If you consume CBD oil or other CBD products, do you run the risk of ingesting THC? It's a question asked more frequently than ever since CBD is 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 consume CBD say they do so because they want the potential medicinal benefits associated with cannabis without the effects of THC. These consumers may naturally wonder about the presence of THC in CBD.
The short answer is maybe
Some CBD products have trace amounts of THC, but you may not notice. Understanding why, and how to avoid all THC, 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. Hemp-derived CBD products can't have any more than 0.3% THC 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 purchase marijuana-derived CBD products.
Next, it matters whether a CBD product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
- Full-spectrum contains CBD and all the 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 is a powder that contains pure CBD isolated from all other chemicals, cannabinoids, and terpenes.
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. Some prefer the peace of mind of knowing there's nothing but CBD in their oil, gummies, or tincture. But 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.
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 Australian study.
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 products 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 gummies won't result in a positive drug test, seek out products made from CBD isolate.
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.
How do I find products with CBD and THC?
First, if you want more than a trace amount of THC, you need to live in a state where cannabis is legal. If you are mostly interested in the effects of CBD, then try a higher ratio of CBD to THC, as stated above. If you have some experience with THC or just want to see how a balanced product affects you, look for a one-to-one ratio. If you are interested in some of the potential medicinal effects of THC tempered by CBD, something with a higher ratio of THC should deliver.
Medical marijuana is frequently approved for those suffering from pain, nausea, Alzheimer's, Crohn's disease, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders. If you are looking for a product to help manage these or other conditions, it's best to consult a healthcare professional or dispensary personnel to help you choose the correct ratio.
Once you know what ratio you want, it's time to decide what type of product or route of administration you're interested in.
Here are the most common choices:
- Edibles: discreet, portable, take effect in 30 minutes to two hours and last for five to eight hours
- Sublingual (under the tongue): double action, portable, takes effect in 15 to 20 minutes and last for up to six hours with second action taking effect like an edible since part of the solution is swallowed
- Inhalation (smoking, vaping): fast-acting, shorter duration, takes effect immediately and lasts two to four hours
- Topicals: quick, short-term, localized, take effect with 10 minutes and last about an hour
- Transdermal (gels, patches): discreet, consistent, long-term, takes effect within 20 minutes and lasts up to 12 hours
Consider the dosage
When first trying CBD, it's important to consider dosage as well. Many sources consider 2.5 milligrams (mg) to 10mg a good starting place. Some products suggest 25mg as a starting point. All sources agree that starting low and going slow is the best way to ease into CBD consumption. Inhalation, topicals, and transdermals deliver very quick results. If you're trying an edible or sublingual product and don't notice any effect, it's important to wait 24 hours before consuming more, especially if it contains THC. You can always up the dose next time.
The way you'll know what the ratio is, how many milligrams of CBD and THC it contains, whether it was tested by a licensed third party, and other important information is by reading the label. By knowing what to look for on CBD product labels, consumers have a better chance of finding high-quality items. The total amount of CBD and amount per serving size should always be clearly showcased on the label.
What to look for on a CBD product label
Look for the following details on CBD product labels to ensure that it comes from a reputable source:
- Amount of active CBD and/or THC per serving
- Supplement Fact Panel, including other ingredients
- Net weight
- Manufacturer/distributor name
- Suggested use
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate
- Batch/date code
- Expiration date
Don't fall prey to enticing buzzwords such as “organic” or “all-natural” as they can be misleading and don't have a scientific definition. There are also some product labels that claim to contain hemp or hempseed oil, but this is not the same as hemp-derived CBD, and frequently contains little to no cannabinoids at all.
Now that you've considered ratios, product type, and dosing and you know what to look for on a CBD product label, you're ready to find a licensed dispensary and make a purchase.
Is there a little THC in CBD?
It depends. CBD derived from hemp could have as much as 0.3% THC. CBD derived from marijuana could have any amount of THC. Products made with broad-spectrum CBD or isolate, however, have no THC.
Can CBD ruin a drug test?
No, CBD alone can not ruin a drug test because those tests are designed to detect THC. It is possible, though unlikely, that trace amounts of THC found in some CBD products could show up on a drug test. To completely avoid that possibility, look for broad-spectrum or isolate CBD products.
What is the difference between THC and CBD?
They are the two most common cannabinoids in cannabis. THC produces intoxicating effects, while CBD on its own does not. They are both reported to have some medicinal effects as well.
How long is CBD detectable in urine?
There is no test for detecting CBD in urine, only THC.