How to Start a CBD Business
The CBD sector of the cannabis and hemp industry is one of the fastest growing segments of the space. Here’s how you could start a CBD business and get involved.
- Cannabidiol (CBD), a compound found in hemp and cannabis plants, is becoming increasingly popular as a dietary supplement.
- The CBD industry is projected to hit $20 billion in sales by 2024.
- Hemp and hemp CBD are federally legal following the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill.
- The industry still faces challenges in advertising, banking and insurance.
Still relatively new to the mainstream, cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is becoming a household name. The purported therapeutic and health benefits of CBD, one of many compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants, has created a buzz. CBD oil has entered the marketplace in the form of tinctures, infused edibles, topicals and more. The growth of CBD oil products has been so immense, in fact, that industry analyst BDS Analytics predicts the U.S. CBD market will reach $20 billion in sales by 2024.
The potential of the CBD industry has prompted many people to explore how they can launch a CBD business. The industry is not without its challenges, though, especially surrounding the evolving legal landscape, but the opportunity is significant.
If you’re considering getting involved in the CBD industry, you first need to understand more about cannabinoids and the products that utilize them.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids, which are compounds found throughout the cannabis and hemp plants. The most famous cannabinoid is undoubtedly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the intoxication associated with the consumption of cannabis. CBD, however, does not produce an intoxicating effect; instead, it offers potential therapeutic and health benefits, though research into its potential medical applications is ongoing.
CBD products are generally created in several steps. First, the raw material needs to be cultivated and harvested. For example, if you plan on using industrial hemp to create your CBD products, you will either need to cultivate or purchase a large amount of the plant. From there, CBD oil is extracted from the plant using a variety of methods. Again, you can do this yourself or outsource the process to an extraction company. Once you have extracted the CBD oil, it can be sold as a concentrate or used to infuse a variety of products. Some of the most common CBD products on the market today include sublingual tinctures, infused edibles and topicals, like gels or creams.
Hemp CBD vs. cannabis CBD
CBD is found in both cannabis and hemp plants. CBD oil can be extracted from either plant and used to create CBD oil products. However, there is a key difference between hemp CBD oil and CBD products derived from cannabis: THC.
Industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, and as such, it is considered legal under federal law to cultivate, harvest and process into finished products. Cannabis, on the other hand, contains more than 0.3% THC (often much higher levels) and remains federally illegal.
Hemp and cannabis are closely related; in fact, industrial hemp is actually Cannabis sativa L. The difference in name is mostly a function of a legal definition, which sets the threshold for THC content. The flowers of a hemp plant contain little to no THC, while the flowers of a cannabis plant (commonly referred to as marijuana) contain much higher levels of THC.
The federal government considers marijuana a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal for interstate commerce, even as dozens of states legalize it for adult use. Industrial hemp, on the other hand, was recently removed from the Controlled Substances Act altogether, opening the way for its cultivation and harvest in the U.S. for the first time since 1937.
Did you know? The key difference between hemp CBD oil and CBD products derived from cannabis is THC.
Full-spectrum CBD vs. CBD isolate
If you’ve done any research into the CBD market already, you’ve likely encountered the terms “full-spectrum” or “isolate.” Depending on the extraction methods used, the CBD oil obtained from the plant might contain other cannabinoids and compounds found in the source plant. This is what is known as full-spectrum CBD. Full-spectrum CBD not only contains other cannabinoids found in the source material, but compounds known as terpenes, which are responsible for creating the flavor profile, aroma and specific effects of the plant.
CBD isolate, as the name suggests, is a concentrate that only contains CBD and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. While the purity of CBD isolate might sound desirable, there is some evidence to suggest that full-spectrum CBD promotes an “entourage effect;” that is, the compounds in a full-spectrum hemp extract work together to promote more significant effects. The entourage effect is still under investigation by researchers studying CBD and other cannabinoids.
The CBD industry is projected to grow immensely
Industry analyst BDS Analytics predicts the U.S. CBD market will reach $20 billion in sales by 2024. This would be a major surge from $1.9 billion in 2018 (a 49% annual growth rate).
