The CBD market is saturated and overwhelming. Understanding quality, production methods, content, and effects can feel nearly impossible given the hurricane of available information.
Two of the most common questions would-be CBD consumers ask are:
Does CBD have THC in it?
Can CBD get me high?
Answers, frustratingly, vary depending on who you ask. Regulators don’t make it any easier.
In 2018, the United States passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which (finally) removed industrial hemp (defined as cannabis with 0.3% THC or less by dry weight) from the DEA’s list of Schedule I Controlled Substances. Any product with a THC concentration of over 0.3% is still considered illegal.
Can this “industrial hemp” get you high?
Put simply, no. You should not experience any psychoactive effects from a CBD product containing <0.3% THC. If you want to steer clear of THC altogether, you might be surprised to learn that THC-free (meaning 0.0% THC) CBD products, like CBD isolate and broad spectrum CBD, are actually pretty easy to find! Here, we’ll offer some helpful tips to consider before snagging them for yourself.
Why Would I Want THC-Free CBD?
Some cannabis strains can reach up to 30% THC, so industrial hemp’s content (0.3%) is exceptionally low. Still, there are several reasons you may want to avoid THC altogether:
- Cannabis and THC are still illegal on the federal level, and the CBD industry operates in a “gray area.” Strictly legally speaking, some may feel more comfortable avoiding THC of any concentration.
- For those bound by drug testing such as athletes, law enforcement officers, and government contractors, even the smallest concentration of THC might appear on a drug test.
- THC and other terpenes found in full-spectrum formulas can change the flavor of CBD extract, and some may not enjoy the taste.
How Are THC-Free Products Made?
First, a lesson in what THC-free means. There are two types of THC-free CBD products: broad-spectrum and isolate.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains a wide range of cannabinoids, but no THC. CBD isolate filters out all cannabinoids except for CBD. By contrast, full-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids and terpenes present in the cannabis strain from which it’s extracted, including a legal level (<0.3%) of THC.
There are many methods by which CBD can be extracted from the hemp plant. (CO2 extraction being the best in the biz--more on that here.) Since CO2 extraction is our method of choice, that’s what we’ll talk about.
CO2 is a supercritical fluid, which is a tunable solvent. Put simply, this means we can pair it with a substance (such as dried hemp), then precisely vary conditions (such as temperature and pressure) to produce surprisingly granular changes in the properties of that substance.
THC-free CBD is typically produced using a specialized machine that has three chambers: one holds the CO2, one holds the dry hemp, and the third catches the extract. After heat and pressure are super-customized based on the desired result, the machinery pushes the CO2 through the hemp to produce an extract with all the qualities you want, and none of the ones you don’t.
This is how CO2 extraction allows us to extract CBD alone to create CBD isolate or to remove THC to produce broad-spectrum CBD extracts.
How to Use THC-Free CBD Products
The applications for THC-free CBD are nearly endless! CBD isolate lacks terpenes and phytochemicals, resulting in a neutral taste--making it perfect for incorporation into food and drinks. In powder form, it dissolves well so that it can be easily added to lotions and other topical treatments.
CBD isolate is typically 99-100% pure, making precise dosing remarkably simple. The dosage range for CBD is 1 to 6 mg per pound of body weight. 1 to 2 mg is recommended for new CBD users. 5 to 6 mg is considered a high dose.
What’s more, since it is genuinely THC-free, it is virtually impossible for CBD isolate to create a positive result on drug tests that look for THC (provided that you’ve purchased the CBD from a reputable, independently audited source that is honest about their product).
Drawbacks of Using THC-Free Products
While the benefits of going THC-free are numerous, there are a couple of potential drawbacks.
Studies show that CBD isolates have diminishing effects at higher doses, whereas full-spectrum CBD extracts maintain efficacy.
This is primarily due to the synergistic interactions (known as the entourage effect) between CBD, terpenes, and other cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis plant. When they work together, they deliver a more impactful result than pure CBD can on its own.
Finally, CBD isolate is sometimes pricier than full spectrum CBD because of the production costs associated with additional processing and distillation.
Here’s the bottom line: THC-free CBD is readily available, easy to dose precisely, and just about as effective as its full spectrum counterparts.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to us here! We’re here to help.