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CBD Oil Made from Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

CBD Oil Made from Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

With so much false information spread online about CBD oil, one of the most common questions we receive from consumers relates to the difference between CBD oil from hemp and from marijuana. There are, indeed, many differences between hemp-derived and marijuana-derived CBD oil in terms of its cannabinoid profiles, effects, and legality.

However, before we dive deeper into this subject, we’d like you to get a better understanding of what cannabis, hemp, and marijuana are and how they’re different from each other. Let’s get straight into it.

Difference Between Hemp And Marijuana

What is Cannabis?

Cannabis is an annual herbaceous plant with two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa. Marijuana and hemp are members of this plant genus; hemp belongs to the Cannabis sativa species only, whereas marijuana can be a member of either Cannabis indica or C.sativa species. Because both marijuana and hemp come from Cannabis sativa, they share certain traits. However, marijuana and hemp are not the same things. Below we highlight several distinct differences between these two plants.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a cannabis plant that is harvested commercially for its seeds, stalks, and flowers. Because it grows sturdy and tall — up to 2 to 4 meters in height — it’s typically cultivated outdoors.

Different parts of the plant are used for different uses:

  • Seeds are often used in food and cosmetics.
  • Stalks are the source of fiber used in building materials and clothing.
  • Flowers, on the other hand, are harvested for its cannabinoid content.
  • The cannabinoid content of hemp is where it differs the most from marijuana.

Namely, hemp comes with high concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, but it carries almost no THC (below 0.3%). It’s the THC content that gives marijuana its psychoactive effects.

Unlike marijuana, hemp has been excluded from the Controlled Substances Act with the introduction of the 2018 Farm Bill. According to the new act, hemp can be commercially grown and manufactured into CBD products for sale to the public.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana is a cannabis plant that is harvested for its euphoric, relaxing, and psychoactive properties. As opposed to hemp, the seeds and stalks of marijuana aren’t used commercially as a food source, or in the textiles industry. Instead, the plant is cultivated for its highly resinous flowers containing an abundance of cannabinoids. The THC content of marijuana is much higher than it is in hemp.

Marijuana can have up to 30% THC per dry weight. This type of cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

Therefore, the US federal government doesn’t recognize any medical uses of marijuana and claims it has a strong potential for abuse. Marijuana remains federally illegal in the USA, although states have begun passing legislation that legalizes either medical or recreational marijuana use.

Given the above differences, those new to cannabis may think CBD from hemp is somehow different than CBD from marijuana. It’s not.

Not All CBD Oils Are Created Equal

On the molecular level, CBD is the same compound regardless of whether it’s found in high-THC or low-THC cannabis plants. There are, however, several differences between CBD products, such as CBD tinctures, depending on where the CBD is sourced from.

CBD Oil Made from Hemp vs. Marijuana: What’s the Difference?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are a few aspects which help us distinguish between CBD oil derived from hemp vs. CBD oil derived from marijuana. Here’s the breakdown the most important differences:

1. Cannabinoid Content

The majority of CBD oils on the market are full-spectrum extracts. This means they contain not only CBD but also a range of other cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis plants. Now, the main difference between CBD oil from hemp and marijuana is the ratio between THC and CBD.

Hemp-derived CBD oil usually contains high concentrations of CBD, but its THC content doesn’t exceed the legal 0.3% limit. While marijuana-derived oil is sourced from selectively bred high-CBD strains, it also comes with significant amounts of THC, ranging between 5% and 30%.

In fact, some high-CBD flowers can have equal levels of THC and CBD. Which brings us to another issue regarding the differences between CBD oil made from hemp and marijuana.

2. Legality

All hemp-derived products are legal in the United States. This applies to both federal and state laws. The current legal status of hemp is defined by the 2018 Farm Bill, under which companies can legally grow, manufacture, possess, and sell CBD hemp products. Transportation across state borders is legal too. With marijuana CBD oil, it’s a different story. US states have the right to introduce their own marijuana laws.

A total of 47 states have some kind of medical marijuana programs, while 10 states (plus Washington D.C.) have legalized marijuana for medical AND recreational use. But on the federal level, marijuana remains an illicit substance, and its cultivation, possession, sales, and transportation are considered a federal offense.

This means that even if you’re caught transporting marijuana CBD oil between two states where marijuana is legal, you can be prosecuted for drug trafficking because that’s what it is according to the US federal government.

Fortunately, federal agencies have already provided guidelines for prosecutors to stop enforcing these laws against medical marijuana patients and non-medical users possessing small amounts of marijuana oils for personal use.

3. Effect Profiles

Due to its low THC content, hemp-derived CBD oil has no intoxicating effects on the user. In other words, you won’t get high off of CBD hemp products. Instead, you may feel relaxed, more alert, free of physical and mental discomfort, and notice positive changes in your overall well-being thanks to how CBD works in the endocannabinoid system. CBD oil from marijuana can get the user high, although the psychoactive effects of such products are less intense since CBD counteracts THC’s intoxicating properties. In addition, marijuana-derived CBD oil acts as a strong analgesic, relaxant, anti-depressant, and can tackle a wide range of chronic, often treatment-resistant, conditions.

4. Uses

Full-spectrum CBD hemp oils are labeled as dietary supplements and can be found among other over the counter products in pharmacies, health stores, headshops, and specialty stores across the country. The main purpose of using CBD hemp oil is to restore the chemical balance in the body by stimulating the human endocannabinoid system and enhancing the overall quality of one’s life. As a company selling CBD products, we’re not allowed to make medical claims about CBD hemp oil, but we strongly encourage you to do your own research on that matter. As for marijuana-derived CBD oils, you can find them only in medical or recreational dispensaries depending on the state you live in.

Should I Buy CBD From Hemp or Marijuana?

It depends on the intended use. As we said, CBD is CBD. The human body doesn’t care where this cannabinoid is sourced from, but when it comes to CBD oil, it’s not just about cannabidiol; there are other cannabinoids to take into account as well as terpenes and other phytochemicals.

According to studies conducted by experts in the cannabinoid field, all constituents in cannabis work synergistically to produce a unique set of effects in each cannabis strain. These effects are stronger than those produced by each cannabinoid alone.

This phenomenon is commonly known as the entourage effect.

The ratio between THC, the addition of terpenes, and the number of the so-called minor cannabinoids all determine the way we react to cannabis. Some researchers claim that equal ratios of CBD to THC turn out to be the most effective but even a 20:1 ratio of CBD to THC can produce significantly stronger therapeutic effects.

If you’re looking for the benefits of THC but don’t want to get as high as from high-THC, low-CBD strains, you may want to try the marijuana-derived CBD oil. But then again, you must live in a state with a legal medical or recreational marijuana market.

If, however, you’re looking for a federally legal product that will still offer the full spectrum of cannabinoids — with only trace amounts of THC — then the hemp-derived CBD oil is the way to go.


Now that you’ve made it through this article, it’s clear that CBD oil made from hemp and marijuana are two different products. That’s great because by knowing this, you can make a well-informed decision upon your next CBD purchase and educate your friends about the specific differences between the two sources of cannabidiol. What CBD oil do you use? Is it CBD oil from hemp or marijuana? Or maybe both? Let us know in the comments below!