CBD vs Hemp Oil Compared: How Are They Different?

Both hemp and CBD oil have grown immensely in their use in Australia due to the powerful health benefits each can offer. Yet, while they have many similar properties and are both sourced from the cannabis plant, they are two different types of products with distinct effects. Hemp oil won’t contain cannabinoids like CBD, meaning it has no therapeutic effects but has excellent nutritional value. In contrast, CBD oil contains cannabinoids, which are medicinal, meaning they can assist with health conditions like arthritis, anxiety or pain. Cannabinoids offer these potent health-promoting effects as they act on the body’s endocannabinoid system. In contrast, hemp oil can’t stimulate this system but can improve well-being through its high content of omega-3, GLA, vitamins and phytonutrients from hemp. Let’s look at the differences between hemp and CBD oil and learn how to distinguish them to avoid purchasing the wrong product.

What are Hemp and CBD Oil?

Hemp and CBD oil are products that are produced from the extract of the cannabis plant. They are both dark green liquids with a mild nutty flavour and smooth texture. In each case, they are derived from industrial hemp in Australia, which contains very low levels of the psychoactive THC cannabinoid. As such, neither will contain THC or get you ‘high’ from consuming it. However, they have a different composition of nutrients and chemicals because these oils are produced from other parts of the hemp plant.

Hemp itself consists of leaves, stalks, flowers or buds and seeds. Different parts of the plant contain distinct mixes of cannabinoids, phytonutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. For example, the plant’s buds and leaves are generally rich in cannabinoids like CBD or CBG. In contrast, hemp seeds don’t contain cannabinoids but are rich in healthy fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. 

Hemp Oil

The significant difference separating hemp from CBD oil is that it’s only extracted from hemp seeds. Usually, this is done through cold press extraction, enabling a high concentration of amino acids, antioxidants, and healthy fats to be retained. As mentioned, hemp seeds don’t contain any cannabinoids, which means hemp oil is a dietary product. It’s often also called ‘hemp seed oil’, reflecting that it was extracted from the plant’s seeds.


In contrast, CBD oil is primarily extracted from the leaves, stalks and buds of hemp. It can also contain hemp seed extract, referred to as a ‘whole plant’ extraction technique, which uses all parts of the hemp plant. Typically, CBD is combined with other plant-based carrier oils such as MCT, olive oil or coconut oil after being extracted to disperse it more evenly for consumption. This is known as a ‘CBD tincture’, which means the CBD is ‘carried’ by the carrier oil within a liquid solution.

What are the Differences Between Hemp and CBD Oil?

CBD and hemp oil diverge in a range of essential characteristics. This includes their cannabinoid concentrations, how each is used and made, their legal status, and the types of products available.

Cannabinoid Content

The most significant difference between hemp and CBD oil is their cannabinoid content. Cannabinoids are naturally produced, bioactive and therapeutic compounds created by the cannabis plant. Many, such as CBD or CBG, have therapeutic applications like lowering anxiety or helping with pain. Hemp oil doesn’t contain any cannabinoids, making it different from CBD oil, which does. That’s because hemp oil is created from hemp seeds, which are free of cannabinoids. Trace cannabinoids may still be present in hemp oil, but they will be less than 0.1% concentration and won’t be perceptible. 

When CBD oil is produced, it is made from parts of the hemp plant with high cannabinoid concentrations, such as the plant’s buds. During its production, these cannabinoids are retained. Full-spectrum CBD oil, for example, contains many cannabinoids like MEB, CBN, CBDA, CBG, and more. Each of these has its unique health benefits. Because CBD oil is therapeutically potent and has more powerful abilities to promote well-being than hemp oil, it’s usually more expensive. Over time, it’s become more prevalent in Australia, reflecting a growing desire to bolster their health through natural, plant-based means.

How They’re Used

Hemp oil and CBD oil are used for different purposes. These distinct usage purposes reflect the differences in the nutrients, cannabinoids and phytocompounds found in each product type. 

Hemp oil is used mainly for dietary purposes. It’s typically not consumed by itself but added to smoothies, salads, or other dishes to increase nutritional value. The product contains rich, long-chain healthy fats and natural plant-derived nutrients. Many of these are exceptionally beneficial for cardiovascular and immune health. For example, hemp oil contains high concentrations of ALA GLA, plus omega-3 and 6. These exceptionally antioxidative fatty acids help protect the cardiovascular system and support brain health.

