By Emily Ledger
Over the last few years, CBD has taken the wellness market by storm, cropping up in all kinds of products. CBD oil has become a new favourite among consumers looking to take advantage of the potential benefits of the cannabis plant. However, another cannabis product, aside from CBD oil, which has claimed its share of the market for decades is hemp oil – so, what is the difference between the two products?
What Plant Does CBD Oil and Hemp Oil Come From?
CBD oil and hemp oil are similar in a number of ways. Although the products have different names, they are largely derived from the same plant – hemp. Hemp is the name given to Cannabis Sativa plants with low concentrations of the psychoactive compound THC. In the UK, cannabis plants must not exceed a THC concentration of 0.2% in order to be classed as hemp and, therefore, be legal.
The THC limit differs from country to country throughout Europe and the rest of the world. For example, in the USA, the limit is set at 0.3% whereas in Switzerland the limit is higher, at 1% THC.
Despite being sourced from the same plant, the two products contain significantly different levels of the cannabinoid that everyone’s after – CBD. This all comes down to the part of the plant that is used in production.
How can the part of the plant influence the end product?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Yet, the compound is found in different concentrations in different parts of the plant. The leaves and flowers of the hemp plant contain the highest amounts of cannabinoids, making them valuable in the extraction of CBD oil.
On the other hand, the seeds of the plant contain very little to no CBD. However, as the seeds still contain many other useful substances, they are reserved for the production of hemp oil – often known as hemp seed oil.
Although hemp oil doesn’t contain a significant amount of CBD, it still may have benefits that are more generally associated with the hemp plant. Further, the seed oil can be used as a carrier oil for CBD extracts from other parts of the plant.
CBD Extracts in the UK
While CBD may offer an opportunity for higher revenue for hemp growers, current UK legislation makes it difficult to utilise this opportunity. Under current UK law, hemp farmers are not permitted to harvest the flowers and leaves of the plants, where the cannabinoid is found at its highest concentrations.
This means that the majority of CBD oil is actually imported from other countries, from Europe to as far away as China and the USA. Other arts of the plant, however, are often used for the production of other things, such as construction materials, bioplastics, and clothing.