Hemp Oil vs Cannabis Oil: Facts And Myths About Alternative Cancer, Pain and Stress Treatments

One of the most controversial plants of our century must be cannabis. There is a generally negative perception related to this plant and the people using it, but nowadays society begins to understand that cannabis is more than a recreational drug and those who use it are not junkies. There are a few countries around the world who tolerate the consumption of cannabis like Bolivia, Thailand or Netherlands. Many others like Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela or even Russia and Iran take legal steps to decriminalize its use.

In the past decades, the scientific community focused on the medical properties of this plant and its findings are taking everyone by surprise. The use of cannabis for medical purposes dates since the beginning of the 1000’s but for an extended period, this plant was associated with a rebel attitude and, in extreme cases, to violence. In the late 1930’s scientists reached the conclusion that no death was directly caused by the cannabis consumption and the list of potential side effects of this plant is reduced, and they started to include it more and more in the formula of various traditional medications. Some people are convinced that large pharmaceutical companies work together to prevent cannabis from being considered a potential cure for the different disease

THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the substance responsible for the psychoactive effect of cannabis, but recent lab studies showed that it has the potential to reduce inflammation and different types of tumors by killing the ill cells and protecting those which are healthy.
CBD is obtained from the industrial hemp plant, more precisely from its seeds and stalks and it contains small traces of THC, and it is legal to use in many countries around the world and all over the USA territory. Sometimes hemp is confused with marijuana, but the main difference between them is related to the THC level. Marijuana has plenty, while hemp has almost none.

Both hemp oil and cannabis oil are natural substances obtained from similar plants. Even though they both seem to have medical properties, there are some differences as well. These two oils are rapidly becoming celebrities in the dietary supplements industry due to large media coverage. It is important to understand that The Food and Drug Association doesn’t recognize them officially as dietary supplements due to a reduced number of studies conducted so far. Even if there are thousands of finished or ongoing lab trials designed to establish the list of benefits and side effects of these substances and the results are promising there is still need for more. If you intend to start a treatment based on one of these oils you must read the following information to make sure you buy a product which will improve your health condition and not endanger it.

Hemp Oil and CBD

Hemp is a plant related to cannabis, but with the main difference is that it doesn’t have a psychoactive effect if consumed. Over the centuries this plant had multiple uses. Paper and different types of clothes were made with the strong fiber of hemp. The oil is mostly extracted from the seeds and stalks of the plant and the leaves are avoided with the precise purpose of reducing as much as possible the contamination with THC. Usually, the hemp used for creating dietary supplements is cultivated in special farms using only organic fertilizers, and they are not genetically modified. Most of the times these farms are located in Europe, and the harvested plants are imported and processed in the USA. The most famous manufacturers of dietary supplements use FDA approved labs to create the products. Hemp oil is available in two versions: refined and unrefined. If unrefined, hemp oil has a greenish color and a nutty flavor, while if it is refined it loses both taste and color and most of the healthy properties.

Because it is an entirely natural product, hemp oil has an extensive usage. It is available as oils, pills, creams, lotions, and different topical forms. Like most oils, this one also has moisturizing properties so if applied to the skin or hair it has a soothing effect which is why there are many types of cosmetic products available on the market and which contain hemp oil. It can also be ingested as part of a meal, but this type of oil should not be heated. It can improve the general health if consumed in salads or taken regularly as a dietary supplement. Unrefined hemp oil gets rancid quite fast so one must be careful when buying and it must be kept in the refrigerator in special containers. The refined version has a longer shelf life, but it has fewer nutrients and benefits. Another use of hemp oil is as biodiesel fuel and more eco-friendly replacement for petroleum. Sometimes hemp oil is used in the manufacture of plastic bags and paints

Cannabidiol or shortly CBD is a chemical extracted from the hemp plant. This is one of the most important substances extracted from this plant and in the past decades it became the focal point of more and more scientists who are intrigued and fascinated by the list of benefits CBD could bring for the health. Medical studies still try to understand the way CBD works to bring all these advantages. It seems that we have a dedicated system in our bodies which prevents some chemicals from breaking down in the brain and control the pain sensation, mood swings, and other mental functions. It is also assumed that CBD can diminish the influence of THC and block the hallucinations.

