Does Hemp Oil Have THC?

Man in green shirt holding Tanasi CBD Tincture

Posted on June 30th, 2020

CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, has recently gained a lot of attention for its potential benefits. It can be used in a variety of forms ranging from tinctures to water solubles and lotions to salves. CBD is derived from specific plants in the Cannabis sativa family, and while it’s growing in popularity, you may have many questions surrounding its properties including: “Does CBD hemp oil have THC?” But before we answer this, we need to understand what exactly hemp oil and THC are. 

Hemp plant What Is Hemp Oil?

Hemp oil is an extract from the hemp plant, that is also referred to as CBD (Cannabidiol) oil. The extract is valued for multiple health benefits and can either be applied topically (directly to the skin) or taken orally (as edibles or in the form of capsules, sprays, tinctures, or drops).

Now, the hemp plant is part of the Cannabis family, specifically cultivated for its low THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) concentration, as well as other commercial applications. Hemp oil has high CBD concentrations, and CBD is the compound linked to multiple potential health benefits. Also, CBD is known for its low THC concentration and, since THC is responsible for the cannabis plant’s psychoactive effects, you can use hemp oil without getting high. 

What Is THC?

THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is a compound called a cannabinoid (CB) that is found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with receptors in the human body that form part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This ECS assists in or encourages certain functions in the human body.

THC acts mainly on the CB-1 receptors that form part of the ECS. These receptors are mainly found in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). While we don’t fully understand the process, it appears that THC overwhelms the ECS, resulting in the psychoactive properties of marijuana. THC users generally report a calming and relaxing effect, in addition to the experience of being “high” after THC use. However, THC also causes negative side effects, including lack of concentration, slowed reflexes or reaction time, and the potential for short term memory loss.

Also, extended THC use could result in addiction, as your brain craves more and more of the compound in order to achieve the same feeling of being high. 

However, small amounts of THC should not overwhelm the ECS and therefore won’t produce the same psychoactive and negative side effects associated with marijuana use. In fact, your body naturally produces cannabinoids (called endogenous cannabinoids) in small volumes, and they have similar effects to THC. So, you only get high and experience negative side effects if you consume enough THC to overwhelm the ECS and interfere with your brian’s synaptic processes.

Does Hemp Oil Contain THC?

A full-spectrum hemp oil does contain tiny or trace amounts of THC. The hemp plant is specifically cultivated to have extremely low concentrations of THC. In fact, a hemp plant is only distinguishable from the marijuana plant by its low THC concentration. 

Currently, a cannabis plant with a THC concentration below 0.3% is classified as Hemp while plants with concentrations greater than 0.3% are classified as marijuana plants. Why the 0.3% threshold? This low concentration is scientifically proven not to produce the negative or psychoactive effects of the THC compound.

Hemp oil extracted from the Hemp plant, therefore, does contain less than 0.3% THC but does not produce the psychoactive effects associated with the compound.

THC and Government Regulations

In the United States and in many countries around the world, marijuana is still a controlled substance and is therefore strictly regulated. The sale, purchase, distribution, and transport of this product is therefore largely considered to be illegal. 

In some states, however,  the use of marijuana is now legal, both for medical and in some cases, recreational uses. In states where only medical use is permitted, you must produce a medical certificate from a recognized medical practitioner in order to be registered to legally purchase and use medical marijuana. The production, sale, and distribution of these products are also regulated and medical marijuana is only available through accredited sources.

CBD or cannabidiol products, on the other hand, are legal on a federal level. These products may not contain a concentration of THC that is greater than the mandated 0.3%. Therefore, since Hemp plants are classified because of their THC concentration below the 0.3% threshold, hemp-derived CBD products are legal in the United States. 

Although CBD can be extracted from the marijuana plant, the lower concentration of CBD, and a higher concentration of THC makes this a difficult and unproductive process. Oils or tinctures that are extracted from the marijuana plant may also contain a higher concentration of THC than the legally mandated 0.3%.

Is Hemp Oil Legal?

In the United States, hemp oil and CBD products derived from the Hemp plant were officially legalized on a federal level in 2018. However, there are some restrictions placed on these products, most importantly that they must contain less than 0.3% THC.

Marijuana and marijuana products are, however, still illegal in most states other than for recognized medical uses. Marijuana production, sale, distribution, and use are currently regulated at a state level.

Hemp Oil and Drug Testing

Although Hemp oil is legally permitted, the trace amounts of THC in this product can result in a positive drug test. Currently, drug tests cannot distinguish between legal CBD and illegal marijuana products due to the fact that the only difference between these products is their THC concentration. 

Saliva, urine, hair, and blood tests can all detect THC in CBD products. These tests can also estimate the extent of use and how long ago the substance was used. Additionally, these tests can detect cannabis in the body anywhere from 24 hours to 3 months after use, before the substance has a chance to entirely leave the body.

Blood tests have the shortest testing period and can only detect THC for 24 to 72 hours after use. Saliva tests can identify drug use anywhere between 72 hours and 2 weeks after use. Hair tests on samples that are 3.5 inches in length can detect drug use up to 3 months later. Longer hair samples can detect usage over a longer period.

Blood tests are the least common drug testing method as they are considered to be invasive and carry a relatively short testing period. Saliva and urine testing are far more common and deliver reliable results with a low rate of false positives. Hair testing is growing in popularity as it’s far more accurate and can test for drug use long after the THC has left the body.

Mandatory drug testing has been introduced by many employers to detect and reduce drug use in the workplace. Depending on the drug policies of a specific company, a positive drug test can result in disciplinary action or termination of employment. Drug tests that are positive for the trace amounts of CBD can have the same result.

We, therefore, recommend that you discuss CBD use with an employer before using any Hemp derived products. Alternatively, you may want to select a CBD isolate product since this is the only form of CBD that removes all traces of THC.

CBD Tincture dropper on white backgroundWhat Are the Side Effects of Hemp Oil and THC?

Many people turn to hemp oil and related CBD products as an alternative to conventional medical therapies. They do so because they prefer natural supplements with few side effects and no risk of dependency. 

However, lower risk does not mean that CBD use has no side effects; it only means that they are less severe and less hazardous. Potential side effects of Hemp oil use include dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, low blood pressure, and gastrointestinal discomfort. These side effects do not affect all users and may affect each person more or less severely.

If you experience any of these symptoms, try reducing your dosage or temporarily discontinue use. You should also discuss side effects, drug interactions, and dosage with a doctor before trying hemp oil products. 

The trace amounts of THC in Hemp oil and CBD products are not sufficient to produce any side effects. This is because, as mentioned, Hemp products contain less than 0.3% THC and will not result in any psychoactive side.

It’s very important to remember this fact because, if you do experience these side effects when using hemp oil, you’ve likely been misled. In fact, you’ll only experience such effects if using a marijuana-derived oil, whose THC concentration is anywhere between 5% and 35%. The higher the concentration of THC, the more severe these side effects are likely to be. And, if you experience them with a product labeled as hemp-oil, that product was mislabelled, either purposefully or by mistake. 

Now, hemp oil can contain trace amounts of THC, but below the current regulations of 0.3%. While this concentration may be detected by a drug test, the levels are not sufficient to produce any psychoactive or other side effects.

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