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Cannabis 101

Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?

08.16.22 - 4 min read

Highlights

  •  Cannabis drug tests usually look for THC and not CBD.
  •  Broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate do not contain THC, so it’s unlikely you’d get positive findings from those.
  •  Full-spectrum CBD can contain trace levels of THC, so it could result in a positive result.

With the rising popularity of cannabidiol as an alternative treatment for a variety of symptoms, a common concern emerges: “Will CBD make you fail a drug test?”

The short answer to this question is: it depends.

It depends on a variety of factors, like the type of CBD you’re using, the amount you’re consuming, and which type of CBD oil you’ve purchased.

It is also possible to get a false positive drug test due to particular medications, as we will discuss in more detail later. However, further testing often sets things straight in such cases. 

To answer this question and to clarify the nuisance around it, we prepared a detailed guide that covers all you need to know about the issue of CBD and drug tests.

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What is CBD?

CBD is one of over 400 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. These compounds include a biologically active group called cannabinoids, where CBD and THC fall. Biologically active means they can interact with your body.

The primary psychotropic component in the marijuana plant is THC. THC is the part that gives you the mind-altering sensation associated with cannabis. On the other hand, CBD, while psychoactive, is not intoxicating on its own.

The FDA considers hemp-derived CBD oil and other CBD products supplements, which is why there are no strict regulations for CBD products.

You are not supposed to fail a regular drug test if you take pure CBD. However, some products may contain traces of THC, even when the label says otherwise, so make sure you only buy CBD from trusted sources.

The FDA states that anything with more than 0.3% THC is illegal. The DEA, too, shuns THC levels beyond this percentage, classifying it as a Schedule I drug. [Source]

Why should you care? Unless you are in a state with legal medical and recreational marijuana, THC remains illegal and may be part of the substances a drug test is looking for if you are asked to take one.

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Types of CBD

Cannabidiol can be categorized into three types according to how many and what types of marijuana compounds remain in the product. Apart from CBD and THC, other marijuana compounds of value include other cannabinoids, terpenes (aromatic compounds), and flavonoids (believed to contain phytonutrients and antioxidant properties).

The CBD products you find on the market can contain a variety of these compounds in different amounts and ratios, so make sure you know what you’re buying. You can find information about the contents of your CBD product by checking the packaging or the label.

The types of CBD you can find in dispensaries are full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.

Full-Spectrum CBD

This CBD type comes in tinctures, edibles, topical creams, serums, and oils. CBD oil is not the same as hemp oil; it comes from flowers, leaves, and stalks, while hemp oil comes from seeds.

Full-spectrum CBD extract has all the natural compounds found in marijuana. This means it contains terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids, including a small amount of THC.

Getting the THC content right may be challenging when not extracting from the hemp plant. The plant naturally has low THC when it is industrial hemp, so it automatically limits how much of it gets into the final product.

So, does full-spectrum CBD show up in a drug test? Not necessarily, as you will see later in this article.

Broad-Spectrum CBD

This CBD type often comes as an oil and is less widely available.

Much like full-spectrum, you get additional compounds such as terpenes and other cannabinoids. However, there is no THC in broad-spectrum CBD, making it unlikely to fail drug tests that are used to detect THC.

CBD Isolate

CBD Isolate is just that: pure CBD that has no other compounds from the marijuana plant. This type usually comes from hemp plants because of their low THC levels.

The low level of regulation around CBD means some products may contain more than the label says (Research shows that fraud and mislabeling are common in CBD products), so always make sure to purchase CBD isolate from a reputable dispensary.

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How is CBD Metabolized in The Human Body?

Just like THC, CBD Metabolism occurs in the liver. It is most concentrated in blood plasma within two to four hours after consumption. As for the elimination, both CBD and THC typically have an initial half-life of between one and two hours.

Since CBD goes through the liver like THC, that could cause a failed drug test.

Can CBD Turn into THC?

No.  Although research has demonstrated that CBD can potentially turn into THC under some circumstances, studies on both animals and humans have shown that CBD cannot turn into THC in the body, so THC-free CBD should not give you a false positive result. [Source]

 Will CBD Show Up in a Drug Test? Theoretically, drug tests cannot detect CBD since they are designed to look for traces of THC rather than CBD.

The issue is when substandard products have misinformation on their labels, so you may get a not-so-false-positive result if you are taking THC without knowing.

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How to Ensure a CBD Product Does Not Contain THC?

