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According to a 2019 Gallup poll, about 14% of Americans say they use cannabidiol (CBD) products, while about 35% are totally unfamiliar with CBD.

If you’re new to CBD, it may be difficult to venture into all the terminology and to figure out how to find a reputable product. But don’t worry, we can walk you through what you need to know.

While full-spectrum CBD products contain small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there are THC-free CBD options available. Let’s take a look at THC-free CBD, including some of the best THC-free oils available.

CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Research on CBD is in the early stages and still ongoing. But some studies so far show that it has therapeutic potential in certain applications. People may use CBD to help with:

There are two types of THC-free CBD oil you can choose from: isolate and broad-spectrum.

Isolate CBD oil contains only CBD. No true isolate oil should contain any THC or any other cannabinoid besides CBD.

Broad-spectrum CBD oils also lack THC, but they may contain other cannabinoids, such as cannabigerol (CBG) or cannabinol (CBN). They may also contain cannabis compounds like terpenes and flavonoids.

Terpenes are aromatic compounds that may have therapeutic benefits. Similarly, flavonoids, which are naturally found in all sorts of plants, may have therapeutic benefits.

Pros

All types of CBD products may have potentially beneficial effects. But one particular benefit of both broad-spectrum and isolate products is that they shouldn’t contain any THC. That can be a plus for people who want to try CBD but want to avoid THC.

Additionally, some people prefer CBD isolate because it’s taste-free and scent-free. That makes it easy to add to food or beverages.

Cons

On the flip side, a disadvantage of THC-free CBD oils is that they miss out on some or all of the benefits of the entourage effect. The entourage effect is a theory that CBD works better when it’s combined with other cannabis compounds, like THC, than it does on its own.

However, that doesn’t mean that THC-free CBD oil isn’t effective. Some research suggests that CBD may still have therapeutic effects on its own.

Additionally, natural or unflavored broad-spectrum products have an earthy taste that some people dislike.

However, it’s worth noting that you can find flavored broad-spectrum CBD oils, which should mask any earthiness.

A note on drug testing

Even though CBD isolate and broad-spectrum products are THC-free, there’s always a slight chance they may contain trace amounts of THC.

In rare cases, this may result in a positive drug test. If you’re concerned about this, you may want to avoid CBD products altogether.

We chose these THC-free CBD oils based on specific safety and quality criteria. Each oil in this article:

  • is made by a company that provides proof of third-party testing by an ISO 17025-compliant lab
  • is made by a company that discloses the source of their hemp
  • contains no more than 0.3% THC, according to the COA
  • passes tests for pesticides, heavy metals, and molds, according to the COA

We also considered:

  • company certifications and manufacturing processes
  • product potency
  • overall ingredients
  • indicators of user trust and brand reputation, such as:

We also had several Healthline editors take some of the oils for a spin so they could weigh in about how they stack up on taste and efficacy.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $40
  • $$ = $40–$70
  • $$$ = over $70

Best unflavored

CBDistillery Relief + Relax CBD Oil, THC-free

  • Price: $$
  • CBD type: isolate
  • CBD potency: 1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available on product page

About the brand: CBDistillery is a reputable CBD brand with a commitment to transparency. The company is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority.

CBDistillery uses non-GMO industrial hemp grown in the United States with natural farming practices.

Our review: This extra-strength CBD oil is made with MCT oil and CBD isolate. That means there aren’t terpenes or other cannabinoids, including THC.

Even though it’s unflavored, Greatist Editor Ruby Thompson says it doesn’t taste too hemp-y. “I have used CBD oils in the past and haven’t enjoyed the taste at all — they often leave that grassy taste in your mouth. But this one was super smooth and truly flavorless,” she says.

While Thompson didn’t notice any pain relief benefits from the oil, she says she “did notice a general sense of calm and a reduction in [her] stress.”

Pros

  • high quality CBD isolate
  • minimal ingredients

Cons

  • may have an earthy taste, which not all users will enjoy

Best flavored

Kanibi CBD Pure Isolate, Skittles

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: isolate
  • CBD potency: 750 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

About the brand: Kanibi CBD products contain no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or dyes. Every product is double-tested for safety, efficacy, and potency, and the company is committed to complete transparency about their sourcing and manufacturing.

