CBD products have evolved considerably in recent years. Continuing to replace older THC-containing products are THC-free CBD options, which — in some cases — offer all the benefits of full-spectrum CBD but without one of its most considerable downsides.

What does it mean, though, for a CBD product to be THC-free, and what are the differences between THC-free CBD oil products? We’ll cover all the relevant details in this guide to ensure you have an informed opinion when it comes time to choose the right CBD products for you.

What Does THC-Free Mean?

In the simplest sense, “THC-free” means just what it says: The CBD product in question does not contain any detectable quantities of the intoxicating (and sometimes illegal) cannabinoid delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. This term also usually applies to all forms of THC, such as delta 8 or THCA. Things get more complicated, though, when you consider the various ways THC can be removed and tested.

What Does “ND THC” or “Non-Detect” THC Mean?

Technically, CBD products are incapable of being 100% “THC-free.” No matter to which degree THC is removed, there’s no guarantee that a few stray molecules won’t be present.

What matters is that THC is non-detectable or undetectable in CBD products. This means that, when examined using chromatography lab equipment, no THC molecules can be detected within a CBD product sample.

In a strictly literal sense, there’s no assurance that “ND THC” or “non-detect THC” is the same thing as a CBD product containing no THC whatsoever. When present in the form of a few stray molecules, however, THC is not capable of affecting human biology or physiology or showing up on a drug test. So, for CBD users, a CBD product in which THC is not detected is as good as being THC-free.

Types of THC-Free CBD You Can Buy

There are two main types of THC-free CBD available to shoppers: CBD isolate and broad-spectrum CBD. Let’s discuss both options in detail to help you decide which is best for you:

CBD Isolate (CBD Only)

CBD isolate was the first type of THC-free CBD to appear on the market. In almost every conceivable way, it is a downgrade from broad-spectrum CBD. It consists of only the CBD molecule, eliminating any chance of experiencing the entourage effect while also negatively impacting the flavor of CBD products. Generally considered outdated, CBD isolate is now usually only used to reduce costs.

Broad Spectrum CBD

Broad-spectrum is a newer type of CBD with no THC (THC-free) extract that retains most of the beneficial substances present in full-spectrum CBD extract. Some methods of producing broad-spectrum extract are better than others, however, making Colorado Botanicals broad-spectrum CBD products true diamonds in the rough. High temperatures damage the delicate terpenes and flavonoids in CBD extract, but our process is gentle enough to preserve these essential components of the hemp plant’s entourage.

Is Broad Spectrum CBD Oil or CBD Isolate Better?

Given the abundant evidence, it’s possible to determine that broad-spectrum is objectively better than CBD isolate when it comes to THC-free CBD extracts. CBD isolate’s only advantage is its reduced cost, while broad-spectrum CBD can be just as good as full-spectrum extract if it is produced properly. Based simply on their potential to be excellent, broad-spectrum CBD products surpass their CBD isolate rivals by a considerable margin.

What is the Entourage Effect?

Originally dismissed as relatively unimportant, the entourage effect is now taking up an ever-greater portion of the puzzle of evidence scientists are assembling to explain the effects of the cannabis plant. On its own, it seems, CBD has relatively little capability to offer its full effects. It’s only when CBD is ingested alongside the compounds it emerges within cannabis flower that it reaches its full potential.

Thankfully, removing a single trace cannabinoid from the equation — THC — appears to do little to diminish the entourage effect’s power. The issue is when all cannabis compounds aside from CBD are removed, as is the case with CBD isolate. This factor alone cements broad-spectrum as the ideal option among THC-free CBD oils.

What Other Compounds Are Found in CBD Oil?

We’ve referenced the entourage effect that scientists believe occurs when the constituent compounds of cannabis are kept intact. What, exactly, are the other substances that accompany CBD in broad-spectrum extract?

Minor/Trace Cannabinoids

In CBD-dominant cannabis plants, CBD is accompanied by more than a dozen additional cannabis-specific compounds (cannabinoids). Some examples include CBN, CBDa, CBG, CBGa, CBDV, CBE, CBL, and so on. These minor or trace cannabinoids combine with CBD to offer enhanced effects.


