What Is The Maximum CBD % You’ll Find In Cannabis? – HempElf.com
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What Is The Maximum CBD % You’ll Find In Cannabis?

CBD THC

People frequently ask us if the 20+% CBD flower stains they see online are real. Unfortunately, you won’t find any CBD flowers with more than about 17% CBD in the EU. This is due to the relationship between CBD and THC in cannabis, and the legal limits imposed on licensed hemp. Of course, there exist CBD flowers that test over 20% CBD, however, their THC far exceeds what is legal in the EU. 

In this article, we hope to equip you with the information you need to understand why there is a maximum CBD percentage in CBD flowers, and how to spot dodgy sellers that are trying to take advantage of the lack of understanding around this. 

What Is The CBD to THC Ratio For Cultivation

CBD to THC Ratio

According to a 2021 research paper looking at variables that affect cannabinoid profiles, the range of mean values of CBD:THC ratio in an unstressed control treatment was 23.3-28.2. This means that in order for a cannabis strain to yield 23.3-28.2% CBD, it would have to have around 1% THC. This alarms us as the highest legal THC limit in the EU can be found in Italy (0.6% THC), with other countries allowing cultivation at an average of 0.2% THC. 

For the sake of allowing for some leeway, we’re going to take the ratio for CBD to THC to be 28.2:1

What Is The Maximum CBD % You Can Grow Legally Per Country?

Maximum CBD Percent

Hemp cultivation laws differ depending on the country in question. Interestingly, even within the EU where we have the free-flow of trade, some countries have different THC cultivation limits. Using the CBD:THC cultivation ratio from the 2021 research paper, we’ll compare some of the maximum CBD percentages that can naturally be achieved.

Country

Maximum CBD%

Italy (0.6% THC)

16.92%

USA (0.3% THC)

8.46%

France (0.2% THC)

5.64%

UK (0.2% THC)

5.64%

Spain (0.2% THC)

5.64%

Interestingly, although Italy, France and Spain are all in the EU, Italy has slightly higher THC cultivation laws that allow for a greater potential CBD yield. In 2018, when hemp became legal in the USA, testing laws allowed for farmers to only test for Delta 9 - one of many psychoactive forms of THC. This allowed for very high CBD yielding strains to be cultivated, albeit with very high THC levels. However, the laws have started changing, with new regulations for how total THC is calculated. This has resulted in US hemp farmers being forced to destroy their crops and grow much lower CBD yielding hemp strains.

Most of the low yielding countries on this list don’t produce hemp for smokeable flower, because the strength of such flowers are very low. Instead, they tend to extract the CBD for use in oils, creams and vape formulations. Of course, some of those low yielding CBD plants do end being sold for their flower, however, due to their lack of smell, taste and resin, they aren’t popular. 

Why Do Some Vendors Claim To Have 20+% CBD Flower Strains?

Unfortunately, there are plenty of CBD flowers that claim to offer impossible concentrations of CBD. According to lab controlled research, it should be impossible to find CBD flowers with a potency above 16.92% CBD, however we’ve seen countless products advertising levels above this. 

We firmly believe that some vendors are oblivious to the science. They are just reselling flowers sold to them by brokers, and have no visibility of what they’re stocking. They might be quoted an impossible CBD percentage by a flower broker, but not know enough about cultivation or the broker to know that they are being duped. This false information is passed from broker, to reseller, and finally to the customer. 

Some of these impossible CBD levels are a result of manipulated lab reports. This occurs when a low yielding CBD flower, like what we see from the low yielders from the above table, have powdered CBD isolate sprinkled onto them before being sent to the labs for analysis. This increases the total CBD and reduces total THC.

An equally problematic reason some of these impossible CBD percentages make their way to the legal market is because they are flowers grown without license, and do not adhere to the legal requirements for cannabis cultivation. These are underground CBD producers that spend their resources hiding their activities rather than ensuring their crops are safe for consumption and are known to cut corners. They very well might have high CBD percentages, however their THC is unpredictable, and could very well make people feel stoned. Many CBD consumers are looking for a manageable feeling, not to feel stoned or out of control. 

Are These Impossible CBD Percentages Actually A Problem?

CBD Percentage

We firmly believe so. Many of our customers follow specific CBD doses every day to alleviate certain conditions. Others cannot afford to be high when consuming their flowers, be that due to a job, responsibilities or even poor mental health. 

While we hope that it’s infrequent, some vendors deliberately lie about the CBD percentage of their CBD flowers, which calls to question - what else are they lying about. It’s important to know as much as possible about substances we ingest, and we should be able to trust the information we are receiving. One way to know if a vendor is oblivious to an issue with their CBD labelling is to inform them of what is scientifically possible with hemp. If they are sincere, they will take action and rectify what could be an honest mistake. We’d be cautious if they argue against science.  

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