Drug tests are no fun. Even if you haven’t taken any illegal drugs, you can still have that uneasy feeling of “Did I make a mistake walking through that cloud of smoke at that party?” And if you’re taking a health supplement, like CBD, it’s natural to wonder, “Will CBD show up on a drug test?”
In this article, we’ll take a look at what’s involved in drug screenings and if there are any potential false positive drug test results to be had by people using CBD products.
But before we jump into workplace drug testing, let’s do a quick refresher on just what CBD is.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of several compounds found in the cannabis hemp plant, called cannabinoids. These compounds act much like a group of compounds produced naturally within the body, called endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are a part of the body’s endocannabinoid system. All vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system. This complex network works in concert with many of the body’s other systems, including the immune system and the central and peripheral nervous systems. These systems are responsible for such functions as sleep, mood, memory, motor control, appetite, reproduction, pain, inflammation, and other crucial areas. When cannabinoids are introduced to the body, they interact with the endocannabinoid system, often bolstering that system’s ability to regulate these various functions.
CBD and THC
CBD is one of two major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, with the other being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is the intoxicating compound associated with marijuana, which is a cannabis plant high in THC content. CBD, on the other hand, is non-intoxicating and is not derived from cannabis marijuana plants. Instead, CBD (or at least, the CBD used in CBD products) is culled from the cannabis hemp plant, which is a cannabis plant with less than 0.3% THC. So, no. CBD will not get you high. But it is a great wellness supplement with a host of potential benefits.
CBD Products: The Different Types of CBD Oil
Oil is removed from the hemp plant in a variety of ways. Hemp seed oil, for instance, is derived from the seeds of the hemp plant. This oil is used primarily for skin care products. CBD oil, on the other hand, is produced from the hemp plant’s buds, leaves and stalks. The manner in which this is done creates different kinds of CBD oils.
Full Spectrum CBD
When extraction is made in a single pass, the oil produced is called full spectrum CBD. This CBD oil contains all of the chemical compounds in the hemp plant, including all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and essential oils. This oil can contain up to 0.3% THC. We’ll get to whether this is an issue for drug tests in a moment, but for now it’s worth noting that this is not enough THC to get you high. So, the CBD oil that is highest in THC content is still non-intoxicating. Nevertheless, full spectrum CBD is illegal to sell in the UK because, even though it is non-intoxicating, the THC volume is still above the UK legal threshold of 0.2% THC.
Broad Spectrum CBD
To make the CBD oil legally compliant in the UK, an extra round of filtration is required to remove all of the detectable traces of the THC. When this filtration takes place, not only is the remainder of the THC removed, but also some of the other cannabinoids and terpenes, as well. This CBD oil, known as broad spectrum CBD oil, still retains CBD and has a robust profile of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Most CBD products are made with broad spectrum CBD, including CBD gummies, CBD capsules, CBD edibles, CBD oil drops, CBD topical creams, and some CBD vape products.
CBD isolate is created when all plant materials other than the CBD are removed from the oil. CBD isolate is 99% pure CBD, and can most often be found in some CBD vape juices, where it’s important to remove the smell and taste of hemp in order to focus the senses on added flavours. And hey, who doesn’t love a good Strawberry Milk?
No One Wants a Positive Drug Test in the Workplace
It’s important to know which kind of CBD is in your CBD product if you’re being screened for drugs. If you purchase your CBD products from a reputable company, this information can easily be found on the product label and the brand’s website. Reputable CBD companies also provide third-party laboratory test reports on all of their products, so that you know the exact amount of each chemical in your CBD product. The last thing you want, heading out of a drug test, is a false-positive surprise, because the label on your CBD product was inaccurate. This is perhaps one of the most compelling reasons why finding a reputable, high-quality CBD supplier is so important. You have to feel confident that, if the label says "THC-free," it is indeed free of any traces of THC.
Cannabis Drug Tests: Will CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
So, now that you’ve got a handle on what CBD is and the different kinds of CBD oils, let’s turn to the question of CBD and cannabis drug tests. That is to say, can CBD make you fail a drug test? And do different kinds of drug tests affect those results?
Let’s begin by pointing out that drug tests generally don’t screen for CBD, because it is non-intoxicating and, more importantly, CBD is not a controlled substance. Drug tests, however, do screen for alcohol, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cocaine, opiates and, yes, cannabis.
What the tests are screening for in cannabis is THC content. It’s worth noting that 50 nanograms of THC-COOH (one of THC’s primary metabolites) per milliliter will prompt a positive urine test. Urine drug tests are very common in workplace drug screenings. And while there is minimal THC in CBD oil, there can be enough — particularly, in full spectrum CBD — to create a false positive test result. This is more likely to happen if you consume a lot of full spectrum CBD, but is possible if you habitually consume a lot of broad spectrum CBD, too.
Hair testing for cannabis is uncommon, but some employers will use it because it can detect THC down to one picogram per milligram. A picogram, by the way, is roughly one trillionth of a gram. THC metabolites can be detectable by hair test for upwards of 90 days.
Cannabis blood tests are less common in workplaces, because workplaces are generally more interested in detecting habitual drug use. Blood cycles out THC fairly quickly, so these tests are better for detecting drugs at the time of impairment. So, police will often use this test.
In countries where cannabis is not legal, any THC content can be considered a positive test. In countries where cannabis is legal, the legal line for THC content can vary. Consult your local law enforcement agency for more information.
Saliva drug testing isn’t commonly used. This type of drug test can detect THC for roughly 72 hours after consumption, perhaps longer for habitual use. There aren’t any established cutoff limits for detecting THC via saliva drug test, though four nanograms per milligram is a probable standard.
The safe move for all of these tests is to steer away from full spectrum CBD if you have a drug test coming up. Again, it’s not legal in the UK anyway. It’s highly unlikely that broad spectrum CBD, if taken sparingly, would show up on a test. Products with CBD isolate should be even more safe.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
Determining the amount of time CBD stays in your system can be tricky. Everyone has a different metabolism, so there is no all-encompassing answer. American Family Physician reports that cannabis can be detected, via urine drug test, three days after a single use and more than 30 days after heavy CBD usage. So, don’t count on anything flushing CBD out of your system right away.
The Final Word on CBD and Drug Tests
To sum up, if you’re concerned about whether CBD will cause a positive result on a drug test, there are a couple of things you can do for peace of mind. Use CBD products with non-detectable amounts of CBD: broad spectrum CBD or CBD isolate. And be mindful not to overuse CBD, particularly if you know you’re concerned about a drug screen.
You may be surprised to discover that, in some people, only a small dose of CBD is needed to produce desired effects. Make sure that the CBD product you use comes with a third-party lab test to corroborate the amount of THC content in the product. And lastly, if you do think you might have consumed enough THC to tip off a drug test, then be aware that THC can remain in your system, potentially for a long time, depending on the amount of THC you’ve taken.
And if, after all of this, you somehow test positive for marijuana despite only consuming legal CBD, keep the packaging of your CBD product handy to show your employer. Honesty and transparency are always a good idea.
Looking for a great CBD isolate option, free of all THC? Try our CBD Vape Juices.
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