Needless to say, society is growing more open-minded and accepting of CBD. Many individuals are turning to it for pain relief, stress management, better sleep, and more; and many gas stations, restaurants, and local CVS stores now sell it.
Some trends the CBD market might experience in 2020 are increased potency of products, more brick-and-mortar CBD shops, more pharmaceutical CBD products, and more access to products online through CBD websites and e-commerce shops. In fact, CBD online sales currently account for 60% of the sales channels.
The CBD industry is introducing new products all the time. If you’re looking to start a CBD business, you will have a wide range of product types to consider selling. Here are the most popular types of CBD on the market right now:
- Sublingual tinctures: A sublingual tincture is CBD oil that generally comes in a small bottle with a dropper. Sublingual products are ingested by placing them under your tongue and allowing the oil to absorb.
- CBD edibles: CBD edibles are a rapidly growing sector of the industry, including baked goods, candies and foods. CBD edibles have faced significant regulatory scrutiny from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but remain as commonly found products.
- Vape concentrates: Vaporizer concentrates, such as CBD oils and waxes, are another common product. These can be used with an electronic device to vaporize and inhale the CBD product.
- CBD topicals: CBD topicals include gels, creams and sprays for aches and pains. These products are placed directly on the skin to target a localized region of the body.
- Capsules and pills: Many patients who experience seizures or digestive issues take CBD capsules or pills to treat their conditions.
Additionally, CBD isn’t just for humans. Animals also experience calming effects when given small doses, and many businesses offer CBD products for pets, like dogs or cats.
How to start a CBD business
There are countless unique opportunities for new businesses to sell CBD. Starting a CBD business includes all the hard work and effort of launching any other company in addition to the uncertainty of a shifting regulatory landscape (and all the issues that accompany it). However, in a fledgling industry projected to undergo explosive growth, the heavy lifting today might be well worth it tomorrow.
Cory Slovik, owner of Core Roots CBD, started his company after experiencing firsthand what he said were the healing properties of the cannabinoid.
“I used to be a pro snowboarder … and I was always sore, my muscles were constantly in agonizing pain. I tried CBD, and it helped me tremendously,” said Slovik. “Then, years later, cannabis … started coming to the forefront, and there was research and data backing up everything I felt on the mountain.”
Slovik soon launched Core Roots CBD, seeing a business opportunity and a way to help other people treat their pain. He said starting a CBD company is like any other business, plus a bunch of added steps.
“It’s like any other business; there are steps and procedures you need to go through like getting insurance and writing a business plan,” Slovik said. “But in this space, you have got to double- and triple-check everything, know your market and jump through regulatory hoops.”
[If you’re looking for more details on how to start a business and all the steps you need to take, see our step-by-step guide to get started.]
Understand your legal obligations
Just because the 2018 Farm Bill federally legalized industrial hemp and, by extension, hemp extract, like CBD oils, doesn’t mean there aren’t significant regulatory considerations surrounding the industrial hemp industry.
The 2018 Farm Bill essentially removed CBD from the federal Controlled Substances Act and the oversight of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Instead, it placed governance of the hemp industry and CBD oil in the hands of the FDA.
Currently, the FDA is still devising regulations, leaving the CBD industry in a sort of gray area. So far, the federal agency has signaled that marketing CBD as having health benefits will not be tolerated. It has also initiated a crackdown against CBD-infused foods and beverages in some instances.
Further complicating the regulatory landscape is the 2017 approval of the CBD-based pharmaceutical Epidolex, an epilepsy medication that was approved by the FDA. Since CBD is a main ingredient in an FDA-approved drug, using it in food products without FDA approval could be illegal. Clearer guidance is sorely needed for CBD businesses to operate in compliance with federal regulations.
“I think the FDA does have to step in, and they will,” said Slovik. “I expect a lot of changes to labels; we’re seeing a lot of businesses out there now using the term ‘hemp extract’ instead of CBD, or they’re not thinking of health benefits so much. Many companies are doing different things, but no one really knows [what the regulations will be] until it happens.”
Understanding your legal obligations and playing it safe is key in a highly scrutinized industry. While CBD businesses everywhere await clearer regulatory guidance, it is important not to craft your marketing strategy around the supposed benefits of CBD. It’s also important to stay apprised of new developments as the FDA moves forward on crafting new regulations.
