Does CBD work only when combined with THC? Find out how THC and CBD work individually and when combined with other cannabinoids in this article. Looking for the best THC-free CBD oils for the healing potential of CBD without the THC? These THC-free CBD oils are our top picks. See which ones made our list.
CBD Oil With THC or Without? What You Need to Know
CBD, or cannabidiol, has become the most popular of all cannabinoids because it doesn’t get you high like its counterpart, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
But what happens when you combine it with THC?
Although THC is psychoactive, some people may even require medications containing high doses of THC. In such cases, consuming products containing a combination of both cannabinoids is ideal.
Understanding the type of cannabis extract you need can get confusing very fast, especially with many terms thrown around. So, here’s an article to help clear your doubts and much more.
You will learn everything about CBD oil with THC and whether they can work independently or not. You will also learn about the benefits of using both together or isolates (containing only one cannabinoid), legalization, side effects, and much more.
Does CBD Need THC to Work?
The short answer is no. CBD does not need THC to work. However, it gets a bit complicated since they both have a lot more to offer when combined.
When you understand the entourage effect, everything makes more sense. We will get to this later on.
Many studies emerging now show that CBD can work as a stand-alone cannabinoid. Moreover, it’s been found effective for treating notoriously difficult to treat conditions such as Dravet’s syndrome.
A clinical trial conducted in 2017 revealed that isolated CBD minimized seizures by at least half in about 43% of the volunteers . Although a single trial is not considered absolute proof, it shows how CBD can be used alone with promising benefits.
THC-free products have gained traction because CBD can effectively alleviate many conditions, including anxiety, diabetes, and neurological disorders.
However, many people may benefit from THC to help with specific issues like glaucoma, insomnia, increasing appetite during chemotherapy, etc. — this is where you may want to switch from CBD to THC.
Suppose you cannot use THC at all due to legal complications, or you have an intolerance to the compound. In that case, you can opt for broad-spectrum products containing a host of other minor cannabinoids, including CBN, CBG, and CBC, compared to full-spectrum containing trace amounts of THC.
Relationship Between CBD and THC
There’s a reason why CBD and THC are called the yin and yang of cannabis.
The significant difference is that while THC in high doses produces some intoxicating effects, including paranoia and hallucination, CBD is non-psychoactive with negligible side effects.
Here’s a closer look at both compounds and how you can use them to maximize the benefits of your cannabis treatment.
What is THC?
Also known as Delta 9 THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, THC is the primary psychotropic cannabinoid produced in cannabis. Its concentration in plants also determines whether it’s considered a marijuana plant or a hemp plant. In North America, cannabis plants containing more than 0.3% THC by dry weight are considered marijuana and may be illegal in some regions.
The most noticeable effect of THC is the euphoric sensation it brings by interacting with CB1 receptors in the brain that triggers the release of dopamine. Dopamine plays a crucial role in regulating your feelings, moods, and pleasure.
What is CBD?
CBD, also known as cannabidiol, offers many of the health benefits THC offers, but it is non-psychoactive and the second most abundant cannabinoid produced by the plant. Usually derived from the hemp plant, it’s used to treat a variety of conditions.
How CBD & THC Work
THC and CBD have chemical structures that are very similar to the endocannabinoids present in the human body.
Now, what are endocannabinoids? Your body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) — a complex biological network consisting of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters), and enzymes that metabolize them.
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that send signals to regulate many vital processes, including fertility, immunity, the nervous system, etc. These endocannabinoids bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body to maintain homeostasis (balance). So whether it’s regulating pain, stress, or mood, they play a crucial role in how your body reacts to the environment around you.
Since THC and CBD display chemical structures that mimic the body’s natural endocannabinoids, THC binds to the receptors present in the body and causes various physiological and psychological responses.
Both CBD and THC have the same molecular structure — 2 Oxygen, 30 Hydrogen, and 20 Carbon atoms — but they are arranged slightly differently.
While THC binds directly to the receptors, CBD does it indirectly. CBD affects how the receptors send signals, explaining why it doesn’t produce psychoactive effects like THC. Thus, CBD works not only to reduce painful inflammation but also to bolster the immune system and regulate anxiety and depression.
CBD inhibits enzymes responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids and also elevates endocannabinoid levels produced by the body naturally.