Our review: You’ll find only two ingredients in this CBD oil from Kanibi: MCT oil and natural flavors. This means it’s free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

It comes in three flavors, but the Skittles version offers something new from the typical citrus or mint choices other CBD companies offer.

Healthline Editor Christy Snyder says this oil is one of her favorites. “I really enjoyed the experience with this CBD tincture and had no bad aftertaste or dry mouth, which I’ve experienced with other tinctures (and gummies),” she says, noting that it also helped her relax and fall asleep quickly.

Pros

  • interesting flavor offerings
  • choice of potencies
  • no aftertaste

Cons

  • higher price per mg of CBD than some other brands

Use code HEALTHLINE10 for 10% off.

Best high potency

Extract Labs CBD Isolate Oil

  • Price: $$$
  • CBD type: isolate
  • CBD potency: 2,000 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

About the brand: Extract Labs was founded by a combat veteran. The company is based in Boulder, Colorado, and emphasizes quality, potency, and affordability. Products from Extract Labs are made with CO2-extracted oils in compliance with the FDA’s current good manufacturing practices. Plus, they’re kosher certified and halal.

This vegan oil is made with organic coconut oil and CBD isolate. There are no fillers, preservatives, or artificial colors, and it contains zero GMO ingredients.

It packs a whopping 66 mg of CBD per dose, so it’s likely best used by those who have already used CBD.

Reviewers say this CBD oil is light in flavor, consistent, and helpful.

Pros

  • high potency pick
  • free of fillers, colorings, and preservatives

Cons

  • may be too potent for those new to CBD

Best low potency

Medterra Isolate CBD Oil

  • Price: $
  • CBD type: isolate
  • CBD potency: 500 mg per 30-mL bottle
  • COA: available online

About the brand: Medterra is a California-based CBD company selling full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD products. The company is U.S. Hemp Authority certified and has a reputation for offering quality products at an affordable price.

This is one of Medterra’s most popular products. It’s available in four potencies and two sizes, but the 500-mg oil in particular is a good choice for people in search of a low potency product.

With just two ingredients — premium isolate CBD and MCT oil — this is a simple tincture that can be taken sublingually day or night.

Over 3,600 reviews give this CBD oil an overall rating of 4.5 stars. Reviewers call it very effective, but some note its earthy flavor. If you’re not a fan of the natural taste of CBD, you may want to opt for a flavored oil instead.

Pros

  • low potency pick
  • excellent reviews

Cons

  • earthy flavor may not be enjoyed by all users
  • potency may be too low for more advanced users

Price per mg of CBDCBD typeCBD potencyDiscounts
CBDistillery Relief + Relax Isolate CBD Oil6 centsisolate1,000 mg per 30-mL bottle• Use code “healthline” for 20% off
• subscribe and save
• military
• referral
Kanibi CBD Pure Isolate, Skittles7 centsisolate750 mg per 30-mL bottle• Use code “HEALTHLINE10” for 10% off
• subscribe and save
• referral
Extract Labs CBD Isolate Oil3 cents isolate2,000 mg per 30-mL bottle• subscribe and save
• loyalty program
• teachers
• military
• first responders
• healthcare workers
• disability
• low income households
Medterra Isolate CBD Oil7 centsisolate500 mg per 30-mL bottle• subscribe and save
• rewards program

THC-free oils are designed to be completely free of the cannabinoid. That makes them a good choice for anyone interested in exploring CBD without any exposure to THC.

It may also be a good option if you undergo drug testing, but keep in mind that even THC-free oils can contain trace amounts of THC. That’s why it’s important to check a product’s certificate of analysis (COA).

CBD isolate products, in particular, may be appealing if you dislike the earthy flavor of full- or broad-spectrum CBD.

Research on the benefits of THC-free CBD oils is limited. Here’s what we know so far.

A 2015 animal study suggests that CBD isolate may offer health benefits, including minimizing pain and swelling, but not as effectively as a full-spectrum CBD product. Researchers also note that the isolate’s effects seemed to only be effective within a limited dose range, with no benefits at lower or higher doses.