Market and sell your products
Marketing and selling CBD products is tricky. While the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill liberalized the industry a little bit (CVS and Walgreen’s now carry CBD products, for example), it is still difficult to sell CBD products on major online platforms like Amazon or eBay. Likewise, social media advertising is virtually nonexistent; paid ads for CBD products risk account suspensions or bans. All your growth must be driven through organic content that falls under the guidelines of each platform.
“In today’s day and age, if someone is looking to sell a product, the normal avenues are Amazon, eBay, Alibaba or paid ads on social media,” Slovik said. “In this industry, it’s way, way, way different. You can’t do any of those things.”
To successfully advertise and sell your CBD products, you will have to be creative. Establishing your own e-commerce store or carrying your products in a brick-and-mortar location is a must. Marketing your product with an organic search strategy and customer loyalty programs is always safer than engaging in paid advertising. And, of course, every market is a bit different, so do your research and understand your local and state laws.
How to gain a competitive advantage
The key to gaining a competitive advantage with staying power in the CBD industry is to develop a high-quality product that will withstand the coming scrutiny of both regulators and educated consumers. If you want to differentiate yourself from other CBD businesses, it’s key to provide third-party lab testing results to validate the quality of your product, Slovik said.
“We want to be more transparent by putting QR codes on all our bottles so anyone in the store can use their phone to get lab results right then and there,” Slovik said.
In addition, Slovik said pursuing certifications like USDA organic, Good Manufacturing Practices and FDA facility registrations are important moves to instill confidence in consumers about the quality of the product they are buying.
Overall, Slovik said, the formula for success is simple, even if the process is complicated.
“I would recommend double-, triple-checking everything. Know there will be changes. Research as much as you can, and recognize what the future opportunities are by thinking outside the box,” he said.
Tip: If you want to differentiate yourself from other CBD businesses, it’s key to provide third-party lab testing results to validate the quality of your product.
Key challenges facing CBD businesses
The CBD and cannabis industry faces unique challenges that other industries don’t. Most of these challenges relate to the regulatory environment and, as federal agencies like the FDA detail specific rules and guidelines, things should stabilize. For now, though, if you want to start a CBD business, you should be aware of these major considerations:
- Banking: Access to reliable banking services can be complicated due to the fluctuating regulatory landscape. Many banks are hesitant to do business with CBD and cannabis companies, fearing significant risk or burdensome oversight. Frequently, CBD businesses are forced to switch banks or experience the abrupt closure of a merchant account, which can seriously disrupt operations.
- Insurance: Finding affordable insurance for a CBD business is another major challenge. Prices remain elevated despite the legalization of industrial hemp, Slovik said, as the industry takes time to catch up to the developments. Education remains a key obstacle.
- Payment processing: Similarly, payment processors present high fees and other challenges to CBD businesses. Slovik said Visa recently cut off all CBD businesses, leaving him capable of only accepting MasterCard and Discover for payments.
- Access to capital: Banks and other lenders are reluctant to fund CBD companies, viewing the industry as too risky without clear regulatory requirements. So far, the CBD industry has relied on bootstrapping, outside investors or alternative lenders to find the growth capital it needs.
Each of these challenges will likely be cleared up as more concrete regulation appears, but in the meantime, CBD businesses must remain adaptable and well-informed. Changes in the industry come on a day-to-day basis, so preparing backup plans ahead of time could save you a great deal of time and money should the worst come to pass.
CBD is a huge business opportunity, if it’s approached correctly
The growth opportunity in the CBD industry is unparalleled. The cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing in the nation, and CBD is one of the quickest growing sectors of that industry. Especially following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp CBD products are proliferating at a fast rate. If you want to start a CBD business, you’re not alone.
“This industry has been more or less illegal for the past century,” said Slovik. “At this point, there’s major, major momentum. Many people are trying to break in, so don’t follow the herd. You want to be a leader.”
A combination of due diligence and creativity will set your business up for success in the CBD industry. Now is the time to get in on the ground floor and build a company that will last, but differentiate yourself with a quality product that stands out from the crowd.