Interestingly, it influences even non-cannabinoid receptors, including opioid receptors sensitive to various neurotransmitters present in the brain. Like THC, CBD also interacts with dopamine receptors that regulate cognitive and motivational behavior.
Benefits of CBD & THC Together
You may have heard various misinformation about CBD‘s effectiveness without THC or other compounds roaming around the internet. However, numerous studies show that CBD and THC can help cope with several issues when used as a combination.
CBD can combat anxiety, migraines, depression, and nausea or vomiting. THC can produce a relaxing or drowsy effect that can help you with specific challenges like insomnia. THC has a cerebral impact, while CBD works on your body and soothes your stressed muscles.
So, what happens when they are combined?
Scientists term this as the “entourage effect.” It’s a mechanism where the plant’s naturally occurring cannabinoids work in synergy to produce more potent and well-balanced effects compared to what one concentrated or isolated compound can do on its own. All the cannabinoids work as a unit to reduce the psychotropic effects produced by THC.
CBD is said to be more effective when it gets help from other cannabinoids and terpenes produced in every area of the plant. That being
Meaning CBD performs well along with the other members of the band rather than performing solo.
How to Use CBD Oil With THC
You can use CBD oil with THC by consuming full-spectrum products.
Cannabis extracts can be divided into 3 categories:
- CBD isolates
CBD isolates contain nothing but one specific cannabinoid (usually CBD).
Full-spectrum includes a mixture of all cannabinoids and terpenes naturally present in CBD oil.
Broad-spectrum contains all cannabinoids and terpenes except THC.
Many companies sell all three types of products in various forms, including capsules, oils, tinctures, gummies, and a lot more.
If you plan to use full-spectrum products, you will need to pay special attention to the onset of the time required for the cannabinoids to start working, dosage, specific areas of the body they travel (pathway), and the duration until the effects last.
Maximizing the efficacy of CBD also requires scheduling your daily intake as the amount of CBD and the time of the day can affect how your body responds to CBD oil.
Although many people tend to avoid THC altogether, certain conditions may need higher doses. Of course, your physician will be a better judge of the dosage you need.
Let’s take a look at all types of products along with their effects.
CBD & THC Edibles
- Onset – 30–60 minutes
- Pathway – Edibles travel to the stomach first, then to the liver, and later circulated in the bloodstream.
- Dosage – Starts from a minimum of 1 mg up to 500 mg for extreme measures.
- Duration – Depends on the dosage, but the effects should subside within 6-12 hours.
Edibles are slow to work because the cannabinoids first travel through the digestive system and are then sent to the liver for processing. Once the liver breaks down the cannabinoids further, it enters the bloodstream.
You may also feel a pronounced high when the liver metabolizes the cannabinoids. While small doses are best for inexperienced beginners, higher doses above 100 mg are for those who have experimented with THC. It’s used only for severe conditions requiring urgent medical attention.
The same theory applies to oils and tinctures because it takes time for the liver to process it. Although the effects last longer, they are weaker compared to other methods of consumption.
If you want the effects to kick in a little faster, try sublingual absorption that begins working within 15 minutes. You could do this by placing drops of oils or tinctures under the tongue. Wait until it dissolves in salivary secretions naturally. Sublingual absorption does not go through the liver but is absorbed quickly by the oral mucosa, making it much more effective.
You will feel the effects at least one hour after consuming an edible. Some may even take longer to start working, which is why you should never consume another edible in succession, with a wrong assumption that the first one isn’t working.
If your doctor prescribes high-THC medication, you should start with the lowest dose to understand your tolerance.
CBD & THC Inhalation
- Onset – 5 – 15 minutes
- Pathway – The smoke or vapor travels to the lungs and circulates to the rest of the body.
- Dosage – Depends on the vape or bud you’re vaping or smoking, which is usually a gram of cannabis.
- Duration – Depends on the dosage, but the effects should subside within 1 – 2 hours.
Inhalation refers to smoking or vaping. Not all “oils” are made for vaping, so choose accordingly.
Inhalation is the fastest way of absorbing cannabinoids as it enters the bloodstream via the oxygen exchange pathway in the lungs.
