Lately, products containing CBD (from beer to skin cream to oils that can be diffused and vaped) seem to be all the rage. Why are CBD products suddenly Can you use CBD oil and still pass a drug test? Learn how CBD shows up on a drug test and if the cannabinoid will earn you a pass or fail. CBD doesn't show up on a drug test, but the CBD oil you use may cause you to fail a drug test. Our guide explains it all.
The ABCs of CBD in the Workplace
Lately, products containing CBD (from beer to skin cream to oils that can be diffused and vaped) seem to be all the rage. Why are CBD products suddenly turning up everywhere (your local Sheetz convenience store for example)? Blame it on the Farm Bill! The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (otherwise known as the U.S. Farm Bill), removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, hemp is no longer a controlled substance and, because CBD (which stands for cannabidiol) can be derived from hemp, CBD is arguably legal.
So what is the problem? Why are people who are using CBD products still testing positive for “marijuana” and why should employers be concerned?
CBD is a chemical compound found in the Cannabis family of plants. Notably, Cannabis has two main species – the hemp plant and the marijuana plant. CBD is not believed to have psychoactive properties. In other words, cannabidiol will not get you high. The other primary chemical compound found in Cannabis plants is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
THC does have psychoactive properties and is known as the compound that causes the “high.” THC is also the compound that is evaluated for drug testing purposes. One of the main differences between hemp and marijuana is the concentration of CBD vs. THC that each contains. Hemp, by definition (as noted in the Farm Bill), contains 0.3% or less of THC. Marijuana, can have THC concentrations of up to 20%. CBD can be and is derived from both plant species, but for purposes of technical legality, only hemp-derived CBD is legal under the Farm Bill. To obtain marijuana-derived CBD, in states where marijuana is not legal, an individual would require certification to use medicinal marijuana.
With that mini-science lesson out of the way, what does all of this mean for employers?
Certain CBD products – oils for example – are marketed and sold as dietary supplements that can combat a variety of ailments, for example anxiety and insomnia. The FDA does not regulate the safety and purity of dietary supplements. Accordingly, there is no governmental organization confirming that the CBD product contains (or rather only contains) the ingredients contained on the label. Relative to employer drug testing concerns, there is no governmental organization checking that CBD supplements are actually derived from hemp and do not contain more than 0.3% THC. Thus, there is a risk that the CBD supplement is not what it says it is and an employee who is “only using CBD,” may nonetheless test positive for marijuana on a drug test. Indeed, several lawsuits have been filed against CBD manufacturers arguing that products marketed as containing only CBD and being THC free, have resulted in employees failing employer required drug tests.
Accordingly, employees using, or claiming to use, “only CBD” has created a haze of uncertainty for employers and how such claims, which typically follow a positive drug screen, should be handled.
For purposes of employees regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (i.e. school bus drivers and truck drivers), the answer is clear. Last month, the DOT issued a “CBD Notice” stating plainly
The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation, Part 40, does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason. Furthermore, CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result. Therefore, Medical Review Officers will verify a drug test confirmed at the appropriate cutoffs as positive, even if an employee claims they only used a CBD product.
In issuing this Notice, the DOT referenced cautionary statements issued by the FDA:
The FDA has cautioned the public that: “Consumers should beware purchasing and using any [CBD] products.” The FDA has stated: “It is currently illegal to market CBD by adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement.” Also, the FDA has issued several warning letters to companies because their products contained more CBD than indicated on the product label.
So, for DOT regulated drug testing, the answer is clear – CBD is not a get out of jail free card. Regardless of the alleged reason for the positive test, a positive test for marijuana will be a positive test for marijuana. Employees in DOT regulated positions should act accordingly.
But what about non-DOT regulated employees? The answer is not as clear, but there are a few common sense principles that employers can use to address and hopefully diffuse this issue. First, as we’ve discussed in prior blog posts, employees who are certified under state law to use medical marijuana have certain protections (protection against discrimination, for example). As a result, many employers have modified their drug testing policies to include exceptions that apply to employees who are certified to use medical marijuana. Because an employee who is using an over the counter CBD supplement likely is not certified to use medical marijuana, that employee would not be protected by the state medical marijuana act. Accordingly, employers may want to include a notation in their drug testing policies that the term “medical marijuana” refers only to marijuana that is obtained in accordance with a state medical marijuana program.