Additional reporting by Sammi Caramela. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.
Hemp & CBD Market Value: January 2020 Price Trends for Crude, Flower Biomass, Isolate
Are we producing too much Hemp and CBD?
The short answer is yes. According to financial media outlet, Benzinga America is growing exponentially more hemp than the market can feasibly process and consume. This is the number one reason why the cost of hemp has steadily declined in 2019 and has reached an all-time low as of January 2020.
While wholesale prices are dropping across nearly all hemp products–from raw biomass, to flower, to isolates, and distillates–not all hemp products are created equal. Moreover the current drop may ultimately level out as the market stabilizes. As a hemp supplier, processor or consumer, it’s important to understand all of the factors that make up hemp and CBD pricing trends so that you can plan for the future.
Here we dive into major factors like product type, moisture content, quality and volume with an extensive guide to today’s hemp and CBD market price trends.
In this post –
Price Trends by Hemp Product
CBD Biomass (raw)
Biomass refers to the whole hemp plant materials. The vast majority of the market utilizes biomass to produce CBD, which is derived from the leaves and stalks, aka “waste” after the plant’s flowers and seeds has been used — in a wide variety of products and supplements. Prices for biomass are generally dependent on the CBD content per pound, which is measured on a dry weight basis on a standard that requires it be at least 80% dry (according to Hemp Benchmarks ). When CBD biomass is not dry enough, it will result in a decreased wholesale price.
CBD Biomass Market Value
According to a Hemp Benchmarks report, up to 25K pounds of CBD Biomass sold for roughly $4.02 per %CBD per pound in June 2019. That price dropped significantly to $2.32 in October and is selling at $1.31 as of the latest report in January 2020, representing an 6 7% decrease overall.
Dried CBD Flower
Dried CBD flower refers to the bud and trichome portions of the hemp plant, which are removed from the stalks and stems. Dried flower is smokeable and sold alone or in pre-rolled joints. Dried CBD flower commands a higher price point than CBD biomass because it has been cut, trimmed and is ready to sell.
Dried CBD Flower Market Value
Croptober did not affect the price of CBD flower as dramatically as it did biomass. In June 2019, CBD flower sold for about $349 per pound wholesale. The price dropped to an average of $319 per pound in October followed by sharper decline as of the latest report in December. CBD flower is now selling at $226 per pound, representing a 35% dip in 6 months.
Crude Hemp Oil
Crude hemp oil is extracted from the hemp plant through one of several methods. The most common methods are pressurized CO2 or solvent extraction using ethanol or a hydrocarbon. Crude hemp oil contains all of the cannabinoids (including THC), terpenes and flavonoids found naturally in the plant. It’s often further purified ( winterized ) to remove organic plant compounds such as lipids, waxes and chlorophyll, which increases the product’s overall potency. But can break down some more fragile compounds like terpenes and flavonoids.
Crude Hemp Oil Market Value
Crude hemp oil has also experienced a sharp decline in value, dropping from $2,066 per kilo in June to $1,016 in October. By December, Hemp oil dropped to $668 per Kilo, representing a 68% decrease in value.
Refined Hemp Oil (distillates)
When crude hemp oil undergoes distillation to produce an even purer product, it becomes refined hemp with a much higher market value. Refined hemp further breaks down into three categories:
- CBD full spectrum oil , which contains all cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
- CBD broad spectrum oil , which has been fully or partially expunged of cannabinoids, plant materials, and terpenes.
- THC-free distillate, which is a broad spectrum oil that has also been expunged of all THC components using advanced techniques such as chromatography.
Refined Hemp Oil Market Value
Full spectrum CBD oils are the least refined and warrant the lowest market price at about $1,791 per kilo. THC-free CBD distillates on the other hand, warrant nearly double that price ($3,120) due in part to the expensive processing as well as the market demand. However, refined hemp oil overall has significantly declined from June, 2019 ($5,628) to January, 2020 ($2,528). As a whole, the three categories of refined hemp oil have dropped by 55%.
CBD isolates are the purest CBD products available to the market, produced by extracting all of plant components including, terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids. CBD isolates come in granular or powder form and have no taste or fragrance. The final product contains 0% THC and is made up of 96%+ CBD.
