Can CBD Oil Contain THC?

  • It is possible for CBD Oil to contain trace amounts of THC.
  • Trace amounts of THC are unlikely to produce any noticeable effect.
  • 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.
  • If you want to be completely sure that your CBD oil won't result in a positive drug test, seek out pure CBD products.

If you take CBD oil, will you run the risk of ingesting THC? 

It's a question asked more frequently than ever, as CBD oil formulas are popping up in spas, major retailers, 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 — Does CBD oil contain THC? 

It's possible to take CBD oil that has trace amounts of THC, which you're unlikely to sense any intoxicating effects.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

The short answer is, yes, it's possible to take CBD oil that has trace amounts of THC, which you're unlikely to notice. Understanding why, and how to avoid it, requires a basic knowledge of what CBD oil is, how it's extracted, and how it works in your body. 

Products labeled as CBD oil could be one of the following:

  • Raw CBD oil: Pure CBD distillate that contains only CBD and no other compounds. 
  • CBD hemp oil: High-CBD oil extracted from hemp, which in the U.S. is legally defined as having less than 0.3% THC. 
  • Full-spectrum extract: Oil extracted from hemp or cannabis that contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids, including THC. Full-spectrum extract from hemp may be called “full spectrum CBD oil.”

In short, whether CBD oil contains THC depends on how it is made. Raw CBD oil is an isolate, so it won't have any trace amounts of any other cannabis compounds, including THC. CBD oil extracted from hemp may have trace amounts, and there are high-CBD/low-THC concentrates, oils, and tinctures available in legal cannabis markets. If you want to avoid THC, look closely at the labels on CBD products you're thinking of buying, and read all information relating to dosages and methods of extraction.

The Relationship Between CBD and THC

Maybe you came to this article because you want to try CBD oil, but completely avoid any potentially adverse or intoxicating effects of THC. If this is the case, you probably have nothing to worry about. Trace amounts of THC are very unlikely to produce any noticeable effect. 

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 oil are very unlikely to exhibit any of its effects relative to CBD. If you're interested in benefiting from the combined effects of THC and CBD, otherwise known as the entourage effect, begin with high-CBD/low-THC cannabis products. 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 oil won't show up on a drug test, drug testing guidelines for the federal workplace now include a cutoff value to avoid a positive test for trace amounts of THC. Though different types of drug tests vary in their thresholds of THC detection, it's highly unlikely that any of them will pick up trace amounts. 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. 

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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 March 26, 2020.