With marijuana usage rising as more U.S. states legalize the controversial but commercially available herb, a cottage industry has developed around the use of marijuana with various claims of healthy attributes on multiple medical fronts.
Officially, marijuana is deemed as Schedule I herbal substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning the drug offers "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," according to the federal government. That categorization was adjusted after the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which included a provision that separated hemp from marijuana, as noted in the Controlled Subject Act.
Millions of users and a growing number of health specialists disagree with any negative tone, noting that marijuana (Cannabis) has health-improving components that deserve a closer look by the medical community.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Extracts can also be made from the cannabis plant."
Virtually all of the health care products derived from the cannabis plant centers around two primary components - CBD (Cannabidiol) oil and hemp oil. Each is used and sold as natural health remedies and, even as they share certain characteristics, they have some important differences, too.
CBD Oil. vs. Hemp Oil
Let's take a closer look at hemp oil and CBD oil and see how they compare - and how they differ.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant and is known scientifically as cannabidiol. CBD is one of 120 known chemical compounds embedded in marijuana plants and differs from hemp in that it contains Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis.
THC levels vary from plant to plant and CBD is largely considered by scientists not to be psychoactive on its own, but foes contain health-improving components that aid individuals suffering from a wide array of medical issues, including high blood pressure, anxiety, and trouble sleeping, among other maladies.
What health care providers want from CBD is the oil - the main component in the growing number of CBD-based alternative health care products on the marketplace.
CBD oil is extracted from the cannabis plant and then mixed with other herbs and oils to create the CBD oils most often seen in health care products and sold to the public, with varying degrees of validation from health care professionals.
What Is Hemp Oil?
Hemp oil is also derived from Cannabis sativa, which contains the chemical element trans-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis component that gives marijuana its psychosomatic kick. Hemp oil is extracted from the leaves, petals and seeds from a hemp plant.
Yet Cannabis sativa plants have different levels of THC and that is a major factor in defining hemp oil versus CBD oil. Basically, any cannabis sativa plant that contains more than 0.3% of THC is considered to be marijuana. Anything less than 0.3% THC is considered hemp.
Thus even though Cannabis sativa and hemp a derived from the very same plant species, they are different based on the levels of THC embedded in the plant.
What both CBD oil and hemp oil do have in common is neither is linked to THC and therefore won't provide that psychological "high" so often attributed to THC.
Instead, the human body manages cannabinoids through its endocannabinoid system, also known as ECS, which can process CBD and hemp oil through the body and is managed by the human brain, which uses cannabinoids to regulate the body's physiological reactions to the herb, and help better manage key human elements like eating, sleeping, dealing with pains and illnesses, and improving mood.
Structurally, the primary variance between hemp oil and CBD oil is that hemp oil can only be extracted from a hemp plant. That's not the case with CBD oil, which can be extracted from a variety of plants, including hemp plants, marijuana plants, and select other plants, as well.
CBD Oil and Hemp Oil Potential Uses
CBD oil and hemp oil do share similar chemical attributes and are touted as health care solutions to various ailments. CBD oil and hemp oil are often used as a natural supplement to improve human health in the following areas:
Anxiety. CBD oil is known as a relaxant, with little or no side effects with regular usage.
Depression. According to a number of clinical studies, CBD seems to positively impact serotonin receptors in the human brain, which improves a person's emotional state and supports better emotional well-being. That's a helpful attribute for anyone suffering from depression.
Pain relief. Some health experts say that CBD oil can help alleviate chronic pain, primarily by curbing inflammation that can trigger waves of pain on the human body. The oil can also promote better sleep, which can, in turn, fight back against sleep interruption for people experiencing chronic pains, and help cure insomnia in the process.
Skin care. CBD oil is also known to improve a variety of human skin issues, including acne, wrinkles, brown spots. CBD has the anti-inflammatory ingredients to help clear up and prevent acne, while it also has the anti-oxidants to curb aging skin.
Blood pressure. Scientists say that CBD can also aid the lowering of blood pressure in humans, mainly by reducing the body's systolic pressure in the arteries as the human heart pumps blood. By taking a moderate dosage of CBD oil, some health experts say, an individual can improve blood flow, lower the heart rate and reduce the anxiety the stress often found in patients with high blood pressure.
As a vitamin supplement. Hemp oil, in particular, holds high doses of important vitamins, like Vitamins E, B, B1 and B2. Hemp oil is also an invaluable source of protein and antioxidants, and contains high levels of helpful body supplements like potassium, magnesium and fatty acids. (which can also help cure maladies like acne and psoriasis, and is known to improve the human body's cholesterol levels.
Proper Usage of CBD Oil and Hemp Oil
What are the best ways to use and inject cannabis oils? While delivery mechanisms can vary, the safest and most productive method of taking cannabis oils are as follows:
Ingest the oils orally. CBD oil consumers can also take doses orally, usually by the chewing of hard candy, mints or gummies. Oral usage takes full advantage of the sublingual gland, located right under the tongue, which helps take in the oils faster and more completely, but in a safer and easier manner than injection.
Via beverages. You can also drink cannabis-related beverages (like tea or juices) to intake the oils, but just know that anything that has to pass through the body's digestive system reduces the bioavailability impact of cannabis oils.
Whatever course you take, keep your general practitioner in the loop and make sure to thoroughly vet any CBD or hemp oil products before hitting "buy" on your phone or dishing out cash at an alternative health products store.
Like any other over-the-counter health care product, CBD oils and hemp oils can vary in the quality of the product, and there are certainly plenty of fly-by-night operators out there looking to rip you off with a no- or low-quality cannabis-based product.
Do your due diligence, read up on cannabis oils, and ask around among family and friends to get their take on cannabis oils they've used.
After all, the more research you do, the higher your chances of optimizing your CBD or hemp oil experience.
Introducing TheStreet Courses: Financial titans Jim Cramer and Robert Powell are bringing their market savvy and investing strategies to you. Learn how to create tax-efficient income, avoid mistakes, reduce risk and more. With our courses, you will have the tools and knowledge needed to achieve your financial goals. Learn more about TheStreet Courses on investing and personal finance here.
It's never too late - or too early - to plan and invest for the retirement you deserve. Get more information and a free trial subscription to TheStreet's Retirement Daily to learn more about saving for and living in retirement. Got questions about money, retirement and/or investments? We've got answers.