CBD Isolates Market Value
Despite this seeming advantage, isolates are not as popular as refined oils. The average price of CBD isolate per kilo as of January 2020 is $1,624 which dropped from 66% at its price in June.
Industrial hemp seeds are used to produce a wide range of hemp biomass, usually for grain or fiber purposes. Grains are derived from hemp seeds and used for products like food and beauty oils. Fiber, which is derived from hemp stalks is used for products like papers and textiles. Industrial uses for hemp represents a much smaller portion (approximately 13%) of the market compared to CBD (approximately 77%), but demand exists and supply is low, which means the price per pound is much higher. Moreover as prices have been declining across most hemp products, industrial hemp seed prices are on the rise.
Industrial Seeds Market Value
The value of industrial seeds more than doubled from May to October 2019, according to Hemp Benchmarks. In October, hemp seeds were selling for $5.59 per pound. However, since October, the price has steadily declined to $4.57 per pound as of the January report.
Trends Based on THC Content, Volume and Quality
The USDA recently published its interim rules for hemp sale and cultivation, which determined that total THC content cannot exceed 0.3%. Moreover the rules define total THC to include THCA content as well through the following equation: (%THCA*.877) + %Delta9-THC.
This threshold is very easy to surpass, especially when plants grow to full maturation. Therefore cultivators whose crops test above the legal limit (known as hot crops) must seek remediation to remove the THC or else they must destroy the entire harvest. THC stripping services can cost about $1/input gram, thereby driving down overall profits.
Like most commodities, volume is a major factor in determining overall market price. According to Hemp Benchmarks’ January, 2020 report, the price of CBD biomass when purchasing up to 25K pounds is about $1.31 per % CBD per pound. By contrast when volume increases to 100K pounds, 1M pounds, or 1M+ pounds the price subsequently drops to $1.14, $1.01, and $0.55 respectively.
Extraction methods generally fall into the categories of CO2 or liquid solvent extraction (using ethanol or hydrocarbons).
In order to process hemp using CO2 , it must first be pressurized in metal tanks to transform from a gas into a supercritical fluid. From there, the CO2 solution draws the desired components from the plant such as cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids. The CO2 solution is later evaporated leaving a concentrated oil, shatter or budder behind.
Liquid solvent extraction uses solutions such as butane, propane or ethanol to collect the components from the raw CBD biomass. After extraction, these solutions are purged of the solvents, leaving behind the extracted hemp material.
Extraction Method Pricing
Carbon dioxide extraction is the safest method because it doesn’t leave behind any toxic solvents that could contaminate the final product. It’s also the slowest and most expensive extraction method, due to the steep cost of the technology. For instance a 5-liter CO2 extraction machine can cost about $100,000. By comparison, a hydrocarbon machine costs about $20,000. This higher operating cost may warrant a higher wholesale price if the market understands its value, but extraction method does not necessarily have a 1:1 relationship with wholesale price.
Machine vs Hand Harvesting
Machine harvesting uses industrial devices to cut, collect and transport mature hemp biomass. While this requires a large initial investment in machinery, it is generally more efficient and cost effective in the long term. Especially when harvesting hemp for industrial purposes, specialized machines can cut a swath about 40 feet wide through a field. This type of machinery is optimal when harvesting on a wide scale, but they can easily shatter seeds and compromise overall quality. Despite the fact that machine harvesting works rapidly, it may not be the best method when harvesting hemp for its delicate flower heads.
In these cases, hand harvesting may produce a higher quality yield because the process is more precise. Higher quality seeds and buds may also translate to higher profits. But in order to ensure the return is worth the investment, hemp cultivators must hire the right amount of labor, which can be costly. For example, if there are not enough people to hand cut the harvest in time, crops may over-mature and overproduce THC, rendering them illegal and potentially worthless.
