CBD Hemp versus CBD Cannabis Oil

With the explosion of cannabidiol (CBD) products on the market and after reading an article in the Sunday Times (28 July 2019) with the heading “Silver bullet or snake oil?” I was inspired to write this blog.

There are a few things for consumers to consider before purchasing their CBD products. First we need to look at the differences between CBD hemp and CBD full spectrum cannabis.

Both CBD hemp and CBD full spectrum cannabis plants are from the cannabis family.


Both plants have the CBD molecule. How much CBD each plant has is questionable and can only be confirmed by a laboratory analysis of the plant. Hemp plants usually contain around 3- 5% CBD and CBD full spectrum cannabis plants contain anywhere from 18 – 20% CBD. Again, each plant is individual and the cannabinoid content needs to be confirmed by an analysis of the plant.


The CBD hemp plant contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or maybe as little 0.3 or even less THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis).

CBD full spectrum cannabis plant has more THC (1% or more). To confirm the THC content, a laboratory analysis of each plant needs to be done.

Both plants do have terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids. CBD hemp has a much lower terpene and cannabinoid count compared to the CBD full spectrum cannabis plant.


Both plants are known as bio accumulators, which means they suck up contaminants and unwanted heavy metals from the surrounding soil through their root systems. This bioaccumulation factor is an important consideration when comparing CBD hemp versus CBD full spectrum cannabis.

Hemp plants usually contain around 3 – 5% CBD thus require a larger amount of plant matter to produce CBD oil, which may also increase the risk of potential contaminants.

CBD-rich full spectrum cannabis plants contain anywhere from 18-20% CBD, meaning you get more from less and thus less potential contaminants.

Entourage effect

The “Entourage Effect” is a term coined by scientists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam back in 1998. According to them, to gain the full medicinal benefits of the plant you need all of the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant to work together. This means, you need both THC and CBD plus all the other cannabinoids and terpenes etc. in the plant to get medicinal benefits.

Unfortunately THC-rich medicines (also referred to as whole plant medicine or full spectrum medicine) remain illegal in South Africa while medicine containing the isolated CBD molecule sold as CBD hemp oil is legal. CBD-only cannabis medicines have proven to be life-changing for many individuals and these laws mainly exist to help those suffering from seizures.

People have had all kinds of success with CBD hemp products. The question is, would they have even better results with a CBD  full spectrum cannabis oil product?

It’s an important question, and while there is still plenty of research and innovation on the way, the main thing is you find a product that works for you.

For best results with CBD hemp or CBD cannabis oil, the more homework you can do the better, so as to make informed confident decisions that will land you with maximum benefits.

In my opinion if you are looking for cannabis medicine, the better choice would be the CBD full spectrum cannabis plant.

To get back to the newspaper article. They claim that SA’s National Analytical Forensic Services lab (NAFS) found higher levels of THC ( legal limit is 0.001%) in samples clearly stating to be high in CBD.

Other articles that I have read said that in some samples analysed they found that some products had very little or sometimes no CBD when the label clearly claims that it is a high CBD product.

NAFS also found that some products tested contained too much solvent (used for extraction) and were contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides and fungicides.

To sum it up, unless cannabis products have a certificate of analysis, the quality is not guaranteed.

So, before purchasing your next CBD products, ask for the laboratory analysis. If they cannot give it to you, then do not buy it.