Does CBD Show up on a Drug Test?
If you’re thinking about starting a Cannabidiol (CBD) supplement, or are already taking one, you’re not alone. CBD is gaining popularity due to its ability to treat a host of common problems without getting you high.
With CBD, normal people can find relief without having to feel uncomfortable, “out of it”, or excessive anxiety.
Maybe you’re shopping for your first CBD oil…
Or you consume CBD oil every night before bed, but you’re in the market for a new job…
Or maybe you take CBD all the time but your boss is sending you for a drug test…
Whatever the reason, you want to learn if CBD will show up on a drug test.Don’t worry, this is one of the most common questions people ask about CBD.
Read on - this article is for you.
Whether you’re taking a sublingual CBD oil, CBD tincture, vaping CBD, smoking hemp, or consuming edibles, if you want to pass a drug test and are taking CBD - here’s what you need to know:
In this article you’ll learn how CBD is different than marijuana, how drug tests for cannabis work, and how to pass a drug test no matter what kind of CBD supplement you’re taking.
Will You Fail a Drug Test by Taking CBD?
In most cases no.
This is because drug tests aren’t checking for CBD, they’re looking for another cannabinoid compound called tetrahedronrocannabinol or THC (the compound in marijuana that gets people high.)
More accurately, drug testing usually measures a metabolite called 11-nor-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (THC-COOH). This metabolite stays in a person’s system for a long time after they’ve smoked, vaped, eaten, or otherwise ingested any ganja.
CBD does not show up on a drug test because it does not cause the body to produce the same metabolite.
The problem is that some CBD supplements contain trace amounts of THC.
What About “Full Spectrum” CBD Oil?
Full spectrum CBD oil is the most popular CBD product on the market. This oil contains other beneficial cannabinoids such as cannabigerol or CBG, which is known to counteract nausea and dizziness;cannabinol or CBN, which induces sleep;and cannabichromene or CBC, which has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Full spectrum oil also contains fragrant medicinal terpenes such as pinene and limonene. Limonene in particular has been studied for it’s ability to counteract nausea in pregnant women, prevent cancer, and even shrink tumors.
Real full spectrum oil is made from a distillation of the whole hemp plant in a carrier oil such as hemp seed oil or fractionated coconut oil. It is important to note however that due to lack of regulation there are many fraudulent products on the market.
As you’ll see in the next section, medicinal hemp is essentially the same plant as marijuana (with one important difference.)
This means that the full spectrum CBD oil may contain small quantities of the same substance that causes people to fail drug tests.
These oils are perfectly legal, as seen in a federal court case between Hemp Industries Association v DEA which found“[the DEA] cannot regulate naturally-occurring THC not contained within or derived from marijuana—i.e., non-psychoactive hemp products— because non-psychoactive hemp is not included in Schedule I.”
In rare circumstances, a full-spectrum CBD oil supplement may trigger a false positive due to these trace amounts of naturally occurring Tetrahydrocannabinol.
Even though drug tests aren’t designed to uncover CBD oil use, the answer to the question “can you fail a drug test due to CBD oil?” is: yes, but it would be a false positive.
These false positives do not show up often. However, it would be irresponsible to suggest that you cannot fail a drug test for marijuana because of a CBD product.
It is unlikely but still possible.
If you fail a drug test due to a false positive don’t give up. You can usually get a testing agency to re-test based on information about your CBD supplement and the low levels that would show on your test. (see the last section of this article on how to pass a drug test when taking CBD)
How is CBD Oil Different from Marijuana?
This is an important question about a highly misunderstood topic.
My own mother was hesitant about the many benefits of CBD oil (at first) because she failed to see the difference between this extract and “weed.”
It’s a completely different substance!
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound present in the Cannabis Sativa plant. It is often confused for tetrahydrocannabinol by those who are first learning about the medicinal benefits of cannabidiol.
The most crucial difference between these two plant compounds is that THC is psychoactive while CBD is not. This means that CBD will not get you high.
Hemp and marijuana are the same plant genus cannabis, and species, Cannabis Sativa. They are the same plant.
We asked Colorado hemp growers about the differences between these two plants, and they told us that the law distinguishes between “hemp” and “marijuana” on the basis of THC content.
If a product contains less than .3% THC then it is considered “hemp” and is legal for retail in all 50 states. A greater quantity of this psychoactive compound means the plant is considered marijuana (and therefore cannot be shipped across state lines.)
Plants contain different levels of various cannabinoids (these are not the only two) depending on the breed, how the plant is grown, how it is fertilized, and which parts of the plant are used to make the supplement.
You can think of different strains of Cannabis Sativa as similar to how different types of apples vary in color, sweetness, amount of seeds, etc.
Plants bred for high CBD content and low THC are considered “hemp.”
The highest quality CBD supplements are derived from the flowering buds of specialty strains of hemp. Lower quality CBD supplements can be made from the stems of medical drug plants, or “industrial” hemp that is ordinarily grown to make rope or paper.
The .3% standard was set by a Canadian medical researcher named Earnest Small who wrote a book entitled The Species Problem In Cannabis. Small’s arbitrary .3% limit has become the international standard for delineating “hemp” from “marijuana.”