Fast Dry vs Slow Curing
Once hemp is harvested, growers must immediately transport the plants to a drying facility to remove the majority of moisture content. On strategy is slow curing, which requires growers to utilize a facility that is between 60 and 70°F with humidity levels between 45 – 55%. This process helps preserve volatile terpenes, which can degrade at higher temperatures. It also provides an environment whereby freshly harvested hemp can continue increasing in cannabinoid potency. While this method certainly produces a higher quality product that could warrant more money due to a higher CBD concentration, it may also end up producing more than the legal limit of THC.
Heated dryers and continuous air flow dryers can be used to cure hemp quickly. While efficient, they can also compromise the seed and plant through overheating or cracking of the seeds. Additionally, during the aeration process the roof will be cold and could develop condensation without proper ventilation. That condensation can drip into the hemp bins and form mold buildup around and on the plants.
While the curing process itself does not directly dictate the price of hemp biomass or flower, the resulting quality of the product will. For example, slow curing may produce a higher concentration of CBD which will warrant a higher wholesale price, but if THC rises above the legal limit, the product is not sellable. Similarly, fast drying will improve output and ensure that the crop does not continue increasing in THC potency, but cracked seeds, contamination, and lower CBD content will all drive down pricing.
By Cannabinoid Level
When harvesting hemp for smokable flower, oils or isolates, cannabinoid levels matter. For example, CBD biomass pricing is directly dependent on the percentage of CBD per pound. With regards to distillates, THC content directly affects the wholesale price. As mentioned above, when hemp oil is 100% stripped of THC, it sells for nearly double the price of full spectrum oil.
Aside from CBD and THC, lesser known cannabinoids like CBG (will link to the blog) or CBN are making the biggest difference in price. According to Hemp Benchmarks the price of CBG biomass varies, but generally sells for around $22.42 per % CBG per pound (wholesale), equating to roughly $175 to $325/pound overall.
Regardless of product type or processing method, market flooding is the biggest factor behind today’s trends in hemp and CBD pricing. Today, cultivators can forecast 1,000 plants per acre and roughly 0.5 – 1 lb per plant. That equates to 500 – 1,000 lbs per acre, which can be doubled when planting earlier in the season. This may have sounded great in theory, but the reality of today’s oversupply of hemp means approximately 60% of growers cannot find buyers.
Today’s wholesale trends looks bleak but it does not mean doom and gloom for the future. According to trading platform, PanXchange , this type of volatility and oversupply is normal in emerging markets and will ultimately correct itself. After all, the U.S. hemp market is projected to grow to $2.6 billion in sales by 2022 with plenty of profits to go around.
For farmers, key strategies may be to grow a little less than capacity, set up contracts in advance, and safely store hemp that cannot be immediately sold. It may also mean changing strategies for growing, harvesting, drying and extracting to ensure that the end product warrants the highest prices. The hemp industry has an incredible trajectory and it’s vital to stay focused on producing the best quality product available.
At ACS Laboratory, we stay current with market trends and legal compliance so that we can better serve our customers. Contact us today to schedule a test or ask a question about your hemp harvest.
Does CBD Show on a Drug Test? Everything To Know
As CBD becomes more widespread and accepted, it’s raised many questions on if CBD will show up on a drug test. Given CBD’s association with cannabis, many make the mistake of connecting CBD with marijuana.
So does CBD show up on a drug test? What about if CBD oil shows up on a drug test? The answer is a bit complicated.
How CBD oil affects a drug testing screening mainly depends on the type of CBD product, but there’s a lot more to unpack. Let’s take a look at how CBD can affect a drug test and if you can fail.
Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
Yes, CBD can show up on a drug test, but that’s only if the drug test screening tests for the cannabinoid CBD. However, that’s never heard of because it’s not something employers or law enforcement look for by default. Drug tests are designed to look for illicit substances, like THC, narcotics, steroids, etc.
Since CBD is federally legal and doesn’t impair or artificially improve athletic performance, there is no reason organizations need to test for CBD. It would be a waste of time and money.
Does CBD Oil Show Up On A Drug Test?
While CBD itself doesn’t trigger a drug screen, the CBD oil you use might do so. In this case, the issue isn’t CBD, but if THC is present or not. Some hemp CBD extracts, such as full-spectrum CBD oil, contain up to 0.3% THC that a drug test may show positive for THC.
However, don’t worry because you can easily avoid that awkward situation if you choose a broad-spectrum CBD oil.