Similarly, it contains high levels of vitamins E and B, which offer metabolic benefits. Like many other plant-based oils, hemp oil is often used for cooking and frying. Hemp seed oil is similar to other healthy plant oil products. You can use it as a healthier substitute for seed oils such as canola or rapeseed.

This differs from CBD oil, which isn’t used for culinary purposes. People take it for its therapeutic benefits as a natural treatment of conditions like arthritis, anxiety, IBS, pain, insomnia and more. It is also frequently used as an everyday holistic well-being aid, improving sleep, aiding recovery, supporting mental energy, and lowering day-to-day stress. Unlike hemp oil, CBD products can activate the body’s endocannabinoid system. In doing so, they stimulate the production of anti-inflammatory and pain-blocking endocannabinoids like anandamide. Endocannabinoids are primarily responsible for the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids like CBD. They’re immensely beneficial and robust, providing a swathe of helpful effects across the body.

How They’re Made

Hemp and CBD oil are produced via differing extraction and production techniques. Hemp oil is mainly created using cold press extraction. In contrast, CBD oil is made via CO2 or solvent extraction. These techniques are very different. 

Cold pressing is used for hemp oil to pull pure hemp seed extract from the plant’s seeds. During this process, no external heat or solvents are used. The hemp seed extract is separated and distilled in a high-pressure mixing chamber. Under this pressure, its nutritious natural oils are separated. This creates a pure oil that is clear, green and nutty in flavour.

CBD oil, on the other hand, is pulled from the hemp plant using solvents or CO2. With solvent extraction, ethanol or other solvent chemicals dissolve cannabinoids out of the extracted plant matter. Alternatively, CO2 gas can be used as an extraction medium via supercritical extraction. This method employs supercritical pressure and heat in multiple extraction chambers to distil a pure CBD extract. Gas-based extraction methods produce more pure end products, as there is no risk of contamination from solvents like ethanol. They also use high pressure and heat during refinement, eliminating bacteria and impurities and resulting in greater potency.

Flavour and Appearance

A key difference between hemp and CBD oil is their flavour and colour. Hemp oil is typically nutty, light green, and clear. It looks like most other vegetable oils, like grape seed oil, but with a green tinge. 

CBD oil, on the other hand, can vary in how it tastes and looks. It is usually darker and will often contain plant matter. This is particularly true with full-spectrum CBD oil because it is less refined. Isolate CBD oils are generally clear and appear more similar to hemp oil. CBD oil is usually more earthy in flavour than hemp oil and can have a musk to its taste. Usually, it is flavoured with vanilla or peppermint to mask this often unpalatable flavour. Hemp oil products are rarely flavoured.

Product Types

Aside from oil, CBD can be taken through various other product types. It can be infused into many foods, for instance, gummies, edibles, or lollies. Frequently, CBD is infused into creams or gels so it can be applied to the skin as a soothing agent for skin or arthritis conditions. You can even find it in sublinguals, tablets, sprays or drinks. As such, it’s much more flexible and adaptable to your preferences. Hemp oil is usually only found in an oil. You might also find other related hemp seed products like hemp protein or hemp seed powder, but these are not intended for use similar to CBD.

Legality in Australia

Hemp oil can be bought in any supermarket, health food store, or vegan shop. It’s much less popular for cooking than comparable vegetable oils like olive oil, making it more expensive. You can also buy it online in Australia. There aren’t any restrictions on purchasing hemp oil from hemp seeds as long as it contains no cannabinoids.

CBD oil is restricted from purchase in Australia. You’ll need to get a hold of a doctor’s prescription if you are looking for high-strength CBD products. For low-strength CBD products, you can purchase these over the counter in pharmacies after laws in Australia were changed in 2021. Low-dose CBD is defined as having 150mg of CBD per day dosage quantity or less. 

Many CBD products can also be purchased online from various CBD shops, although this is more risky as it’s less regulated. Product quality can be an issue. Many overseas providers also have less stringent quality control or will offer fake products frequently. In addition, they can be mislabelled, not contain CBD, or be at risk of containing contaminants like pesticides. 

CBD was fully legalised in Australia as it is non-psychoactive but beneficial for conditions like arthritis or anxiety. Today, CBD is offering a natural alternative to pharmaceutical medicines for inflammation and pain. It is superior in many ways due to being less impactful on the liver and non-addictive. It also has far fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals, especially when compared to their use over long periods.

