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How Much THC is in CBD Oil? All of Your Questions Answered

Written By Ellese Symons Jul 21st 2022
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Many people interested in trying CBD oil are hesitant to commit because they can't find simple, straightforward answers to their questions about THC concentrations. We get it. Some of the industry's most respected brands are offering hemp-derived products with more THC than you might expect, options with only trace amounts, as well as numerous products with non-detectable levels. Are you wondering if you could benefit from the combined effects of CBD and THC?

It's possible. But they're not right for everyone. If you're torn between using CBD oil on its own or investing in something with THC, you may find it helpful to compare the reported benefits of each cannabinoid and review answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about THC use. Once you've determined if the possible benefits outweigh any potential risk, you'll be that much closer to finding the hemp-derived CBD oil that's right for you.


CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are just two of the more than 100 potentially beneficial plant elements in cannabis plants classified as cannabinoids. You'll find varying concentrations of each in marijuana and hemp. The effects of the individual cannabinoids (on their own) are the same regardless of the source.

CBD and THC have the same chemical composition, but their atoms are arranged differently. The differences in molecular structure explain why moderate to high levels of THC cause intoxication and even exceptionally large amounts of CBD do not. Why? Because THC binds with specific chemical receptors in your brain. CBD interacts with the same receptors through direct and indirect pathways but does not bind.1

What Are the Benefits of CBD?

CBD works by interacting with the receptors of the largest regulatory system in your body, your endocannabinoids system (ECS). Although we don't yet know everything there is to know about the possible benefits of supporting ECS function with CBD, we do know that the communication between ECS messengers and receptors regulates numerous biological functions, sleep cycles, inflammation, stress responses, muscle movement, and more.

Researchers believe the cannabinoid's impact on ECS receptors helps in a way that assists with achieving and maintaining homeostasis (internal balance).2 Unlike the active elements in many other plant extracts, CBD is generally well tolerated and has a remarkably low risk of side effects.  

What Are the Benefits of THC?

Many people consider the benefits of THC rather limited because of its reputation for "recreational" effects. While understandable, you may not want to underestimate its potential value, evidence suggesting THC offers considerable health and wellness potential of its own. When reviewing the data comparing CBD and THC's possible benefits, you'll find that many overlap because THC also interacts with your endocannabinoid system receptors in a way that helps support homeostasis.

THC is also celebrated for its ability to complement and enhance the impact of CBD. However, the cannabinoid does carry a higher risk of unpleasant side effects that can include a dry mouth, rapid heart rate, sedation, anxiety, and hallucinations (in large amounts).3

What’s Legal?

Hemp-derived CBD products are federally legal as long as the THC content doesn't exceed 0.3% (by dry weight). But claims that CBD oil is legal in all 50 states are, at best, misleading. While hemp-derived CBD is legal in most states, some allow CBD but not THC. Cannabis laws in a small number of states prohibit CBD use entirely.  

THC-dominant CBD oil sourced from marijuana is an entirely different matter. Federally, marijuana is still classified as a schedule 1 drug. As of February 2021, 39 states (and Washington D.C.) allow medicinal use for approved medical conditions. Recreational use is legal in 19 of those states.

How much THC must be present to register on a drug test?

Numerous sources suggest full-spectrum CBD products contain too little THC to trigger false-positive test results for marijuana use, but it can happen. There are no guarantees because everyone metabolizes cannabinoids differently.5 However, contrary to popular belief, THC levels need not be at absolute zero to pass a drug test.

Most testing facilities follow SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) testing standards. As long as your urinalysis comes in at fifty nanograms per milliliter or less for THC metabolites, the odds are in your favor. But if you're concerned about the possible consequences of a failed drug test, you're better off sticking with 0% THC products or refraining entirely.  

How Long Does THC from CBD Oil Stay in Your System?  

Water-soluble substances, like alcohol, for example, are eliminated from your body within hours. CBD, THC, and the many other cannabinoids in hemp (and marijuana) are fat-soluble. Any cannabinoids not utilized by your body are stored in your fat cells. When your body burns stored fat for energy, the cannabinoids return to your bloodstream. Depending on frequency of use, body composition, activity levels, and serving sizes, any THC in your system could linger for days, weeks, or months after your last serving.4

What Does CBD Without THC Do?

