that balance a variety of processes, including relaxation, eating, cognition, and sleeping. The system is also necessary for the body’s overall recovery and repair.

The human body naturally produces compounds called endocannabinoids that bind to those receptors. It’s just like a key fitting into a lock. Now, CBD in hemp oil is a plant-based cannabinoid or Phyto-cannabinoid. It acts upon receptors in a similar fashion. Our body’s ability to maintain ideal health is improved once a Phyto-cannabinoid binds to a cell receptor. CBD also prevents the breakdown of an important endocannabinoid, anandamide. Therefore, CBD allows endocannabinoid to accumulate to higher, more effective levels.

Hemp oil may help diminish the symptoms of many ailments. It also maintains health and wellness in the body. This is attributed to how the cannabinoids found in CBD interact with receptors throughout the body.

Example of How Hemp Oil Works

When we become stressed, our mind releases cortisol. Cortisol is a compound tasked in the body to control how we feel when stressed. Though cortisol is helpful (and is required when we need to react quickly to a dangerous situation), too much interferes with the natural balance of the body and mind. This can lead to health problems.

When Phyto-cannabinoid is introduced into the body through the intake of oil, it not only helps provide stress relief. It also manages our perception of stress so that we look at the situation with a clear mind. And we are able to make better decisions.

Scientists discovered that there are systems in our bodies that solely rely on their interaction with cannabinoids. These systems perform vital functions in our bodies.

Hemp Oil Uses

Hemp Oil for Anxiety

A high number of people in the United States suffer from anxiety. Clinical anxiety issues include social anxiety, OCD, PTSD, tight due dates, and sleepless nights. Typical anxiety medicines have numerous side effects, including hypersensitive responses, reduced pulse, loss of coordination, and psychological shortages.

Hemp oil has hardly any side effects but helps patients with all the typical symptoms of anxiety, such as psychedelic thoughts, sleepless nights, not feeling comfortable being around people, etc. It helps people to reduce symptoms with few if any side effects.

A study done in 2010 about cannabis treatment of anxiety found that CBD found in hemp oil reduces symptoms of social anxiety disorder. Brain scans of volunteers for the study showed changes in blood flow to areas of the brain associated with feelings of anxiety. In that study, CBD found in this product not only made the participants feel better but also changed the way their brains responded to anxiety.

Another study was done in 2011 which also found CBD in hemp oil to be effective in treating social anxiety associated with public speaking.

A 2015 research and analysis concluded that CBD has a huge potential for the treatment of various forms of anxiety, including panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

A 2016 case study on whether CBD can reduce symptoms in children suffering post-traumatic stress with a history of trauma was affirmative. Results showed that CBD helped with the child’s anxiety and helped her sleep.

Studies have found that it is a natural anxiolytic (or anxiety calmer) which can be effective in treating social anxiety. it can also calm anxiety naturally without the potential side effects of typical anti-anxiety medications.

This product can reduce anxiety by directly affecting the brain. Studies found that CBD in hemp oil lowers activity in the amygdala and increases prefrontal cortex activation. These are parts of the brain that influence anxiety. Evidence also points out that CBD can regenerate new neurons, which activate CB1 receptors. This promotes the balancing of GABA and Glutamate levels to reduce anxiety.

Hemp Oil and Epilepsy

Hemp oil can reduce the number of seizures that children with epilepsy experience. Many who have used it, say this newly available treatment has provided relief when all else failed. About two-thirds of patients suffering epilepsy respond to the first or second medication they’re given. But once an epilepsy patient has taken two different medicines without relief, that calls for other options, such as this. It has proven to be reliable when typical medicines have failed to reduce seizures in epilepsy patients.

Hemp oil can help epilepsy patients ease off of other drugs that have serious side effects, including low platelet levels, allergic reactions, suicidal tendencies, and liver failure. Typical epilepsy drugs won’t work for about one-third of people with the condition. Fortunately, that leaves them with the choice of this product.

Studies have shown adding it to existing medication may be effective in combating hard to treat epilepsy in children and adolescents. There is good evidence in robust clinical trials that hemp oil is of benefit to specific epilepsies, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome.

Studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham on CBD proves significant improvement in seizure frequency and other measures of efficacy in patients with treatment-resistant epilepsy. The study was published in the Journal of Epilepsy and Behavior. It proved that CBD reduced adverse events and seizure severity, in addition to lessening overall seizure frequency.

Hemp oil contains pure cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 0.3% THC. That is why it qualifies as an effective treatment in complex epilepsies, more specifically Dravet syndrome and Lennox Gastaut syndrome.

