Hemp oil is everywhere recently, and while there are many reasons to incorporate hemp oil into your daily life, it can be confusing to navigate all the different options on the market, the real benefits, and the difference between the many product variations.
You may have many questions about this product that is growing like wildfire including: What is hemp oil? Is hemp oil the same as CBD oil? What are the benefits of CBD oil?
This ultimate guide to hemp oil will help you fully understand what this healing product has to offer, how to buy it online from reputable brands, and how you can reap the benefits of it in your life.
There is a lot of hype about hemp oil and this guide will help you see past that and get the facts you need to make a decision that is best for you.
By the end of this guide, you’ll be able to make the decision to use hemp oil, how much to take, where to buy it, and what to expect from including this in your daily life.
What is CBD?
For starters, let’s decode CBD. CBD stands for cannabidiol and it is one of over a hundred known cannabinoids found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabinoids, and phyto cannabinoids, are natural compounds found in many plant species (not just cannabis) that are known to help the body protect itself against changes in the environment, helping the body adapt to these changes and maintain good health and homeostasis. Other plants that contain cannabinoids include Echinacea, Electric Daisy, Japanese Liverwort, and Cacao to name a few. Additionally, yeast can actually produce both CBD and THC, so these compounds are not exclusive to the cannabis plant.
There is a lot of confusion about the difference between CBD and THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive property of cannabis. THC is what creates the “high” feeling, while CBD is much different. CBD does not get you high! While it may create a feeling of deep relaxation, the effects are more focused on the body rather than the mind. CBD is hemp and THC is marijuana. Additionally, many people report feeling anxious or paranoid from THC and CBD can actually help to counteract these feelings and create a more balanced sensation.
Hemp vs Marijuana: CBD vs THC
There is a lot of confusion about the difference between hemp and marijuana. While these plants are both classified under Cannabis sativa L, they are very different from root to flower, and used for different purposes.
A cannabis plant that is categorized as industrial hemp, it has to contain less than .03% THC. Industrial hemp naturally and biologically contains low levels of THC and high levels of THC. Industrial hemp is federally legal, while marijuana is not. Marijuana contains high levels of THC and low levels of CBD. Once a cannabis plant contains greater than 0.3% THC, it is legally a marijuana plant.
Marijuana derived CBD is illegal, while hemp derived CBD is legal. It is possible to purchase marijuana derived CBD in states where recreational and medical marijuana is legal.
Because hemp derived CBD is federally legal, it is possible to purchase online and ship to anywhere in the United States.
Hemp oil is considered a herbal remedy and is used in skin care, clothing, paper, and more for its fibers and profile of cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids.
Just as lemons and limes are both citrus, hemp and marijuana are both cannabis but with different chemical make ups.
Are Hemp Oil and CBD Oil the Same? What is Hemp Seed Oil?
Now that we’ve got the difference between THC and CBD down, let’s dive into the difference between hemp oil, CBD oil, and hemp seed oil. These are all very different things, and as a consumer, it’s super important to understand what makes them different and why one product will not have the same effects as the other.
What is hemp oil? What is hemp seed oil?
Hemp oil and technically be any oil that is derived from the hemp plant, including hemp seed oil. This does not necessarily mean that the oil will contain any CBD or other cannabinoids. This can get confusing when shopping online as many manufacturers mismarket products to sell more units to uneducated consumers looking for hemp oil. There are, however, many benefits to hemp oil including fatty acids, vitamins, moisturizing agents, and herbal remedies. Hemp oil is great for hair, skin, digestion, and much more. However, it will not garner the same effects as hemp oil.
Hemp seed oil is a rich oil derived solely from the seeds of the hemp plant.
What is CBD oil and what is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil is extracted from the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. It is rich in cannabinoids and phytonutrients, known in the industry as full-spectrum hemp oil (FSHO). FSHO is considered to be hemp oil and contains high levels of CBD and phytocannabinoids that offer support to the body in ways that hemp oil or hemp seed oil do not. The full profile of these benefits is still being studied and understood by scientists, but this type of hemp oil is federally legal and contains less than .03% THC.
There are three different types of CBD oil:
- Full-spectrum hemp oil: FSHO, as mentioned above, contains the most amount of the plant of all CBD oils. It contains the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, polyphenols, and more, which all have different effects on the body. FSHO contains less than .03% THC.
- Broad-spectrum hemp oil: Broad-spectrum is nearly the same as FSHO, but with all amounts of THC extracted. The spectrum of cannabinoids and other aspects remain, but contains 0% THC.
- CBD Isolate: This type of oil contains only CBD, which has been isolated from the plant through chemical extraction and purification.
Adding any type of CBD oil to your daily life can be very beneficial! Choosing the right option for you is dependant on the effects you’re looking for and how much you are looking to spend. There are distinct benefits to all three options, which we’ll cover next.
How Does CBD Work?
While official scientific studies on the effects and benefits are still being conducted, there is a lot we do know about how CBD interacts with the body and why people report feeling the benefits they do from using hemp oil.