Second, employers should remember that employees don’t know what they don’t know. If an employee does not realize that using CBD oil that he obtained online could jeopardize his employment, he is going to be quite upset when he tests positive for marijuana and is fired. Accordingly, employees should be advised that there is a risk to using CBD products, that drug testing facilities will not consider alleged CBD use as a legitimate medical reason for a positive drug test and that, if an employee tests positive and does not have a medical marijuana card, the company may treat the positive test as a violation of the drug testing policy.
Finally, employees who question an employer for implementing the above-referenced practices could be directed to the FDA issued guidance on CBD products.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, if you have not revised your drug testing policy to address the issues created by medical marijuana and CBD, there is no time like the present. Should you need assistance with your policy revision or with crafting appropriate notices to your employees, do not hesitate to contact any member of the McNees Labor and Employment Group.
Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
Is it possible to fail a drug test for using CBD? As the metabolites of cannabinoids go from the bloodstream and even into one’s hair follicles, it is possible to test positive for CBD up to three months after last ingestion. Testing positive on a drug test becomes likelier for people who frequently consume full-spectrum CBD products.
Learn more about how you can use CBD and still pass a drug test. Plus, discover the benefits of a medical marijuana card before you head into your scheduled drug screening.
Download Free Guide to CBD
CBD and Drug Tests
Most drug screenings do not directly test for CBD. Instead, most drug screenings test for the following:
Of course, it is possible for a person to have a prescription for drugs in some of the above drug classes, in which case it is likely that a positive test will be assessed by a medical review officer (MRO). Such a scenario could lead to a drug test failure, so be sure to speak with your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications.
Reasons for Failing a Drug Test While Using CBD
If a CBD product contains over 0.3% THC and is used regularly, it is possible for THC to become detectable. People who often take full-spectrum CBD oils, even if the products contain minimal amounts of THC, could possibly test positive for THC.
Some people reduce this risk by using CBD isolates and oils that test nil for THC, but this strategy may reduce the efficacy of CBD to some extent for soe conditions. However, if a CBD product contains 0.3% or less of THC, even regular consumption of high levels of CBD (say 1,000 milligrams (mg) or over) rarely meets the threshold for a positive THC result, which is >50ng/ml in the urine.
Using CBD and Passing a Drug Test
While CBD is not usually looked for in most drug tests, it is still possible that you may test positive for THC, even if you do not consume it or only use small, non-psychoactive amounts that are in legal products. The best way to prevent a false positive is by doing the following:
Use 0% THC Products
The only way to keep THC out of your system is to select a CBD isolate product, but even then you have to be careful. Genuine CBD isolates contain 0% THC and technically should not register on any standard drug screening, but even Epidiolex (which is an FDA-approved CBD-based oral solution) warns that patients may test positive for marijuana on drug screenings.
Stop Using CBD 2 Weeks Before Test
Refrain from using any CBD product for at least two weeks prior to any test. Ideally, stop using CBD one month or even two months to be sure that your drug screening doesn’t yield a false positive result.
Be Active and Exercise
Getting plenty of exercise and keeping hydrated may help “flush” your system of any cannabinoids. Burning away fat cells that contain cannabinoids via exercise may prove particularly effective. Going to the sauna a day or two prior to the test may help as well.
However, it is not proven whether or not you can “flush” cannabinoids out in this manner. Exercise can increase plasma THC concentrations in regular users , at least in the short-term, as exercise releases dormant THC stored in fat cells. Theoretically, this means that reducing cannabinoid use while keeping active can get rid of cannabinoids stored in fat. Stress and diet can also play a part in the extent to which fat in the body stores cannabinoids.
