Some users can only take CBD oil without THC, mostly due to drug testing required by their job. There have been many stories of people testing false-positives for THC on screening after taking high doses of full-spectrum CBD oil daily.
CBD oil derived from hemp contains only a trace amount of THC (up to 0.3%), which is nowhere near enough to cause a high associated with this compound.
However, THC may accumulate in the body over time, resulting in enough of its metabolites in your system to show a detectable amount on a drug test.
To cater to the people who prefer CBD oil without THC, many brands have expanded their collections with a product known as CBD isolate.
An isolate is simply purified CBD that contains no THC or other cannabinoids. This product is also void of terpenes, so CBD oils made with isolates are odorless and flavorless.
However, CBD isolate isn’t the only product that yields CBD oil without THC. Another one is a broad-spectrum extract, which consists of a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes, but with the THC content entirely removed.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about THC-free CBD oil.
But, before we dig deeper into the subject, let’s explain the difference between the two major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
What’s the Difference Between CBD and THC?
At first glance, both CBD and THC have similar molecular profiles. They consist of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. However, those atoms are arranged in a slightly different manner, which is why these two cannabinoids have vastly different effects on your body and brain.
CBD and THC are similar to the endocannabinoids produced naturally by your body.
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — the major regulatory network in your bodies. The endocannabinoid system controls a wide range of biological processes, including cognition, memory, mood, sensory perception, appetite, fertility, immune function, neuroprotection, sleep cycles, and more.
Again, both cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system using different mechanisms.
CBD and THC Have Different Effects on the Endocannabinoid System
The primary difference in the relationship between these two compounds and the ECS is the way they target cannabinoid receptors.
THC directly binds to the CB1 receptor, whose largest concentrations are found in the brain and central nervous system. This mechanism allows THC to produce its psychoactive buzz, bringing feelings of bliss and euphoria.
That’s because THC has an almost identical molecular structure to anandamide, one of the two major endocannabinoids. This neurotransmitter can also lead to feelings of calm, happiness, and euphoria when released.
When you take THC, it “fools” the brain to think that more anandamide circulates in the system, triggering the euphoric high. On the other hand, too much THC in your system may backfire at your body by causing temporary anxiety.
Taking CBD leads to something different. Instead of binding to cannabinoid receptors, it signals the endocannabinoid system to release more anandamide; CBD also allows anandamide to circulate in your system for longer by blocking an enzyme that breaks it down. It does not, however, lead to abnormal levels of anandamide and thus can’t trigger any negative response no matter the dose.
Long story short, CBD is the modulator of the endocannabinoid system. It works where it’s needed the most and ensures a healthy concentration of endocannabinoids in your body without any mind-altering effects.
Learn More: How CBD Works in Your Body
How Much THC is in Full-Spectrum CBD Oil?
Full-spectrum means that a product has been produced using the entire hemp plant. Hemp contains only trace amounts of THC — usually 0.3% or less — which makes it legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Before the new law was introduced, hemp had been classified in the same category of drugs as LSD and heroin. Today, hemp is an agricultural commodity that can be grown for any purpose, including health supplements such as CBD extracts.
Below we explain how manufacturers remove THC from hemp extracts to produce broad-spectrum CBD or isolates.
CBD Oil Without THC: How is THC Removed from CBD?
Making CBD oil without THC is a multi-step process.
During the initial extraction, all cannabinoids and terpenes are pulled from the hemp plant using supercritical CO2 — that’s the extraction method we use at Royal CBD. Pressurized CO2 yields pure and potent extracts without using toxic solvents such as butane.
Once extracted, the mixture contains CBD, trace cannabinoids, terpenes, and negligible amounts of THC. The next step in the process is called winterization, which involves removing any redundant plant material from the extract. Winterization is followed by short-path distillation, a technique that separates CBD from other compounds.
From there, the manufacturer can either leave the trace cannabinoids and terpenes in the extract (but without THC), or use the CBD on its own. This is how broad-spectrum CBD and isolates are made.
Does CBD Oil Work Without THC?
At this point, you may be wondering whether or not removing THC from CBD oil makes the product less effective. Are you buying a legitimate product or just wasting your money?
To answer that question, we need to explain the entourage effect.
The entourage effect is an idea proposed by Dr. Ethan Russo. According to this concept, cannabinoids work better together than in isolation. Even traces of THC can impact the way CBD oil works for you.
Full-spectrum CBD products contain all the cannabinoids from the hemp plant, including a small amount of THC. As mentioned, you won’t get high off of hemp-derived CBD oil. However, the presence of THC enhances some of the CBD’s benefits by allowing your body to process this cannabinoid more efficiently.
Several studies have shown that CBD-enriched cannabis extracts are more effective at reducing inflammation and physical discomfort in subjects. In contrast, CBD alone may cause a bell-shaped dose-response, losing its efficacy when a certain dose is breached. Full-spectrum extracts can prevent that reaction.
A CBD oil without THC may still be beneficial. You may, however, miss out on some of the other benefits provided by other cannabinoids and terpenes. On the other hand, current research is too limited to conclude whether CBD isolate is less effective than full-spectrum CBD.
If you want to make use of the entourage effect with a THC-free product, try looking for a broad-spectrum extract.
Why Do People Search for CBD Oil Without THC?
One of the most common reasons to take CBD oil without THC is that CBD alone will not show up on a drug test result. Drug tests are designed to search for THC metabolites, and CBD cannot convert to THC in any way.
Still, some people are afraid that taking high doses of CBD oil containing trace amounts of THC can lead to the buildup of its metabolites in the system, resulting in a failed drug test.
If that’s your concern, CBD oil without THC can be a safer bet.
Moreover, there are virtually no regulations in place when it comes to labeling and manufacturing hemp-derived CBD oil, meaning that some full-spectrum oils may carry higher levels of CBD than federally accepted.
That’s why we always stress the importance of reading lab reports from third-party testing. If a company doesn’t post these lab reports on its website or make them available on request, the THC content in your CBD oil may be higher than the legal 0.3%. Third-party testing ensures that you’re buying a legitimate product.
Key Takeaways on CBD Oil Without THC
The CBD market has grown enormously since the past few years; there’s an abundance of products that are designed to suit different types of CBD users. Whether you opt for full-spectrum or prefer isolate-based extracts, you certainly won’t run out of options.
Whether CBD oil is better with or without THC is still up for debate. Some studies suggest that CBD oil is processed more efficiently in the presence of even small amounts of THC, but then again, this may raise concerns about a drug test result if a person is regularly checked for THC at their workplace.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether you prefer a full-spectrum oil or pure CBD without THC. You’ll never know unless you try both products and compare the results.
No matter what type of CBD oil you choose, always do your research before you buy it!