FDA: Why Is CBD Now Called Hemp Oil?

The US passed the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized the production and selling of hemp oil/CBD and hemp-based products. Though confusing to some, hemp oil/CBD and marijuana are quite different and to understand the difference, we need to dig deep into what CBD is, and how marijuana-derived CBD and hemp-derived CBD differ from each other. 


Both hemp and marijuana are members of the plant genus called cannabis. While marijuana belongs to the plant called Cannabis Indica or C. Sativa, hemp comes from the species of cannabis plants known as Cannabis Sativa. Since both marijuana and hemp come from the species Cannabis Sativa they share some, but not all traits. What this means is, marijuana and hemp aren’t the same. 


The 2018 Farm Bill has made it legal to grow hemp in the US. The hemp plant can now be industrially harvested for its flowers, steeds and stalks. The seeds of the hemp plant are used for edibles and cosmetics. The stalks can be used for building materials and clothing, and the flowers of the hemp plant are harvest for the manufacturing of cannabinoid products. 

The cannabinoid content of the hemp seed is where it differs from the marijuana plant. While hemp contains a high level of cannabidiol, it has almost no THC, which gives marijuana its psychoactive effects. This means, unlike marijuana, hemp oil/CBD doesn’t have any mind-altering effects on the consumer. This is the main reason why hemp oil/CBD was removed from the list of Schedule I drugs. 

Not All CBD Is Equal

While many will argue that CBD is after all, CBD regardless of its source, that’s not entirely true. On a molecular level, there are several differences in hemp oil/CBD products based on the source of CBD. As mentioned, full spectrum CBD that’s derived from hemp contains a range of cannabinoids, including terpenes, but the THC in hemp is nearly non-existent. On the other hand, marijuana contains a high level of both CBD and THC. According to the new law, the growing, production, manufacturing and selling of hemp-based products, including its transportation across state lines, is legal. The same isn’t true for marijuana-derived CBD products. 

Since the FDA has recently identified certain safety risks pertaining to the use of products containing marijuana derived CBD, companies that were previously providing unclear information regarding the source of their CBD have now started to clearly add “hemp,” “hemp-based” or “hemp oil” to their products. 

It’s important to note that full spectrum hemp-derived CBD products are labeled as dietary supplements and are being sold as over-the-counter products at pharmacies. So, it makes sense that businesses selling CBD products that are derived from hemp are being more specific of where the CBD in their product comes from.

–PuraPhy Staff Report