How to Not Fail a Drug Test Using CBD Oil
Since CBD isn’t a concern, the issues about drug testing come from any THC your oil might contain. While hemp CBD extracts can legally carry up to 0.3% THC, there are plenty of THC-Free options.
THC content – if any – depends on the CBD oil you choose. There are three possible options:
- Full Spectrum
- Broad Spectrum
- CBD Isolate
All of these CBD products differ in fundamental ways.
Full-spectrum (“whole-plant”) CBD oil is the densest option. Manufacturers try to extract and retain all the cannabinoids and terpenes from the host plant. Granted, a significant amount is lost during extraction, but the diversity remains.
Having so many other critical compounds is vital for the “entourage effect” – a synergistic relationship where cannabinoids and terpenes complement each other. The process helps increase CBD oil’s potency.
Unfortunately, full-spectrum contains up to 0.3% THC , so it’s best to avoid these types of CBD products if you don’t want to risk failing a drug test.
Full-spectrum extracts also carry the complete flavor profile of their source plant. Many people like it, but for some, the “hempy” taste is hard to overcome, even when mixed with food or drinks.
CBD Isolate is the complete opposite of full spectrum. While the latter extracts and keeps as much as possible, the former is processed to remove everything but CBD.
Although this leaves behind a product that contains up to 99.9% CBD, don’t let these numbers fool you. Isolate may offer incredibly high purity, but the lack of terpenes and other cannabinoids wipes out the critical entourage effect.
Consequently, isolates are less effective than full-spectrum.
But it’s not all bad news. Many people prefer isolates because they contain no THC. They’re also flavorless, making it easy to mix with juice, smoothies, dressings, and more. Flavor-focused vendors may also prefer isolate in their edibles.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a happy medium between THC-laced full-spectrum and THC-free (but rather hollow) CBD isolate.
Like full-spectrum, the broad-spectrum oil extraction process aims to keep every cannabinoid and terpene except THC, making it THC-Free. With compounds to fuel the entourage effect and no THC to trigger a drug test, broad-spectrum offers the best of both worlds.
Admittedly, you’ll still notice the “hempy” flavor. But it’s a small price to pay for being able to have your cake and eat it too.
So the best way to pass a drug test when using CBD oil is to avoid products with THC. Sounds pretty straightforward, but this is where “buyer beware” should always be at the back of your mind.
Unfortunately, the CBD industry’s lack of regulation means labels can still be deceiving. When shopping around, you have to keep a sharp eye on minor details. We’ll cover these tips and tricks shortly.
For now, let’s see why THC could still make its way into allegedly “THC-free” products.
Factors That Can Lead to A Positive Drug Test with CBD Oil
Even if you choose a THC-Free product, that’s no guarantee. A company can follow the correct extraction process yet still ship a product with detectable levels of THC.
There are three main ways this can happen.
Using A CBD Product That Has THC
Using a CBD product containing THC, such as full-spectrum CBD, is the most common way to fail a drug test. Despite THC being found in minor amounts, it definitely can trigger a positive for THC.
Many manufacturers still claim their products are THC-Free when they do, so it’s crucial to buy CBD from a reputable company.
Mislabeling of CBD Products
Mislabeled CBD products were (and likely still are) a huge issue. When the Food and Drug Administration tested several CBD products , about 70% contained more or less CBD than advertised, while some didn’t have any CBD.
Even worse, many of these products “contained a significant amount of THC.” This is a huge problem considering CBD oil is famous for treating certain forms of childhood epilepsy. Inadequate or deceptive labeling means some parents could be accidentally giving THC to their kids.
You’re also going to have a hard time telling an employer that you consume no more than 0.3% THC when a drug test seems to say otherwise.
With cannabis being semi-legal in the U.S., you’d think this is a positive thing for hemp and “marijuana” advocates. However, it’s proven to be a double-edged sword – and complete nightmare – for hemp producers.
There’s a massive issue with having high-THC and low-THC cannabis chemovars growing in the same state. The layout often leads to cross-pollination, affecting THC levels of industrial hemp.