The body is a self-regulating machine that is always working on establishing balance within. When something is out of balance, the body works to compensate for the imbalance, working toward homeostasis. One way our bodies maintain homeostasis is through the endocannabinoid system, the ECS. The ECS produces cannabinoids from the inside (endo), which help the process of self-regulation. The ECS is in charge of regulating functions including eating, sleeping, stress, anxiety, happiness, etc and help us adapt to change. Additionally, healing and repair are also regulated by the ECS.
The ECS is a network of cell receptors (CB1 & CB2) throughout the body that are responsible for sending signals to the ECS when something is imbalanced. Found primarily in the brain and spinal cord are the CB1 receptors, whereas CB2 receptors are concentrated in immune cells in the peripheral nervous system. The combination of these two vital receptors creates a balance between our vital life functions, which all report to the ECS.
Because our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids, this process can sometimes be interrupted by environmental factors or anything that creates an imbalance in sleep, eating, etc. In order to assist the body’s production of endocannabinoids, it is helpful to consume cannabinoids from the external world to help restore balance.
Both the CB1 and CB2 receptors respond to different cannabinoids, making a full-spectrum hemp oil act like a set of keys for different locks. CB1 receptors bind with CBD, while CB2 receptors bind with THC. The combination of consuming both THC and CBD creates balance in the ECS where there is an imbalance or a lack of inherent production of endocannabinoids. THC and CBD work very well together, as mentioned earlier in balancing the psychoactive effect that can be experienced from consuming just THC alone.
Additionally, a feeling of happiness is sometimes reported from users of CBD. While this is not the same as the “high” feeling produced by THC, it is thought to be a naturally occurring effect from CBD. The bliss molecule, Anandamide (AEA), is thought to be supported and sustained by CBD because it blocks the breaking down of an enzyme called FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase). When this happens, AEA is not broken down and the sensation of joy and happiness can be sustained for a longer period of time from naturally produced AEA.
There is still a lot of research that needs to be done to fully understand how CBD interacts with all aspects of the body and our health, but this initial research is very promising.
Is Hemp Oil Legal?
This topic is a bit confusing with some misinformation floating around the internet. The short answer is, yes. Under the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp was permanently removed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. As noted, the cannabis plant cannot contain more than .03% THC and cannot be derived from marijuana, only hemp.
Additionally, while the 2018 Farm Bill has made hemp derived CBD legal, each state can still make its own laws—meaning it may still be illegal in your state.
Excerpts taken from Brookings.edu:
“Ultimately, the Farm Bill legalizes hemp, but it doesn’t create a system in which people can grow it as freely as they can grow tomatoes or basil. This will be a highly regulated crop in the United States for both personal and industrial production.”
In terms of using hemp for research to determine the full profile of benefits and how it interacts with the body in a positive way, this also saw support with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. What began in 2014 to support the research of the medical benefits of hemp was amplified in the 2018 Farm Bill:
“One of the goals of the 2014 Farm Bill was to generate and protect research into hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill continues this effort. Section 7605 re-extends the protections for hemp research and the conditions under which such research can and should be conducted.”
This is all great news for the hemp industry and for those looking to supplement their health with CBD.
Because this bill passed about a year ago, there is still only preliminary scientific research that has been done, mostly in animal studies, as to the health benefits of CBD. This is, however, an incredible start to something that has the potential to change the medical industry.
Consumer research is still highly recommended before purchasing hemp oil.
What Are the Health Benefits of Hemp Oil?
Medical research in human and animal studies is promising, as the functionality of the ECS is further explored and understood. There is still a long road ahead before actual claims can be made on the true benefits of hemp oil, however. While we all patiently wait, we can only rely on reports from users about what they’ve experienced directly from using hemp oil in their daily life.
Hemp oil can be used to support good health and supplement imbalances in the body. Recently, The Arthritis Foundation published a press release advocating for the use of CBD to treat and relieve direct and indirect symptoms of arthritis. This statement was made after conducting a survey with patients living with arthritis. While there isn’t any scientific research to back this up, there are over a thousand responses to the positive effects of hemp oil for arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation even created a hemp oil guide specifically for their community to navigate how to best incorporate CBD in their treatment plan.
With more and more efforts like this from reputable foundations that are advocates for the legalization and FDA approval of hemp oil, the future is looking bright!
Outside of scientific studies, users of hemp oil have reported experiencing benefits with:
- Anxiety disorders
- Pain relief
- Mood swings, and more
All we have to go off of now are case studies, surveys, and user reports, but that will surely change in the future.
The most important thing to do before you add hemp oil to your daily life is to consult with a medical professional who have experience with hemp oil. Everyone will react differently to hemp oil, and it is important to keep that in mind when considering adding it to you life. Reactions and effects will be as unique as your fingerprint is, and there is no way to determine the response without trying it first. For some, the effects may take up to an hour, while others can feel it more quickly.