Not many people heard about the human endocannabinoid system. Yes, our body naturally produces cannabinoids. The EC system has two specialized receptors strategically placed throughout the body: CB 1 and CB 2.  The first receptors, CB 1 act to control the part of the brain which influences coordination and movement, emotions, mood, appetite, pain, memory, and thinking process and they are placed mostly in the brain, but it is also present all over the body. CB 2 is found in the immune system, and it has the role in reducing pain and inflammation. For a while, researchers assumed that CBD could have an influence over the CB 2 receptors, but more recent studies proved the opposite. Now it is taken into consideration the possibility that CBD stimulates the EC system to produce in a natural manner more cannabinoids on its own.

Hemp oil should not be confused with cannabis oil. Even if they are obtained from the same type of plants, they have different influences on the body and health.

Cannabis oil and THC

Cannabis is one of the oldest medical plants people have ever used. It is believed it originated from Central Asia. Although cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medical purposes, its reputation as a drug, in many parts of the world, has complicated the relationship between users of cannabis and authorities. There are three main types of products obtained from cannabis: marijuana (from the flowers), hashish (from the resin) and oil (from both). The oil is the most concentrated form of the three, which makes it the most effective. The popularity of cannabis oil is not necessarily positive, even if many countries try to find a way to legalize its consumption under certain circumstances. It was scientifically demonstrated that including THC and CBD, in the daily routine as a dietary supplement brings many benefits for the health.((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202504/))((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3442177/))((https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Testimony/ucm511057.htm))

Cannabis oil is obtained from the plant with the same name through an extraction process which uses solvents like alcohol or isopropyl alcohol to separate the resins from the flower of the plant. From one ounce of cannabis, flower is drained between 3 and 5 grams of oil.  The substance obtained in the end has a thick and sticky consistency, and it is also popular with the names of marijuana oil or hash oil, and it contains high levels of THC, a cannabinoid with psychoactive effect. The extraction of the cannabis oil is not a quick process; it requires some time. In the countries where cannabis is not illegal manufacturers have access to high-quality and organic plants cultivated in special farms. Careful where you buy the cannabis oil because the products sold by unauthorized dealers might be contaminated and contain low concentrations of THC and CBD. It is better to avoid buying cannabis oil from the street vendors, especially for medical use. Even if the FDA didn’t approve cannabis oil as a treatment, there are FDA approved laboratories which process this oil. So try to find a product sold by trustworthy manufacturers. This way you are sure you invest in a high-quality product, and you don’t endanger your health in the process. Cannabis oil is available in various forms and concentrations so one can find the right type of treatment for its medical conditions. Whether you choose to ingest it as a pill, add it into your favorite drinks or foods, apply topically or vaporize it into the lungs, there is a way for everyone interested in including cannabis oil into the daily routine.

THC is the short name for tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the main active ingredient of cannabis which is responsible for the high feeling people get after smoking marijuana. It is also the main reason why people associate this plant with a negative image. But THC is more than a substance with recreational properties. It was scientifically demonstrated that including THC in the daily routine, as a dietary supplement, brings many benefits for the health. Cannabis oil has a positive effect on a wide range of medical issues from reducing stress and pain caused by migraines to increasing the appetite and sex drive. Some studies even found a connection between THC and a reduced size of certain tumors and cancers. It is believed it helps to improve the sleep quality and the circulatory system.

Diabetes, glaucoma, epilepsy, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, gout, alcohol abuse, asthma, fibromyalgia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, opioid dependence or inflammatory bowel disease are just some of the diagnoses cannabis oil is believed to improve.

Main Benefits of Hemp Oil

The benefits of hemp oil are actually generated by the high concentration of CBD. There is still controversy surrounding the hemp plant and its derived products, but people are more and more open-minded, and it seems like they are willing to give a chance to a new medical discovery. There is a steadily growing awareness regarding the benefits of CBD due to extensive media coverage. Here are some of the most important effects of CBD on the human body that the scientific community can back up with study results.

Reduces the Intensity of the Pain

There are some relevant medical studies conducted so far which found a connection between CBD and the pain receptors from the brain. It was noticed an improvement in the case of patients diagnosed with cancer who took CBD after the chemotherapy ended. Other studies conducted in lab conditions investigate the role of hemp in elevating the pain caused by multiple sclerosis, arthritis, muscle spasm or spinal cord injuries. There is a drug made of THC and CBD approved in Canada and United Kingdom for treating the pain caused by multiple sclerosis. It is called Nabiximols (Sativex), but researchers assume that CBD works as an anti-inflammatory agent to help reduce the level of pain. There is still need for more trials to be established beyond any doubt that CBD could be used for managing pain, but so far the results seem to be encouraging.

