Updated on February 29, 2020. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Some people who use cannabidiol (CBD) for pain, anxiety, or better sleep worry they’ll unintentionally ingest tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) along with their CBD oil or capsule. While there are some guaranteed no-THC products out there, other CBD products contain a small amount of THC that won’t cause a psychoactive effect but could still—potentially, at least—show up in blood, urine, or saliva. Because the legal marijuana industry is new, these kinds of issues are still being worked out.
That’s why a new Swiss study on THC levels in blood and urine is worth noting. In Switzerland, CBD-rich “cigarettes” are legally sold as tobacco alternatives—as long as the products contain less than 1 percent THC, they are not regulated as narcotics by the Swiss government. The study followed an adult male volunteer who smoked up to four CBD cigarettes containing an average of 42.7 milligrams (mg) of CBD and 2.2 mg of THC during periods of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and one hour. Urine samples collected the next day did not detect THC in the volunteer—which is great news for those consuming low doses of THC along with their CBD. However, blood samples drawn from the subject one hour after consumption reflected a THC level above the legal Swiss driving limit.
Even though the legal THC limit in CBD products is much lower in the U.S. (at .3 percent instead of 1 percent) it’s still important for American CBD users to know that taking CBD could be associated with trace THC blood levels. If your job, for instance, requires total THC abstinence, it’s a good idea to talk to a medical marijuana doctor about how to consume CBD safely. Or, click to learn more about how long THC stays in your system.