Let’s be honest: Despite the many thousands of CBD products on the market, tracking down a high-quality product that actually works can be a challenge. The lack of regulation in the CBD industry means that each product has different information on its packaging; different brands use different names for the same ingredient, there is no standardization when it comes to dosages and concentration, and even tests for quality, purifty, and the presence of contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides are performed differently depending on the lab.
In other words, you have to be a pretty savvy consumer if you want to find a CBD product that will meet your expectations and actually work.
Nowhere is this more true than when it comes to knowing the exact ingredients in your product, especially when it comes to the difference between hemp oil and hemp seed oil, which are often mistaken for one another.
Hemp oil versus hemp seed oil
As you might guess, hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant. You can find hemp seed oil in grocery stores next to other cooking oils, like olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
So what makes it different from hemp oil? The answer to this question lies in the CBD content.
Like hemp clothing and hemp seeds, hemp seed oil does not contain significant levels of cannabinoids, including CBD. Unfortunately, it’s often mistaken for hemp oil or CBD oil, which means consumers are purchasing the wrong product — and often end up disappointed by its effects.
How to make sure you’re (actually) buying CBD
“The biggest point is that hemp seed oil contains zero CBD,” says Dr. Kerklaan. And therefore, it should not be marketed as such. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t making it entirely clear what’s in their product. In fact, you’ll often see hemp seed oil listed as Cannabis sativa seed oil, which — while it is the technical, scientific name of the ingredient — creates even more confusion.
“I find this very misleading for the consumer,” says Dr. Kerklaan. “The consumer needs to be made aware of the differences in terms of what benefits they’re expecting,” he continues. CBD’s anti-inflammatory, calming, and sleep-promoting properties are not going to be found in a hemp seed oil supplement.
The benefits of hemp seed oil
It’s important to remember that while hemp seed oil is devoid of CBD, that doesn’t make it snake oil or devoid of benefits altogether. In fact, hemp seed oil contains nutrients like magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, and calcium as well as a good number of omega-3 fatty acids. “Hemp seed oil has omegas in it and those may offer some benefits to your skin health and nourishment,” says Dr. Kerklaan.
Hemp seed oil is an overall healthy ingredient to use in cooking and skincare — or even as a base oil for full-spectrum hemp oil and CBD products. “It comes down to disclosure and laying things out so the consumer can understand the active ingredients,” says Dr. Kerklaan. No matter what type of product you’re buying, you’ll want to take note of how many milligrams of CBD is in your product — and make sure you’re still buying a full-spectrum hemp oil that contains other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.
At the end of the day: “Do your research on a product,” says Dr. Kerklaan.