Cannabidiol (CBD) has become a household name, but with its new fame comes many questions about what it is, what it does, and how it’s folded into our daily routines. Chief among these questions is CBD’s relationship to its more famous cousin, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). When you’re consuming CBD, are you consuming THC as well? What should you do if you want to avoid THC altogether? In this guide, we’ll define these cannabinoids, explain if one contains the other, and what you should look for in your CBD products if you want to avoid even slight traces of THC.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of many phytocannabinoids — or cannabinoids that come from plants – that can be found in cannabis, including its variant, hemp. You can incorporate CBD into your routine to boost the cannabinoids your body is making on its own, called endocannabinoids.*
Phyotocannabinoids and endocannabinoids are similar compounds, the main difference between them being their source. So far, researchers have discovered two endocannabinoids: 2-arachidonoylglycerol, which is commonly abbreviated as 2-AG, and anandamide. Dozens of phytocannabinoids are known to scientists.
What is THC?
Like CBD, THC is a cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. THC is found in elevated levels in marijuana. Cannabis plants which contain 0.3% THC or less are considered hemp.
A note on a name: The terms cannabis and marijuana are often used interchangeably. Cannabis covers the same category of flowering plants that includes cannabis with THC levels that exceed 0.3%, also referred to as “marijuana,“ and cannabis with 0.3% THC or less, also referred to as “hemp.” At Prima, we use the term “marijuana” to distinguish between cannabis with THC levels that exceed 0.3% and “hemp”.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
Cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact with a series of receptors in the human brain and body known collectively as the endogenous cannabinoid system, or the endocannabinoid system for short.* The ECS contains endocannabinoids produced by your body, cannabinoid receptors with which the endocannabinoids interact, and enzymes which help your body break down and recycle endocannabinoids*. This system’s main role is to promote homeostasis, or your body’s natural and balanced way of being, and to keep your immune system and cells healthy*.
So far, we know about two main types of receptors. The first are aptly designated "CB1" receptors, which regulate appetite and memory, and are found throughout the brain and spinal cord*. The second are called "CB2" and can be found throughout the immune system, skin, and organs, among other areas of the body*. Both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids — cannabinoids from plants — engage with these receptors.
Does CBD have THC in it?
CBD and THC are two separate phytocannabinoids. They may be contained within the same plant or the same cannabis or hemp extract, but the two substances themselves are distinct.
That being said, trace amounts of THC may be found in hemp products. Hemp contains 0.3% or less THC, and these levels are present when cannabinoids are extracted to make hemp products. This extract, often called a full spectrum hemp extract, contains all cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds found in hemp, including 0.3% THC or less. We at Prima take the extra step to further remove the trace amounts of THC that occur naturally in hemp. This process results in the broad spectrum hemp extract that’s used in our products.
How are CBD and THC related?
Aside from being cannabinoids, THC and CBD have a special relationship. Researchers expect that when varying cannabinoids are present together, they can augment and change one another's effects. The way cannabinoids interact with one another is known as "the entourage effect," and much remains to be learned about how this process works.
While CBD and THC are closely related – they are found in the same plants and they influence each other in the body – they do not always coexist. Each cannabinoid can be isolated from the others, creating CBD isolate products devoid of THC and vice versa.
Types of CBD Products
There are many different types of cannabis products available on the market. Some contain significant amounts of THC, some contain trace amounts, and others contain none at all. When choosing a product, it is key to understand whether other cannabinoids, including THC, are present.
The hemp industry is highly innovative and new products are emerging all the time. However, there are a few staples you'll likely encounter when looking almost anywhere. When selecting hemp products, you might come across some of the following types:
- Topicals: Topical products include moisturizers and skincare creams, like The Afterglow Deeply Restorative Cream, as well as CBD face oils such as the award-winning Night Magic Intensive Facial Oil.
- Edibles and drink mixes: Edibles include any types of CBD-infused foods or beverages, such as beverage infusions like the Rest Easy Elixir.
- Capsules: Capsules are easy-to-take dietary supplements. Our The Daily vegan capsule is made using a proprietary process designed to improve the bioavailability of the CBD you ingest.
- Tinctures: Hemp extract is blended with a carrier oil, such as hemp seed oil or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil derived from coconuts. While common, tinctures tend to be difficult to measure and take, and can taste unpleasant to boot.
3 Ways to Ensure CBD Products Don't Contain THC
Ensuring your CBD experience is a THC-free one only takes a bit of reading.
- 1. Look up product information: Reputable CBD brands will make it easy to understand exactly what is in their products. Be sure to examine the label for details before you buy. Look for terms such as “isolate,” “broad spectrum,” or simply “no THC.”
- 2. Check the lab results: Brands with quality products have nothing to hide. Visit the brand’s website to review lab test results for each batch, which will detail how much — or how little — THC is contained within.
- 3. Consider the source: While many CBD products, including ours, are derived from hemp, some may be derived from high-THC cannabis. However, these products should only be purchased from a dispensary in states where medical or recreational adult-use cannabis products can be sold under state law. If you’re buying a CBD product from a dispensary, you may want to check to make sure the product does not also contain THC. At Prima, we place a QR code on each box so you can track our hemp from its roots in family-owned farms in Oregon to your door.
CBD and THC coexist, but are not one and the same
Products that contain full spectrum hemp extract have trace amounts of THC — generally defined as 0.3% or less. These trace amounts appear in CBD extract as it comes from hemp plants, but further refining processes can remove this THC. This process results in a broad spectrum CBD extract which preserves all other minor cannabinoids, phytosterols, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds.
At Prima, our products are made with bio-optimized broad spectrum hemp extract, leaving the THC behind and applying a proprietary process designed to improve the CBD’s absorption rate in your body*. Our products are tested five separate times during the manufacturing process: after harvest, during extraction, extraction, before production (2x), during production, and finally after it’s been made - sending the final product to an ISO/IEC-accredited lab for the final signoff. These quality checks also ensure that THC is below statistically significant detection limits in the final product. Whether your go-to is a hydrating lotion or you want to try a beverage elixir to support wellness from the inside-out*, we’re here to support your holistic wellness goals.