One of the most common questions among new CBD users is - “how much THC is in CBD oil and will it affect me?”
The ratio of CBD vs. THC can have a major impact on a product's effects as both of these cannabinoids each have their own set of properties. Consumers tend to give added attention to THC content given that it is a psychoactive compound.
Finding items with the proper THC levels can be challenging given the many factors involved: What benefits are you seeking, what is your individual biological composition and how does your body respond to cannabinoids, What is your personal threshold for psychoactive effects, etc... While medical marijuana, a high THC and low CBD content category of products, has its potential benefits, it is a less targeted and psychoactive impairing alternative to hemp-derived CBD products. Because of this, a lot of users prefer going with CBD isolates and broad spectrum products as a way of avoiding THC altogether.
The problem with these THC free products is that they aren’t as efficient as products that contain SOME THC. While high levels of THC can be problematic for certain users, featuring CBD and THC in the right ratios and quantities can drastically improve how a product works through something called the Entourage Effect. Think of your body like a plant and THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids as a plant’s necessities: in order to be the strongest, tallest plant you need sunlight, water, and nutrients. You can probably grow something with only two of the three components, but it’ll be a weak and deprived plant that struggles to survive. The same is true with CBD products, in order to really benefit from them, you need to make sure they subject you to as much of the hemp plant as possible. CBD isolates only contain one component of the hemp plant and therefore you’d be lucky to realize any noticeable benefits from those products. Broad spectrum oils are better than isolates as they contain other components of the hemp flower that work in tandem so you can realize more benefits of the oil, but they are missing other crucial components which end up subtracting from a product’s effectiveness. Full spectrum oils are the best of the bunch because they contain every component of the hemp flower, including THC, but in levels that prevent individuals from feeling psychoactive effects. That way, end users can realize all the benefits the hemp plant has to offer without having to worry about getting stoned to realize them.
THC content is regulated by law - In the US, for example, you cannot have hemp derived products with more than a 0.3% THC by weight composition. If a product exceeds this threshold, it will be categorized as a recreational marijuana plant item. When using Sivan CBD’s full-spectrum oils, you should never worry about these issues as we perform strict quality control and third party lab testing on all of our products. That way we can deliver the most effective products to our customers without them having to worry
So, just how much THC is in CBD oil? Should you be worried about this chemical compound?
Why is THC content so low in medical hemp oil?
Unlike the medicinal cannabis plant, more commonly referred to as marijuana, industrial hemp has a low THC content. As a matter of fact, the hemp plant and marijuana plant are part of the same species, the only difference being that plants with less than 0.3% THC are classified as hemp and plants with over 0.3% THC are classified as marijuana.
Not only does hemp have trace amounts of THC, but it also has high CBD content. This is actually a direct result of a low THC content: All cannabinoids in the cannabis plant start as a compound called CBGA. Depending on the plant strain and growing conditions the plant is in, the CBGA over time gets broken down into all the cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, THC) in different ratios. Therefore, if a plant has a low THC content, you can bet that it has a high content of one of or a mixture of the other cannabinoids. Some of the low THC content strains can produce products that are over 20% CBD! On the other hand, marijuana-derived products will have very high quantities of THC, causing the CBD and other cannabinoid contents to suffer.
While too much THC can be problematic for some users, in smaller quantities it can also provide beneficial effects like CBD. In fact, some experts claim that THC is every bit as important for jumpstarting internal processes. By having at least a little bit of THC within a CBD oil, you can stimulate cannabinoid receptors such as the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.
Can you get high from medical hemp oil?
In general, hemp products should provide health benefits with no psychoactive effects. Even when talking about full spectrum products that contain trace amounts of THC, it is very unlikely that you will get high when using these substances. Normally, recreational marijuana users will use around 20mg of THC to achieve their desired psychoactive effects. In a hemp oil tincture at the legal 0.3% THC limit, it would take almost 6,700 mg of solution, or 7 full, 1 ml drops to experience intoxicating effects.
As long as the product has a low THC content, humans shouldn't experience psychoactive effects when following recommended serving sizes. If you decide to take higher quantities of a product, for example, you have a 750mg tincture (25mg/serving) and want 50mg of the extract so you take two full droppers, you are still unlikely to get psychoactive effects, but if you are weary of getting too much THC it is better to increase your tincture potency to, say, 1500mg and take one full dropper. That way you can reduce your THC ingestion while increasing your CBD dosage because the oil can’t be more than 0.3% THC.
What are the different types of CBD oil?
As mentioned earlier, there are three different classifications of Hemp extract, some of which have zero THC altogether:
- Cannabinoid isolates: these are, as the name implies, isolated compounds. Usually found in powder form, these products offer you one and one cannabinoid only. The most commonly found isolate is CBD isolate, but there are isolates for every cannabinoid, including THC. This category is ideal for those who want to focus on one specific hemp compound and don’t want anything else. Hemp isolate products used to be very popular but have been on the decline as scientists continue to study the entourage effect and the market has been accommodating this by moving to broad spectrum products (see below).