Reduces the Risk of Seizures

There are some studies ongoing at this moment that try to find out if CBD can be considered an alternative treatment for epilepsy. There is no conclusion so far, but scientists feel optimistic that CBD can reduce the number of seizures caused by epilepsy. Another study recently closed and published included 214 people who suffer from this medical condition and they ingested daily 2 to 5 mg of CBD in addition to the classic treatment. The results were both good and bad. On the bright side of the study, it was noticed a reduction in seizure frequency with 36.5% per month. Unfortunately for 12 participants side effects were severe.((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27655472))((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27696387))

Reduces Anxiety and Depression

CBD stimulates the receptors in the brain which respond to serotonin, the happiness hormone, and change the mood. The receptors could be described as tiny proteins attached to the cells which help deliver the message sent by different stimuli. The studies regarding this property of CBD are in their early days. A study found out that a person suffering from anxiety which took 600 mg of CBD overcame its fear of public speaking. Other lab studies concluded that CBD relieves anxiety attacks by reducing the stress level, improving the sleep quality, control hectic heart rate or improve the symptoms of PTSD.((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4604171/))

Possible Treatment for Cancer

Even if it might seem a little far-fetched CBD is investigated as a possible anti-cancer treatment. Studies need to gather more evidence before reaching the conclusion, but it was noticed a decrease of the cancer symptoms, and also some side effects. Researchers are very optimistic about CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to stop ill cells from reproducing. In some cases of tumors, it was noticed a reduction in size.((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22198381))((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3410650/))

Neuroprotective Abilities

Researchers are trying to learn more about a special receptor in our brain, known as CB 1. It is assumed to be responsible for reducing the inflammation which can make things worse in the case of neurodegenerative disorders. Scientists study the possibility for CBD to become a treatment for health conditions like multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18679164))((https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15030397))

Reduces Acne Breakouts

The CB 2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system, and when they enter into contact with CBD, they start working to reduce the inflammation in the body. A study recently published figured out that CBD can prevent sebaceous glands from producing excessive oil and cause acne breakouts. Sebaceous glands are the ones to produce sebum with the role of protecting and hydrating the skin, but if the oil is produced excessively it causes inflammations on the skin, and the result is acne. The studies regarding this possible CBD benefit were conducted only in lab conditions and not yet on humans. It is important to get the doctor’s opinion before starting the treatment.

Main Benefits of Cannabis Oil?

The benefits cannabis oil promised by manufacturers and scientists for its users are actually the effects of THC interacting with the receptors in our bodies. Unlike CBD, THC has psychoactive properties, but because THC is a cannabinoid just like CBD, there are many similar benefits.

Pain Reliever

It is common for people who have cancer and need to find a way to control the pain caused by chemotherapy to turn to cannabis, and there is a logical reason why. It is not for the “high feeling” but for the fact that cannabis oil is a great pain reliever.

Helps with sleep disorders

People who suffer from insomnia deal with anxiety quite often. For them, it is not a simple task to fall asleep, so cannabis oil could do the trick and help relax the mind as well as the body. When relaxation kicks in the energy level drop, heartbeat gets regulated, and one can enjoy a good sleep all night long.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Cannabis is usually seen as a recreational drug, so it is often used by people who try to find a way to relax. The famous THC found in the cannabis oil is the active ingredient which helps people drive away stress and anxiety after a long day at work.

Prevents Cancer

Although many people find it hard to believe there are some studies focused on the possibility that Cannabis oil could be the answer for this terrible disease. Early reports show that cannabis oil contains ingredients which keep the sick cells under control and prevents them from spreading.

Treatment for Glaucoma

One of the most common reasons why people turn to cannabis oil is the eye health. This substance has proved effective in preventing macular degeneration and reducing glaucoma.

Improves the Heart Health

The compounds found in cannabis oil can have a positive impact on the entire circulatory system by reducing the cholesterol level, stimulating antioxidants to do their job and balance out the negative oils in the system.

Reduces Headaches

Migraines can turn your life upside down. Just by rubbing some cannabis oil on the temples within seconds you can feel a headache fading away. Asking a prescription for cannabis or cannabis oil from your doctor is another way to get the same results.

