Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?

The random drug test. I think we can safely say no one enjoys taking one. But, for some of us, they’re not only part of our lives but something which can crush a career in a small swoop of a needle or urine sample.

As a result, if you’re drug tested, you’re probably concerned you’ll fail a drug test if you add CBD to your regimen.

So does CBD show up on a drug test? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as you might think, and there isn’t a yes/no answer in most cases, as we’ll cover in this article.

Below, we dive into what you can do to reduce the chance you’ll fail a drug test in association with the use of CBD. But first, here’s a short backstory to get you up to speed:

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CBD Is Extracted From the Cannabis Plant Family

CBD is a cannabinoid that is derived from the cannabis family of plants, and it’s found in the largest concentrations in Hemp – a sub-species of cannabis. 

All cannabis plants naturally contain at least traces of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the cannabinoid that gets you high.

Unlike traditional marijuana, Hemp is naturally low in THC and often contains a higher concentration of CBD. In fact, Hemp is so low in THC that you can’t get high by using it; you’ll need 2-3mg THC inhaled or 5-20mg consumed for THC intoxication, which is less than found in Hemp products. 

CBD derived from Hemp can legally contain up to 0.3% THC – which is where the confusion for some kicks in when it comes to drug tests. 

Remember there may be some variation with your local laws so always be sure to double check first before consuming or transporting cannabinoids.

Will CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?

All cannabis-related drug tests look for the presence of THC-COOH (a THC metabolite) –  the natural breakdown of tetrahydrocannabinol in the body.

As CBD is most often derived from Hemp, there’s potential its use might result in a positive drug test if the final product contains any trace of THC. And yes, this includes potentially failing workplace drug testing.

So, what’s the solution?

If you’re using purely isolated CBD oil, which isn’t cross-contaminated and tested >99%free of THC, in theory, you shouldn’t fail a drug test on the basis of a THC positive result. But, the theory doesn’t always match up with reality – we’ll discuss why later on.

Professional Sports Drug Testing

When it comes to professional sport, Cannabidiol is World Anti-Doping (WADA) approved and on its own is legal in most countries.

WADA covers a wide range of sports and has outlined that CBD is an approved substance, whereas all other cannabinoids and many other performance-enhancing substances are not. 

When it comes to using CBD, the risk stems from other cannabinoids such as THC and the contamination of CBD products, and it’s the accidental adulteration with other banned substances that can be an issue.

So, if you consume CBD that incidentally also contains other cannabinoids, you could fail the drug screen because you’re using a banned substance, even if that substance isn’t THC.

As a result, those participating in professional sports covered by WADA can only consume CBD Isolate, which has been tested for cross-contamination, accompanied by a full panel set of CoAs for complete peace of mind.

These two things combined are rather hard to find – but as with anything lucrative, there’s a solution to market to those in need.

Any CBD product approved by the BSCG is certified to pass WADA testing standards and has undergone rigorous third-party tests for substance cross-contamination outside of just cannabis.

So, if you’re an athlete and subjected to WADA drug testing, you can still use BSCG certified CBD with the peace of mind that the range has been tested for all WADA-banned substances. Of course, negative results cannot be fully guaranteed after habitual consumption.

Full Spectrum CBD 

Outside of professional sport, the risk predominantly centers around tetrahydrocannabinol

The cannabinoid is present in trace amounts in full-spectrum CBD, which is a whole hemp extract that’s often the most popular kind of product favored by users to feel the so-called “entourage effect”, or synergies of cannabis.

In short, any product labeled full-spectrum should be strictly off-limits for anyone wanting to avoid a positive drug test.

We’ll discuss this a little later in more detail, but it’s also possible that you could fail a drug test using broad-spectrum CBD – aka the kind that contains ‘zero’ THC.

Yup, it sucks – which leaves us with only one kind of CBD, Isolate.

Can You Fail A Drug Test With CBD Isolate?

If you are drug tested, using CBD Isolate (aka pure CBD) based ranges are in theory the least likely to result in a positive test result.

CBD Products derived from Isolate are free of anything but pure (99.9%+) cannabidiol. While this is thought to be less effective than a hemp extract with a broader cannabinoid profile outside of just CBD, due to a lack of the entourage effect, it’s safer to use if you are drug tested.

This is because (especially untested) broad spectrum products can sometimes contain more THC than the negligible 0.3% allowed for Hemp products; thus being at more than non-detectable levels. 

But what does non-detectable THC mean exactly and who governs this quasi and unstandardized benchmark?

Before we dive into the question above, it’s essential you understand the process of third party product testing:

Third-Party CBD testing

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

Supplemental CBD derived from Hemp is not currently regulated by the FDA, and quality control can often be a problem.

Genuine companies will test their CBD with a third party, usually during the manufacturing and finalized product stages.

This analysis covers a broad set of tests, often looking for cannabinoid potency, pesticides/residual solvents, and microbial agents. 

In the case of a drug test, we’re most interested in cannabinoid potency testing.

This is where scientists use equipment to figure out what cannabinoids the end product contains and if it meets legal guidelines for Hemp (<0.3% D9 THC in line with the 2018 farm bill).

Here, you’d expect the CBD content in the CoA to match the label and more critically, the THC content to be accurate.

In the end, these tests, when combined, ensure a CBD product is labeled correctly and that it’s safe to consume regardless if you’re subjected to drug testing or not.

Third Party CBD Test Levels of Detection

As with any scientific equipment, there are limits as to the accuracy of the equipment being used. Currently, there is no set benchmark that a lab must be within a specific percentile accuracy range or that a lab must detect cannabinoids from a minimum benchmark (e.g 0.001%).