- Broad-spectrum oil: These products are currently the most popular category on the market. Broad spectrum oils incorporate a larger variety of cannabinoids into products and therefore consumers can get exposure to other useful compounds found in hemp like CBG and CBC. While only present in smaller quantities, the mere presence of these other cannabinoids helps to activate more biological receptors in the body increasing the benefits and potency of the hemp extract. The thing broad spectrum products lack is the trace levels of THC. Broad spectrum products contain 0.0% THC which is good for people very skeptical of consuming any whatsoever, however, this results in an end product that is more comprehensive and effective than isolate products, but lacking of the full benefits hemp has to offer.
- Full-spectrum oil: While not a new concept, full spectrum extracts are quickly becoming the next big thing in the hemp industry. Full spectrum oils are as close to the hemp plant as one can get and as a result are the most natural and least refined products on the market. Full spectrum oils feature every cannabinoid present in the hemp plant while still limiting THC to a 0.3% threshold and help to activate the entire endocannabinoid system resulting in the most effective experience. Sivan CBD is focused on this category as it offers the maximum benefit to the consumer without compromising cognitive functions.
When a manufacturer first extracts hemp oil from the plant, it comes in a thick, dark, waxy sludge referred to as, “crude oil”. After simple separation from the unwanted waxy substances left behind from the plant, one is left with the beautiful, golden oil very similar in look and texture to honey which at that point is referred to as the “full spectrum oil/distillate” that we briefly discussed above. Inorder to achieve the broad spectrum oils discussed above, the full spectrum oil is mixed with different acids and solvents to pull out all the THC and then filtered to remove the added chemicals leaving behind a THC free extract similar looking to full spectrum oil. Lastly, to produce the isolates, the broad spectrum oils are refined even further and undergo different processes to yield the specific cannabinoid being produced.
What is the difference between CBD oil and hemp seed oil?
There is a good chance you've heard of the term "hemp seed oil." Despite what you might think, this is not the same as CBD oil.
Hemp seed oil is a product that companies extract from hemp seeds rather than the mature hemp plant. At this stage of the plant’s life there are no cannabinoids, which means that hemp seed oil doesn’t contain any of the therapeutic properties present in CBD oil. While hemp seed oil doesn’t contain any cannabinoids, it is still a good source of omega fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients.
Unlike hemp seed oil, CBD oil is extracted from the mature hemp plant’s stems, flowers, and especially buds. These components of the flower are full of cannabinoids and terpenes and therefore provide the therapeutic benefits people seek when using CBD products.
While hemp seed oil doesn't have the same properties as CBD oil, that doesn't mean it is completely useless. Hemp seed oil is often used within the cosmetic industry for various shampoos, skin care solutions, and other beauty products given its high content of healthy fats and vitamins. It can also be used around the house for cooking purposes to incorporate new flavors into dishes.
CBD oil during drug tests
The main reason why people want to know the THC content in their CBD oil is for drug testing purposes.
While CBD has never been an issue during drug screening, THC is a completely different story. A lot of public and private employers will require their employees to test negative for THC, legal matters can require forensic labs to perform a drug screening to cast doubt or credibility for a party which THC can be an indicator of intoxication, sports organizations may test contestants for usage of banned substances which THC falls into, etc...
In the US, most labs test at the 50 ng/ml THC threshold inorder to be considered positive for marijuana consumption.
Even if you're using the products for a while, the chance of testing positive is really slim. Keep in mind that these oils have trace amounts of THC, and our body is able to process the chemical as soon as we introduce it. So, you would have to use excessive quantities that your body cannot otherwise handle or to use medical marijuana items.
The best way to get the most out of your CBD oil
Of course, there are several ways to avoid THC altogether, but as discussed earlier, we would suggest against completely avoiding THC unless you're regularly tested. When you apply all the cannabinoids found in hemp together, you are more likely to experience the entourage effect where every compound works together to stimulate your endocannabinoid system and provide increased benefits. If THC is still something you wish to avoid completely, consider moving over to a broad spectrum product as they contain at least some of the other compounds found in the hemp plant.
Here are some extra tips on how to guarantee your CBD product meets your specific needs:
- Make sure to read the label, reviews and get as much information as possible about a particular product.
- Ask the manufacturer about the item and its categorization. Be specific about your concerns so the manufacturer can answer them fully or make you aware of something you haven't even considered
- Make sure to read the COA report published by a third-party lab. Here, you can have a detailed breakdown of a product’s cannabinoid content and view the purity of the products you’re consuming.
Spindle, T., Cone, E., Kuntz, D., Mitchell, J., Bigelow, G., Flegel, R., Vandrey, R., (2020), Urinary Pharmacokinetic Profile of Cannabinoids Following Administration of Vaporized and Oral Cannabidiol and Vaporized CBD-Dominant Cannabis, Journal of analytical toxicology, Oxford, the UK