Is CBD Oil the Same as Cannabis Oil?

In an era when people are living longer and we have access to more information than ever before, we are becoming just health-conscious enough to start asking questions like this one: Is CBD oil the same as cannabis oil? As we seek to learn more about the natural world to better understand how the health properties of these plant-derived substances can improve our lives, we find many sources of high-quality scientific information online that give us the preliminary data we need. Some of these sources help us set the stage for gaining a better grasp on the relationship between CBD oil and cannabis oil by explaining what CBD is and does, while others document multiple scientific studies that support the effectiveness of this compound in combating certain, sometimes serious, health issues.

What Is CBD?

CBD is short for cannabidiol, an active phytocannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant that has been shown to provide medical and health-related benefits when present in high enough concentrations. Unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, or only mildly so, and therefore the medicinal benefits of CBD are conferred without creating feelings of sluggishness, anxiety, restlessness or discomfort. CBD and cannabis oil are scientifically related in that the amount of CBD present in a particular cannabis plant will determine the potential potency of the cannabis oil extracted from that plant. This is where the similarities and differences between cannabis oil and CBD oil come into play.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD oil is a form of cannabis oil that is particularly rich in cannabidiol. CBD-dominant strains of cannabis contain very little THC while providing comparatively high percentages of CBD. When these strains are used for extracting CBD, and the entire plant—including flowers, leaves and stalks—is used, the resulting extract is known as CBD oil. On the other hand, cannabis oil that’s made from only the seeds of lower-CBD cannabis plant varieties—for example, hemp oil—not only contains much less CBD but also contains less of the complementary plant compounds (terpenes and secondary cannabinoids) that work synergistically with CBD to produce its highly beneficial effects. In fact, The Hemp Industries Association itself admits that hemp oil contains less than 25 parts per million (ppm) of CBD, whereas cannabis oil made from flowers and leaves contains up to 150,000 ppm, or 15 percent, CBD.

CBD and Cannabis Oil

As you can see, not all cannabis oil is created equal. And plant varieties are only one part of the story. Extraction methods and solvents used in extracting the CBD from the plant vary tremendously, with some solvents leaving toxic residues in the extracted oil while also removing beneficial terpenes from it. These factors are indirectly related to our question of whether cannabis oil can be considered the same as CBD oil. Scientific experimentation has shown that the more concentrated cannabis extracts (aka those that are higher in CBD and other cannabinoid analogs and that, thus, might be called CBD oil), are more difficult to remove the harmful solvents from since the concentrated extracts are more viscous. So, while these extracts should theoretically be more beneficial than lower-CBD varieties of cannabis oil, they may in some cases be just the opposite. That’s no reason to opt for low-CBD varieties, of course. But, it is a very good reason to investigate the extraction method used before purchasing any medicinal oil.

Are “CBD Oil” and “Cannabis Oil” Synonymous?

The fact is that the term “CBD oil” can refer either to cannabis oil that is extracted from high-CBD cannabis strains that contain all the complementary compounds that help make the CBD more effective or to oils that are infused with isolated and refined single-molecule CBD and that therefore contain few, if any, of the naturally occurring effectiveness-enhancing compounds originally found in the plant. What this means is that consumers/medical patients must do their homework to find out which oil they are actually getting. In the second case described above, the CBD oil bears much less of a resemblance to the original cannabis plant from which the CBD was isolated. Yet, many still believe it to be a highly effective form of CBD oil, aka high-CBD Cannabis oil.

Is CBD-Infused Oil the Cannabis Oil of Choice?

One key point in our discussion of cannabis oil and cannabidiol (CBD) is that higher concentrations of CBD are preferable as a rule—meaning that as long as one of the safer, less-toxic extraction methods is used to extract the CBD, these oils are usually the best way to go for greater effectiveness at all dosage levels. However, the single-molecule CBD-infused oils, while appearing to be a good idea on the surface, have been shown to have a severely limited dose range, below which and above which their clinical usefulness becomes nonexistent, largely due to their notorious removal of the other beneficial compounds that should complement the CBD. Because natural CBD oil retains these compounds, its effectiveness is directly proportional to the dosage taken.

The moral of the cannabis oil and CBD story is that as a consumer you need to carefully investigate the details of the remedy you are considering using. That’s the best way to gain a more thorough understanding of exactly what you’ll be getting. You’ll then be able to use the information gained through personal experience to answer the question for yourself: Is CBD oil the same as Cannabis oil?