CBD Oil Made from Hemp vs. Cannabis: What’s the Difference?

On the molecular level, CBD is the same compound regardless of whether it’s found in high-THC or low-THC cannabis plants. There are, however, several differences between CBD products depending on where the CBD is sourced from.

Cannabinoid Content

Most CBD oils on the market are full-spectrum extracts. This means they contain not only CBD but also a range of other cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis plants.

The main difference between CBD oil from hemp and cannabis is the ratio between THC and CBD. Hemp-derived CBD oil usually contains high concentrations of CBD, but its THC content doesn’t exceed the legal 0.3% limit.

While cannabis-derived oil is sourced from selectively bred high-CBD strains, it also comes with significant amounts of THC, ranging between 5% and 30%. In fact, some high-CBD flowers can have equal levels of THC and CBD.

This brings us to another issue regarding the differences between CBD oil made from hemp and cannabis:


All hemp-derived products are legal in the United States. This applies to both federal and state laws. The current legal status of hemp is defined by the 2018 Farm Bill, under which companies can legally grow, manufacture, possess, and sell CBD hemp products. Transportation across state borders is legal too.

With cannabis CBD oil, it’s a different story. US states have the right to introduce their own cannabis laws. A total of 47 states have some kind of medical cannabis programs, while 10 states (plus Washington D.C.) have legalized cannabis for medical AND recreational use.

But on the federal level, cannabis remains an illicit substance and its cultivation, possession, sales, and transportation are considered a federal offense. This means that even if you’re caught transporting cannabis CBD oil between two states where cannabis is legal, you can be prosecuted for drug trafficking — because that’s what it is in the eyes of the federal government.

Fortunately, federal agencies have already provided guidelines for prosecutors to stop enforcing these laws against medical cannabis patients and non-medical users possessing small amounts of cannabis oils for personal use.

Effect Profiles

Due to its low THC content, hemp-derived CBD oil has no intoxicating effects on the user. In other words, you won’t get high off of CBD hemp products. Instead, you may feel relaxed, more alert, free of physical and mental discomfort, and notice positive changes in your overall well-being thanks to how CBD works in the endocannabinoid system.

CBD oil from cannabis can get the user high, although the psychoactive effects of such products are less intense since CBD counteracts THC’s intoxicating properties. In addition, cannabis-derived CBD oil acts as a strong analgesic, relaxant, and anti-depressant, and can tackle a wide range of chronic, often treatment-resistant, conditions.


Full-spectrum CBD hemp oils are labeled as dietary supplements and can be found among other over-the-counter products in pharmacies, health stores, headshops, and specialty stores across the country.

The main purpose of using CBD hemp oil is to restore the chemical balance in the body by stimulating the human endocannabinoid system and enhance the overall quality of one’s life.

As a company selling CBD products, we’re not allowed to make medical claims about CBD hemp oil, but we strongly encourage you to do your own research in that matter.

As for cannabis-derived CBD oils, you can find them only in medical or recreational dispensaries depending on the state you live in.

Should I Buy CBD From Hemp or Cannabis?

It depends on the intended use. As we said, CBD is CBD. The human body doesn’t care where this cannabinoid is sourced from, but when it comes to CBD oil, it’s not just about cannabidiol; there are other cannabinoids to take into account as well as terpenes and other phytochemicals.

According to studies conducted by experts in the cannabinoid field, all constituents in cannabis work synergistically to produce a unique set of effects in each cannabis strain. These effects are stronger than those produced by each cannabinoid alone. This phenomenon is commonly known as the entourage effect. The ratio between THC, the addition of terpenes, and the number of the so-called minor cannabinoids all determine the way we react to cannabis. Some researchers claim that equal ratios of CBD to THC turn out to be the most effective but even a 20:1 ratio of CBD to THC can produce significantly stronger therapeutic effects.

If you’re looking for the benefits of THC but don’t want to get as high as from high-THC, low-CBD strains, you may want to try the cannabis-derived CBD oil (assuming you live in a state with a legal medical or recreational cannabis market). If you’re looking for a federally-legal product that will still offer the full spectrum of cannabinoids — with only trace amounts of THC — then the hemp-derived CBD oil is the way to go.


Now that you understand that CBD oil made from hemp and cannabis are two different products, you can make a well-informed decision upon your next CBD purchase.  You can also educate your curious friends about the specific differences between the two sources of cannabidiol. What CBD oil do you use? Is it CBD oil from hemp or cannabis? Or maybe both?  Drop us a line.

Image by Luisella Planeta Leoni from Pixabay

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Disclaimer: The statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficiency of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research.  These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from healthcare practitioners.  Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any products.  The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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