Millions of CBD users can only ingest oils devoid of any THC, mostly because of drug tests at their jobs.
Several cases of THC “false-positives” have been reported by people who regularly consume full-spectrum CBD oil. However, hemp-derived CBD contains only a maximum of 0.3% of THC – not a high enough level for this compound to induce intoxication.
Although you cannot get high from CBD, THC builds up in the body over time, which can sometimes result in a positive drug test. Keeping in mind the people who are subject to regular drug tests, many manufacturers have chosen to include CBD isolates as part of their product range.
CBD products made using isolates are flavorless as well as odorless. Isolates are simply pure CBD with no traces of THC, other cannabinoids, or even terpenes.
That being said, it is not just CBD isolates that contain CBD without any THC. There is another product known as “broad-spectrum” CBD oil which contains several terpenes and cannabinoids – but with no traces of THC at all.
In this comprehensive guide, we will tell you everything that you should know about CBD oils that don’t contain THC. But before we delve headfirst into this topic, let us first take a moment to understand how the two major cannabinoids differ.
How is CBD different from THC?
CBD and THC resemble the endocannabinoids that are naturally produced by the body and exhibit a similar molecular structure. There are 21 atoms of carbon, 30 atoms of hydrogen, and 2 atoms of oxygen in each compound. The only difference is in the arrangement of these atoms – and also the diverse range of effects on the mind (and body) of the consumer.
Endocannabinoids are a type of neurotransmitters that communicate with cannabinoid-sensing-receptors in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). The ECS is a vital regulating network in the body, responsible for a number of biological functions. These include memory, sensory perception, cognition, mood, fertility, immunity, appetite, sleep cycles, neuroprotection, etc.
However, the mechanisms by which both these cannabinoids communicate with the ECS are actually quite different.
Different effects of CBD and THC on the Endocannabinoid System
The basic difference between the relationship of these compounds with the ECS lies in the way in which they affect the cannabinoid receptors.
THC has been preliminarily shown to latch onto the CB1 receptor, the largest concentrations of which are present in the central nervous system and the brain. Through this mechanism, THC has been found to induce a psychoactive effect, which results in a sense of euphoria and bliss.
This is because the molecular structure of THC is more or less identical to that of anandamide, which is a major endocannabinoid, known to play a role in pain relief. When activated, this neurotransmitter induces a famous calmness, along with euphoric sensations.
As an added bonus, consumption of THC tricks the brain into thinking that there is more anandamide circulating in the system, which triggers the feeling of intoxication. That being said, excessive THC in the system can make a person experience temporary anxiety.
On the other hand, when CBD is consumed, something different happens. Instead of latching onto the cannabinoid receptors, it sends signals to the ECS for the release of more anandamide!
CBD blocks the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of anandamide, effectively enabling it to circulate in the system for a longer duration…
However, CBD consumption (no matter how high the dose) is not known to release abnormally large amounts of anandamide in the system.
Simply put, CBD seems to modulate the ECS. Scientists believe it performs the function of ensuring that your body experiences healthy levels of endocannabinoids – without the mind-altering effects.
Level of THC present in full-spectrum CBD Oil
A full-spectrum product is produced by using the whole hemp plant. There is a very low concentration of THC in hemp – up to 0.3% – making it legal as per the Farm Bill, 2018.
In years gone by, hemp was classified in the category of controlled substances, and defined with the same danger as heroin or LSD. Under the new law, however, hemp has been reclassified as an agricultural crop. It can now be grown for different purposes, for example as health supplements like CBD extracts.
So without further ado, let us take a moment to understand how THC is removed from hemp extracts, so as to make CBD isolates or broad-spectrum CBD.
CBD Oil Minus THC: How are CBD and THC separated?
There are a few steps involved in making CBD oils devoid of THC. First, the supercritical CO2 extraction process is used to extract all the phytonutrients – such as terpenes and cannabinoids from the hemp.
At Balance CBD, this is the method of extraction that we use. By this process, potent and pure extracts are obtained without the use of heat or toxic solvents. For this reason, these extracts contain CBD, terpenes, trace cannabinoids, and very little THC.
In the next step, all the unwanted plant material from the extract is removed using a process called Winterization. After this, a short-path distillation technique is used to separate CBD and other compounds in the extract.
At this point, manufacturers can choose to either use just the CBD, or the extracts (minus the THC) with terpenes and trace cannabinoids still in it. That’s how CBD isolates and broad-spectrum CBD are made.
At Balance CBD, we offer two kinds of products that are free from THC. CBD gummies made using CBD isolates, and topicals made using broad-spectrum CBD. You can decide what works for you, based on your unique needs.
Is CBD Oil without THC effective?
Now you might be wondering if removing THC affects the potency and efficacy of the CBD oils.
You probably want to know if you are you are investing in a genuine product, or merely wasting your hard-earned money. But in order to answer this, we must first understand a phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
Dr. Ethan Russo was the first to hypothesize the concept of the entourage effect. The idea behind it is that THC and the other cannabinoids work more effectively when taken together, than when isolated. In other words, products derived from full-spectrum CBD retain all the cannabinoids present in the hemp plant. This includes small quantities of THC.
As mentioned, this minuscule amount of THC is not nearly enough to get you high. However, the THC present in the CBD oil enhances its benefits and helps the body in processing the cannabinoid effectively.
Studies have revealed that cannabis extracts enriched with CBD, have shown promise in combating painful discomfort and inflammation in users. On the contrary, CBD on its own has been known to cause a “mushrooming” dose-response. This simply means that it might lose its effectiveness after a certain level of dosage.
However, this can be prevented by using full-spectrum CBD, although CBD oils with no THC can also be beneficial. However, without THC, it is thought that you might lose out on a few benefits found in the terpenes and cannabinoids of full-spectrum CBD. That being said, current research cannot conclusively prove that isolated CBD is any less potent in comparison to full-spectrum CBD.
But based on what is currently known, a broad-spectrum CBD extract is your best bet if you want to use a product free from THC and yet take advantage of the entourage effect.
Why Do Some People Prefer CBD Oil Minus the THC?
One of the most common reasons why people prefer CBD oil without the THC is because CBD alone is not detectable during drug tests. In fact, these tests are created to look for the metabolites of THC, and CBD doesn’t ever get converted to THC.
Even so, some people fear that high dosages of CBD containing traces of THC can lead to the accumulation of its metabolites in the body and a false-positive drug test. If you too are worried about this rare possibility, your best bet is a CBD oil that has no THC (you can also try our CBD gummies).
Besides, with there being no real regulations surrounding the manufacturing and labeling of hemp-based CBD oil, it is highly possible that a few full-spectrum CBD oils might have higher concentrations of CBD than what is federally accepted.
For this reason, we always recommend reading the third-party lab reports religiously. If these reports are not displayed on the company’s website (or if they don’t produce these reports upon request) there is a high chance that the THC levels are outside of the legal limit. On the other hand with an independent lab report, you can rest assured that you are purchasing a genuine product, with less than 0.3 percent THC!
Takeaways on THC-free CBD oils
During the last few years, the CBD market has witnessed unrivaled growth. There are now a huge variety of products to suit various consumer desires.
Whether you prefer CBD isolate products or full-spectrum CBD, there are several options to choose from.
The jury is still out on whether CBD oil is better with, or without, THC. A few studies however suggest that the presence of even minuscule amounts of THC improves the absorption of CBD. Then again, it might be a concern for people who are regularly tested for THC at work.
Ultimately, it is for you to choose between CBD isolates with THC or full-spectrum CBD oils. To make an informed choice, try them both and see for yourself… But whatever you decide, make sure you perform thorough research first!