Cannabis CBD oil extracts in jars herb and leaves

How THC-Free CBD Oil Is Different—Plus, 5 to Try

THC-free CBD oils typically offer the same therapeutic benefits of full-spectrum hemp extracts, but with zero trace of THC.  
By Melena Gurganus
July 29, 2020
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With the popularity of natural alternatives to treating pain and anxiety, many are turning to hemp extracts for the potential health benefits. But some consumers, especially those wary of cannabis in general, may want to access the therapeutic potential of CBD without ingesting even the least bit of THC.

Perhaps you just want to avoid any potentially intoxicating effects that could come with consuming any amount of THC—which could impact your everyday life with driving, work, school, and family responsibilities. You may be applying for a job that requires a drug test, and you don't want to risk having even a trace of THC in your system. You may also be concerned about potential side effects or drug interactions if you're currently taking medication for a health issue.

Whatever the reason, more people are considering THC-free CBD oil, but the question is: Will a quality THC-free CBD oil have the same benefits as a full-spectrum option? (Related: Here’s How to Buy the Best Safe and Effective CBD Products)

What Is THC-Free CBD Oil?

For starters, THC is a cannabinoid similar to CBD, but it’s more commonly known for its psychotropic effects (THC is the ingredient in marijuana that delivers a “high”). Full-spectrum hemp extracts may contain up to 0.3 percent THC by law, but THC-free CBD oils go through more extensive distillation and purification processes to remove any detectable levels and ensure you’re not ingesting any THC at all (not even that tiny 0.3 percent). 

Additionally, in the THC-free category, you’ll find two types of products: broad-spectrum extracts and CBD isolate.

CBD isolate is exactly what its name implies: isolated CBD. These hemp extracts contain only Cannabidiol and no other plant parts (i.e. the CBD is isolated from all other compounds and acts alone). 

Broad-spectrum CBD products may contain low levels of terpenes and minor cannabinoids (basically, variations of CBD), but still exclude THC. In turn, these products include a “broad spectrum” of plant compounds. It’s generally thought that both broad- and full-spectrum CBD offer more therapeutic effects compared to CBD isolate due to the various plant compounds within each, which work together inside the body.

The Main Benefits of THC-Free CBD

While CBD is helpful on its own, it actually works best with THC. "THC is commonly known and is helpful for pain relief, anxiety control, appetite stimulation, and insomnia," Jordan Tishler, M.D., a cannabis specialist, Harvard-trained physician, and founder of InhaleMD, previously told Shape. Similar to the thinking behind full-spectrum CBD, studies show the synergy of the compounds found in the entire plant delivers enhanced therapeutic effects versus when they're used solo.

However, if you're worried about even trace amounts of THC affecting your mental state or reacting badly with your current meds, choosing THC-free CBD is your best course of action. "Everyone's reaction to THC is variable," Perry Solomon, M.D., anesthesiologist, and chief medical officer of HelloMD, previously told Shape. "A tiny bit of THC for one patient won't make them feel anything, but another patient could have the same amount and have a psychoactive response."

And just because you're opting for THC-free CBD doesn't mean it won't still offer up the same medicinal benefits. As with most other CBD products, THC-free CBD oils have the potential to provide various health benefits, including reducing pain, minimizing inflammation, keeping stress at bay, and helping you get a better night's sleep.

How to Shop for THC-Free CBD

No matter your reason, if you want to avoid THC altogether but still reap the potential perks of CBD, then a broad-spectrum or CBD isolate product is a great choice. In either case, always look for up-to-date lab test results before purchasing a product, and similar to when you add any new supplement to your wellness routine, it’s recommended to check with your healthcare provider beforehand. (Related: 3 Reasons You Should Try CBD Even If You Have No Interest in Weed)

Regardless of which type of hemp oil you choose, it’s important to buy from a brand that implements third-party lab testing (and makes the results publicly available). These tests are performed by accredited, independent labs to verify the cannabinoid composition of a product, which ensures it’s truly THC-free, among other things. In addition, lab testing procedures check for CBD potency—or the strength of the product—as well as to ensure unwanted chemicals are not present. Not all brands will lab test their CBD products, but it’s best to steer clear of those that don’t.

The 5 Best THC-Free CBD Oils

When looking for CBD products, only consider the most trustworthy CBD companies that provide clarity for consumers and transparency when it comes to the extracts used in their formulas. With this in mind, here are five of the best THC-free CBD oils on the market. All of these options, listed below, come from reputable brands with transparent lab testing, clean hemp sources, and excellent track records with their customers—so you can trust that you’re getting the highest-quality CBD oil out there.

CBDistillery CBD Oil
Credit: CBDistillery

CBDistillery

Buy It, from $32

CBDistillery is a trusted CBD company that excels at both product variety and affordable pricing. It sells a variety of full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD oil tinctures, which are made with pure CBD extract derived from non-GMO industrial hemp plants grown on American farms. Even better? All of its products are certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, so you can expect the utmost safety and quality. 

Strength Options: 500 mg, 1000 mg, or 2500 mg of CBD per bottle

CBD OIL
Credit: Medterra

Medterra

Buy It, from $35

For anything THC-free, Medterra is a go-to. All of its CBD products—ranging from its popular gummies to its tinctures—are guaranteed to contain zero THC. The brand’s CBD isolate oils, in particular, have always been a fan favorite, but its new line of broad-spectrum CBD tinctures are another great option for those who want a flavored oil (like citrus or strawberry mint).

Strength Options: 500 mg, 1000 mg, or 3000 mg of CBD per bottle 

CBD OIL
Credit: Naternal

Naternal

Buy It, from $30

You’d be hard-pressed to find another CBD company that offers the same high-quality products with prices as low as Naternal’s. Offering both full- and broad-spectrum CBD oils, its broad-spectrum options are expertly blended to include naturally occurring CBD extracts and additional cannabinoids to create a THC-free formula that’s still highly effective. 

Strength Options: 600 mg, 1200 mg, or 2400 mg of CBD per bottle

CBD OIL
Credit: cbdMD

cbdMD

Buy It, from $30

For a brand that otherwise specializes in broad-spectrum CBD, cbdMD offers a great THC-free option. It sells a variety of strengths and flavors—like mint, berry, citrus, and natural—and is transparent about including third-party lab test results for every product batch. Not to mention, this CBD company also provides customers with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, which is a great option for people who are trying CBD for the first time and aren’t sure if they’ll like it or not. 

Strength Options: 300 mg, 750 mg, 1500 mg, 3000 mg, 5000 mg, or 7500 mg of CBD per bottle

CBD OIL
Credit: Green Roads

Green Roads CBD Oil

Buy It, from $45

With products formulated by a licensed pharmacist, Green Roads’ products are highly trustworthy and top-quality. The brand offers three tasty broad-spectrum oils, which are available in apple kiwi bliss, mint breeze, and original (natural) flavors. In addition to being THC-free, Green Roads’ oils are also gluten-free, soy-free, and contain zero artificial flavoring. It’s also worth noting that these oils are much thicker than a traditional CBD oil, and the application process is slightly different—you’ll use a syringe to place the product into your mouth instead of a dropper. 

Strength Options: 300 mg, 750 mg, or 1500 mg of CBD per bottle