Some people claim that drinking plenty of green, white and herbal teas can help detoxify the system. Whether this is true or not we cannot say for sure, but it is interesting to note that tea catechins have a weak affinity for cannabinoid receptors . Like beta-caryophyllene, some types of tea could be said to be a “ dietary cannabinoid .”
Such teas also tend to contain plenty of antioxidants, so sipping your favorite matcha could also help “flush” cannabinoids out of your body as well as providing an alternative way to stimulate your endocannabinoid system (ECS) .
Medical Marijuana Card Protections
As cannabis and CBD are Schedule I substances , federally illegal and cannot be prescribed outside of the Schedule V, FDA-approved Epidiolex, a medical marijuana card cannot “save” you. However, some states are starting to add employment protections for people who need to use cannabinoid-based medications.
If you are not working with heavy machinery or driving, not working with individuals considered vulnerable, or not working within law enforcement or any other form of federal employment, then there may be some leeway. These exceptions, however, depend very much on the employer’s discretion.
Having a valid medical marijuana card will likely give you access to a greater number of high-quality, cannabis-based (rather than hemp-based) CBD. There may be slightly higher levels of THC (though not necessarily psychoactive amounts) in some of the CBD-based cannabis products when compared to hemp products, but having a valid MMC may lend credence to the fact that you may need to use cannabis for a defined and diagnosed medical problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is CBD detectable in urine?
In the urine, CBD is detectable for between five and 10 days after last ingestion. However, as it would be the metabolites of CBD (7-OH-CBD and 6-OH-CBD) that are tested for and cannabinoid metabolites bind to the fats in the body, CBD can be detectable in the urine for two to five weeks after ingestion, depending upon the regularity of use and dosage .
Do drug tests look for CBD?
At the moment, most standard and even more advanced drug tests do not test for CBD. But the cannabinoid can be detected if the right tests are conducted. Levels of CBD in the bloodstream usually peak within three to five minutes after ingestion if smoked or vaped, and between 30 minutes and two hours if taken sublingually or eaten. The effects usually last between four and 12 hours, depending on the method of ingestion, the amount taken and the individual’s metabolism.
For many people, CBD itself is not hugely intoxicating, although some may feel sedative effects in high doses, especially when combined with high concentrations of myrcene .
Will I pass a DOT drug test using CBD oil?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) screens prospective employees for marijuana use rather than for CBD consumption. Therefore, unless you have been consuming very high amounts of full-spectrum CBD (that contains trace amounts of THC), it is unlikely that you will fail a DOT drug test.
To experience the benefits of CBD and other cannabis products, apply for your medical marijuana card through Leafwell today.
Does CBD Show on a Drug Test? Everything To Know
As CBD becomes more widespread and accepted, it’s raised many questions on if CBD will show up on a drug test. Given CBD’s association with cannabis, many make the mistake of connecting CBD with marijuana.
So does CBD show up on a drug test? What about if CBD oil shows up on a drug test? The answer is a bit complicated.
How CBD oil affects a drug testing screening mainly depends on the type of CBD product, but there’s a lot more to unpack. Let’s take a look at how CBD can affect a drug test and if you can fail.
Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
Yes, CBD can show up on a drug test, but that’s only if the drug test screening tests for the cannabinoid CBD. However, that’s never heard of because it’s not something employers or law enforcement look for by default. Drug tests are designed to look for illicit substances, like THC, narcotics, steroids, etc.
Since CBD is federally legal and doesn’t impair or artificially improve athletic performance, there is no reason organizations need to test for CBD. It would be a waste of time and money.
Does CBD Oil Show Up On A Drug Test?
While CBD itself doesn’t trigger a drug screen, the CBD oil you use might do so. In this case, the issue isn’t CBD, but if THC is present or not. Some hemp CBD extracts, such as full-spectrum CBD oil, contain up to 0.3% THC that a drug test may show positive for THC.
However, don’t worry because you can easily avoid that awkward situation if you choose a broad-spectrum CBD oil.
How to Not Fail a Drug Test Using CBD Oil
Since CBD isn’t a concern, the issues about drug testing come from any THC your oil might contain. While hemp CBD extracts can legally carry up to 0.3% THC, there are plenty of THC-Free options.