It’s not necessarily a concern if your hemp product does contain trace amounts of THC. Other cannabinoids can actually contribute to the efficacy of the CBD product through what is known as the “entourage effect.”
Coined by Israeli cannabis researcher Raphael Mechoulam in 1999, the entourage effect refers to the fact that compounds in cannabis work better together than individual cannabinoids alone.
However; many hemp derived CBD supplements do not have any measurable amount of THC.
You can also buy CBD isolates which are pure CBD, but then you won’t benefit from the entourage effect.
Consuming these products probably won’t make you test positive whether you vape, consume, or apply them topically.
Common Reasons for a Drug Test
There are a lot of reasons you might have a drug test.
The most common reason for a drug test is pre-employment, which means you are most likely to be given a drug test before starting a new job.
85% of companies surveyed by the Department of Labor test candidates for drug use prior to making a job offer.
Companies do this out of concern over potential impairment or inability to perform normal work functions.
There are also several different types of drug tests: hair follicle, blood, saliva tests, and urinalysis.
Urinalysis is by far the most common pre-employment drug test.
If you are applying for jobs you should be prepared to give a sample of your urine. This is usually done at a professional medical clinic, although it is also possible that they will collect it on site.
Drug Test Protocols and Cannabinoids
Everyone’s body reacts a little bit differently based on factors such as body fat, metabolism, time elapsed since exposure, kidney health, and how much of a substance was consumed.
Though unlikely, a false positive can theoretically be caused by passive inhalation of marijuana (second hand smoke), large doses of a full spectrum CBD supplement, and also chronic use of NSAIDS such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen.
Drug tests usually check for metabolites that your body creates in response to THC exposure, since these metabolites stay in your system longer than the drug itself. Most of these drug tests yield a positive result when the concentration of THC-COOH goes above 50ng/ml.
CBD alone does not cause your system to produce this metabolite, and therefore should not cause you to fail a drug test.
But what about those full spectrum oils?
In one small study, healthy participants consumed hemp oils with one of four different doses of THC. The doses ranged from 0.09 mg to 0.6 mg. Participants consumed their dose daily for 10 days before drug tests were administered. At the highest dose of 0.6 mg the highest measured THC-COOH concentration in urine was 5.2 ng/mL, which is well below the 50ng/ml threshold for standard drug testing protocols.
This study show that it is very unlikely for any legal CBD oil, taken at an average dose, to cause a false positive on a drug test. However; this study only involved 15 participants which is not a statistically significant sample set.
How to Pass a Drug Test if Taking CBD
Keep in mind that CBD is legal in all 50 states. You’re not going to lose your job for consuming a legal health supplement. It’s simply not their concern.
It’s a good idea to be honest with your drug testing facility about any supplements or medications that you take. Bring the package of CBD with you to the test to show the doctor or nurse. The clinicians will most likely tell you that it’s nothing to worry about, and you will still pass.
Before purchasing any CBD supplement, find out if it has been tested by a 3rd party lab. If so, see if the retailer will show you the results.
Here’s what you can learn from third party lab tests:
First of all, when the FDA tested CBD oils from across the US they learned that the majority ofoil available on the market was fake or contained less CBD than claimed. A third party test can verify that the product is what it says it is on the label.
If you are not in a state where recreational marijuana is legal, any company selling genuine CBD products must have done these tests in order to ship them across the border. Third party test reports can show whether or not a supplement is legal.
Check out our cbd lab reports.
Also the lab reports can show how much THC your CBD supplement contains.
If your report shows trace amounts of THC - don’t panic!
Most people have fair warning about a pending drug test. Since you’re searching google and reddit for information about passing a drug test when taking CBD, you probably already have an idea when your drug test is coming.
The first thing you should do is temporarily stop taking the CBD. Trace amounts of THC from a full spectrum CBD oil will not stay in your system for very long.
Starting as soon as possible, drink plenty of water and juice to help flush any metabolites out of your urine.
If you drink too much water before your test and your sample is too clear the drug test may not show any valid results. In this circumstance, you won’t pass but you also won’t exactly fail. Usually, they will have you take the test a second time. The second test will give you the benefit of time to let any remaining metabolites naturally clear from your system, and then you would pass.
People consume CBD for its incredibly diverse array of benefits.
CBD does not get you high. CBD is a natural therapeutic product that works with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system to produce a variety of positive therapeutic effects without the harmful side effects of prescription drugs.
Natural methods of pain relief should not cause anyone to fail a drug test or lose a job. That’s why education and discussion is so important. Learn what you can and correct the misinformation!
CBD oil drug test research notes:
National Research Council (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Drug Use in the Workplace; Normand J, Lempert RO, O'Brien CP, editors.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1994.
Leson G, Pless P, Grotenhermen F, Kalant H, ElSohly MA. Evaluating the impact of hemp food consumption on workplace drug tests. J Anal Toxicol. 2001;25(8):691-698.
Perez-Reyes M, Guiseppi SD, Davis KH. Passive inhalation of marijuana smoke and urinary excretion cannabinoids. JAMA. 1983;249(4):475.