Will CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
Ever since the 2018 farm bill legalized growing hemp, CBD has been federally legal. Many people are finding relief with this substance, using it to treat a range of complaints such as anxiety, pain, and depression. However, it’s important to note that using this legal substance may inadvertently trigger a positive drug test. Here’s the lowdown on this situation, and information on how you can protect yourself. We can share more details at Oxycare Plus. We’ve got three stores serving Eastern Mississippi, in Columbus, Northport, and Tupelo.
Why Might CBD Cause a Positive Drug Test?
It’s important to understand that tests aren’t testing for CBD, they are testing for THC, which is the psychoactive (and federally illegal) component of marijuana and hemp. CBD is derived from hemp plants which are very low in THC, but they do have trace amounts of it.
As a result, CBD often contains very small amounts of THC, and it is allowed by law to contain 0.3% or less THC. This can be enough to test positive for marijuana use. The greater quantity of CBD you use, the greater volume of THC you consume. While it’s unlikely you would consume enough to feel the effects of THC, some tests might detect it.
CBD Labeling Conventions
Industrial hemp and medical cannabis are both rich in a variety of compounds. THC and CBD are just two of dozens of cannabinoids that are found in these plants. During the refinement process, manufacturers can isolate and eliminate some of these compounds.
CBD product labeling indicates which compounds are retained in the product. You’ll see three types of labels:
- CBD isolate, which contains only CBD.
- Full-spectrum hemp oil (FSHO) contains all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in the hemp plant. This may include up to 0.3% THC, which may show up on some drug tests.
- Broad-spectrum hemp oil is similar to FSHO, except the THC has been eliminated.
Labelling May Not Be Reliable
The CBD and medical cannabis industries lack consistent regulation or oversight, so you can’t always trust what you read on labels. In many cases, there is no regulation or consumer protection governing the claims on labels.
How to Avoid a Positive Test
Here are some suggestions to avoid accidental THC exposure:
- Use state-licensed and tested CBD products
- Shop at a reputable dealer
- Seek products with verifiable third-party testing
- Seek products that provide a Certificate of Authenticity
An unexpected positive drug test can jeopardize employment, medical treatment, and legal status, so please take care of yourself! If you’ve got any questions, please ask the staff at Oxycare Plus, serving Eastern Mississippi.
Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?
Before we can talk about cannabidiol (CBD) and drug testing, we need to briefly discuss its sister cannabinoid — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Did you know that THC was once legal in the United States? For many, it comes as a surprise that at one point, THC-dominant cannabis (recreationally known as “weed”) was not only federally legal in the US. It was even described in the United States Pharmacopeia alongside detailed medicinal recommendations. Everything changed with the passing of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. This Act federally restricted the sale and use of cannabis before the Controlled Substances Act named all cannabis, including hemp, as a “Schedule 1 Drug” in the 1970’s.
Fast forward to 2021, where more than 50% of state legislatures have legalized THC-dominant cannabis for medical and/or recreational use despite these outdated federal regulations. Additionally, with the passing of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 , our federal government legalized hemp. It was defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC. You read that right — hemp IS cannabis (and the source of most CBD)! The key difference between hemp and THC-dominant cannabis is the THC content, which we’ll touch on later in this post.
Now that THC-containing products — be it a state dispensary product or a hemp product containing <0.3% THC — are readily available to all Americans, millions of employees are left wondering how to navigate cannabis use in the face of looming drug tests. This likely leads you to the question, “does CBD show up on a drug test?”. Here we’ll break it all down.
Does CBD show up on a drug test?
The short answer? It’s possible.
Drug tests don’t typically test for CBD itself, as it is a non-intoxicating, federally legal compound.
THC use, on the other hand, is often tested by employers due to its ability to induce a “high”. Therefore, if you are taking a CBD product with THC, it can be possible to flag on a drug test.
Full-spectrum CBD products, like ours, do contain trace amounts of THC — but what does that really mean? All full-spectrum CBD products are derived from hemp, which by definition can contain up to 0.3% THC. THC-dominant cannabis (“weed”), on the other hand, typically contains anywhere between 10% – 30% THC; a comparatively large amount. The minute percentage of THC in full-spectrum CBD formulations is intended to help maximize the efficacy of your CBD through a process called the Entourage Effect — NOT to make you feel “high” or “intoxicated”, which is the end-goal with recreational use of THC-dominant products.
While some companies do offer “broad-spectrum” or “isolate” CBD formulations, which are notably advertised as being “THC-free,” that’s not always the case. Before purchasing a CBD product, you should always see if the company posts their third-party lab results, which show the exact cannabinoid content in that product. Ours can be found on each product page, with a full list located on our lab results page !
How drug tests actually work.
Whether it be urine, blood, saliva, or hair follicle testing, your body must excrete a minimum amount of THC in order for the test to turn up positive, a threshold called the Level of Detection (LOD). Each test has a different LOD, and can also detect THC for varying amounts of time post-exposure. Urine testing, for example, may detect THC and its metabolites up to a few weeks after exposure, whereas with blood testing, the window of opportunity for detection is only a few days.
While urine testing is the most common form of workplace drug testing, it’s qualitative , meaning that it’s either positive or negative — no telling how much, or how little, THC is in your system. Additionally, false positives are possible, as some tests are non-specific and can falsely identify CBD and its metabolites as THC. This is why many companies have policies for secondary, more sensitive testing in the event of a positive result on the primary screening.
Blood tests, on the other hand, may tell a more accurate story by providing insight into the degree of cannabis use through quantitative results when the concentration in the bloodstream is above the LOD.
Do I need to keep my dose in mind if I have a drug test coming up?
The majority of our members take between 20mg-50mg of full-spectrum CBD per day, which is typically not high enough to surpass the LOD and subsequently receive a positive test. For reference, some of the most strict workplace testing has a THC cutoff of 50 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter) — and most of our members do not meet that threshold. However, everyone will metabolize our products differently, and THC may build up in your system over time; so the more you take, the more likely you are to flag.
Think of it like drinking alcohol. The more you drink, the higher your blood alcohol level (BAC) climbs. With full-spectrum CBD, the more you take, the more cannabinoids, including THC, potentially build up in your system, therefore possibly increasing the likelihood of a positive test result.
If you’re worried about an upcoming drug test, consider lowering your dose (or taking a break from your routine) and grabbing an at-home THC test from your local pharmacy to see if you may test positive before heading in. Additionally, if you have a good relationship with your employer, we suggest asking for a blood test and supplying them with our Lab Results, which show that our products meet all federal regulations.
So, does CBD show up on a drug test when I’m taking full-spectrum CBD? Well, CBD won’t — but, rarely, THC can.
While drug testing is unfortunately still a concern for many, the future may be brighter
As cannabis legalization continues to spread across the US, employers are forced to reckon with their existing policies around cannabis use. With new research touting the benefits of full-spectrum CBD —and cannabis as a whole — published regularly, employers must ask themselves: are we doing more harm than good by forcing our employees to practice cannabis abstinence?