Over the last few years, the number of people using CBD oil as a natural treatment for a variety of ailments has increased rapidly.
As such, users of CBD products are becoming more interested not only in CBD’s benefits, but in the large variety of different CBD products that are available.
One of the most common questions from CBD users is whether or not the presence of THC can change the effects of CBD oil. We’ve looked at this below and provided information on how THC can potentially affect the experience you get from CBD oil and other CBD products.
We’ve also looked at the quantity of THC that can be found in certain CBD products, as well as how it can affect a CBD product’s legal status.
CBD vs. THC: Key Differences
Before we get into the effects that THC can have on CBD products, it’s important to look at the key differences between CBD and THC.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. Cannabidiol is a naturally-occurring cannabinoid that’s found in the hemp and cannabis plants. It’s a non-psychoactive natural compound, meaning it won’t cause you to feel high, like you would by smoking or eating regular cannabis.
In the UK, CBD is legal to purchase, possess and use. It’s not listed as a controlled substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act, meaning you can freely purchase and use it. CBD is also legal throughout many countries in the European Union.
Research into CBD as a potential treatment is ongoing, with studies indicating that it could be a helpful treatment for conditions like anxiety and insomnia. It’s also viewed as a potential natural treatment for various conditions that can cause chronic, acute pain.
What is THC?
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. If you consume cannabis that contains THC, you’ll typically experience a high, with your perception and thought processes affected by this ingredient in the cannabis plant.
In the UK, THC is a controlled substance that’s listed on the Misuse of Drugs Act. Currently, it’s illegal to purchase, possess or use THC in the UK, albeit with a few minor exceptions for certain medical treatments that contain THC as an active ingredient.
Like CBD, THC is currently being studied as a potential treatment for a variety of diseases and conditions. However, due to its legal status, it is not available to the general public as a natural treatment or health supplement.
Is CBD Oil With THC Available?
Under UK law, CBD oil and other CBD products can only be legally sold if they contain no THC, or only contain trace amounts of THC.
As we explained in our guide to CBD laws in the UK, the government places certain restrictions on CBD products sold in the UK. In order to be compliant with UK laws, CBD products need to:
- Be produced using an EU-approved, industrial hemp strain. These strains of hemp are low in THC, meaning they typically don’t contain enough THC to cause the end user to feel high after consumption.
- Have a THC concentration of 0.2% or less. Again, this is to prevent end users from any risk of feeling high after consumption.
There are also restrictions regarding how CBD products can be marketed and labelled, although these don’t affect a product’s THC content.
In short, the laws in the UK prevent manufacturers of CBD oil from producing CBD products that also contain THC. Because of this, CBD oil with a significant amount of THC is not available for sale to the general public in the UK.
With this said, there are certain cannabis-based products available in the UK that contain THC in addition to CBD. For example, Sativex, a medicine that contains Cannabis extract, is used in the UK to treat certain medical conditions.
However, this treatment is a prescription medication that’s only used in limited circumstances, and as such can’t be sold to the public in the same way as many CBD products.
Differences Between UK and USA Laws
Laws in the UK regarding the THC content of CBD products differ from those in the USA. It’s important to be aware of these differences if you’re purchasing CBD from outside the UK or if you’re travelling into the UK from another country in which CBD products are legal.
In the UK, CBD products can contain a maximum of 0.2% THC. In the United States, the limit for THC content is slightly higher at 0.3%. Make sure to check the THC content of CBD oils or any other CBD products purchased abroad if you plan to bring them into the UK.
Some CBD Products Contain Tiny Amounts of THC
Although THC is illegal in the UK, it’s legal for CBD products to contain very small quantities of THC.
As we mentioned above, CBD oil and other CBD products can be legally sold in the UK as long as their total THC content is 0.2% or less. CBD products that contain up to 0.2% THC tend to be labelled and marketed as “full spectrum” CBD products.
These products are made by extracting CBD and other cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes and other naturally-occurring compounds from the hemp plant at once, all without removing specific compounds from the plant extract.
We’ve explained how this process works in more detail in our guide to the differences between full spectrum CBD and CBD isolate.
Many CBD users claim that full spectrum CBD offers more noticeable effects a wider range of benefits due to the presence of non-CBD cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes. This type of CBD oil can legally contain up to 0.2% THC.
Any CBD products with a THC content of more than 0.2% are illegal to sell, possess or use in the UK. If you’re ordering CBD oil from overseas or bringing it into the UK, make sure to check its THC concentration to avoid accidentally breaking the law.
Full Spectrum CBD Could Affect Drug Test Results
Finally, it’s worth noting that using full spectrum CBD oil or any other CBD product could affect your drug testing results. If you’re drug tested as part of your job or education, even mild use of full spectrum CBD could cause you to be flagged for THC.
THC and its metabolites can remain in your body for days and weeks after consumption. This means that if you use a full spectrum CBD product and are tested several weeks later, there’s still a risk of your previous THC consumption causing you to fail the test.
For example, Consumer Reports recently published information about the case of a 26 year old video producer in Nevada who failed a drug test for cannabis. Like many others, he hadn’t used cannabis — instead, he had used a CBD product that contained trace amounts of THC.
Unfortunately, many employers have a zero-tolerance policy for failed drug tests, meaning you could lose your job even if your CBD use is completely legal. Because of this, make an effort to avoid any products that contain THC if you’re drug tested as part of your job or education.
CBD oil and other CBD products are allowed to contain a maximum of 0.2% THC in order to be legal in the United Kingdom. This is an extremely small amount of THC that won’t cause you to feel high, even if you consume a large dose of your CBD product.
Not all CBD products contain THC. Products labelled as “CBD isolate” typically contain no THC at all, whereas products labelled as “full spectrum” may contain small amounts of THC.
While the amount of THC in CBD oil and other CBD products isn’t large enough to cause you to feel high, it’s still enough to affect a drug test. Because of this, it’s important to be careful about your CBD use if you’re drug tested as part of your job, job training or education.