How Much THC Does Your CBD Product Contain?
All CBD products sold in the United Kingdom must contain less than 0.2% of THC per dry weight and must be produced from industrial hemp.
What does that mean in practice, though?
CBD and THC are the most abundant cannabinoids in cannabis. Industrial hemp has been selectively bred to contain a lot of CBD and only traces of THC. While CBD products are legal in the UK, marijuana—which is rich in THC—is still a Class B category drug and, therefore, illegal.
Do you ever wonder how much THC your CBD product contains? Or how they remove the traces of THC from industrial hemp? Are you concerned that THC could show up in a random drug test?
This guide will help you better understand how much THC your CBD product contains and how you can be sure about the purity of the CBD you are buying.
Cannabis, hemp, and marijuana
Hemp and marijuana both belong to the cannabis family. Before the spread of cotton, hemp—today referred to as industrial hemp to distinguish it from its THC-rich cousin—was highly popular. Indeed, it was subsidised in the US and George Washington grew hemp on his Mt Vernon estate.
Industrial hemp has been grown for centuries for its long stalks and leaves. These are turned into fibres that are used to make rope, textiles, sails, clothes, sacks, and other everyday items. Through selective breeding, hemp grew rich in CBD but only carried small, almost undetectable quantities of THC.
Marijuana, on the other hand, was bred for its health and psychotropic properties. As early as the third millennium BC, marijuana growers turned their attention to growing THC-rich marijuana strains. They dried the flowers and leaves and consumed them in a number of ways.
As a result, marijuana flowers and leaves are brimming with THC. People have known for millennia about its potential health benefits and have been using it for medicinal purposes, particularly for pain and inflammation, and as an anaesthetic. In addition, it has been popular for recreational purposes.
In this way, two distinct varieties of cannabis were developed independently, intended for very different uses.
It is a pity, therefore, that governments across the world placed hemp and marijuana under the same drug category in the early twentieth century. All cannabis-related products were deemed illegal in 1928 in the UK.
It has only been in the last 20 years and after years of persistent research into CBD that many countries have legalized CBD and made a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. CBD is now legal throughout the UK, the European Union, the United States, Canada, and across many countries around the world.
How do they grow industrial hemp?
Hemp is grown widely in the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Most countries have established strict licensing regulations for hemp growers. They must follow stringent hemp-growing practices, test hemp flowers before harvest, and declare their testing results before they may harvest their crop.
As cannabis flowers blossom and mature, cannabinoids surge. If THC crosses the legal threshold, the whole crop must be destroyed, so hemp growers pay close attention to find the optimal harvest time. They constantly test the flowers for CBD and THC, as they must find the sweet spot where CBD content has reached its maximum level while THC still remains below the legal threshold.
CBD products and THC: you have choices
This distinction is mirrored in the various CBD products and their THC content. Even though all CBD products must contain less than 0.2% THC, you still get plenty of choices. So, how do you choose the right CBD product for you?
Full-spectrum CBD products contain all the cannabinoids and other botanical compounds of hemp. Although we mostly talk about CBD, there are hundreds of other minor cannabinoids in hemp, including CBC, CBN, CBG, and CBDA.
Hemp also delivers tens of terpenes—the aromatic compounds all plants have. In addition, it has antioxidants, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins.
Full-spectrum CBD is teeming with all these hemp compounds, including THC—which is, of course, always below the aforementioned threshold.
A growing body of research  supports the view that all the botanical compounds of hemp enhance each other’s effectiveness and produce more potent results compared to just CBD. That has been called the entourage effect.
Broad-spectrum CBD is like full-spectrum in many ways, except that manufacturers have removed all traces of THC. So, broad-spectrum CBD has all the benefits of full-spectrum without any THC.
Some people just want CBD. There is a product for them called CBD isolate. It usually comes in crystalline form and contains almost 100% CBD. There are no other cannabinoids, so there is no THC or any other botanical compounds of hemp.
Full-spectrum CBD may vary in content between batches but CBD isolate always has specific properties. This makes it popular with pharmaceuticals and producers who want to carefully monitor dosage and ingredients.
How do producers remove THC?
The most common way to remove THC from CBD is through chromatography and the use of solvents.
Chromatography uses a base material, cannabinoids, and a solvent. Each cannabinoid has different properties and there are solvents that can separate cannabinoids. You place the base material and the cannabinoids—usually CBD and THC—and then introduce the solvent. The solvent goes through CBD and THC at different speeds because they are chemically different. It is then easy to detach the CBD from the THC and remove the THC from the final product.
Chromatography can be used to remove any cannabinoid or terpene a manufacturer wants.
How do you know how much THC is in your CBD product?
Renowned and trustworthy CBD brands will test their product throughout the process to make sure the THC content remains legal. They should carry third-party lab tests that show the content of all cannabinoids, including THC, as well as the presence of any heavy metals and unwanted chemicals such as pesticides.
There is growing skepticism among consumers about the quality of the CBD product they are buying. The 2019 cannabis report from the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis  showed that 45% of products tested contained levels of THC that were technically illegal.
Further government research from December 2021 showed that the content of THC in CBD products varied greatly, particularly in the case of CBD oils and CBD capsules . THC content in these categories varied from 0.01mg/gr to almost 10,000 mg/kg. This huge discrepancy is a tell-tale sign of the relatively unregulated nature of parts of the CBD market.
It can be difficult for consumers to trust a CBD product when it comes to THC content. Our advice is to check the CBD producer online and verify their manufacturing and testing process. Many publish the testing results online, so check the Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for THC content.
Even the smallest things can be revealing. For example, CBD oil should be sold in brown or amber glass jars because these keep away UV light. A manufacturer who has gone the extra mile to bottle their CBD in such bottles is probably careful and conscientious about the CBD they are producing.
Will you fail a random drug test?
There is growing concern that you could fail a random drug test if the THC content in your CBD can’t be trusted. This concern is quite legitimate.
Drug tests check for metabolites produced after the consumption of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and amphetamines, so drug tests don’t check for CBD. They do, however, check for THC.
If you are certain about the quality of the CBD product you are taking, then THC should be below the legal threshold and the drug test should come negative. The minute quantities of THC found in CBD products made under the best practices are undetectable by regular drug tests.
However, if you buy from questionable CBD producers who don’t regularly check the THC content of their products, you may unwillingly fail a drug test. THC could be building up in your system unbeknownst to you.
If you have to take drug tests and still want to benefit from CBD’s potential, we suggest you choose THC-free products such as broad-spectrum or CBD isolate.
In addition, if a drug test is expected in the near future, perhaps you could stop taking CBD for a week. This will let your body eliminate any minute traces of THC that may have found their way into your CBD product.
It is generally accepted that CBD stays in the human system for up to five days. It may take longer for traces to be eliminated from your body if there is consistent and frequent CBD consumption. Conversely, infrequent and sporadic consumption could take less than that.
How much THC in your CBD oil?
Good CBD brands with thorough testing and good manufacturing practices deliver safe CBD products with THC content within the legal limit. In such cases, you know you are taking CBD produced from regulated hemp growers who harvest their flowers when THC is still below the legal threshold.
There are plenty of THC-free CBD products in the market for you if you are concerned about drug tests. As consumers are getting more aware of the CBD process, an increasing number of manufacturers produce high-quality products. Check our CBD oil reviews for some of the best ones!