You will feel the effects as soon as you inhale one puff, but the disadvantage is that the effects fade away quickly. Therefore, inhalation works best for those looking for quick relief from chronic conditions, including pain.
Can Your CBD Product Contain THC?
Whether or not your CBD contains THC will depend on the extract you’ve purchased.
Isolates and broad-spectrum extracts should contain 0% THC.
Unfortunately, we can’t always take a company’s word for this, so it’s best practice to read the independent lab testing on its site to ensure that it contains the advertised cannabinoid levels.
Some products contain THC in psychoactive concentrations. Inspect the bottle before you buy it — there should be a note saying 0% THC or THC free if it’s a pure CBD product.
Sometimes you’ll find products that list a ratio of 1:1, 1:2, or 1:10 — this is a strong indicator that the bottle you’re looking at contains THC. These ratios usually refer to the concentration of CBD to THC, so a 1:1 ratio would have just as much THC as CBD inside the bottle. These products will be psychoactive.
The laws surrounding THC can vary from state to state, so always refer to your local laws before purchasing a product online that may contain even traces of THC.
Is CBD Oil with THC Legal?
As long as the percentage of THC remains below 0.3%, the product is federally legal according to the 2018 Farm Bill .
The legality also differs from one state to another, and while most states have great medical programs, states like Nebraska do not support them. Some states even allow recreational use, which means you can buy products that contain both CBD and THC legally without a medical license.
Summary: CBD Oil With THC
CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that regulates the endocannabinoid system. Not only does it inhibit the breakdown of endocannabinoids, but it also helps to increase their production in the body. CBD influences even non-cannabinoid receptors and produces many positive effects on both the brain and the body.
On the other hand, THC is a potent cannabinoid with positive effects too, but it’s infamous for the psychoactive “high” it produces.
What happens when you combine them both?
You will undoubtedly benefit even if you ingest isolated CBD, but the entourage effect unlocks much more potential to heal your body.
Full-spectrum products offer well-balanced effects compared to broad-spectrum and isolated products. They are more robust and also work synergistically to reduce the psychotropic effects THC produces.
Overall, it’s safe to say that using CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids combined seems like a better option. This is because they encapsulate the goodness of the entire plant. However, if you cannot use THC for various reasons, you can use isolated and broad-spectrum extracts with 0% THC.
- Devinsky, O., Nabbout, R., Miller, I., Laux, L., Zolnowska, M., Wright, S., & Roberts, C. (2019). Long‐term cannabidiol treatment in patients with Dravet syndrome: An open‐label extension trial. Epilepsia , 60 (2), 294-302. 
- Ferber, S. G., Namdar, D., Hen-Shoval, D., Eger, G., Koltai, H., Shoval, G., … & Weller, A. (2020). The “entourage effect”: terpenes coupled with cannabinoids to treat mood disorders and anxiety disorders. Current Neuropharmacology , 18 (2), 87-96. 
- Devinsky, O., Cross, J. H., Laux, L., Marsh, E., Miller, I., Nabbout, R., … & Wright, S. (2017). Trial of cannabidiol for drug-resistant seizures in the Dravet syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine, 376(21), 2011-2020. 
Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
7 Best CBD Oils with NO THC of 2022
CBD, or cannabidiol, is now a popular option for those seeking natural relief from anxiety, stress, pain, and more. Some users, though, are concerned about even trace amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in many CBD products. This can be because they don’t like its effects or worry about failing a drug test for work. That’s why a THC-free CBD oil is a great way to enjoy the health and wellness benefits of CBD without having to worry about THC. Below you’ll find our picks for the best THC-free CBD oils along with a quick reviews to help you select the right product.
What is THC-Free CBD Oil?
When it comes to CBD hemp oil, many people worry that they may test positive for marijuana if given a drug test. CBD and THC are two of the many naturally occurring cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, alongside CBC, CBG, plus terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant compounds. A THC-free CBD oil is designed to provide the natural wellness benefits of hemp extract but without the trace amounts of THC found in most
The industrial hemp used to create CBD oils contains much higher levels of CBD than THC, and CBD products can only legally contain a maximum of 0.3% THC. The minuscule levels of THC found in a CBD tincture are not enough to produce any psychoactive effects, but it’s unclear how it may affect a drug screening that tests for THC.
