Will CBD Come Up on a Drug Test?

According to a 2019 survey, 11% of adults in the UK aged 25 to 49 use CBD regularly. That equates to a huge number of people (about 6 million). But even with its immense popularity, many remain confused about whether or not CBD will show up on a drug test.  Drug screening has mostly become a thing of the past and only 1.47% of employers mention it in their job posts. But for those who do work in positions that require testing, CBD use can be a serious concern. 

Does Your Job Require Regular Drug Screening?

Two young people looking up something on their phonesFrom athletes and teachers to government officials and corporate employees, there are a variety of jobs that still require regular drug screening. Though CBD is in no way intoxicating it can cause you to fail a drug test. This can be a particularly frustrating situation if you use CBD regularly and happen to be on the hunt for employment. Maybe you nailed your cover letter and your interview couldn't have gone better, but when the job offer came, it came with the requirement that you pass a drug screening. You don't do drugs, but your CBD use has you a bit concerned. This is a common situation because certain types of hemp extracts can cause you to falsely test positive for marijuana. 

Why Is There So Much Confusion About CBD And Drug Tests?

Hemp and marijuana are both members of the cannabis family—though they affect the body in different ways. This association tends to lead to confusion about whether or not CBD users will fail a drug test. Both plants contain CBD and THC, but the concentration of these compounds varies greatly. Marijuana is particularly rich in THC and hemp has higher concentrations of CBD.  Though CBD is non-psychoactive and doesn't have the same intoxicating effects as THC, it can be hard for drug tests to differentiate between the two. To gain a more thorough understanding of this subject, let's take a look at the different types of CBD available.

Trace Amounts of THC Could Lead to a False Positive

Unfortunately, drug testing technology has not evolved with society's use of CBD. These tests were developed to be highly accurate in their detection of marijuana use, but not CBD. Cannabis drug tests are able to detect trace amounts of metabolized cannabinoids in your system. Because many hemp extracts are rich in a variety of cannabinoids and trace amounts of THC, you can potentially and fail a drug test.

Understanding Different Types Of CBD

Eye Dropper Of Cbd OilThe CBD industry is one of variety. There is a huge selection of products available in different flavors. Three main types of hemp extracts are commonly used in CBD products and it's important to understand their unique chemical compositions.
Full-spectrum CBD contains the broadest variety of compounds found in any type of hemp extract. Products made with full-spectrum CBD will provide the user with a wealth of compounds including terpenes, amino acids, CBD, CBN, CBG, and trace amounts of THC (0.3% or less). The combination of these compounds is typically viewed as desirable in the CBD community because they're believed to act together to create the “entourage effect.” This type of hemp extract is probably the most likely to cause users to falsely fail a drug test due to the wide variety of compounds it contains and the similarity of those compounds to those found in marijuana. Full-spectrum extracts are completely non-intoxicating but do contain small amounts of THC which might confuse a drug test.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains many of the same compounds as full-spectrum extracts with one exception. You'll find all of the amino acids, terpenes, and phytocannabinoids (CBN, CBG, and CBD) present in full-spectrum extracts, but none of the THC. Broad-spectrum extracts are often preferred by people with sensitivities to THC and those who live in areas with particularly strict regulations regarding THC. Though broad-spectrum CBD does not contain any THC, there is still a possibility that it will show up on a drug test due to the fact that it contains a variety of different cannabinoids. Whether or not using broad-spectrum CBD will cause you to falsely fail a drug test depends on the quality of the product, the type of drug test, your body's metabolism, and the frequency you use CBD.
CBD Isolate
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD extract available with a unique production process. Once the manufacturer puts the raw hemp through the extraction process and has transferred all of the desirable compounds from the plant to the resulting extract oil, the CBD must then be isolated from the other phytocannabinoids. This is accomplished through a complicated process that includes winterization, decarboxylation, and fractional distillation. CBD isolates will not typically show up on a drug test due to the fact that they don't contain any THC or the multitude of phytocannabinoids that often trigger false positives. If you are one of the millions of people in the UK who love to use CBD, but are subject to regular drug tests, CBD isolate is a great option. While it is not 100% guaranteed that it won't cause you to fail a drug test, it's certainly going to be the least likely to do so. 

How Do Cannabis Drug Tests Work?

There are a few different types of drug tests that your job might require you to take. Each of these drug screening methods will test for THC, but they all work in different ways and have varying degrees of accuracy.  Unfortunately, drug testing technology has not yet caught up with the increasing popularity of cannabidiol products and there is no way for these tests to distinguish between CBD use and marijuana use. Let's take a look at drug screening techniques to further understand how they work and why certain types of hemp extracts might cause false positives.
Urine tests are the most common form of drug screening presented by an employer. These tests can typically detect THC metabolites anywhere from 3 to 14 days after use. If you are a frequent or heavy user, this detection window can be increased to more than 30 days after the last use.  For you to fail a urine test, THC-COOH must be present in a concentration of 50 nanograms per milliliter of urine. Though accurate, they can't distinguish between the use of marijuana or hemp.
This is one of the most accurate and has the longest detection window. THC can remain present and detectable in your hair for 90 days or more. THC-COOH can be detected in your hair in as low a concentration as 1 trillionth of a gram!
Saliva tests have a low degree of accuracy and a very small detection window. This method of drug screening can detect THC in a concentration of about 4 nanograms per milliliter. However, their detection window is only 72 hours from last use. Some states have tried to implement saliva tests as a way of detecting THC use in those operating motor vehicles. The problem is that if the person tested can have a sip of soda and render the test inaccurate.
Blood tests are not typically implemented by employers and are far more commonly used as a method to detect impairment. THC is only detectable in plasma for up to 5 hours after the last use. This means it is virtually useless for an employer who wants to make sure their employees aren't using drugs. In states where the use of marijuana is legal, this is the most common way of detecting inebriation.

Trace Amounts of THC Could Lead to a False Positive

Unfortunately, drug testing technology has not evolved with society's use of CBD. These tests were developed to be highly accurate in their detection of marijuana use but often get confused. Cannabis drug tests were designed to detect trace amounts of metabolized cannabinoids in your system. Unfortunately, this can cause you to fail a drug test.

CBD Isolate Might Be the Solution

CBD isolate is a fantastic solution for those who are subject to regular drug screening. This form of hemp extract is somewhat self-explanatory—it is 99.9% pure CBD. It does not contain any other phytocannabinoids and is 100% THC-free.  While using CBD isolate doesn't guarantee you'll pass a drug test, you're less likely to fail a drug test.