Hemp farmers have no choice but to destroy any crops exceeding 0.3% THC. If producers don’t consistently test their plants and products, you could receive something with substantially more THC.
How Can You Make Sure That a CBD Product Doesn’t Contain THC?
The best way to make sure that a CBD product doesn’t contain THC is to inform yourself. Checking for THC is easy if you know where to look. Once you know what makes a good CBD product, buying your first one will be a breeze.
Check the Label
Check the label to see if the CBD product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or pure CBD isolate. If it mentions “CBD” but does not mention if it’s full-spectrum or broad-spectrum, then it’s most likely a CBD isolate.
For the most effective results, purchase broad-spectrum CBD over CBD Isolate for the very reasons we talked about earlier.
Also, purchasing broad-spectrum won’t have you asking, “Does CBD show up on a drug test” as it’s THC-Free while containing a spectrum of other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Check Third-Party Lab Reports for THC
Third-party lab reports are a must-have before you buy from a CBD company. Having no lab reports is a huge red flag. Never buy from a company that doesn’t prove what they’re selling.
Full-spectrum results shouldn’t show any higher than 0.3% THC. Isolate and broad-spectrum should show non-detectable levels of THC or “ND.”
Tests are typically categorized by batch and product, so it’s easy to find the information you need.
Below is a picture of a third-party lab report on a full-spectrum CBD oil. As you can see, it contains THC.
Below is an image of a broad-spectrum CBD oil. As you can see, it contains non-detectable levels of THC while containing other cannabinoids, fueling the entourage effect.
Buy from a Reputable Company
For the most part, CBD is an untamed land. We have to have faith that the company we buy from is honest about being “the best.” Of course, this is impossible to quantify or prove, so to truly find the right source, you need to read between the lines.
A reputable CBD company offers some key signs of quality. They don’t all have to be there, but enough to create a well-rounded, potent, safe, THC-free CBD oil.
When you research, look for the following:
- Updated Third-party lab reports
- CO2 extracted
- USDA Certified Organic or “organically grown”
- No chemical pesticides or herbicides
- Grown locally or in-house
- Sustainable farming
How Much CBD Will Make Me Fail a Drug Test?
No amount of CBD will make you fail a drug test unless that test is modified for CBD. The real issue is whether your product contains THC.
A CBD oil with small amounts of THC may not be much on its own. But if you consistently consume a full-spectrum product, your body could build up THC and test positive down the road.
The best way to guarantee safety and get the same benefits is through broad-spectrum CBD oil.
How Long is CBD Detectable in Blood?
Blood tests aren’t the primary choice, but they still get used to testing for illicit substances like THC. No test exists explicitly designed for CBD. Unfortunately, this means we can only guess based on THC.
A 2012 study in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry found THC detectable in the blood for three to four hours. However, this doesn’t mean it’s out of your system – not by a long shot.
Depending on several factors, CBD could remain inside you for days or weeks.
How Long is CBD Detectable in Urine?
According to one 2018 study from Frontiers in Pharmacology , CBD has a half-life of two to five days. However, all this means is you’ll eliminate half of the CBD within that time period.
Although we don’t know how long CBD will show up in a theoretical test, THC can show up anywhere from three to 30 days .
CBD might follow the same range. However, this all depends on things like dosage, metabolism, size, body fat, and more.
How Long is CBD Detectable in Hair?
Hair tests are rarely used for THC, and they’re unheard of with CBD. There haven’t been any studies because it’s not really of interest to researchers.
Follicle tests have the longest range, with THC metabolites detected up to three months after consumption. CBD’s timeframe, however, remains a mystery.
Video to Summarize CBD and Drug Tests
So Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
Again, CBD won’t show on a standard drug test because it’s not a concern for employers or law enforcement. However, choosing the wrong CBD oil, such as full-spectrum CBD oil, could show positive for THC.
Stick with a broad-spectrum as it’s THC-Free to save yourself potential complications down the road. Remember to do your research and know how to read the CBD product labels. Look up the vendor’s reputation and make sure they’ve never had issues with inaccurate labeling.
CBD is a tricky area to navigate, but with the right tools and information, you’ll be able to avoid failed drug tests with CBD oil contaminated with THC.