THC is classed as a Schedule I drug here in the U.K. As such, you might be concerned to learn that your CBD oil contains some. Or, perhaps you want to take CBD supplements that contain all of the chemicals naturally found in hemp. So, can you get CBD oil with THC?
CBD oil that contains THC is known as full spectrum CBD oil. It is the end product of the solvent extraction process when applied to hemp. Nothing is added to, or taken from the oil before it’s sold as full-spectrum oil.
But just because THC is regulated, that doesn’t mean CBD oil is illegal. There are specific legal guidelines that protect CBD oil with a small amount of THC in it; plus, there are ways for manufacturers to safely remove the THC and dispose of it safely. The post below explains everything you need to know about CBD oil and THC, the law, and everything in between. So, read on!
CBD oil is a kind of oil extracted from industrial hemp, a plant from the cannabis family. Depending on the exact formulation of the product, it can be legally bought and sold in the U.K. It has many purported effects on health, but which as of yet has not been extensively scientifically studied.
To date, CBD oil has become extremely popular as a food supplement in the U.K. It’s so popular that it’s sold in high street stores as well as through online CBD stores. But what’s the difference between CBD and THC?
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It’s thought to be involved in the plant’s self defence system, to prevent insect predation. It’s classified by the World Health Organisation as a Schedule II drug, and by the U.K. and U.S. governments as a Schedule I drug. That means that the U.S. and U.K. governments believe THC to be more harmful than other governments do.
The reason why it’s classified as a drug is that it affects your brain in unexpected ways. THC is what gives recreational marijuana its effects.
Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids. These are a diverse group of chemicals that act on the body’s cannabinoid receptors, also known as the endocannabinoid system. They’re ‘diverse’ because they have a range of effects. THC is what causes the well-known symptoms of marijuana; CBD has none of these effects. That’s why THC is controlled by law, but CBD isn’t.
THC is indeed found in CBD oil. Depending on which kind you buy, it may have different levels of THC (although only a certain amount is legal in the U.K.). There are two main kinds of CBD oil. The first is full spectrum, and the second is broad spectrum. While they have similar names, there are important differences between them.
Full spectrum oil is the natural product of the hemp extraction process. The finished product can be packaged as it is, without any further treatment, and sold as full spectrum oil. It contains all of the phenols and cannabinoids that hemp does. That means it has high levels of CBD, and low (but present) levels of THC.
Broad spectrum oil is oil that only contains some cannabinoids. THC is removed, as are a number of other natural by-products of extraction. If you live somewhere that THC is illegal, broad spectrum oil may be legal as it doesn’t contain any (bar trace amounts).
So, if you want to buy CBD oil with THC in it, then buy full spectrum oil. If you want to avoid THC completely, buy broad spectrum oil.
It should therefore stand to reason that CBD oil is illegal—it contains an illegal substance, after all. But that’s where you’d be wrong.
Is CBD oil legal? Yes, provided that it contains 0.2% or less THC by weight. All reputable U.K. manufacturers know this, and their products adhere to these guidelines. If they were tested and found to contain any more, then their products would be forfeit and they could be prosecuted for selling what are considered drugs.
However, this isn’t a problem that would affect you. Provided that you bought a product you believe to be 0.2% THC concentration or less, you haven’t done anything wrong.
During the extraction process, CBD isn’t the only compound that’s drawn from industrial hemp. Many other natural chemicals, including THC and aromatic phenols (which give cannabis its smell) are taken too. You can find them in varying degrees in the finished CBD oil product.
With current extraction methods, it isn’t possible to separate the THC from the rest of the product. It’s extracted by mixing it with a solvent—either an alcohol, or CO2. The solvent can’t differentiate between the different cannabinoids, only taking one but not the other.
That’s why broad spectrum CBD oil has to go through a second refinement process. This removes any THC in the product until only traces are left behind.
When you’re buying your CBD oil, the seller should make it clear how much is inside. It’s not strictly part of their obligations under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but top manufacturers do so anyway. So, no matter what you buy, stay safe and stay within the law. Hempura offers a searchable database where you can see the corresponding lab report for each product.