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

Updated September 6th, 2020

Cannabidiol (or CBD) is making quite the hype around the world. However, there has been a lot of confusion regarding the differences between hemp oil and cannabis oil. Since both oils are extracted from similar plant varieties, they are often mistaken for each other. In the article, we discuss the primary differences and similarities between hemp oil and cannabis oil.

Hemp Oil

Hemp oil is extracted from the hemp plant, which belongs to the same family as cannabis (marijuana). Hemp oil is used as an ingredient in a variety of products, both in a refined and unrefined form. Refined hemp oil is clear in color and used in shampoos, soaps, and other body care products. Alternatively, unrefined hemp oil is light to dark green in color and is used for fuels, inks, and lubricants.

While hemp oil has a low cannabinoid content (less than 0.3% THC by dry weight), it remains useful for the following reasons: 

  • It can be used as a moisturizing oil.
  • It can be used instead of olive oil when you are cooking something.
  • Its nutty flavor may not be suitable for all foods, but it works just right for salad dishes.
  • It acts as a natural fuel and is a suitable substitute for petroleum because it causes less harm to the environment.
  • It is used as a non-toxic substance in discomfortts, instead of the harmful emissions that petroleum-based give off.
  • Has some antioxidant properties.

Cannabis Oil (Hash Oil)

Cannabis oil (hash oil or hashish oil) is illegal in most parts of the world because it is extracted from the cannabis plant. However, many countries are gradually starting to accept cannabis due to a variety of highly promising studies.

The amount of THC present in cannabis oil is significantly more compared to hemp oil – averaging anywhere from 10 to 30%. 

Two Types of the Same Plant

The two oils get their names from the plants that they are derived from – cannabis oil from cannabis and hemp oil from hemp. It is important to remember that cannabis and hemp are not two different variants of the same plant species. Cannabis oil and hemp oil vary in the following ways:


The hemp plant is massive, with stalks up to fifteen feet high. It is highly fibrous and grown with a focus on stalk and stem development. The cannabis plant, on the other hand, has a more bush-like appearance with a higher number of leaves and buds growing outward. Cannabis is also shorter in stature and requires a decent amount of space to flourish


Cannabinoids are the active chemical compounds present within both cannabis and hemp. While there is a wide variety of different cannabinoids, extensive research is conducted only on two of them – THC and CBD. Cannabis has 10-30% of THC, while hemp has less than 2% THC by dry weight. The percentage of CBD differs in both hemp and cannabis.


Joshua Willard (Freelance CBD Content Writer/Editor)

FDA Disclosure:

These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration (FDA). These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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