How THC-Free CBD Oil Is Different—Plus, 5 to Try
With the popularity of natural alternatives to treating pain and anxiety, many are turning to hemp extracts for the potential health benefits. But some consumers, especially those wary of cannabis in general, may want to access the therapeutic potential of CBD without ingesting even the least bit of THC.
Perhaps you just want to avoid any potentially intoxicating effects that could come with consuming any amount of THC—which could impact your everyday life with driving, work, school, and family responsibilities. You may be applying for a job that requires a drug test, and you don’t want to risk having even a trace of THC in your system. You may also be concerned about potential side effects or drug interactions if you’re currently taking medication for a health issue.
Whatever the reason, more people are considering THC-free CBD oil, but the question is: Will a quality THC-free CBD oil have the same benefits as a full-spectrum option? (Related: Here’s How to Buy the Best Safe and Effective CBD Products)
What Is THC-Free CBD Oil?
For starters, THC is a cannabinoid similar to CBD, but it’s more commonly known for its psychotropic effects (THC is the ingredient in marijuana that delivers a “high”). Full-spectrum hemp extracts may contain up to 0.3 percent THC by law, but THC-free CBD oils go through more extensive distillation and purification processes to remove any detectable levels and ensure you’re not ingesting any THC at all (not even that tiny 0.3 percent).
Additionally, in the THC-free category, you’ll find two types of products: broad-spectrum extracts and CBD isolate.
CBD isolate is exactly what its name implies: isolated CBD. These hemp extracts contain only Cannabidiol and no other plant parts (i.e. the CBD is isolated from all other compounds and acts alone).
Broad-spectrum CBD products may contain low levels of terpenes and minor cannabinoids (basically, variations of CBD), but still exclude THC. In turn, these products include a “broad spectrum” of plant compounds. It’s generally thought that both broad- and full-spectrum CBD offer more therapeutic effects compared to CBD isolate due to the various plant compounds within each, which work together inside the body.
The Main Benefits of THC-Free CBD
While CBD is helpful on its own, it actually works best with THC. “THC is commonly known and is helpful for pain relief, anxiety control, appetite stimulation, and insomnia,” Jordan Tishler, M.D., a cannabis specialist, Harvard-trained physician, and founder of InhaleMD, previously told Shape. Similar to the thinking behind full-spectrum CBD, studies show the synergy of the compounds found in the entire plant delivers enhanced therapeutic effects versus when they’re used solo.
However, if you’re worried about even trace amounts of THC affecting your mental state or reacting badly with your current meds, choosing THC-free CBD is your best course of action. “Everyone’s reaction to THC is variable,” Perry Solomon, M.D., anesthesiologist, and chief medical officer of HelloMD, previously told Shape. “A tiny bit of THC for one patient won’t make them feel anything, but another patient could have the same amount and have a psychoactive response.”
And just because you’re opting for THC-free CBD doesn’t mean it won’t still offer up the same medicinal benefits. As with most other CBD products, THC-free CBD oils have the potential to provide various health benefits, including reducing pain, minimizing inflammation, keeping stress at bay, and helping you get a better night’s sleep.
How to Shop for THC-Free CBD
No matter your reason, if you want to avoid THC altogether but still reap the potential perks of CBD, then a broad-spectrum or CBD isolate product is a great choice. In either case, always look for up-to-date lab test results before purchasing a product, and similar to when you add any new supplement to your wellness routine, it’s recommended to check with your healthcare provider beforehand. (Related: 3 Reasons You Should Try CBD Even If You Have No Interest in Weed)
Regardless of which type of hemp oil you choose, it’s important to buy from a brand that implements third-party lab testing (and makes the results publicly available). These tests are performed by accredited, independent labs to verify the cannabinoid composition of a product, which ensures it’s truly THC-free, among other things. In addition, lab testing procedures check for CBD potency—or the strength of the product—as well as to ensure unwanted chemicals are not present. Not all brands will lab test their CBD products, but it’s best to steer clear of those that don’t.
