Lots of people are curious about CBD. But some may feel held back from trying it over concerns about THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. Along with CBD, or cannabidiol, THC is the second most prominent cannabinoid in the hemp and marijuana plants — both two types of flowering plants in the Cannabis family. When taken in large doses, THC can cause people to feel a euphoric “high” sensation. Those who are new to CBD may not know that there’s a big difference between hemp-based and marijuana-based products, and that not all hemp-derived products contain THC.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of the compounds of the cannabis sativa plant, and it is also one of the most prominent cannabinoids. Its presence is particularly robust in the hemp plant, where it is the leading cannabinoid. CBD is non-psychoactive and it will not cause anyone to feel “high” when taking it.
What is THC?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is another one of the main compounds found in the cannabis plant. It is plentiful in the marijuana strain of cannabis, and much less so in the hemp strain of cannabis. When taken in large amounts, THC can cause a psychoactive response, causing the user to feel a sensation of euphoria or being "high." However, in hemp-derived CBD products it is restricted to less than 0.3%.
CBD vs THC: What are the Similarities and Differences?
THC and CBD communicate with the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS. This system works to help bring the body back into, and keep it in, a state of balance. Its main function is to help support other systems, like the digestive system, the reproductive system, the nervous system, and more. Even though both cannabinoids interact with the ECS, the way in which they do so differs. For example, THC connects to the body’s CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, while CBD only binds to these two receptors in a very weak manner. Researchers believe that CBD works in the ECS to stop the body’s own endocannabinoids from being broken down too early.
Is There THC in CBD?
Put simply, yes and no. Remember, CBD is just an extract from the hemp plant. So no, there is no THC in CBD because they are two different compounds. But there can be THC in CBD products. It all depends on the variety of CBD products that you buy.
Full Spectrum vs Broad Spectrum vs CBD Isolate
Full-spectrum products contain CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients. Broad spectrum products are very much like full-spectrum products except that all of the THC has been filtered out of them. Lastly, CBD isolate products contain only 99% pure CBD, as the rest of the plant parts have been removed through a special process. So if you’re looking for a full-spectrum product, then yes, it will contain THC. However, since only hemp-based products are federally legal throughout the US, they will only contain 0.3% or less THC, and therefore, will not cause you to feel “high” while using them.
If you still want to try CBD but have concerns about THC, or are subjected to routine drug tests, then broad spectrum and CBD isolate products are great alternatives.
Is CBD Effective Without THC?
Yes, CBD works all by itself when it has to! Remember, cannabidiol is a cannabinoid that naturally interacts with our body's endocannabinoid system, and that's true whether or not THC is present. The caveat is that taking CBD in a full spectrum blend that includes THC will allow for the entourage effect, which is a synergistic relationship amongst all the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the hemp plant that boost the effects of each.
The Legal Status of THC
Rules are always changing, and each state has its own laws regarding the legality of THC. The 2018 farm bill federally legalized the production of hemp and took hemp and hemp seeds off of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) schedule of Controlled Substances. THC naturally occurs in hemp, but at very low levels (below 0.3%). So while THC is therefore accepted when derived from hemp, it must only be present in that very small amount.
Is CBD Oil with THC Legal?
Yes, all full spectrum CBD oil has very low levels of THC. The amount is not large enough to cause any psychoactive effects, and is considered to be a functional element of the entourage effect mentioned earlier.
Does CBD Oil Show Up on a Drug Test?
Your body can store THC and CBD in its fat cells for several days to weeks after you’ve taken them. And while not every drug test is able to detect CBD, most standard tests can pick up THC. So if you’ve used a marijuana-based product, then a test will absolutely show up as positive. However, sometimes people who’ve used hemp-based, full-spectrum products have produced a false positive on drug tests. For this reason, you may want to opt for a CBD isolate product.
What’s the Bottom Line?
CBD and THC are both wonderful cannabinoids that work well with the body’s endocannabinoid system, however, not all hemp-based CBD products have THC in them. Under federal law, all hemp-derived products must contain 0.3% or less THC. You may only buy marijuana-based products in states where medicinal and/or recreational marijuana is legal, as these products contain high amounts of THC that will evoke feelings of euphoria. If you want to take advantage of all the stuff that the hemp plant has to offer, then you might want to opt for full-spectrum CBD products. However, if you have concerns about THC or have to take regular drug tests, then broad spectrum or CBD isolate products are recommended. When it comes to finding the best products for your needs, it’s highly recommended that you spend some time researching brands, products, and CBD in general. This way, you’ll be sure to make an educated decision on whether you should choose a full-spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate product.