Boosts Appetite

An effect reported by some people who frequently consume cannabis is a constant feeling of hunger, known as “the munchies”. Cannabis oil could be used to regulate the appetite and stimulate the digestive system. As a result, the weight gets under control and it won’t fluctuate anymore.

Improves Skin Condition

Regardless if ingested or applied directly to the skin, cannabis oil can make it regenerate faster, look smoother and glowing. It is a great anti-aging treatment for the skin. It prevents wrinkles from appearing while protecting against eczema and psoriasis.

These were the positive effects cannabis and hemp can have on our general health if we find a way to include them in the daily routine. There are some side effects scientists noticed during the medical trials conducted so far.

What are the side effects?

Even if both hemp oil and cannabis oil are natural substances obtained from organic and GMO-free plants, there is still the possibility for some users to not completely tolerate them and experience certain side effects. So far, the unpleasant symptoms reported were mild and not life threatening. Either way one should be fully aware of possible consequences when deciding to use any of these two oils. Some of the side effects reported by users are:

Dry mouth

In certain cases, users reported the need to drink a lot of water due to an unpleasant sensation of dry mouth or “cotton mouth”. This happens because the glands which produce saliva are inhibited by high amounts of THC or CBD


When consumed in high doses the oil obtained from hemp or cannabis can make the user feel drowsy, and it is better not to plan to drive or operate any machinery if you just took a large dose of this product. If the feeling doesn’t go away after reducing the dose, you must talk to a doctor.

Low Blood Pressure

For some people, the blood pressure drops noticeably within a few minutes of ingesting significant amounts of hemp or cannabis oil. Those who follow a treatment for blood pressure disorders don’t take any of these oils before you get the doctor’s approval.


This feeling usually appears when the blood pressure drops all of the sudden. It is a temporary feeling which can be canceled with a large cup of coffee.

Inhibits the Liver’s Function to Process Drugs

Some medical studies noticed that cannabinoids could have an adverse influence on the liver functions and stop it from breaking down different drugs. If you are taking the medication, it might become less effective. This is not a dangerous side effect, and it can be compared to eating a grapefruit, which also inhibits the enzymes from the liver.

Intensify the Tremors

This is a bit confusing because some studies suggest that people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease could use cannabis oil as a possible treatment while indicating that in high doses this substance might intensify the tremor episodes.

It is important to underline that the side effects were usually reported in cases of high-dose consumption. Even if they are not endangering the health nor the life, if experience any of the above symptoms you must reduce the dosage and talk to the doctor if they don’t go away.

Hemp oil vs. Cannabis Oil – Bottomline

Both types of oil represent a relatively recent discovery for the scientific community so there are still many studies ongoing to discover full medical potential. Even if cannabis and hemp have been part of the traditional medicine for centuries, they gained a negative connotation during our times, and it took a while for people to start looking again at them as potential sources for better health.

Even if they are obtained from plants which belong to the same family, hemp and cannabis oil have similar properties, but also different ways of achieving the same results.

Hemp oil contains a high amount of CBD, a natural chemical from the cannabinoids family. Studies conducted so far found many potential benefits for health. This substance is considered one of the safest found so far for medical use because the list of side effects is small. Cannabis oil has high levels of THC, another cannabinoid with great medical properties. Unlike CBD, THC is the “naughty” ingredient which caused so much fuss around cannabis. It is the active ingredient of the plant which has a psychoactive effect on users. Due to this possible adverse influence, cannabis consumption is illegal in most countries around the world.

Scientists investigate both oils to prove similar benefits like reducing pain, improving sleep, reducing anxiety and depression and even treat cancer. All these researchers are still in the early days that is why The Food and Drug Association doesn’t approve them as dietary supplements yet. In spite of this “detail,” many dietary supplement producers rushed to bring on the market various products based and hemp and cannabis oil. It is important to make sure you buy a high-quality product and not a cheap imitation which might even put your life in danger. Most manufacturers import the plants from certain countries in Europe where growing them is not illegal, so they are cultivated in special farms. Once brought in the USA the oil is obtained in FDA approved labs so they must respect strict safety rules. It is important to make sure you buy a high-quality product and not a cheap imitation which might even put you endanger.

Hemp oil, as well as cannabis oil, will bring benefits for the health, but there are also some risks for mild and moderate side effects. It is your personal decision whether to use them or not, but it is recommended to talk to a doctor before using.