Convenience store operators who are unsure whether CBD (cannabidiol) contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) aren’t alone; confusion is still the order of the day for many customers.
First, definitions are in order:
- CBD is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD does not contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis that produces a high. CBD can be found in hemp, a term used to classify varieties of cannabis with very low amounts of THC (less than 0.3%). CBD became legal at the federal level when the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp and removed it from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. The usual CBD formulation is oil, but it is also sold as an extract, a vaporized liquid, oil-based capsules and gummies, as well as topical creams, etc. CBD is used for pain and anxiety relief, relaxation and wellness.
- THC is the main psychoactive chemical compound in the cannabis plant that produces the sensation of feeling high. Products with more than 0.3% THC are classified as marijuana, which is federally illegal. THC can be consumed by smoking marijuana, and is also available in oils, edibles, tinctures, capsules and more.
Though similar in what they may help treat, the most important difference between CBD and THC is that THC will cause a person to experience a high, while CBD will not. It is essential that retailers familiarize themselves with local laws before carrying CBD products.
CBD and THC have the same chemical formula — 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms. The difference stems from the way the atoms are arranged. It gives CBD and THC different chemical properties, and they affect the body differently. Both CBD and THC work with receptors that release neurotransmitters in your brain. They can affect things like pain, mood, sleep and memory.
Thus, the short answer to the question is no — CBD itself does not contain THC. As far as CBD products, CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD do not contain THC. While full-spectrum CBD products should contain only trace amounts.
The average cannabis strain contains about 12% THC. CBD oil may contain trace amounts of THC because it is present at very low levels in the hemp plant. But for a product to be marketed as CBD, it can have no more than 0.3% THC to be legal at the federal level. When trace amounts of THC are present in CBD products, it should not be enough to get someone high. From a legal standpoint, however, it’s important for stores to partner with reputable CBD brands with a certificate of analysis to ensure the brand is complying with the rules classifying a product as CBD.
CBD gummies have become a popular way to consume CBD, and could help with anxiety, stress and pain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them for therapeutic use, but there is evidence that suggests these health benefits. Retailers and manufacturers expect that FDA will eventually publish guidance regarding its plans for regulating CBD products in the marketplace.