Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Thursday, May 4, 2017

What's the deal with CBD Oils and Creams? Do they contain THC?

Contributed by Anna Filardo, Education Program Manager

Cannabis|noun|can•na•bis|\’ka-nә-bәs\: any of the preparations (as marijuana or hashish) or chemicals (as THC) that are derived from the hemp plant and are psychoactive.1

Essentially, marijuana is a species of cannabis, specifically named Cannabis Indica or Cannabis Sativa. There are more than 100 different cannabinoids that make up the marijuana plant; the most widely known are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (or THC) and cannabidiol (or CBD). THC is commonly attributable to the psychoactive or euphoric side effects, while CBD is known for its more medicinal effects. Marijuana (specifically THC) is banned by a majority of sports organizations and is not eligible for medical exceptions or therapeutic use exemptions (TUEs). So what about CBD?

Recently, CBD oils and creams available for purchase in stores or on the internet have been growing in popularity, as seen in an increase of Drug Free Sport AXIS™ inquiries for these products. CBD has been cited for having some medicinal benefits, and homeopathic doctors are prescribing CBD oils and creams for treatment. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies CBD extract as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, which means it is illegal in states that have not passed medical marijuana laws.2

Manufacturers may claim their products are “pure CBD” and do not contain THC. However, there is no way to be certain the products do not also contain THC. The DEA asserts that it is “not aware of any industrially-utilized methods that have achieved this result [of 100% CBD].” 2  In February of 2016, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tested the composition of 22 CBD tinctures, oils, and creams. A majority of the products were marketed to be “100% Pure CBD.” Upon testing, the FDA found that almost all of the products tested did not have the amount of CBD claimed; some products did not contain any CBD, while others contained far less. THC was also present in measurable amounts in most of the products.3

CBD products are not approved by the FDA for marketing or distribution as safety and effectiveness have not been proven, and the federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal substance. Therefore, the FDA does not test these products before they are available to consumers. Since the FDA does not test CBD products before becoming available to consumers, there is no way to tell the amount of CBD (or THC) in each product. Therefore, AXIS classifies CBD oils and creams as high risk products. 

Dr. David Kuntz, Ph.D., Executive Director of Analytical Toxicology for Clinical Reference Laboratories, affirms 
“Plants are being specifically developed to have high concentrations of CBD to maximize the compound in the bud.  It is my understanding that there are no 100% pure CBD products on the market, and these products will contain minor to significant amounts of THC in the oil depending on their purification steps.”

Bottom line: The use of CBD oils, creams or tinctures may cause adverse health effects and/or a positive drug test.

To learn more about the difference between THC and CBD, view this short video and check out the new Marijuana tab on Drug Free Sport AXIS™



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