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Hemp Seed Oil vs Hemp Oil vs CBD Oil

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The terms hemp oil, hemp seed oil and CBD oil confuse a lot of people, and it’s not surprising.

They are all derived from the cannabis plant, but the extraction process and end product are very different. In this article, we will go into a bit more depth on the differences between the oil types, the alleged benefits and their accessibility in the Australian market.

Hemp and Marijuana?

Hemp vs Marijuana

Before we dive into hemp oil, we should first quickly clarify the differences between hemp and marijuana. In short, both hemp and marijuana are terms used to classify certain cannabis varieties or characteristics.

In Australia, “Hemp” is used to define cannabis varieties which have a THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content of 0.35% or less (percentage regulation may vary by State). THC is another cannabinoid similar to CBD - however, THC contains psychoactive properties, and is the main culprit behind the high associated with cannabis use.

Due to hemp's low THC content, it is often used for industrial purposes such as food, rope and fibre. CBD content in hemp varieties may vary, and higher CBD strains are sometimes used as a part of the extraction process to produce CBD products.

Marijuana”, on the other hand, is the term used to classify cannabis varieties which normally contain a higher THC content. Hence the term marijuana is commonly associated with recreational users who may want to experience psychoactive effects.

Hemp Oil vs Hemp Seed Oil

"Hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, which does not contain cannabinoids such as CBD. "

Hemp oil refers to a product extracted from the flower and leaves of the hemp plant, isolating the CBD content. Hemp seed oil is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant, which does not contain cannabinoids such as CBD.

The main cause of confusion is when hemp oil is sometimes used to refer to hemp seed oil. We will go into a bit more detail on the differences between hemp oil and hemp seed oil in the sections below.

Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp seed oil is produced by cold-pressing the seeds from the hemp plant to extract the oil. The oil extracted from hemp seeds are high in antioxidants, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, but contains virtually none or only tiny traces of cannabinoids. As such, hemp seed oil does not induce any psychoactive effects and are legally accessible in Australia.

Hemp seed oil is often consumed or used as a part of cooking for its nutritional value. Users can also apply hemp seed oil directly onto the skin or as a hair conditioner.

The Legality of Hemp Seed Oil in Australia

Hemp seed oil production is regulated in Australia and must not contain over 50mg/kg of cannabinoids such as CBD or THC. Products containing over the regulated amount of cannabinoids are considered scheduled drugs in Australia. These ‘scheduled drugs’ are most commonly known as THC or CBD oils in the Australian market.

There are some companies marketing ‘hemp seed oil’ which contain CBD. These are either due to mislabeling, mixed with CBD oil or have CBD isolates added as a part of the production process.

Hemp Oil vs CBD oil

The term ‘hemp oil’ is also sometimes used to refer to CBD oils. When the hemp flowers and leaves are used in the processing of oils, cannabinoids are also extracted. As the hemp plant contains low traces of THC and has a high CBD content, it is commonly used for 99% CBD isolate oils.

Apart from CBD isolate oils, there are also broad-spectrum and full-spectrum CBD oils. Broad and full-spectrum CBD oil products contain other cannabinoids along with CBD. The only difference is full-spectrum oils will include THC and broad-spectrum do not. Generally speaking, full and broad spectrum oils are extracted from the marijuana plant, which produces higher amounts of THC and other cannabinoids. Therefore, not all CBD oils are hemp oils or made from the extracts of the hemp plant.

In short, hemp oil can only be used interchangeably with CBD oil when referring to products extracted from the hemp plant such as CBD isolate oil.


CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the many cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant. Along with CBD and THC, there are over 100 cannabinoids which have a myriad of alleged therapeutic effects on the human body.

CBD is popular amongst medicinal patients due to CBD’s non-intoxicating nature. THC, on the other hand, has psychoactive properties but can also be effective in supporting a range of medical conditions.

The different types of CBD oils on the Australian market can cater to different users. Some prefer the clear-headed effect of CBD isolates, whilst other patients may be happy with a slight psychoactive effect of THC in full-spectrum products.

The most common conditions supported by CBD include but not limited to - anxiety, depression, PTSD, seizures, epilepsy, pain, inflammation and nausea.

CBD oils are usually offered in a tincture form, taken by applying a few drops under the tongue. The effects are quickly felt by patients as CBD is absorbed by the blood vessels in the mouth.

Check out our Complete guide to CBD oil in Australia for more in-depth information background and benefits of CBD oil.

CBD Oil in Australia

The Legality of CBD Oil in Australia

Cannabinoids such as CBD and THC are currently scheduled drugs in Australia. Patients wanting access to CBD oils will require a prescription from a medical practitioner and approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

You can also find out more on the process for accessing CBD oil & Medical Marijuana in Australia.

How to Distinguish Hemp Seed Oil From CBD Oil

If you are unsure whether a product is Hemp seed oil or CBD oil, the first point of call would be to check the labels. If the ingredients are showing cannabinoids such as CBD or THC, it is technically not a hemp seed product, but a product of the cannabis flower and leaves. As mentioned earlier in this article, hemp seed oil products should contain virtually no traces of cannabinoids.

If you are specifically looking for the benefits of CBD oil, the product should ideally be from a reputable company. Ask your doctor or specialist clinic for recommendations and always check for lab tested results of the CBD content.

Jason Lu | BudHerd

Jason Lu | BudHerd

Jason is one of the lead editors and founder of BudHerd. He spends his days writing, designing, developing and researching all things cannabis. Jason is passionate about destigmatising and educating Australians on the therapeutic and recreational values of cannabis.
The statements made on this website are for information and educational purposes. BudHerd and its affiliates are not recommending anyone to use or cultivate cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes. Please consult with your doctor before using medicinal cannabis to learn about the associated negative side effects. Medicinal cannabis is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia and more details about cannabis as a scheduled drug can be found on their website.