Differences in Benefits of Hemp vs. CBD Oil

CBD has more significant health benefits and therapeutic effects than hemp oil because of its activity via cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Unlike hemp oil, it activates the endocannabinoid system, which has anxiolytic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and homeostatic effects. 

It can correspondingly aid with many health conditions. These include physical ailments such as arthritis, inflammation, blood pressure, and pain. Additionally, its action on the brain’s CB1 receptors, GABA and serotonin receptors means it can help combat mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, chronic stress and insomnia. Hemp oil’s benefits are more limited to dietary, skin and antioxidative value.


Some of the top benefits of CBD include the ability to lower anxiety, calm inflammation and protect neurons in the brain.

Stress Relief

CBD can help regulate and calm the nervous system, helping individuals relax while avoiding chronic stress. This is particularly useful for those who have stress-related insomnia. Many use it to help with relaxing into sleep. It does this by calming autonomic arousal in the limbic system due to overactive stress responses. CBD modulates cannabinoid receptors in the hypothalamus, helping to normalise stress signalling and alleviating its detrimental symptoms. Most who start using CBD note that it aids with multiple other health areas as a result of reduced stress. For example, many see related improvements in their anxiety symptoms, insomnia or blood pressure.

Anxiety Reduction

Research is showing that CBD can assist or mitigate the symptoms of anxiety and even depression in some instances. Its efficacy in treating anxiety has been demonstrated in many studies. For example, a 12-week clinical trial in Australia showed CBD reduced anxiety symptoms by 50% amongst a group of 31 adults suffering from anxiety disorders. Dosages in this study were high at 300-800mg of CBD per day. Many other trials are ongoing to understand the efficacy of differing dosage strengths for anxiety mitigation. Through endocannabinoids like anandamide, CBD confers natural anxiolytic benefits. It combats symptoms of anxiety in the brain and central nervous system. Hemp oil is not known to have similar properties.

Reduced Inflammation & Pain

CBD is excellent at mitigating inflammation. This is due to the ability of endocannabinoids to modulate immune system activity. Most inflammation is caused by inflammatory agents like cytokines and prostaglandins, which the immune system produces. By reducing the production of these agents, cannabinoids like CBD help to minimise inflammation in the body. This is excellent in helping with many chronic inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, Alzheimer’s and atherosclerosis. 

These conditions occur from chronic inflammation, where the body’s immune system is dysregulated and attacks its healthy tissue. Over time, it causes disease from the degradation of cells. CBD has been shown through scientific studies to reduce symptoms of inflammatory conditions like arthritis and colitis. Not only does it assist with the inflammation itself through the endocannabinoid system, but it also provides analgesic effects by limiting the perception of pain. CB2 receptors in the ECS can modulate the nervous system’s pain-signalling pathways. Doing so lowers our perception of pain, which helps block uncomfortable aches or pains from arthritis.

Neuroprotective Benefits 

Cannabinoids like CBD lower neuroinflammation and help to protect neurons. This is different to hemp oil, which can’t provide neuroprotective effects. CBD does this through endocannabinoid activity in the brain, alongside direct modulation of neurotransmitter receptors such as GABA, glycine and serotonin. For example, it is well known to prevent excitatory activity in neurons, which occurs with epilepsy disorders. Correspondingly, CBD can reduce the frequency, length, and impact of seizures in epilepsy patients. This has been clinically proven amongst both adults and children in many trials. 

For example, a 2020 study examined the capacity of CBD to reduce seizures in children. One hundred fifty children participated in the trial, being split into placebo and test groups. Those dosed with CBD had an 84% reduction in seizure frequency. 11% of the group tested saw a complete cessation of seizures, which was astonishing. The abilities of CBD to act on serotonin and GABA receptors are additionally thought to explain many of its abilities to enhance mood, aid with concentration, and support better sleep. But while CBD has neurological effects, it doesn’t stimulate a ‘high’ or cause intoxication like THC. As such, it’s much safer to use amongst those with mental conditions who are seeking to improve mental well-being without side effect risks.

