As CBD oil formulas are popping up everywhere, from major pharmacies to cannabis dispensaries to head shops and online stores, more people wonder if the THC content in their products is safe for them.
Many CBD users work in professions that entail regular drug testing, so taking CBD oil even with trace amounts of THC may raise concerns.
CBD is the second major cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. It owes its popularity to a remarkable safety profile and many health benefits without getting the user high.
Many consumers who take CBD oil report similar benefits to what they experience with traditional cannabis but with no buzz whatsoever.
There are different types of CBD oil on the market; you can find full-spectrum extracts, broad-spectrum extracts, and CBD isolate.
Which of these products contain THC?
We’ll get to that in a second, but first, let’s make sure you’re familiar with some basic terms.
What Is CBD Oil?
CBD oil is a plant-based extract that contains high concentrations of CBD (cannabidiol) — one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. It’s also the main compound responsible for the health benefits of cannabis.
CBD is known to interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex regulatory network in humans whose therapeutic potential has been highlighted in numerous studies throughout the last decade.
The ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is a fancy term for internal balance between the functions of the other systems and organs. A properly functioning ECS ensures enhanced well-being, both in terms of physical and mental health.
Aside from balancing the ECS, CBD acts on over 60 molecular pathways, which would explain its versatility in dealing with certain issues like everyday aches, poor stress response, compromised immune functioning, and messed-up sleep cycles.
When you take CBD oil under the tongue, it absorbs through tiny capillaries in your mouth, ensuring effective absorption and fast-acting effects.
Unlike THC, CBD oil doesn’t interact directly with any of the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, hence the lack of intoxicating properties.
You can find CBD oil in tinctures, capsules, edibles, vapes, topicals, and pet products.
How Is CBD Oil Made?
CBD oil is made by extracting the CBD and other beneficial compounds (e.g., minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids) from the whole hemp plant. Manufacturers generally use CO2 extraction, as it yields the most consistent results regarding the product’s potency and purity. Once extracted, the oil can be further filtered or left as is (in its raw version). To activate the CBD to make it more available for the body, the extract is gently heated before being bottled up. Heating cannabinoids is known as decarboxylation.
What Is THC?
THC is the major active compound in marijuana plants (high-THC cannabis). The compound induces the signature marijuana high by binding to the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain. These receptors are an important part of the ECS, with the highest concentrations in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS).
THC has a similar molecular structure to our body’s naturally produced cannabinoid anandamide. When you take THC, it signals the CB1 receptors to react as if more anandamide was being produced by the brain. This stimulating effect on the ECS results in a calming and euphoric experience of being “high” after THC use.
Taking more THC than you can handle can trigger a few side effects, including problems with focus, potential short-term memory impairment, dizziness, and anxiety.
Extended THC use can also make your tolerance increase, meaning your brain will need more THC to achieve the same effects as before.
However, smaller amounts of THC taken regularly shouldn’t overwhelm the ECS and therefore won’t cause the aforementioned side effects. As mentioned earlier, your body naturally produces cannabinoids in smaller volumes, and they work similarly to THC.
Does CBD Oil Contain THC?
It depends on which type of CBD oil you have in mind.
Full-spectrum CBD oil will have trace amounts of THC. The hemp plant is extremely low in this cannabinoid, but its traces can pass through to the end product. As long as it contains 0.3% of THC or less, your CBD oil is legal on a federal level.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is almost the same as its full-spectrum counterpart, but with one exception. Broad-spectrum CBD contains other minor cannabinoids and terpenes to evoke the entourage effect without any THC traces. These small amounts are purged from the extract after initial extraction.
There’s also CBD isolate, which — true to its name — contains ZERO THC. It’s just pure CBD that has been separated from other hemp compounds and extracted into white crystals, which can then be powdered and infused into a range of products.
Does CBD Oil Need THC to Be Effective?
THC occurs in every cannabis plant, even in trace amounts.
There’s a reason why full-spectrum CBD oils — those that contain some THC — are considered more effective than broad-spectrum CBD and isolate.
Cannabis researchers and neuroscientists have discovered a unique synergy produced by all cannabis compounds. They dubbed this concept “the entourage effect.”
The entourage effect means that when you consume cannabis extracts, all of its compounds enter a synergy that causes these compounds to be more beneficial than each of them on their own.
So, in essence, when you consume CBD and add other cannabinoids and terpenes to it, you can expect your CBD oil to be more effective than its “purer” counterparts. According to Israeli scientists, CBD-enriched cannabis extracts with more than 0.3% THC can enhance their efficacy and reduce the problem of a bell-shaped dose-response curve using different doses.
How Does CBD Interact with THC?
CBD and THC can enhance their beneficial properties when consumed together. Still, researchers have also discovered that CBD can mitigate some of the unwanted side effects of THC, such as the aforementioned anxiety.
THC doesn’t cause any negative side effects in low and moderate doses. However, if you’re sensitive to its psychoactive properties, your CB1 receptors can easily get overstimulated, which can lead to mental distress on top of temporary problems with short-term memory and issues with coordination.
When you take CBD with THC, it binds to the site of the CB1 receptor that is activated by THC — therefore blocking some of its intoxicating effects. Consuming these two compounds together results in more pronounced benefits and a lower incidence of the above side effects. You won’t feel as high after taking a balanced product as you would with high-THC cannabis oil.
The Legal Status of THC
Marijuana is still illegal in most countries around the world. The US federal government strictly regulates THC, holding it in the schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 — despite the massive amount of research claiming it should be declassified or, at least, reclassified.
