CBD and Hemp Oil in NZ: What's the difference?

A close look at the differences between CBD and Hemp Oil in New Zealand.

Both Cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp oil come from plants and are available in New Zealand. CBD is a cannabinoid that naturally occurs in the plant. Hemp oil is derived and extracted from hemp plant seeds. On the other hand, CBD medicines come in the form of flower and isolate, full-spectrum or broad-spectrum extracts. Prescription medical cannabis must meet strict quality standards and undergo extensive testing to be sold as a medicine whereas hemp oil is sold as a nutritional supplement with significantly fewer quality controls.

Hemp and CBD oils are actually very different products. Understanding the differences and benefits of both individually can allow patients to make informed decisions about what is best suited for their needs.

Hemp oil

Hemp oil is derived from the seeds of the Sativa plant, it contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and little to no Cannabidiol. However, it contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and is high in both vitamin D and B. As it is rich in essential amino acids and unsaturated fats, hemp oil is being added to nutritional products such as bread, snack bars, protein powders, and yogurts as a nutritional supplement. Hemp seed oil is generally well-tolerated, non-intoxicating and will not produce any psychoactive effects.

Research on the exact benefits of Hemp seed oil beyond its nutritional value is limited but some of the other possible benefits people have found are:

•  Improving skin conditions

•  Helping your cardiovascular health

•  Benefiting your immune system

•  Relieving gastrointestinal and constipation issues

Much like any other product, there are always possible side effects, some users have reported digestion issues after consuming hemp oil.

Is Hemp oil legal without a prescription?

In NZ hemp seed oil is legal to purchase and consume without a prescription, unlike cannabinoid oil which must be prescribed by a doctor. On 12 November 2018 the Ministry for Primary Industries announced that hemp seeds can be sold as food for human consumption.

CBD oil

Unlike hemp oil, CBD oil is made from the flower, stalks, and leaves of the cannabis plant. THC is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and causes mind altering effects when consumed. However, unlike THC, it is not psychoactive which makes it an appealing option for those who are looking for relief from pain and other symptoms without the mind-altering effects.

The human body contains a specialized system called the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in regulating a variety of functions, including sleep, appetite, pain sensation, and immune system responses, animal models have shown that medical cannabis may help reduce chronic pain by affecting endocannabinoid receptor activity, reducing inflammation, and interacting with neurotransmitters.

Research on CBD oil is showing promise in the medicine’s ability to reduce symptoms related to some mental health disorders like anxiety. The current pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of mental health disorders often have unpleasant side effects including insomnia, libido issues, drowsiness and agitation.

CBD oil may be beneficial for the treatment of:

Anxiety: CBD oil has shown potential for treating anxiety. Research published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD oil was able to reduce anxiety in people with social anxiety disorder. CBD oil is thought to work by reducing the activity of the brain’s amygdala, which is responsible for fear and anxiety.

Pain: CBD oil may improve symptoms of pain. A study published in the European Journal of Pain found that cannabinoid oil was able to reduce pain in rats with arthritis. CBD oil is believed to reduce inflammation and interact with the neurotransmitters responsible for pain signals.

Epilepsy: CBD oil has also been shown to be effective in reducing epileptic seizures. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that CBD oil was able to reduce the number of seizures in people with Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy.

How does hemp oil compare to prescription CBD oil?

The main difference between hemp seed oil and CBD oils is in their respective effects. Hemp seed oil is primarily used to support a healthy lifestyle, while CBD oil is a medicine prescribed to treat a range of health conditions. If you are looking for a natural medicine to help with conditions like anxiety or pain, then CBD oil is likely to be more beneficial. However, if you are looking for a natural skin treatment or source of Omega Fats, then hemp seed oil could be a good option. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you are taking medication.

There are many reasons why someone might choose to use hemp seed oil or CBD oil—or both! These oils provide a host of potential health benefits that can improve overall wellness or target specific areas of concern. If you're unsure which product is right for you, we recommend speaking with your doctor before beginning any new supplement regimen—they will be able to give you specific guidance based on your individual health needs.

At RestoreMe, we believe that eligible patients deserve access to safe, high-quality quality medicinal cannabis. If you think you may benefit from CBD or another medicinal cannabinoid, book an online consult and let us help you find the relief you need.


1. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0245471

2. https://www.mpi.govt.nz/news/media-releases/hemp-seed-can-be-sold-as-food/

3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21307846/

4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejp.818

5. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa1611618

6. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-6-9-overview