This can be particularly sensitive in the workplace that requires candidates to pass a pre-employment drug screening. And while it’s not certain that a CBD oil would contain enough THC to alter a drug test result, it can depend on what product you are using and how you take CBD oil.
In either case, most people want to avoid the risks altogether, especially if your job depends on it. This is where THC-free CBD oil comes into play. THC-free CBD products do not have any detectable levels of THC, typically less than .01%, which is often removed using a distillation processes after the initial extraction. However, there are different purification methods which can produce either a broad spectrum CBD oil or a CBD isolate depending on the remaining cannabinoid content.
Top-Rated THC-Free CBD Oils
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
- Best CBD Isolate – CBDistillery
- Best Organic – Joy Organics
- Strongest Option – cbdMD
How We Chose The Best CBD Oils Without THC
To create our list of the best THC-free CBD oils, we compared brands and products using several key factors. Here are the areas we evaluated for each THC-free CBD oil we recommend:
- Type of CBD — We looked to see whether the product contains broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate, an important distinction.
- Strength — How many milligrams of broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate does it contain?
- Source — Where does the brand get their hemp and is it grown organically?
- Extraction — What type of extraction process is used and how do they distill the product to make it THC-free?
- Carrier Oils — What type of carrier oil does the brand use in its oils? Are they all-natural or organic?
- Testing — Is the product tested by an independent third-party lab and are the results easy to access?
Using these criteria, we created our list of top THC-free CBD oils available today. Find out more about each of our recommendations below.
Our Full Reviews & Opinions
Best CBD Isolate: CBDistillery
CBDistillery offers both full spectrum CBD oils as well as several THC free options. This CBD oil is made with pure CBD isolate, meaning it goes through a special extraction process to remove all of the other hemp compounds. It is non-GMO, third-party lab tested, U.S. Hemp Authority Certified, and comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.
Why buy: We love this CBDistillery Relief + Relax oil because it offers a potent amount of pure CBD to help promote relaxation and pain relief with zero THC. This is the perfect option for those who want a completely THC and terpene free product.
Best Organic: Joy Organics
Joy Organics has multiple flavors of broad spectrum CBD oils including Orange Bliss, Summer Lemon, Tranquil Mint, and Unflavored. Their oils are third-party lab tested, USDA organic, vegan, non-GMO, cruelty-free, and feature an organic olive oil base. They also offer a 30-day money back guarantee and free carbon neutral shipping.
Why buy: We love the Tranquil Mint flavor of this Joy Organics broad spectrum CBD oil. This oil is best for easing stress and anxiety at the end of the day and to help promote a sense of calm before bed without any THC.
Strongest Option: cbdMD
cbdMD offers a wide-range of THC-free oils and products. In fact, they offer tinctures that range from 300mg all the way up to 7500 mg of CBD per bottle. With so many different concentrations, and great-tasting flavors options like Natural, Berry, Orange, and Mint, cbdMD makes it easy to find the right THC-free CBD oil for you.
- CBD – Broad Spectrum
- Strength – 10 mg to 250 mg CBD per serving
- Source – U.S.A.
Why buy: We love that cbdMD offers so many different strengths and flavors of their Superior Broad Spectrum formula for every type of CBD need. Use this oil to potentially help manage stress, support a greater sense of calm, and ease pain from inflammation and exercise.
The Research On THC-Free CBD Oil
Like research on other CBD products, CBD oil without THC has shown promise in helping users with health concerns like anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, arthritis, and inflammation. Both types of products work by interacting with the endocannabinoid system to produce a range of health and wellness benefits.
The main reason people seek out a non-THC CBD oil is because of concerns about drug testing. While it is unlikely that CBD products would cause you to fail a drug screening, it’s always best to stay on the safe side. Using THC-free CBD oil is a great place to start, as they normally contain .01% THC or less, but it’s necessary for you to do your own research as well.
If you know you’re going to take a drug test, check the testing standards of the facility to find out what cannabinoids they test for. Most drug tests check only for THC, but some may search for various other cannabinoids and could trigger a positive result regardless of what kind of CBD oil product you use.
It’s also important to note that while THC-free CBD products are generally safe to use and shouldn’t affect a drug test result, these CBD oils have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and you should check with your doctor before trying CBD if you have a pre-existing medical condition or take any prescription medications.
