Does CBD oil have THC?

If you consume CBD oil or other CBD products, will you run the risk of ingesting THC? 

It's a question asked more frequently than ever, as CBD formulas are popping up in spas, large retailers, coffee houses, online shops, and major pharmacies across the country. 

The second-most-prominent cannabinoid of the cannabis plant, cannabidiol (CBD) has become valued in recent years for being non-intoxicating — as opposed to intoxicating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid responsible for the cannabis “high” — while also offering a variety of potential health benefits. Many consumers who take CBD oil say they do so because they want the medicinal benefits associated with cannabis without the effects of THC. 

So for these consumers, the question inevitably arises: Do CBD products contain THC? 

It's possible to consume CBD oil that has trace amounts of THC, but you may not sense any intoxicating effects.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The short answer is, yes, it's possible to consume CBD products that have trace amounts of THC, but you may not notice. Understanding why, and how to avoid it, requires a basic knowledge of what CBD is, how it's extracted, and how it works in your body. Get ready to read some labels.

First, CBD can be derived from hemp or from cannabis. If it's from hemp, there can't be any more than 0.3% THC in it, by law. That's the CBD that you should be able to purchase in just about any US state because hemp is legal across the land. (Sorry, Idahoans, this doesn't apply to you.) CBD that's been extracted from marijuana, on the other hand, could have any amount of THC in it and is only available in states where medical and/or recreational cannabis is legal. In medical states, you'll need to be a registered patient to participate. 

Next, pay attention to whether a CBD product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.

  • Full-spectrum contains CBD and all other cannabinoids and terpenes, including whatever amount of THC the plant may have produced. 
  • Broad-spectrum contains CBD and terpenes, but has been processed to strip out any THC.
  • CBD isolate contains pure CBD, isolated from all other chemicals, cannabinoids, and terpenes. It is commonly sold in a powder or crystalline form.

While CBD isolate might in some ways function as a more potent or concentrated form of CBD, it may be less effective since isolate does not metabolize in your body alongside the other potentially important cannabinoids and terpenes. While some prefer the peace of mind of knowing there's nothing but CBD in their oil, gummies, or tincture, there's scientific evidence that consuming full-spectrum products, with all the goodies from the plant, delivers better results via the entourage effect

In the earlier days of CBD product manufacturing, full-spectrum products were likely to contain higher levels of THC than 0.3%. But as the industry has matured, it's now possible to find full-spectrum hemp products with all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp but no more than 0.3% THC. Just be sure the label says full-spectrum hemp, not marijuana. 

Is CBD effective without THC?

Maybe you came to this article because you want to try CBD, but completely avoid any potentially adverse or intoxicating effects of THC. If this is the case, try a full-spectrum hemp, broad-spectrum CBD, or CBD isolate product. 

If you're open to trying cannabis products that are high in CBD and low in THC, you may be interested to know that CBD has the potential to mitigate the intoxicating and potentially adverse effects of THC, while THC may contribute to or enhance the therapeutic effects of CBD. THC and CBD elicit responses from the human body by binding to cannabinoid receptors.

CBD has the potential to mitigate the intoxicating and potentially adverse effects of THC, while THC may contribute to or enhance the therapeutic effects of CBD.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

Both cannabinoids bind to the body's CB1 receptors. THC activates the CB1 receptor, while CBD inhibits it. Trace amounts of THC in CBD products are very unlikely to exhibit any of its effects relative to CBD. 

If you're interested in benefiting from the potential entourage effect when combining THC and CBD, begin with high-CBD/low-THC cannabis products. Check the ratio of CBD to THC, expressed on the label as something like 10:1, 5:1, 1:1, etc. It may take a bit of experimentation to find the ratio you prefer. It's possible that CBD works better for some uses, and some people, in conjunction with THC.

Be careful about which direction the ratio goes though. Cannabis high in THC and low in CBD may be even more intoxicating than THC alone, according to an Australianstudy. 

Will CBD oil with trace amounts of THC influence a drug test?

While there isn't necessarily a guarantee that the trace amounts of THC in CBD oil won't show up on a drug test, you really don't need to worry about it. If you want to be completely sure that your CBD oil won't result in a positive drug test, seek out raw CBD oil, CBD distillate, or other pure CBD products. 

If you're wondering how long CBD is detectable in urine, it's not really an issue. Since employer drug tests screen for THC, there isn't a test for CBD. While one could eventually be developed, it's unlikely since CBD doesn't have intoxicating effects like THC does. As for how long THC can be detected in urine, it depends on the frequency of use. 

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on July 28, 2021.