The 5 Best THC-Free CBD Oils
When looking for CBD products, only consider the most trustworthy CBD companies that provide clarity for consumers and transparency when it comes to the extracts used in their formulas. With this in mind, here are five of the best THC-free CBD oils on the market. All of these options, listed below, come from reputable brands with transparent lab testing, clean hemp sources, and excellent track records with their customers—so you can trust that you’re getting the highest-quality CBD oil out there.
As the popularity of CBD continues to grow, so does the demand for THC-free CBD oils. Discover the brands making the best THC-free CBD products in 2020.
Best THC-Free CBD Oil Tinctures 2021
Hemp Bombs CBD Oil is formulated with premium CBD isolate and is 100% THC free. It’s available from 125 to 4000 mg CBD in unflavored, watermelon and peppermint varieties.
- What is THC-free CBD oil?
- What is CO2 extraction?
- Does CBD work without THC?
- What is broad spectrum CBD oil?
- How can you tell if it’s really THC-free?
CBD oil tinctures are an effective way to obtain your daily dose of CBD. They are most often MCT oil based, meaning they’re not suitable for vaping! CBD oil is meant to be administered sublingually, by taking it under the tongue. There are a wide range of benefits associated with CBD oil according to a plethora of studies.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a non-psychoactive component found in hemp plants. Hemp is a form of cannabis sativa that’s extremely low in THC. If you’re afraid to try CBD products because you think it will get you high or make you fail a drug test, the good news is that many CBD oil tinctures are formulated with pure CBD isolate, or advanced extraction methods and are 100% THC free, and verified by third-party labs. Here are the best THC-free CBD oil tinctures.
Please do not attempt to vape these oils. They’re made for oral use specifically.
Hemp Bombs CBD Oil
Hemp Bombs CBD oil contains premium CBD isolate extracted from European hemp. Since they use CBD isolate instead of whole-plant extraction, it has a very pleasant taste. They come in a variety of strengths ranging from 125 mg to 4000 mg CBD and are available in unflavored, watermelon and peppermint.
Avida Broad Spectrum
Avida offers a broad spectrum MCT-oil based tincture in 125 mg or 500 mg strengths. Their oil contains no THC and features CORE Spectrum technology. It contains a proprietary blend of phyto cannabinoids, terpenes and real spearmint extract. Their CBD tinctures are BPA free, gluten-free and third-party lab tested.
NanoCraft Gold Series
NanoCraft provides a potent blend of broad spectrum CBD. It is packed with a wide range of cannabinoids, terpenes and nutrients without the THC. It contains 3000 mg of CBD that goes through a special chromatographic purification process. Each batch is third-party tested to ensure quality and consistency.
Green Roads Hemp Oil
Green Roads has a strong reputation within the CBD market. This is their strongest CBD tincture available right now. Each 60 mL bottle contains 3500 mg of broad spectrum cannabidiol oil and a proprietary blend of terpenes. Their tinctures are formulated with kosher-grade vegetable glycerin and are non-GMO.
CBDistillery Broad Spectrum Oil
CBDistillery offers their CBD oil tincture without THC. Formulated with cannabinoids and terpenes to provide the entourage effect, without the high. This broad spectrum tincture is available in 1000 and 2500 mg CBD strengths, and come in 30 mL glass bottles. Lab test results show them to be virtually THC free.
What is THC-free CBD oil?
THC-free CBD oil is a CBD oil tincture that contains non-detectable levels of THC. CBD oil is designed for oral use and is not suitable for vaping. CBD oils without THC are usually formulated with CBD isolate, a concentrate containing 99% CBD and 0% THC. CBD manufacturers often reincorporate these missing elements of the hemp plant, like phytocannabinoids and terpenes, while removing the THC.