THC content – if any – depends on the CBD oil you choose. There are three possible options:
- Full Spectrum
- Broad Spectrum
- CBD Isolate
All of these CBD products differ in fundamental ways.
Full-spectrum (“whole-plant”) CBD oil is the densest option. Manufacturers try to extract and retain all the cannabinoids and terpenes from the host plant. Granted, a significant amount is lost during extraction, but the diversity remains.
Having so many other critical compounds is vital for the “entourage effect” – a synergistic relationship where cannabinoids and terpenes complement each other. The process helps increase CBD oil’s potency.
Unfortunately, full-spectrum contains up to 0.3% THC , so it’s best to avoid these types of CBD products if you don’t want to risk failing a drug test.
Full-spectrum extracts also carry the complete flavor profile of their source plant. Many people like it, but for some, the “hempy” taste is hard to overcome, even when mixed with food or drinks.
CBD Isolate is the complete opposite of full spectrum. While the latter extracts and keeps as much as possible, the former is processed to remove everything but CBD.
Although this leaves behind a product that contains up to 99.9% CBD, don’t let these numbers fool you. Isolate may offer incredibly high purity, but the lack of terpenes and other cannabinoids wipes out the critical entourage effect.
Consequently, isolates are less effective than full-spectrum.
But it’s not all bad news. Many people prefer isolates because they contain no THC. They’re also flavorless, making it easy to mix with juice, smoothies, dressings, and more. Flavor-focused vendors may also prefer isolate in their edibles.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil is a happy medium between THC-laced full-spectrum and THC-free (but rather hollow) CBD isolate.
Like full-spectrum, the broad-spectrum oil extraction process aims to keep every cannabinoid and terpene except THC, making it THC-Free. With compounds to fuel the entourage effect and no THC to trigger a drug test, broad-spectrum offers the best of both worlds.
Admittedly, you’ll still notice the “hempy” flavor. But it’s a small price to pay for being able to have your cake and eat it too.
So the best way to pass a drug test when using CBD oil is to avoid products with THC. Sounds pretty straightforward, but this is where “buyer beware” should always be at the back of your mind.
Unfortunately, the CBD industry’s lack of regulation means labels can still be deceiving. When shopping around, you have to keep a sharp eye on minor details. We’ll cover these tips and tricks shortly.
For now, let’s see why THC could still make its way into allegedly “THC-free” products.
Factors That Can Lead to A Positive Drug Test with CBD Oil
Even if you choose a THC-Free product, that’s no guarantee. A company can follow the correct extraction process yet still ship a product with detectable levels of THC.
There are three main ways this can happen.
Using A CBD Product That Has THC
Using a CBD product containing THC, such as full-spectrum CBD, is the most common way to fail a drug test. Despite THC being found in minor amounts, it definitely can trigger a positive for THC.
Many manufacturers still claim their products are THC-Free when they do, so it’s crucial to buy CBD from a reputable company.
Mislabeling of CBD Products
Mislabeled CBD products were (and likely still are) a huge issue. When the Food and Drug Administration tested several CBD products , about 70% contained more or less CBD than advertised, while some didn’t have any CBD.
Even worse, many of these products “contained a significant amount of THC.” This is a huge problem considering CBD oil is famous for treating certain forms of childhood epilepsy. Inadequate or deceptive labeling means some parents could be accidentally giving THC to their kids.
You’re also going to have a hard time telling an employer that you consume no more than 0.3% THC when a drug test seems to say otherwise.
With cannabis being semi-legal in the U.S., you’d think this is a positive thing for hemp and “marijuana” advocates. However, it’s proven to be a double-edged sword – and complete nightmare – for hemp producers.
There’s a massive issue with having high-THC and low-THC cannabis chemovars growing in the same state. The layout often leads to cross-pollination, affecting THC levels of industrial hemp.
Hemp farmers have no choice but to destroy any crops exceeding 0.3% THC. If producers don’t consistently test their plants and products, you could receive something with substantially more THC.