Read the Label

Assuming you trust your vendor, your first move would be to read the product information. Among the things to look out for are:

  • Whether the manufacturer used hemp or marijuana in their extraction of the CBD
  • Whether it is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or a CBD isolate product
  • How much percentage of everything is there, and whether THC concentration is no more than 0.3%.

It would be wise to only go with a product  that has a clear label listing the amount of CBD and any other ingredients. 

Avoid Products that Aggressively Promise Health Benefits 

The FDA clarifies that it has only approved one CBD product for medicinal use, a seizure medication called Epidiolex.

What’s more, there is limited research to prove that CBD can cure any condition.  CBD is only used for its potential therapeutic advantages, so you’ll want to steer clear of any manufacturer who makes speculative health promises.

Due Diligence

Do thorough background research on the manufacturer, if possible, and find out if their product is tested by a third-party trusted lab. Other elements to look out for include:

  • CO2 extraction
  • Solventless
  • Decarboxylation
  • USDA-certified organic
  • Pesticide/ herbicide-free
  • No preservatives
  • No additives
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Does CBD Oil Show up on Drug Tests?

Most CBD oil products are THC-free. However, you may get a positive test if you take a full-spectrum CBD oil.

One study involving 15 participants taking a full-spectrum CBD product found evidence of THC in 7 of them. Though limited in sample size, the study pointed out that high creatine levels were a common factor in those with positive findings.

Do CBD Gummies Show up on Drug Tests?

Like CBD oil, CBD gummies will not show up on a drug test unless they are full-spectrum or contaminated with THC. They might also fail to show even if they are full-spectrum, depending on your body’s chemistry.

Consider sticking to CBD isolate or broad-spectrum products from trusted suppliers if you are worried about getting in trouble.

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What Types of Drug Tests Are There for Cannabis Detection?

Cannabinoids, such as THC, can be absorbed into a person’s hair, nails, blood, saliva, fat, and sweat. Because of that, cannabis detection tests revolve around where the substance is detectable.

The procedure involves getting samples and making preliminary tests. A follow-up test is often only done to confirm a positive preliminary one; this is because false results are not uncommon.

Urine Test

This is the most common test because it is also the least invasive and enables easy sample collection.

Urine drug testing can detect THC metabolites for 15 days, but this will only affect heavy marijuana users. Single marijuana use may only show up to 3 days, while CBD usage rarely shows.

Blood Test

Blood tests are rarer than urine tests, so you are far less likely to encounter a blood drug test at your workplace or school. Not to mention, THC clears very quickly in the bloodstream; it is only detectable for up to five hours, although related metabolites may be present for seven days.

So, what’s the point of this test? Blood tests come in handy when experts need to detect impairment — likely after an accident that they suspect was caused by intoxication.

Saliva Test

Does CBD show up on a saliva drug test? Saliva testing is not done for CBD. It’s also uncommon for THC. That said, THC may linger around in your saliva for about 72 hours or longer due to chronic cannabis use. 

There have been proposals to introduce THC breath tests, but there is no precise way of doing that yet.

Hair Test

Hair may indicate the presence of THC metabolites for up to 90 days. However, this test is not common.

There are no standard cut-off limits for the level of THC metabolites that should raise a brow in a hair test.

Which medications can generate false-positive results for cannabis?

Medications that are known to do that include:

  • Dronabinol
  • Pantoprazole
  • Efavirenz
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen, ibuprofen, and sulindac
Unwanted-THC-in-Body

Situations that May Result in Unwanted THC in Your Body:

Cross-Contamination

There is always a possibility for cross-contamination during the manufacturing and packaging process. This is especially true if the manufacturer is going for an exclusive CBD product or has a setup where they are also making THC-only products.

Cross-contamination may also occur in your home if you store your CBD oil alongside THC-rich substances.

Second-Hand Exposure to THC

Being exposed to second-hand cannabis smoke may yield a positive drug test result. However, the chances of this happening are very minimal. There is hardly ever enough second-hand THC in the body to go by.

Still, research suggests the strain of the marijuana alongside the room’s ventilation may influence how much THC you absorb. Highly-potent cannabis strains will cause higher THC levels, while poor ventilation will increase exposure.

Mislabeling

Studies have found that the market is filled with CBD products containing a trace amount of THC where the label says otherwise.

As we also previously pointed out, it is not uncommon  for CBD packaging to be mislabeled. The chances of this happening are especially higher when the manufacturer makes a wide range of products. Intentional mislabeling of products is also possible since CBD products have yet to have consistent regulation.

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Do you still have questions or simply need a consultation? Don’t hesitate to reach out to your nearest RISE Dispensary and have a talk with our friendly staff.

Sources:

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