3 Common Types Of Hemp Oils & What They're Used For

mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
Multiple exposure photograph of a stressed out woman

Image by Danny Owens / Death to the Stock Photo

Industrial hemp is a variety of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% of THC (the psychoactive component in marijuana that makes you feel "high"). It also grows quickly, can adapt to many different climates, and has a high nutrient count, making it one of nature's most versatile plants. Here are three of the most popular forms of hemp oil and what each one is used for.

For easing stress and promoting calm: Hemp oil extract*

Hemp oil extract, also referred to as just "hemp oil" or "hemp extract", is an oil that's extracted from the aerial parts of a hemp plant (i.e., leaves, flowers, and stem) using either CO2 gas, ethanol, or another oil. This extraction method keeps the plant's beneficial phytocannabinoids intact. When consumed, these compounds promote a sense of calm due in part to the way they bind to receptors in our endocannabinoid system.* If you want some help easing everyday stress, this form of hemp is your best bet.*

calm+

calm+

Safe, full-spectrum organic hemp blend to ease anxiousness & stress.*

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
(4.8)
calm+

It is often packaged as a liquid tincture or a capsule supplement. Be sure to look for a product that's labeled "full-spectrum," as it contains a wider variety of phytocannabinoids than an isolate product like CBD oil. (The distinction between these two can be a little confusing: Hemp oil contains CBD, but CBD oil does not contain all the phytocannabinoid goodness of a full-spectrum product.)

Full-spectrum hemp oil is what you'll find in mindbodygreen's hemp multi+ supplement, which combines the powerful plant extract with other ingredients shown to positive mood and foster relaxation, such as rosemary, clove, and black pepper.*

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For a nutrition boost: Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is extracted from—you guessed it—the seeds of a hemp plant. The seeds do not contain the same concentrated dose of beneficial phytocannabinoids that the aerial parts of the hemp plant do, meaning hemp seed oil won't take the edge off and help you stress any less.* However, they're super nutrient-dense and a great source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

You should be able to find hemp seeds (which have a semi-crunchy outer shell and soft inside), hemp hearts (which have the outer shell removed), and hemp seed oil (hemp seeds in a cold-pressed liquid form) in most food stores, and they are all great for cooking. Hemp seed oil can also be incorporated into your beauty routine as a nourishing treatment for your hair or skin.

For a quick hit of aromatherapy: Hemp essential oil

Hemp essential oil isn't super popular, likely because it's expensive and time-consuming to produce. It is made by steam distilling the upper leaves and flowers of the hemp plant. Like hemp seed oil, it does not contain noteworthy amounts of cannabinoids. Instead, the intensely earthy oil is prized primarily for its smell. Some perfumers are starting to layer hemp essential oil into blends with other fragrant favorites like lavender and frankincense, and home aromatherapy buffs can now buy the oil too (though it tends to be on the pricier side).

Like many essential oils, hemp essential oil should never be consumed orally and should be diluted in a carrier oil before topical application, if designed for that purpose. Adding a few drops to your diffuser and reveling in the resulting scent, though, is fair game.

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The bottom line.

When someone says "hemp oil" they could be talking about a few different things: Hemp oil extract is the only one that eases stress and promotes calm.* Hemp seed oil is a good source of healthy fat to keep in your kitchen, while hemp essential oil is used primarily for aromatherapy.

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