Hemp Extract, Creams, Tinctures, & More

There’s still a lot of stigma surrounding hemp, mainly because it’s often confused with “marijuana.” But hemp and marijuana are not interchangeable terms; rather, they are two different classifications of the Cannabis sativa plant.

Hemp vs. marijuana

Industrial hemp is classified as any form of cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content (dry weight).1 On the other end, “marijuana” is associated with the psychoactive properties of cannabis1 (i.e., cannabis as a substance or drug). For that reason, the latter term is the classification most responsible for the stigma.

Industrial hemp, however, has been used for centuries and can be useful for a variety of commercial-grade products, including textiles, food, and beauty products.2 Today, hemp use continues to grow in popularity.

Common hemp delivery forms include:

Hemp extract

Using a specific extraction process to obtain oil from the Cannabis plant, hemp extract itself comes in several forms. While certain phytocannabinoids are more well-known, whole-plant hemp oil typically contains an array of lesser-known phytocannabinoids and terpenes, which research has indicated can be beneficial for human health.3-6

Hemp oil is not the same as hemp seed oil, which uses only the seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant and does not contain the phytocannabinoids that are found throughout the rest of the plant. Hemp seed oil is known to be a source of certain fatty acids.2

Hemp tinctures

A hemp tincture is one that combines a liquid hemp extract with alcohol, vegetable glycerin, or flavored oils like peppermint. Since tinctures are designed to be placed under the tongue for quick and easy absorption, additional ingredients help improve taste and texture. It’s also worth noting that while tinctures may not be as concentrated as hemp extract, the variety of flavors available, and convenient dosing form, make it a convenient choice.

Hemp sprays

Similar to a tincture, hemp sprays are taken directly through the mouth and are designed to be fast-acting. Although hemp mouth sprays seem convenient, they usually contain the weakest concentration extracted content as compared to other delivery forms.7

Nonliquid dosing

Perhaps less common but nonetheless convenient, nonliquid forms such as capsules and softgels may offer consistent dosing that other delivery forms may not.   

Topical varieties

Topical delivery forms of hemp are most often used in cosmetic products such as creams, lotions, salves, lip balms.9

To learn more about hemp, visit our hemp FAQ page.

If you are interested in adding hemp to your routine, be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider.

This information is for educational purposes only. This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare professional for advice on medical issues.


  1. Gonçalves J et al. Medicines (Basel). 2019;6(1):31.
  2. Andre CM et al. Front Plant Sci. 2016;7:19.
  3. Russo E. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2011;163:1344–1364. 
  4. D’Alessi PA et al. Rejuvenation Res. 2014;17(2):145–149.
  5. Bahi A et al. Physiol Behav. 2014;135:119–124.
  6. Sharma C et al. Curr Pharm Des. 2016;22(21):3237–3264.
  7. Mücke M et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018;3(3):CD012182.
  8. Mannila J et al. J Pharm Sci. 2007;96(2):312–319.
  9. Johnson J. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324450.php. Accessed May 31, 2019.

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