What’s the Real Meaning of THC Free in the CBD World?
Chances are that you or someone you know has been recommended a “THC free” or “zero THC” CBD oil with the guarantee that it won’t make you test positive on a drug test. Unfortunately, this is a misleading practice that results in consumers losing their jobs following routine drug tests. “THC free” CBD products may not quite be what you think they are, and we’re here to clear things up.
Why are THC Free CBD Products Chosen by Some?
CBD isolate and broad spectrum products are commonly chosen because of their apparent absence of THC. THC is the cannabinoid that is of concern when it comes to drug testing. While there are some select employers that test for any and all cannabinoids (including CBD), the vast majority only test for THC metabolites.
By consuming products that claim to be THC free many believe they are eliminating any and all risks of testing positive on a drug test. We wish this were true, but the simple fact of the matter is that you can never eliminate the risks associated with drug testing. Not when it comes to CBD. The only way to not risk a positive is to not consume CBD.
But why? Shouldn’t they be safe if they don’t contain THC? Sure, if they truly didn’t contain any THC. But they often do still contain trace amounts of the cannabinoid.
What “THC Free” Really Means
When a brand says their product is THC free it can mean a few different things. Sometimes this can be due to the misconception that hemp contains no THC, or that a trace amount is so little that it’s “basically nothing.” This is unfortunately becoming a common occurrence since almost anyone can start selling CBD nowadays, regardless of their knowledge on the subject.
In most cases though, a product labeled as THC free means that it has 3rd party lab tests demonstrating that THC was not detected in the lab testing. The key here being that it was not “detected.” However, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist in the sample.
Lab Detection Limits and Reading Lab Tests
Each lab has a lower detection limit. This means that their equipment is only capable of detecting down to that amount and no lower. Anything below that lower detection limit and they can’t detect it. If you see “ND” or “<LOQ” next to “D9 THC” on a 3rd party lab test, this is the case. This means that there can still be trace amounts of THC in “THC free” products.
While these trace amounts are less than levels commonly found in full spectrum CBD oil products, they can still build up over time in the body. One person may not test positive upon first trying the product, but another drug test a few months later can yield different results.