Counteracting Psoriasis & Eczema 

Skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema can be mitigated or even resolved in some cases through the use of CBD oil. It helps calm the inflammatory response in the skin to prevent the dryness, irritation, and redness these conditions cause. Within the skin, an abundance of CB2 cannabinoid receptors can be found. Once activated by CBD, these receptors are responsible for restoring balance to the skin’s immune response and blocking inflammation from an overactive response to irritants. In addition, endocannabinoids help to balance hormone and sebum levels to promote complexion. CBD creams or oil can be applied to the hair, skin, and lips to help with dryness and improve skin moisture. 

Hemp Oil

While it isn’t as potent as CBD oil, hemp oil can provide some distinct benefits of its own, which are worth exploring. Most of these benefits centre on its high-value nutritional content and robust nutrients or antioxidants that promote metabolic health.

Nutrition Benefits

Hemp oil offers substantial dietary benefits because of its high nutrient density. These nutrients include vitamin E, minerals like magnesium and zinc, omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, and alpha and gamma-linolenic acids. Together, these make hemp oil excellent for immunity, heart and brain health, metabolic well-being, and gut health. It has a uniquely healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6, which makes it superior in aiding cardiovascular function versus comparable plant-based oils such as rice bran oil. Many use hemp oil as an addition to salads or snacks for added nutrients, plus healthy fats during the day.

Skin and Hair Nourishment

Due to its rich, healthy fat content, hemp oil has fantastic benefits for the hair and skin. Its polyunsaturated fatty acids support the natural sebaceous balance of your skin and prevent the overproduction of sebum. It can be used as a natural moisturizer for this reason. Polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 and 6, GLA, and ALA are also antioxidative. This means they help to defend cells from damage, preventing aging and supporting immune function. When applied to the skin, hemp oil can bolster the skin’s defences against damage, keeping it supple and youthful. Antioxidants also assist in preventing inflammation and counteract symptoms of inflammation like eczema. They’re a natural way to keep the skin or hair healthy proactively.

Antioxidative Effects

Hemp oil contains high levels of naturally occurring antioxidants, which the hemp plant produces. Antioxidants like beta-carotene reduce the inflammation caused by oxidative stress from pollution, sun exposure, and chemicals that can damage the cells. When this occurs, it accelerates aging plus reduces the body’s ability to repair itself. Beta-carotene and other antioxidants help reverse this damage, reducing inflammation. However, antioxidants are less potent at reducing inflammation than cannabinoids like CBG or CBD as they don’t directly influence immune system activity. 

Nutrient Content

An area where hemp oil is superior to CBD oil is its natural nutrient content. Hemp seeds contain the highest nutrient content of any part of a plant. That’s because the biological purpose of a plant’s seed is to feed young and developing plants into germination. They contain exceptionally high levels of amino acids, essential fatty acids like omega three and medium-chain triglycerides. In addition, they contain vitamins like E and B, plant fibre and protein. Hemp oil has trace minerals like zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium, which your nervous system needs to function. Minerals can also aid in lowering stress, boosting mood and enhancing mental energy.

How to Tell CBD and Hemp Oil Apart

A few key factors will help you distinguish between hemp and CBD oil to avoid purchasing the wrong item and wasting money. This can be harder than it seems. Both products are often labelled organic, GMO-free, pesticide-free, and terpene-rich. Confusingly, many CBD retailers also label their products as hemp oil or hemp extract.

Product Labelling & Ingredient List

Checking a product’s label and ingredients will help you quickly identify CBD or hemp oil. Hemp oil does not list cannabinoids like CBD on its ingredients or nutrition information. More often, it will mention nutrients like omega-3, GLA, and other healthy fats. CBD products, on the other hand, will always list what cannabinoids they contain, plus their concentrations on product labels. Always check the ingredient list of what you’re purchasing to understand its contents and avoid mispurchasing. The label may also mention compounds like terpenes for CBD products, which hemp oil won’t contain.

CBD products should list their cannabinoid concentrations in milligrams on the product’s analysis certificate from a lab. This is different to hemp oil, which isn’t lab-tested like CBD oil. A certificate of analysis will offer a cannabinoid content breakdown and describe the purity of the product. You can often find this report on the provider’s website, packaged with the product, or sometimes in the store where it’s sold. As hemp oil contains no cannabinoids, it won’t come with a similar lab analysis.


