What Is The Difference Between Cannabis Oil & CBD Oil?

Cannabis Oil vs CBD Oil

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Cannabis Oil vs CBD Oil

Oils derived from hemp are often confused. There’s an underlying assumption that because they are taken from the same plant, they will/can make you high. Quite simply, that’s not the case!

CBD oils are those that have been extracted from the plant to reduce to absolute minimum quantities of THC (the psychoactive component that makes one ‘high’). Once made benign, a good quality CBD oil will be packed full of all the good cannabinoids that serve as a health supplement. They just won’t make you feel wonky!

Before we look into the full story behind this very important distinction, we ought to make a quick disclaimer.

While CBD is increasingly thought to help with many health issues, it’s not our place to claim it as being a wonder cure.

The very public recent case of Billy Caldwell being granted a special license to help him with epileptic seizures is an example of how it may help. Special measures were granted by the UK Home Secretary, no less, to allow it. Read into that what you will, but for now, let’s take a look into what distinguishes CBD oil from Cannabis oil.

Terminology Is Key

The root of all confusion regarding cannabis extracts stems from a confusing terminology.

As much as we’d wish there were a clearer sense of definition, for now, there isn’t one!

Over in the USA, ‘cannabis oil’ can relate to either a health supplement without any active compounds or as a recreational drug packed with THC.

Always beware any product that claims to be cannabis oil. Plenty of less scrupulous manufacturers market their product extremely casually and without much care.

If you’re looking for CBD – check not just the source and extraction process, but also for batch testing. That ought to present a very low THC content – and certainly nothing close to failing a drugs test level. For reference purposes, only CBD oils containing under 0.2% THC content are currently legal in the UK. Oils sourced from overseas are often considerably higher – and illegal.

Why Hemp Is Important

Plenty of people assume that just because oils are produced from the marijuana family that they must share active ingredients. This is far from the case.

Good quality CBD based oils will originate from organically sourced hemp. Taken alone, hemp naturally contains barely a fraction of the THC found in a ‘traditional’ cannabis plant.

When it comes to making a distinction between oils, this is a key factor – and once again, all quality producers will verify and account for the provenance of their batches.

Terminology makes things awkward to establish. The sativa plant is the most commonly used in any oil extract – but there’s an increasing number of strains on the market. Sativa is used because it is the easiest to measure THC levels with. Over 95% of CBD oils for sale in the UK will be based on this variety.

Quality Extraction Is Essential

As most people would be aware of by now, the process of making CBD oil packed full of non-active cannabinoids can be counteracted.

Cannabis oils – the ones that get you high – are produced in a way that maximises THC levels. This can make them extremely potent.

Very similar methods are used in both processes. Generally (but not exclusively) speaking, high strength cannabis oil is extracted using artificial methods such as ethanol. This makes for a cheaper and easier process.

Top quality CBD is manufactured using cold filtering CO2 methods. This method extracts additional non-psychoactive terpenes and cannabinoids. Sometimes they’re supplemented back into the compound and deliver a superior product. This is referred to as ‘full spectrum’ CBD.

So while it may seem like the two are very closely related, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Both cannabis and CBD oils have their own specific purpose.

Always check the quality of any manufacturer – the good ones will be happy to provide complete documentation regarding the sourcing, composition and extraction of their oils.

I’m Thomas Jones. I graduated from The University of Aberdeen in 2016 with an MSc in Industrial Biotechnology. I’m currently reading for a PhD at The University of Glasgow. I started using CBD in 2017 as a result of finding it in my local vape shop. My experiences in using these products inspired me to undertake my current doctoral research. You can find out more about me and this site here.