Nevertheless, individual states can regulate marijuana on their own within their jurisdictions. Almost every state has some medical marijuana program for patients today, and 16 states have legalized the recreational use of weed.
Long story short, the current federal and state laws are contradictory in most cases. For now, the safest bet is to purchase hemp-derived CBD oil with legally approved traces of THC if you don’t want to get into trouble with the federal law.
Although it’s possible to extract CBD from high-THC marijuana strains, the process is highly counterproductive, which is why we source all our premium CBD oils from organic hemp plants.
Is CBD Oil with THC Legal?
Hemp-derived CBD oil was legalized in 2018 when President Trump signed the amended Agricultural Act (the 2018 Farm Bill). The new law drew a thick line between hemp and marijuana, legalizing hemp and its derivatives on a federal level.
You can legally buy CBD oil in all 50 states.
Here at Gold Bee, we offer free shipping on all domestic orders.
Does CBD Oil Show Up On A Drug Test?
One of the biggest concerns shared by CBD users is the potential risk of CBD oil showing up on a drug test. There’s a lot of misunderstanding regarding how drug tests work and what they can detect.
Simply put, workplace drug tests look for THC-COOH, which is the metabolite of THC. They don’t look for CBD because it doesn’t get people high and thus can’t impair their performance at work.
Since full-spectrum CBD oils contain traces of THC, some people wonder if it can trigger a false-positive result.
Here’s the thing:
To fail a drug test using a certified full-spectrum CBD oil from hemp, you’d need to consume about 2,000 mg daily. Most people don’t cross the 50 mg threshold in their daily supplementation plan. Even the doses tested in scientific studies aren’t that large.
That being said, if you buy CBD oil from a company that doesn’t test its products for potency and purity in a third-party laboratory, such products can be contaminated with significant levels of THC.
This, in turn, can make you fail a drug test.
That’s why we always underline the importance of third-party testing in CBD oils.
Is CBD Oil with THC Safe?
Yes, CBD oil with trace amounts of THC is generally safe as long as it comes from a reputable source. The CBD space is still unregulated, so it’s the consumer’s responsibility to research any company selling CBD oil with THC out there.
Many manufacturers don’t test their CBD products in third-party laboratories, which often results in contamination of the product with a significant amount of THC. Such products not only can get you high, but they are also federally illegal.
Other dangers of buying untested CBD oils include the presence of pesticides, heavy metals, microbial impurities, and residual solvents — all of which are toxic for your body.
CBD vs. THC: The Side Effects
CBD has a perfect safety profile. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), humans are well-tolerated even in doses as high as 1,500 mg administered daily.
That being said, overdoing CBD can result in a few mild side effects, including dry mouth, dizziness, appetite fluctuation, sedation, and diarrhea (from excessive carrier oil consumption).
With THC, the side effects are a little bit different. On top of some classic reactions like dry mouth and red eyes, taking too much THC can lead to increased heart rate and feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
THC can also cause your tolerance to build up, which isn’t the case for CBD. In fact, some users experience a phenomenon called’ reversed tolerance,’ where they actually need less CBD over time because they feel better than before they added it to their routine.
How to Shop for CBD Oils with THC?
Loose regulations – or lack thereof — make it difficult for new consumers to distinguish between high-quality and low-quality CBD products. That being said, there are a few steps you can follow to make it much easier.
After spending several years in the cannabis industry, both on the consumer’s and manufacturer’s side, we’ve got a pretty good grasp of the factors that affect the quality of CBD oil, such as:
- Hemp Source – as dynamic bioaccumulators, hemp plants absorb everything from their environment, including the good and the bad substances. The goal is to maximize the yields from the good ones, which is why the best CBD oils with THC are sourced from organic hemp. Organic plants are grown in clean soil, under natural sunlight, and without pesticides or synthetic growth boosters.
- Extraction Method – CO2 is the go-to solvent for the majority of reputable manufacturers. Pressurized CO2 effectively pulls the beneficial compounds from the hemp plant and leaves them behind, dissipating into the air once the extraction has been completed. This method yields pure extracts with consistent potency throughout the batches.
- Third-party Testing – trustworthy manufacturers test their products in independent laboratories to confirm that the THC levels are maintained below 0.3%. These laboratories also look for over 200 contaminants, including pesticides, herbicides, mycotoxins, solvents, and heavy metals. A certificate of analysis is proof of the product’s quality and safety.
- Reputation – companies that make high-quality products are many positive reviews all over the internet. These reviews must come from third-party websites, as these often stay in stark contrast to what the manufacturer is posting on its website.
From there, you can proceed to more detailed choices — trying different potencies, formulas, and flavors.
Final Thoughts: Does CBD Oil Have THC?
All cannabis plants have THC, even in trace amounts, so if you have full-spectrum CBD oil, it will contain THC. However, it’s usually only 0.3% or less, which isn’t enough to produce any mind-altering effects.
CBD oil with a little amount of THC is considered superior to CBD isolates or extracts that have the THC removed from them. That’s because CBD and THC work synergistically and boost their health benefits while mitigating the potential unwanted effects.
If you’re looking for CBD oil with significant concentrations of THC, you can only buy it in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Otherwise, your only legal option is hemp-derived CBD oil.
Hemp-derived products are non-intoxicating; they won’t get you high, but you’ll still be able to experience the benefits of CBD and other minor cannabinoids and terpenes.
Just make sure you buy it from a reputable source that tests its products in a third-party lab. At Gold Bee, we send our products for testing at different stages of production to ensure their top-shelf quality is maintained from A to Z.