THC-free oil is produced by means of advanced extraction methods in which the individual plant compounds are fractioned and isolated. The most popular method for THC-free CBD is currently supercritical fluid extraction using CO2. Instead of using chemicals like butane or alcohol, these advanced extraction techniques allow CBD manufacturers to isolate each compound individually.
What is CO2 extraction?
Most CBD oils utilize a process known as supercritical fluid extraction. It sounds pretty complicated… and it is, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the basics. This extraction method uses a very specific type of solvent that fluctuates between solid, liquid and gaseous states, known as supercritical.
CO2 is most commonly used for this process. That’s because it is naturally occurring, is the safest (according to the FDA), doesn’t require temperatures above 90°F and can be recycled and reused in what’s known as a closed loop system. The best part about CO2 extraction is that it allows them to isolate and extract various cannabinoids and terpenes, including THC. It is by far one of the cleanest extraction methods available, but cost more than traditional methods.
Does CBD work without THC?
Even if CBD has been shown to be more effective with THC, that doesn’t mean it still doesn’t work effectively by itself. There is still a lot of research and countless testimonials from real CBD users indicating that CBD alone can provide its own unique benefits, especially for symptoms of insomnia, anxiety or inflammation. Here’s a direct example from a 2018 study:
“The interaction of CBD with CB2 receptors is more complex, but like Δ9-THC, CBD is believed to reduce the inflammatory response. CBD’s action with the CB2 receptor is just one of several pathways by which CBD can affect neuroinflammation” -University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2018
There is still a lot of research that needs to be done about the effectiveness of non-THC CBD oil vs ratios of both. There have been a few studies conducted suggesting that CBD is potentially more effective when combined with THC, specifically for pain and inflammatory related issues. Here’s an example from a 2010 study:
“CBD may enhance the analgesic potential of THC by means of potent inverse agonism at CB2 receptors, which may produce anti-inflammatory effects, along with its ability to inhibit immune cell migration.” -Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 2010
The reason behind this phenomenon is called ‘the entourage effect”. The entourage effect is the synergistic interaction between not only CBD and THC, but the entire spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes that occur naturally in cannabis plants. Whether or not CBD is said to be more effective with THC, there are many non-THC CBD oils formulated with terpenes and phytocannabinoids. They provide a similar experience to the entourage effect, but minus the THC.
What is broad spectrum CBD oil?
Broad spectrum CBD oil is similar to full spectrum, but it contains no THC at all. This is accomplished through advanced extraction techniques in which the THC is removed completely from the plant and only the other cannabinoids and terpenes are left intact. Another common way to do this is by using first CBD-isolate as a base and then adding other terpenes and/or cannabinoids.
The purpose of broad-spectrum CBD oil is to achieve the entourage effect, which is the synergistic interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes. Broad spectrum CBD oils provide more of the spectrum than isolate-based CBD oils, just not the “full spectrum”, which necessarily includes THC.
“In addition to the phytocannabinoid Δ9-THC, it is estimated that the cannabis plant consists of over 400 chemical entities, of which more than 60 of them are phytocannabinoid compounds.” – University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 2018.
How can you tell if it’s really THC-free?
If you’re concerned about THC content, here’s what you need to know. The first thing you’ll want to do is check the labels on the product or website you are buying it from. It should say 100% THC-free, non-THC, no-THC, non-psychoactive, CBD isolate based, broad spectrum, etc. You want to avoid labels that say full spectrum, less than 0.3% THC, or any type of CBD:THC ratio.
If you really want to be diligent, you should look at the independent lab test results for the CBD oil you are looking to buy. If they don’t have lab test results, then you should probably look into another brand. Go on the company’s website or scan the QR code located on the bottle or package. They generally will display a breakdown of the various cannabinoids including THC and CBD. The THC part should either say 0% or “ND”, which means no THC content was detected.
Here are examples of real lab test results from a few THC-free CBD products.
A look at the best quality CBD-isolate based and broad spectrum CBD oil tinctures for oral use available right now that have been verified to be 100% THC free.