Another way to tell CBD oil and hemp oil apart is their price. CBD products are far more expensive than hemp oil. That’s because CBD oil is more difficult to produce, is more regulated, has a lower supply in Australia and has a much higher therapeutic value. You can typically expect to pay more than $100 per bottle to buy good CBD oil in Australia. Hemp oil, in comparison, will usually be less than $40 on average for an equivalent bottle of cold-press. A price tag above $100 will indicate that you’re potentially buying CBD instead of hemp oil. If you see a very cheap CBD oil, you should avoid it. It will likely be of low quality, potentially contaminated, and may not even contain CBD. Ensure you confirm your product is genuine by seeking a certificate of analysis. Many fake products are sold as CBD oil and have no cannabinoids.


What is the difference between Hemp Oil and CBD Oil in Australia?

Also known as Hemp Seed Oil, Hemp Oil is extracted from the Hemp plant’s seeds. It contains negligible amounts of CBD or THC and is primarily valued for its nutritional content, including Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp Oil is commonly used in cooking and skincare products.
In contrast, CBD Oil is extracted from the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the Hemp plant. It contains cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound with several valuable therapeutic effects, such as the ability to mitigate anxiety and arthritis symptoms. CBD oil in Australia has specific restrictions on the types of products available and where they can be purchased. This differs from hemp oil, which is unrestricted and available in most supermarkets or health food stores.

Are CBD and Hemp the same thing?

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plants cultivated for industrial purposes. Hemp contains very low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and frequently is bred to produce high levels of CBD. Like THC, CBD is a cannabinoid from the hemp plant but is not interchangeable with hemp, which refers to the plant itself. CBD denotes the compound extracted from the plant.

Which is stronger: CBD or Hemp oil?

Hemp oil does not contain cannabinoids like CBD, so its strength is not measured in the same way as CBD oil. It is produced from hemp seeds and only used for nutritional purposes, meaning it is not as strong as CBD, which has therapeutic properties. CBD strength is usually expressed in milligrams (mg), which refers to the total weight of pure CBD in a product. Low-strength CBD products in Australia contain 150mg of CBD or less per day, while high-strength products have 300mg or more.

Is hemp oil better than CBD for Anxiety?

Hemp oil doesn’t offer anxiolytic effects as it contains no cannabinoids, which act on the endocannabinoid system to calm the mind. This is different to CBD oil, which has clinically proven anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. CBD products are much more effective for anxiety and related issues such as chronic stress or insomnia. It works by downregulating the stress response through cannabinoid receptors in the brain’s hypothalamus, which regulates this response. Many report feeling calmer and finding anxiety more manageable through the use of CBD.

Do Hemp and CBD oil have the same effects?

Hemp oil is primarily valued for its nutritional content and does not have the same effects as CBD. It lacks the cannabinoids found in the flowers, leaves, and stalks of the hemp plant, where CBD is concentrated. That’s due to hemp oil being produced only from hemp seeds, which have no cannabinoid content. They are instead high in many nutrients like omega-3, vitamin E, antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium.
CBD’s effects occur through the endocannabinoid system in the body, which modulates many neurological and physiological processes. It is more powerful and can help with relaxation, stress reduction, anxiety relief, pain mitigation and inflammation symptoms. Most use it for particular conditions like arthritis or psoriasis, but it can equally be taken as a daily product for overall health. In particular, CBD excels at aiding everyday users with keeping their stress at bay while enhancing recovery factors such as sleep, which are critical for well-being.

Is Hemp 100% CBD?

No, hemp is not 100% CBD. Hemp is a plant that contains various compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes, antioxidants, nutrients and other phytochemicals. While hemp can be high in CBD, it also frequently contains other cannabinoids such as CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol), and trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The exact composition can vary based on factors like the specific Hemp strain and cultivation methods.


It’s important to understand that Hemp and CBD oil are not the same thing, even though they both come from the same plant. They differ in production methods, appearance, flavour, usage, benefits, product types, nutrients and cannabinoid content. Hemp oil is not a therapeutic product and does not contain CBD or other cannabinoids. It is extracted from hemp seeds and is only used for dietary purposes. In contrast, CBD oil is produced from other parts of the hemp plant and undergoes a different refinement process to retain cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are therapeutic and can help with conditions such as arthritis, anxiety, and depression, which is why CBD oil is considered therapeutic. To differentiate between the two products, you can look at their product labels, prices, and whether a lab test result is offered with each.