How Can You Make Sure That a CBD Product Doesn’t Contain THC?
The best way to make sure that a CBD product doesn’t contain THC is to inform yourself. Checking for THC is easy if you know where to look. Once you know what makes a good CBD product, buying your first one will be a breeze.
Check the Label
Check the label to see if the CBD product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or pure CBD isolate. If it mentions “CBD” but does not mention if it’s full-spectrum or broad-spectrum, then it’s most likely a CBD isolate.
For the most effective results, purchase broad-spectrum CBD over CBD Isolate for the very reasons we talked about earlier.
Also, purchasing broad-spectrum won’t have you asking, “Does CBD show up on a drug test” as it’s THC-Free while containing a spectrum of other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Check Third-Party Lab Reports for THC
Third-party lab reports are a must-have before you buy from a CBD company. Having no lab reports is a huge red flag. Never buy from a company that doesn’t prove what they’re selling.
Full-spectrum results shouldn’t show any higher than 0.3% THC. Isolate and broad-spectrum should show non-detectable levels of THC or “ND.”
Tests are typically categorized by batch and product, so it’s easy to find the information you need.
Below is a picture of a third-party lab report on a full-spectrum CBD oil. As you can see, it contains THC.
Below is an image of a broad-spectrum CBD oil. As you can see, it contains non-detectable levels of THC while containing other cannabinoids, fueling the entourage effect.
Buy from a Reputable Company
For the most part, CBD is an untamed land. We have to have faith that the company we buy from is honest about being “the best.” Of course, this is impossible to quantify or prove, so to truly find the right source, you need to read between the lines.
A reputable CBD company offers some key signs of quality. They don’t all have to be there, but enough to create a well-rounded, potent, safe, THC-free CBD oil.
When you research, look for the following:
- Updated Third-party lab reports
- CO2 extracted
- USDA Certified Organic or “organically grown”
- No chemical pesticides or herbicides
- Grown locally or in-house
- Sustainable farming
How Much CBD Will Make Me Fail a Drug Test?
No amount of CBD will make you fail a drug test unless that test is modified for CBD. The real issue is whether your product contains THC.
A CBD oil with small amounts of THC may not be much on its own. But if you consistently consume a full-spectrum product, your body could build up THC and test positive down the road.
The best way to guarantee safety and get the same benefits is through broad-spectrum CBD oil.
How Long is CBD Detectable in Blood?
Blood tests aren’t the primary choice, but they still get used to testing for illicit substances like THC. No test exists explicitly designed for CBD. Unfortunately, this means we can only guess based on THC.
A 2012 study in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry found THC detectable in the blood for three to four hours. However, this doesn’t mean it’s out of your system – not by a long shot.
Depending on several factors, CBD could remain inside you for days or weeks.
How Long is CBD Detectable in Urine?
According to one 2018 study from Frontiers in Pharmacology , CBD has a half-life of two to five days. However, all this means is you’ll eliminate half of the CBD within that time period.
Although we don’t know how long CBD will show up in a theoretical test, THC can show up anywhere from three to 30 days .
CBD might follow the same range. However, this all depends on things like dosage, metabolism, size, body fat, and more.
How Long is CBD Detectable in Hair?
Hair tests are rarely used for THC, and they’re unheard of with CBD. There haven’t been any studies because it’s not really of interest to researchers.
Follicle tests have the longest range, with THC metabolites detected up to three months after consumption. CBD’s timeframe, however, remains a mystery.
Video to Summarize CBD and Drug Tests
So Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
Again, CBD won’t show on a standard drug test because it’s not a concern for employers or law enforcement. However, choosing the wrong CBD oil, such as full-spectrum CBD oil, could show positive for THC.
Stick with a broad-spectrum as it’s THC-Free to save yourself potential complications down the road. Remember to do your research and know how to read the CBD product labels. Look up the vendor’s reputation and make sure they’ve never had issues with inaccurate labeling.
CBD is a tricky area to navigate, but with the right tools and information, you’ll be able to avoid failed drug tests with CBD oil contaminated with THC.