How To Choose CBD Oil for You
CBD oil is different than marijuana since it’s derived from industrial hemp plants, but these products may still contain trace amounts of THC. You won’t get high from taking CBD, but even inactive levels of THC are enough to deter some people from giving these wellness supplements a fair shot. However, broad spectrum or CBD isolate options are a way that you can reap the benefits of CBD, without any THC present.
What to Look For
To find the highest quality CBD oil without THC, you want consider several important factors.
Broad Spectrum vs. CBD Isolate
There are two primary types of THC-free CBD products: broad spectrum and CBD isolate. Broad spectrum CBD products contain a wide range of valuable cannabinoids and terpenes in addition to the CBD concentration but are distilled to remove THC. CBD isolate, meanwhile, is distilled to remove all cannabinoids and plant compounds except for CBD.
We recommend broad spectrum oils whenever possible. That’s because the addition of secondary cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids can interact with one another to produce a more potent result. However, if you want to make absolutely certain that the product does not contain even trace amounts of THC, go with a CBD isolate.
Lab Test Results
To choose the best CBD oils, you want to look for products that have been independently tested by a third-party lab. This is crucial to make sure that the CBD oil is both free from toxins or harmful compounds like heavy metals and to check that it contains the correct concentration of CBD. When selecting a THC-free CBD tincture, this is especially important for determining that the product does not contain significant levels of THC. Look for brands that include a QR code on the label or links on their site so you can see the test results for yourself.
Source of Hemp
It’s important to research where the brand’s hemp was grown and how it was grown to ensure quality. Go with brands that use hemp grown in the U.S. and try to find ones that use organically or naturally grown hemp. This makes it easy to know that the hemp, and the CBD extract, don’t contain any pesticides or artificial fertilizers.
All CBD oils use a carrier oil, typically hemp seed oil, MCT oil, or olive oil. Check which type of oil the product contains to make sure you are not allergic to anything, especially if you are allergic to coconut. The best brands use both organic high-quality CBD extract and organic high-quality carrier oils.
How to Read Labels
The label of a CBD product contains valuable information that you should always read before you take it. The most important things to look for on the label include:
- Concentration – Know how many milligrams of CBD are contained in each 1 mL serving. This is important to make sure you take the correct amount for your specific needs.
- Added Ingredients – Check to make sure the product does not contain any unwanted artificial flavorings or preservatives. Some CBD oils also use essential oils or botanicals, so make sure you know what they are and if they are all-natural.
- Certifications – There are a number of professional certifications and seals of approval you can look for to know the product is high-quality. Look for USDA-organic, Leaping Bunny cruelty-free, U.S. Hemp Authority, and the Non-GMO Project certifications.
- Dosage Guidelines – Many brands include guidance on the serving size you should take when first trying CBD oil. This can help you measure the appropriate dose more accurately.
How to Use
CBD oils with no THC can be taken just like any other CBD tincture. Some brands recommend taking their oil sublingually, or holding the oil under your tongue for 30 seconds or so before swallowing. Depending on the amount of CBD and if it is a broad spectrum oil, a certain THC-free CBD oil may work better at night than during the day. If you find that the product makes you drowsy or sleepy, use it to unwind in the evening before bed. You can take other products, like CBD isolate, in the morning to help you maintain a sense of calm and wellbeing throughout the day.
Safety & Side Effects
CBD products are generally considered safe and are well-tolerated by most users, according to the Mayo Clinic. They can, however, cause certain mild side effects. These can include:
- Dry mouth
- Reduced appetite
CBD also has the potential to interact with certain prescription medications, so be sure to talk to your doctor before taking CBD if you are on any prescribed medicines.
For those who want to experience the health and wellness benefits of CBD but are concerned about THC content, a THC-free CBD oil could be the perfect solution. Depending on your health goals and specific needs, you can choose between a broad spectrum CBD oil or a CBD isolate product. Just make sure you take time to select a quality CBD product using the guideline above to ensure that the CBD oil is safe and effective.
Melena Gurganus is the Reviews Editor at EcoWatch. She is passionate health and wellness and her writing aims to help others find products they can trust. Her work has been featured in publications such as Health, Shape, Huffington Post, Cannabis Business Times, and Bustle.