Looking at the level of detection (LoD) in third-party certificates of analysis (CoAs) for cannabinoid potency will outline at which thresholds the lab equipment can detect THC and other cannabinoids like CBD.

Third-party labs define non-detectable levels according to how precise the testing equipment they are using is, and the range of detection varies significantly from one lab to another.

For example, if the LoD on a set of test results is 0.05% D9 THC, then any samples submitted to that lab that contain <0.05% D9 THC  will automatically fall into the non-detectable or 0.0% THC bracket.

As you can probably now see, the devil is in the detail, especially for items that are not derived from CBD isolate but are still thought to contain zero THC.

So, if you’re using a broad spectrum CBD Hemp oil that shows 0.0% THC on the CoA, make sure to check the level of detection of the equipment used – it can sometimes be as high as 0.15%.

Now, will using a CBD product with 0.15% THC result in a positive drug test? Who knows! But, being aware of this issue is essential to avoid stepping into the red. Repeated consumption of such products over time may likely lead to a positive result. 

THC Cross-Contamination In A Drug Test

There is a possibility that zero THC products that are bottled and packed in facilities that handle full-spectrum CBD could cross-contaminate other CBD products in the supply chain.

The risk of this happening and resulting in someone failing a drug test is relatively small, but again it’s something to be aware of.

Most factories will have separate machinery for packaging CBD, which contains zero THC, to manage this risk. If not, the machinery is cleaned using a strict operating procedure to avoid THC cross-contamination.

The risk increases if your CBD Hemp oil is packaged in a factory where they also manufacture high THC products from cannabis plants. This is unlikely, but again something to consider if you’re buying cheap CBD without knowing the source or without CoAs.

All of this just reiterates the fact consumers should ask questions about product traceability. Knowing what you’re buying and only purchasing CBD products that are third-party batch tested for which they have had time to review the CoAs, especially if you’re subject to drug testing.

How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

Now, assuming you use any CBD but full-spectrum, If you abstain from CBD use for an extended period, you can expect the risk that you will fail a drug test to reduce across time slowly.

The exact time period depends on several factors and varies from person to person. Including:

  • Frequency of use
  • CBD dosage
  • Method of consumption
  • Metabolism

In a 2018 review, experts reviewed the literature associated with the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol.  Concluding, that in a sample of 724 research papers the half life of CBD was between 1.4 and 10.9 hours for oromuscular absorption, 2-5 days for chronic oral administration, 24 hrs after I.V and 31 hrs after smoking. 

Suggesting that a few weeks of not using the compound should make it undetectable in a blood test.

But again, just to reiterate – A drug test will look for the presence of THC-COOH not CBD, as CBD, when derived from Hemp (containing <0.3% THC) is legal in the USA.

How Long Does THC Stay In Your system?

Similar to CBD, the same factors apply, and the time varies significantly depending on if you’ve taken which kind of drug screenings you’re subjected to.

For example, tetrahydrocannabinol can be detected up to 90 days after its last use via a hair sample in chronic cannabis users. At the same time, urine tests can detect THC for a much shorter period of up to 30 days related to heavy cannabis use.

Data on how long THC is detectable in users of CBD products is currently unknown and is likely a subject of future clinical studies. This is ambiguous because the level of THC varies significantly depending on the quality and the types of CBD products used.

Is It Safe To Drive After Using CBD Oil?

If the product is fully lab-tested and legal, low-dose CBD itself will probably not impact your ability to drive, but this cannot be guaranteed nor recommended depending on your individual circumstances. 

You should learn how any new CBD product or dose will affect you before driving, as excess CBD may cause drowsiness or other side effects. Also, be aware of local impaired driving laws and never drive if you feel altered or sleepy in any way.

Untested CBD carries the risk that the product contains much more THC than stated on the label, making driving both illegal and unsafe.

If you’re subjected to a drug test, you’re open to a higher than average likelihood of failing because the CBD you’re consuming is more likely to contain illegal THC levels. DUI blood tests may also check for THC and metabolites as well, and failing that can have serious consequences.

Nonetheless, the fact full spectrum CBD contains trace amounts of THC could be a concern, especially if you have been using full-spectrum CBD frequently and are then subjected to a urine test.

Nonetheless, the magnitude of this risk is currently unknown, and it’s for users to decide until we have clarity from clinical studies.

Wrapping Up: CBD Drug Test Summary

As you can now probably tell, you can fail a drug test if you do or don’t use CBD. But, if you must use CBD, then sticking to a third-party tested Isolate oil or product is your best bet. Use the bullet point list below as a reference check when buying CBD to avoid being tripped up in drug test:

  • Only purchase fully third-party tested CBD products from a reliable source where you can see THC content for the product you’ve purchased at a batch level.
  • Ask questions about product traceability and quality control.
  • Use CBD Isolate or broad-spectrum CBD Hemp oil only to avoid a positive drug result.
  • Only purchase BSCG tested CBD Hemp oil if you’re subjected to a WADA drug test.
  • Try using a purchased THC testing kit after using a new product for a short period, and see what the test results say. If you fail a drug testing kit at home, this should ring alarm bells.
  • Double check your local and employment regulations and clarify your understanding of cannabis related laws

Apart from that, just remember that as long as you are not into a professional sport, you only need to concern yourself with avoiding THC to pass drug tests screening for marijuana consumption.

Drug testing doesn’t need to mean the end of enjoying the uses of CBD Hemp oil for most of us!