Broad spectrum CBD contains many of the same additional cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes you'll find in full spectrum products, but the THC is reduced to non-detectable levels. Products made with 0% THC CBD powder give you the health and wellness potential of CBD on its own.

Current evidence suggests the trace amounts of THC in full spectrum CBD products helps maximize overall potency, but it's not essential. Although individual results can vary depending on which crucial processes might be restored to balance (homeostasis) by supporting ECS function, adults of all ages are using hemp-derived CBD without THC for relaxation, better sleep, pain relief after physical activity, and more.

How to Determine your CBD Potency

Most reputable CBD brands provide two important numbers to indicate product potency. The larger number tells you the total concentration of CBD in the package. You may also see a smaller number that tells you how many milligrams are in each serving. However, cannabinoid concentrations can vary from one crop to the next.

To ensure you're getting every milligram you're paying for, stick with brands that verify the potency of their product through an independent lab. When you have access to their third-party test results, you can verify that the CBD concentrations are as potent as claimed, the THC levels align with your expectations, and your hemp-derived products have been screened for evidence of heavy metals, solvent residue, pesticides, and microbial contamination.

Tips for Choosing the Best CBD Oil

Now that hemp-derived CBD products are available just about everywhere, you might be tempted to grab one of the first options you find and hope for the best. But you may not want to start impulse shopping just yet. The CBD market is not well-regulated, and quality can vary by brand. Instead, take a few minutes to review the following tips to help ensure you're getting the best CBD oil.

Read the List of Ingredients

Hemp-derived CBD is found in the plant's stalks, stems, and flowers. The cannabinoid-rich oil is extracted, not cold-pressed. Companies selling bargain-priced "hemp oil" tinctures, capsules, and gummies often make their products from inexpensive hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil contains no CBD. To ensure your getting a legitimate CBD product, check the list of ingredients.

Look for Natural Hemp Cultivation   

Hemp plants are well-known for their ability to draw heavy metals and other potentially harmful chemicals from the soil, substances that could end up in your plant extracts. The best CBD brands source their products from non-GMO, naturally cultivated hemp, crops grown without potentially harmful pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.

Choose Food-Safe Extraction Methods

There are many ways to separate hemp oil from the plant's unwanted components. But some extraction methods can leave traces of petroleum, butane, or other potentially harmful residue behind. Instead of taking your chances, stick with CBD brands that rely on CO2 extraction, the superior choice for full spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil.  

Review Third-Party Test Results

Even natural farming practices and the best extraction methods can't guarantee consistently pure, potent products. That's why our industry's best brands rely on the services of an independent lab to batch test every product. To ensure you're getting high-quality CBD, make a habit of reviewing the Certificate of Analysis before committing to a purchase.

Discover Why So Many CBD Oil Users Choose CBDistillery®  

Cannabis researchers have been investigating the health and wellness potential of CBD and THC for decades. Although full spectrum hemp extracts contain only trace amounts of THC, never enough to cause intoxication, the cannabinoid helps maximize overall potency by contributing to an "entourage" effect.

For an enhanced entourage effect, the ultimate in relaxation, and a gentle buzz, try our Unwind Synergy+ THC + CBD Gummies. The 5mg of naturally occurring delta-9 THC falls well within the parameters established for hemp-derived products.

To learn more about supporting ECS function with hemp-derived cannabinoids, visit CBDistillery® to download our Ultimate CBD User Guide. Then, consider browsing our selection of CBD, CBN, CBG, CBDA, and THC-infused products or scheduling a personal consultation. All CBDistillery® products are third-party tested, and produced in a GMP registered facility.


1. Healthline. K Holland. (2020 July 20) CBD vs. THC: What's the Difference?

2. Journal of Young Investigators. C Sallaberry, L Astern. (2018 June 01) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator.

3. CFAH. L Ashton. (2022 March 02) CBD vs THC: What's the Difference Between the Two?

4. Healthline. C Vandergriendt. (2019 May 06) How Long Does Weed (Marijuana) Stay in Your System?

5. Verywell Health. S Christiansen. (2022 October 26) Will CBD Oil Result in a Positive Drug Test?