I have had many discussions with people about the power CBD has on helping so many body systems. We are getting rave reviews with our products, but some have concerns that CBD can convert in their bodies over to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This would certainly not be preferable. This blog is written to address those concerns as science has shown that there is NO conversion of CBD to THC in the body.
Why is conversion a problem anyway? It’s bad for several reasons: 1. THC has psychoactive effects 2. THC is included in drug screens and you would fail the screen if it was in your system. 3. CBD has virtually no side effects whereas THC has potentially many (most involve the mechanism of delivery of THC).
It is important to establish if CBD can convert to THC in the body as people who want to benefit from CBD do not want to fail a drug test. Thankfully, we can definitely say that CBD does not convert to THC in vivo. How do we know this? A new study in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, by Louise Wray et al. titled “Cannabidiol Does Not Convert to Tetrahydrocannabinol in an In Vivo Animal Model“ has provided us with the answers that so many want to to know.
As some background, there have been in vitro (think laboratory) models that have shown that CBD converts to THC in the GI tract. This is due to CBD’s conversion to THC in an acidic environment. This was accepted as ‘fact’ until now. It is very important to do real life studies vs. just relying on laboratory tests. This is for obvious reasons. Too many times, what happens in a lab is not the same as what happens in the body. To prove whether CBD converts to THC, it needed to be tested in a human or animal model that is accepted as having similar GI tract activity as a human. For this study, the minipig was used as it is accepted in the research community as an ideal model to mimic human GI tract behavior.
The researchers wanted to be sure the study wasn’t tainted in any way. CBD has a bit of naturally occurring THC (don’t worry, our Noetic Nutraceuticals 1050 tincture is stripped of THC and has double lab testing to prove this!). For the study, if the oral CBD had trace THC, then it would be impossible to determine if there is a conversion as the CBD already had a bit of THC mixed with it. In a very intelligent fashion, the researchers used a ‘synthetic CBD as the botanically occurring (-)-isomer.’ Again, this was to avoid false positives.
The dose of CBD given was very, very, very high, at the amount of 15mg/kg, per dose. The first 4 days of the study the doses were administered 2x/day. On day 5, it was a single dose. Just for perspective of how ridiculously high the CBD amounts were, on two doses a day, a 75 kg (165 lb.) person would be getting 2250 mg CBD per day and on the one dose day, it’d be 1125 mg. This is EXTREME dosing but being CBD really has no side effects, it’s not an issue.
From a clinical perspective, the Endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an on-demand system. This means it turns on and off when needed. To bombard it with incredible amounts of CBD does not mean that the system will work better or more efficiently. More likely, there is overflow of the CBD that will not be utilized. See Noetic Nutraceuticals’s take on dosing so you have an idea of where we stand on this.
When testing medications or other ingested ingredients, studies usually use extremely high amounts to help bring to light any possible complications. Being the point of this study was to detect a conversion to THC, it makes sense to overload the body with CBD to see if there was a rollover, or conversion, effect.
The results of the study were quite clear. The authors established that the minipig is a great model to use as its GI tract is very similar to a human’s. The study determined that NO CBD was converted to THC. If you want even further validation of this fact, please check out another study that essentially states the same thing.
So, there you have it. If you are concerned about the conversion, although it might show in a lab environment, in the body it does not convert. In addition, dosing does not seem to be an issue as even high dose CBD does not tend to have any side effects. However, NN’s stance is that taking more than you likely need does not confer any additional benefits and only increases cost to the consumer. This is something we do not wish to do.