Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

CBD is fast becoming a popular supplement in the wellness space, but will CBD make you fail a drugs test?  

This question is becoming more important with CBD appealing to a wide rage of people, who’s careers depend on regularly passing a CBD drug test. 

Including athletes looking to supplement their muscle recovery, to HGV drivers and airline pilots looking to obtain a good nights rest.

But the answer isn’t as clear cut as you might think, and there are three main variables to consider:

  • The type of CBD product you are using
  • If the product has been third-party tested
  • The risk of cross-contamination

Will CBD oil show up on a drugs test?

While cannabidiol is world anti-doping (WADA) approved, and on its own is legal in most countries, the risk originates from tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, which is found in trace amounts in full spectrum CBD products and is explicitly tested for in drug tests.

Full spectrum CBD oil is a whole plant extract diluted in a carrier oil. 

As hemp naturally contains trace amounts of THC, the end product will contain traces of THC unless it is removed. 

Dependent on where you live, the limit could be up to 1% THC (Switzerland) or 0.3%/0.2% THC in USA/EU and 0.05% (<1mg THC per container) in the UK.

THC is also found in other related CBD products too, including full spectrum CBD paste, and full spectrum CBD extract. Anything classed as full spectrum is off-limits for those looking to stay in the clear with a drugs test.

CBD drug test

Avoiding THC

If you are drug tested, using CBD Isolate based products are your best bet.

Failing that, using products which do not contain detectable levels of THC such as broad spectrum CBD oil and concentrates are a wise move.

Broad spectrum CBD is a full spectrum product minus any detectable levels of THC. 

Products derived from CBD Isolate are free of anything but pure (99.9%+) cannabidiol, and while this is thought to be less effective than a broader hemp extract, it’s much safer to use if you are tested.

Third-party product testing

Due to natural variations in the chemical makeup of the hemp plant, product batches can vary significantly in both THC and CBD levels, along with potential contaminants in the supply chain.

Genuine brands will test their products with a third party, usually both during the manufacturing process and with the finalised product. Ensuring it is both labelled correctly and that it doesn’t contain any contaminants such as heavy metals.

However, the devil is in the detail, especially for products which are not CBD isolate based but are thought to contain zero THC.

As the CBD industry isn’t regulated, in Europe there isn’t a defined threshold when a product is defined to contain a ‘non-detectable’ level of THC. 

Third-party labs define non detectable according to how precise the testing equipment they are using is, usually anything <0.01% THC falls into the non detectable THC bracket.

This leads to a situation of self assessment regarding THC content. 

If a product is classed as not containing THC when it contains <0.01% THC, is that sufficient enough to avoid trace amounts of THC appearing on a drug test?

It’s highly unlikely someone using a third party tested product containing non detectable THC, will test positive for THC on a drug test.

But, it is something to be aware of nonetheless, due to limits in lab test detection thresholds likely being less sensitive than a THC blood test or hair sample.

As a result, CBD Isolate based products are theoretically the only items excluded from this problem, as the end product is so highly refined and only contains pure CBD powder.

CBD Flower

THC cross-contamination

There is a possibility that zero THC products which are bottled and packed in facilities which handle full-spectrum CBD oils could cross-contaminate products.

Although this risk is small, it’s something to be aware of. 

It re-iterates the fact consumers should only purchase products which are third party batch tested, especially if they are subject to a CBD drug test.

How long does CBD stay in your system?

This depends a number of factors and varies from person to person. These include:

  • Frequency of use
  • CBD dosage
  • Method of consumption
  • Metabolism
A study by the University of Arizona in 1991 administered an incredibly high daily dose of 700mg CBD to participants across a six week period. 7 days after the last dose the detected CBD level was 1.5 nanograms per millilitre of blood, and close to undetectable shortly thereafter.

The same study estimated the half life of CBD to be between three to five days, suggesting that a few weeks of not using the compound would make it non detectable in a blood test.

How long does THC stay in your system?

Similar to CBD, the same factors apply and the time varies significantly according to these levers. 

For example, THC can be detected up to 90 days after its last use via a hair sample in chronic cannabis users.

Data on how long THC is detectable in users of CBD products is currently an unknown. Both because the level of THC varies significantly depending on the quality and type of product purchased.

Is it safe to drive after using CBD Oil?

If the product is fully lab-tested and legal, you can rest assured that the product shouldn’t have an impact on your ability to drive.

On the other hand, untested CBD carriers risk that the product contains much more THC than stated on the label, making driving both illegal and unsafe.

Nonetheless, the fact full spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC could be a concern.

Especially, if an individual has been using it frequently and is then subject to a blood test. The magnitude of this risk is currently an unknown, and it’s for users to decide.

Top tips on how to avoid a positive CBD drug test

  • Only purchase fully third party tested products from a reliable source.
  • Ask questions around product traceability and quality control.
  • Use CBD Isolate or broad spectrum products only.
  • Try using a purchased THC test kit after using a new product for a short period, and see what the results say.

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Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Nature & Bloom and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention for any disease. Nature & Bloom products have not been evaluated by the MHRA.

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