In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of a drug derived from hemp CBD to treat these two rare forms of epilepsy. Both of these complex epilepsy conditions show uncontrollable and severe seizures resulting in some form of learning disability, such as mired languages and motor skills.

Hemp and Cancer

The action in hemp that’s promising for cancer treatment is its ability to moderate inflammation and alter how cells reproduce.  CBD in this oil has the effect of diminishing the ability of some types of tumor cells to reproduce.

While the oil doesn’t treat cancer itself, it diminishes the ability of certain types of tumor cells to multiply and grow. Furthermore, it targets cancer cells and remains harmless to healthy cells.

Hemp oil for managing cancer can be taken in several ways in order to maximize benefits. Most commonly it is ingested orally in the form of a paste or drop. It should be held under the tongue first so that it’s properly absorbed in the mouth before it is swallowed. This step should not be skipped otherwise some of it will be broken down by the digestive system, reducing its effectiveness.

Hemp may help reduce symptoms related to cancer and side effects related to cancer treatment, such as pain, nausea, and vomiting. It is really helpful for people with cancer-related pain who do not experience relief from typical pain medications.

Hemp may also help to reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, which are the most common chemotherapy-related side effects. Typical medications to help with these distressing symptoms are sometimes ineffective, which can leave hemp as a good alternative.

Hemp and Neurological Disorders

CBD in hemp has the ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems to relieve those with neurological disorders.

One of the most researched uses of CBD is in the treatment of neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Several studies have shown managing Parkinson’s disease with CBD improves the quality of life and sleep quality as well.

The unique neurological effects of CBD are key to growing popularity. CBD is useful in the treatment of neurological diseases because it protects neurons from degeneration. In a study about Alzheimer’s, CBD was seen to prevent the increase of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Cannabidiol is able to obstruct neural transmission without causing analgesic tolerance. Because of this, according to researchers, it can be used as a foundation for the treatment of chronic pain.

How Hemp Works in the Brain to Manage Various Medical Conditions

Serotonin System

CBD in hemp targets a specific serotonin receptor, the serotonin 1A receptor. Its association with this receptor is known to produce a lot of therapeutic effects. Serotonin receptors regulate the release of hormones like cortisol and oxytocin. Cortisol is produced in reaction to stress levels and oxytocin affects social behavior. Serotonin receptors are also responsible for a person’s cognition, appetite, and mood. Cannabidiol can inhibit certain discomforts and disorders such as neuropathic pain, schizophrenia, depression, etc. by enhancing activation of serotonin 1A receptors.

Vanilloid Receptors

Hemp achieves the therapeutic effect by binding CBD to vanilloid receptors. Vanilloid is an ion channel that plays an important role in thermoregulation (temperature control), the perception of pain, and inflammation.

Orphan Receptors

When the orphan receptor is overactive, it can cause osteoporosis. This receptor is responsible for modulating blood pressure, bone density, and bone reabsorption. Orphan receptors increase the multiplication and migration of cancer cells. CBD may help to block the signaling of the orphan receptors.

Nuclear Receptors

Intake of hemp oil activates nuclear receptors. This is helpful in that nuclear receptors have an anti-cancer effect. Activation of nuclear receptors is also helpful in that it may cause tumors to regress in lung cancer cell lines.

Key Terms to Know

Full Spectrum

Hemp has hundreds of naturally occurring compounds besides CBD. When these compounds are blended as nature intended, the product becomes greater than the individual parts. This is referred to as the Entourage Effect. Different compounds in a blend amply each other’s effects. Therefore, full-spectrum oil is considered more effective than an isolated, single-molecule compound.


Terpenes are the oils that produce characteristic smell and flavor. They are important in achieving the maximum benefit from CBD. When terpenes bind with cannabinoids, they turbocharge them.

Industrial Hemp

Industrial hemp is a plant from the Cannabis sativa L family, but with less than 0.3% of THC and abundance of CBD. Hemp is different from marijuana in their use, chemical makeup, and cultivation methods.

How to Choose the Right Hemp Product

An ideal hemp product is sourced from high-grade, industrial hemp grown by reliable, environmentally responsible, and passionate farmers. The producer should also utilize cutting-edge extraction methods to produce the purest, highest quality oil. Furthermore, an ideal hemp product should be a full-spectrum oil containing the full profile of nutrients found in cannabis. These nutrients work better when they work together.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products discussed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Due to FDA Regulations, we recommend that you do your own research on CBD products. We also suggest that you read the reviews on our website, where our customers record their real-world results of using our products.