CBD does interact with some medications negatively, which is why it is so important to consult a medical professional before taking any action.
Hemp Oil Dosage: How Much Hemp Oil Should You Take?
Again, the dosage for each person can vary widely and will be unique for everyone. The general rule of thumb is to start “low and slow.” Additionally, there are many different ways to take CBD that are not only in the form of hemp oil, the tincture.
Forms of CBD
Other forms of consuming CBD are in capsule form, edibles, inhalation, and topical solutions including salves, balms, and creams. Depending on your needs and preferred method, choosing the form of CBD is totally up to you.
Measurement of CBD
CBD is measured in milligrams (mg) and every product will have a different potency. Based on the mg that the form you choose to consume contains, you will be able to determine how much to take and how often. The easiest way to measure the dosage will be with a tincture, as you can determine how many drops contain a more exact mg dosage of CBD than, say, an edible. Too big of a bite could result in an unwanted effect.
Dosage of CBD
To start, take 20-25 mg of CBD once daily. While the effects of CBD are meant to be subtle, meaning you won’t have that “high” feeling or any sensations of euphoria, you will be able to feel a notable difference within an hour.
It is a good idea to keep a notebook on the dosage, effects, and time while you are getting started. This way you’ll be able to track your consumption and exactly how much you took and what you felt.
Maintain the starting dosage for at least one week consecutively before increasing the mg.
If you are targeting stress or anxiety, taking it early in the day is optimal. For insomnia, later in the day or after dinner is optimal.
What Type of Hemp Oil Should You Buy? Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil or CBD Isolate?
As with anything, there are different strokes for different folks. Generally, you’re going to get the widest profile of benefits from a full-spectrum hemp oil like what you can find from Functional Remedies. This is due to something called the entourage effect which refers to the combined effect of the phytocannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other beneficial compounds in the hemp plant working together in your body. As a result, Functional Remedies full-spectrum hemp oils foster enhanced therapeutic benefits that other isolate CBD oils can’t match.
CBD isolate will be a more affordable option that will not contain all the cannabinoids that a full-spectrum hemp oil does.
Where Can You Buy Hemp Oil?
With the boom of hemp oil, it is easy to find many different options online, however buy beware. There is a lot of misinformation online, including Amazon who is technically not legally able to sell anything but hemp oil for hemp seed oil.
Read the labels and look for ingredients you can understand. There will be carrier oils with the CBD (not always hemp oil) that can include MCT oil and coconut oil, among many others. Essentials are also added to amplify the flavor and benefits.
There are points you’ll want to look for that reputable and trustworthy brands will have stated explicitly on their website:
- List of ingredients
- Compliant with current Good Manufacturing Practices
- cGMP Certification from third party auditor
- Third party Certificate of Analysis (CoA)
- Extraction method
Additionally, this glossary of terms is incredibly helpful to further understand the vocabulary and language in association with hemp oil.
Here are a some from Functional Remedies that are vital to understand:
Cannabinoids – A class of naturally occurring chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors and include those produced in the body as well as by plants (primarily cannabis plants). Over a hundred different cannabinoids have been identified, but the most prevalent and well known include: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), and cannabinol (CBN).
EndoCannabinoid System (ECS) – A biological system composed primarily of endocannabinoids [the endogenous arachidonate-based lipids, anandamide (N-arachidonoylethanolamide, AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)] that bind to cannabinoid receptors, the enzymes that synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoids [such as fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) or monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL)], and the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, two G protein-coupled receptors that are located in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
Entourage EffectTM – The Entourage EffectTM refers to the combined effect of the cannabinoids, terpenes and other beneficial compounds in the plant working together in synergy. The combined effect of all the phytonutrients is greater than the sum of the individual effects.Only a full spectrum hemp oil can deliver a complete entourage effect.
Extraction Method – The process used to remove the beneficial compounds from the hemp plant. There are a variety of methods that can be employed, common methods utilize CO2, ethanol, propane, butane, or hexane. We infuse the oil directly with our whole plant material in a much more gentle process that reflects more of the true nature of the plant.
Full-Spectrum – A full-spectrum hemp extract describes a product with the entire array of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, plus the additional range of beneficial compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, etc. It utilizes a much larger part of the plant versus isolate products that single out only one compound of the cannabis plant, such as CBD.
MCT oil – MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglyceride, meaning it has 6-8 carbon molecules compared to Long Chain which have 10-12 carbon molecules and take longer to metabolize. Because the MCTs are easier to absorb they get used by the body for energy rather than stored as fat and have been touted as a superfood.
Single Origin – The term single origin is essentially as it sounds – it means that the hemp used to make the hemp oil comes from one place only, usually from a certain region or country. Functional Remedies only uses hemp grown on our own sustainable farm here in Colorado.
It’s Time to Try Hemp Oil!
With this wealth of information included in the ultimate guide to hemp oil, you are prepared to start your hemp oil journey. Experimenting with natural substances will be different for everyone, but every good experience starts with a high-quality product like what you can find at Functional Remedies.