People taking broad-spectrum CBD may benefit from the entourage effect. There’s research suggesting that the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids can help reduce anxiety, pain, inflammation, and other conditions.

Research from 2018 also found that specific compounds, including terpenes and flavonoids, may offer certain benefits.

If you’re looking for a THC-free CBD oil, you’ll want to focus on CBD isolate products. Avoid full-spectrum CBD oils, as those will contain some THC. Broad-spectrum oils may also contain traces of THC (which could show up on a drug test), so we recommend you select isolate products.

As with all CBD products, it’s extremely important to do your research before buying a product. The FDA doesn’t regulate CBD products the same way as drugs or supplements, so there are some mislabeled products out there.

To avoid these, be sure you’re buying from a reputable company. Look for those that include comprehensive, up-to-date COAs from a third-party lab. You can usually find this information right on the company’s website. Sometimes, you may need to request it by email.

The COA might look confusing at first, but it’s easy to learn how to read them. Mainly, you’ll want to check the CBD and THC content — making sure it matches the product’s label — and double-check that the product isn’t contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or molds.

Finally, make sure to only purchase CBD from companies that are open about where they grow their hemp and how they make their products.

One common question people have about CBD is how much to use. The quick answer: It depends. The appropriate dosage can vary based on individual factors.

The best thing you can do when trying CBD is to start slow and work your way up to higher doses, depending on how you feel.

As for how you can use CBD oil, it’s best to check the label. Some products are designed to be used topically — like as a body oil — while others are intended to be taken orally.

If the product is intended to be taken orally, you can either put it under your tongue and hold it there for up to a minute before swallowing, or you can add it to food or drinks.

While research suggests that CBD is generally considered safe, people may experience some side effects, including:

  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • changes in appetite
  • changes in weight

Before you try CBD, it’s important to talk with a healthcare professional, especially if you’re taking any medications. CBD may interact with certain medications, including those with a grapefruit warning. Some research even suggests it may also interact with common OTC medications like ibuprofen.

Additionally, be careful if you’re ingesting CBD products along with high fat meals.

A 2020 study found that CBD blood concentrations dramatically increased when CBD was taken alongside high fat meals. This can increase the risk of side effects.

You’ll also want to avoid CBD if you’re breastfeeding or pregnant.

Does CBD show up on a drug test?

It’s possible.

Broad-spectrum products are marketed as free of THC, but the possibility of trace amounts of THC still remains. In rare instances, these products could still result in a positive drug test. Isolate CBD products do not contain any THC.

Does THC-free CBD oil make you ‘high’?

No. CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD oils don’t contain THC, which is the compound that causes a “high.”

In the rare instance that trace amounts of THC remain in isolate or broad-spectrum products, it shouldn’t be enough to make you feel “high.”

What’s the difference between CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD?

CBD isolate contains only CBD, with no other compounds from the hemp plant, including THC. True isolate oils are made with just CBD and a carrier oil.

Broad-spectrum CBD oils don’t have THC either. But they still retain other cannabinoids and compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids.

Can full-spectrum CBD be THC-free?

No. Full-spectrum CBD contains all the compounds of the hemp plant, including up to .3% THC. If you want a THC-free CBD product, look for isolate products.

Can THC-free CBD help relieve anxiety?

Research suggests that people with social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may benefit from CBD. More research is needed to determine which forms of CBD are most effective.

If you’re interested in trying THC-free CBD oil, look for an isolate or broad-spectrum product. There are lots of choices that vary by flavor, potency, and brand.

CBD oil may have the potential to alleviate pain and anxiety, but it may also cause side effects. Talk with a healthcare professional before trying CBD, especially if you’re taking any medications.

Any suggestions, tips, or guidance we may discuss are for educational and informational purposes only. Our content should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and don’t disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you read. If you have a medical emergency, go to the nearest emergency room, or call 911 immediately.


Robin Mosley is a Chicago-based writer. Her work has appeared in publications including Food and Wine and The Kitchn. Her work deals with food, gaming, or business connected to intersectional identities. You can keep up with her on Twitter or on her website.


Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.