Terpenes are what makes cannabis smell and taste fantastic, but they also have considerable beneficial properties that vary from compound to compound. Limonene, for instance, is believed to have neuroprotective effects while linalool (the primary aromatic compound in lavender) can act as a sedative.


Often overlooked in preference of terpenes are flavonoids, substances that sometimes behave like terpenes but often have pigmentation properties as well. Some flavonoids are even water-soluble. They augment and improve the benefits of CBD just as much as terpenes.

4 Benefits of THC-Free CBD Oil

Why is THC-free CBD oil better than CBD that contains up to 0.3% THC? Here are the four most compelling reasons:

1. Safe for Drug Tests

If you have a drug test coming up, you might want to avoid THC altogether. Even in the concentrations present in full-spectrum CBD, THC can sometimes accumulate in the body significantly to trigger an unwanted result during drug testing.

2. No Chance of Intoxication

There is a small chance that the up to 0.3% THC present in full-spectrum CBD products could trigger noticeable intoxicating effects in THC-sensitive individuals. Especially for CBD users who suffer from cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) when exposed to THC, broad-spectrum CBD oils could be a desirable or even necessary alternative.

3. Cleared for Travel

The US TSA has essentially lifted all restrictions on travel with cannabis products. Traveling to other countries with CBD products, however, can be problematic if those products contain any THC whatsoever. Customs officials are often assuaged in their concerns if sufficient proof can be required that your CBD products are “ND THC” — they do not contain even trace amounts of THC.

4. On Par with Full-Spectrum

Even with THC removed, the effects of broad-spectrum CBD are indistinguishable from those of full-spectrum CBD for the vast majority of users. Removing a single cannabinoid does not do much to diminish the potency of the entourage effect. It’s only when you start removing all other substances in CBD-rich cannabis extract aside from CBD that problems with effectiveness arise.

Is CBD with No THC Better?

There was a time in the CBD industry when it would have been fair to say that CBD without THC was not better than the alternative. The benefits of removing THC for drug testing and other purposes were clear. The drawbacks, however, of isolate CBD became just as abundantly clear over time, precipitating the need for a new option to enter the market.

These days, it is possible to honestly say that CBD without THC can be objectively better than CBD products that do contain this problematic cannabinoid. The advent of broad-spectrum cannabidiol has made it possible to preserve all the benefits of full-spectrum extract without eliminating the natural benefits the cannabis plant offers when its compounds are kept together.

Who Should Use THC-Free CBD?

Anyone who is concerned about drug testing or takes drug tests on a regular basis should certainly consider the benefits of THC-free CBD. THC-sensitive individuals are also ideal candidates for using this type of extract, as is anyone who wishes to avoid THC for any reason at all.

Connoisseurs of CBD may simply choose broad-spectrum because it is the next step in the evolution of the industry. Those who have been disappointed by isolate CBD products (or even broad-spectrum products made using inferior methods) may enjoy the type of undamaged and extra-effective broad-spectrum extract that is now made possible using subcritical CO2 extraction.

Does CBD with No THC for Pain Help?

Over the years, CBD with zero THC has received a reputation for being less effective than the alternative. This comparison has become unfair, however, with the advent of broad-spectrum extract. Since the only difference between broad-spectrum and full-spectrum cannabidiol is the absence of THC, the effectiveness of the extract is not noticeably affected.

If you want to use CBD without THC for pain, you’ll certainly be better off with broad-spectrum. Containing the full entourage of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids naturally present in CBD-dominant cannabis flower, broad-spectrum should simply be considered an upgraded version of full-spectrum extract. Isolate CBD, on the other hand, is just as clearly a downgrade and has lost its place in the industry now that broad-spectrum products are available.

What Are the Best THC-Free CBD Products?

If even trace amounts of THC are a problem for you, it’s important to start your journey by narrowing your selection down to broad-spectrum products. Isolate CBD is outdated and ineffective, but no other extract aside from broad-spectrum offers the total lack of THC you desire.

As the industry has evolved, broad-spectrum products have become available that are clearly direct upgrades to full-spectrum products rather than mere alternatives. Colorado Botanicals THC-free extract is respected as the purest and most effective in the nation, and it comes certified by the FDA, ISO, and more. Some of our most popular products include: