Table of Contents
- First Things First: CBD vs. THC
- Types of CBD
- How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System for a Drug Test?
- Can CBD Oil Cause a Positive Drug Test Result?
- Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
- Can Broad Spectrum or Pure CBD Trigger a Positive Drug Test?
- Will CBD Make Me Fail a Drug Test?
- What Can You Do to Avoid Failing a Drug Test?
- Can You Sue a CBD Company?
- Full Spectrum CBD From Cornbread Hemp
Does CBD show up on a drug test? It’s a simple question with a not-so-simple answer. Full spectrum CBD products, which contain THC in a legal amount, won't get you high, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safe to take if you’re subject to regular drug screenings. In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about CBD and drug testing as well as offer some tips on how to avoid an unwarranted positive drug test result.
First Things First: CBD vs. THC
Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the cannabis plant, each containing a plethora of cannabis compounds (cannabinoids). Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most prevalent, with hemp containing more CBD and marijuana containing more THC.
While these cannabinoids are related, CBD doesn’t create a high feeling when it’s consumed, as THC does. And while THC is still heavily controlled in the U.S., CBD has become legal on a federal level, making it a popular ingredient in many modern wellness supplements. But even though it’s a different compound from THC, will CBD show up on a drug test? This brings us to our next section …
Types of CBD
The kind of CBD you’re using can impact whether or not your CBD regimen will trigger a positive drug test. There are three types:
CBD isolate is a pure form of CBD in a white crystalline powder. All other cannabinoids and cannabis compounds have been removed, leaving only CBD.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad spectrum CBD contains all of the various cannabinoids present in hemp except for THC, which is removed. It’s possible for broad spectrum products to still contain trace amounts of THC, but nothing that should be detectable.
Full Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD contains all of the various cannabinoids, including no more than 0.3% THC.
So, if CBD isolate and broad spectrum CBD don’t contain THC, then why would anyone use full spectrum CBD? Two words — “entourage effect.” The entourage effect is an observed phenomenon whereby CBD, taken alongside THC and other cannabinoids, appears to produce greater results than when taken on its own. For this reason, full spectrum CBD is considered more effective than either broad spectrum or CBD isolate.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System for a Drug Test?
In addition to the type of CBD you’re taking and the frequency of use, the method with which you take CBD is one of the most important factors that determine how long CBD will stay in your system1. Here are some of the most common methods.
Edible CBD (Gummies, Chocolates)
CBD consumed orally takes more time to go into effect, but it also stays in your system longer. Edible CBD (used long term) will take between 10 and 25 days to leave your system.
Inhaled CBD (Vapor, Smoke)
CBD that’s smoked or inhaled takes effect rather quickly but doesn’t last as long in the body. CBD taken this way should leave your system after about six and a half days.
Oral CBD Spray
CBD that is sprayed directly onto the mucous membranes in the mouth will remain in your system between seven hours and three days.
Can CBD Oil Cause a Positive Drug Test Result?
CBD itself won’t result in a positive drug test, but the small amount of THC present in most CBD products might.
Many companies require their employees to participate in drug tests that must be medically reviewed. Most of these tests are looking for THC or other illegal drugs. The most common type of drug test administered is a urinalysis (urine test). In the case of THC, a positive urinalysis test has detected the presence of THC metabolites (a byproduct that results from metabolizing THC).
The presence of these metabolites indicates that THC was in the body prior to testing. However, it can’t determine the source of the THC or whether it was legal2 (from hemp-derived CBD) or illegal (from marijuana).
Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
So, does CBD show up on a drug test? Will CBD oil show up on a drug test? Will CBD show on a probation drug test? These are common questions, and the answer to all of them is the same — probably not. However, even though most drug tests won’t pick up CBD specifically, that doesn't mean that CBD use won't cause you to fail a drug test.
CBD usually won’t "show up" on a drug test because most tests aren’t looking for CBD. Drug tests are typically looking for THC metabolites, which are distinct from CBD metabolites.
Unfortunately, if you use CBD products, you could still test positive for THC because many (read: most) CBD supplements contain at least trace amounts of THC. The amount is so small, though, that it doesn’t produce a “high” feeling. So, what’s the problem then? There are a couple …
Cannabinoids Build Up Over Time
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble and tend to build up in the fat cells of the body. This is why it can take a couple of weeks after beginning a CBD regimen for you to start experiencing benefits — it takes some time for the levels of CBD to accumulate. This is also why the little amount of THC found in many CBD supplements can amass over time and possibly result in a positive drug test.
Some Products Have More THC Than They Claim
Due to a lack of regulations, mislabeling within the CBD industry is been relatively commonplace. In 2018, researchers took 80+ CBD products purchased online and tested them for CBD and THC. The results were compared with their advertised concentrations, and it was found that a large number of the products were mislabeled. 43% contained more CBD than was stated, 26% contained less, and 21% contained THC. Labels on vape liquids and tinctures were least likely to be accurate (12.5% and 25%, respectively). The labels on CBD oils were most consistently accurate, but 55% of them were still unreliable.3
This is all to say that you could purchase a CBD product labeled THC-free and possibly get something entirely different.
Can Broad Spectrum or Pure CBD Trigger a Positive Drug Test?
Since broad spectrum CBD and CBD isolate don’t contain THC, they shouldn’t result in a positive drug test, right? They shouldn’t — but they still could. Due to mislabeling and the possibility of cross-contamination with THC, even broad spectrum and CBD isolate supplements could result in a failed drug test. How can you avoid these issues?
Third-Party Lab Tests
Many CBD companies utilize third-party lab testing to verify the concentrations of different cannabinoids within their products (as well as heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, microbial contaminants, mycotoxins, and other substances that help determine the purity, quality, and safety of their products). If a company doesn’t use third-party tests, you should steer clear of their products.
Certificates of Analysis
Reputable CBD companies that offer truly high-quality CBD products will also offer a certificate of analysis (COA) for each product. The COA provides clear details about the concentrations of all present cannabinoids. A CBD company that doesn’t make COAs available for its products likely doesn’t test them or doesn’t want to share the test results — both of which are red flags.
To avoid taking a product with more THC than you intend, be sure to only purchase CBD from well-regarded companies that use third-party lab tests and make their COAs available to their customers.
Will CBD Make Me Fail a Drug Test?
To calculate your actual chances of failing a CBD drug test from hemp-derived CBD, we refer to a 2001 study4 out of Berkley, California. During the study, researchers gave participants up to 0.60 mg of THC per day for 40 days, and only 1 out of the 15 participants failed a drug test.
This may be due to detection thresholds for THC metabolites usually being too high to pick up on the trace amounts that would be found in a urine sample as a result of CBD use.
Depending on the amount of THC present in your daily dose of full spectrum CBD, the above-mentioned results could help to put your mind at ease.
What Can You Do to Avoid Failing a Drug Test?
Suffice it to say, the easiest way to avoid a positive drug test from CBD use is to stop using CBD. However, that’s not the best option for those who have experienced its potentially life-changing benefits. So, what can you do? Here are a few ways to avoid any unfair repercussions in the workplace as a result of your legal use of hemp-derived CBD.
Communicate With HR
If you work for a company that imposes drug testing, your first course of action should be to contact Human Resources (HR).
If you have a written doctor’s note explaining your need for full spectrum CBD, you may be able to have your HR department put in writing that you could fail a drug test due to your legal CBD use.
Otherwise, remember that hemp-derived CBD isn’t illegal, and neither is the small amount of THC present in many CBD products. You can provide your HR with a copy of the COA for your CBD supplement and explain your concern that you may fail a test due to the small amount of THC. They may still be willing to make a record that could help protect you from retaliation due to a failed drug test result.
Request the CBD/THC Ratio Test
LabCorp, a life sciences and healthcare company, now offers a test that detects the ratio of CBD and THC metabolites in your urine — good news for anyone using full spectrum CBD oil. Speak to your HR department or supervisor about LabCorp Test #7019075, the CBD/THC Ratio Urine Test, and request that you’re tested with that test specifically.
Stop Using CBD Before Drug Testing
If you’re not able to get the assistance you need from HR, or if you’re still worried about failing a test due to CBD, play it safe and stop taking CBD for a while. Depending on how you’ve been taking CBD (and for how long), it should take between one and four weeks to get it out of your system.
Cannabinoids are stored in fat tissues, and some have theorized that exercise or fasting could help to reduce the presence of cannabinoid metabolites prior to testing, but this doesn’t appear to be the case.6 Both fasting and exercise can result in the burning of fat and the release of further cannabinoids, but since drug tests aren’t designed to detect cannabinoids in fat and instead are looking for metabolites in the blood or urine, releasing further cannabinoids from fat cells could be counter-productive.
For added peace of mind, you can track your own THC levels with at-home tests.
Request a Re-Test if You Test Positive
It's helpful to know that about 5–10% of drug tests produce false positives.7 This is well-documented and provides ample reason to ask for a re-test if you test positive the first time.
Can You Sue a CBD Company?
Some CBD companies make blatant claims to reassure their customers that their products won’t cause a failed drug test — a reckless and potentially harmful practice.
It’s no surprise, then, that some CBD users have chosen to sue. On one occasion, two women sued a CBD company because they claimed that the company's products caused them to fail drug tests, causing one of them to lose their job. In another case, a New York man sued another CBD company after he failed a drug test, also costing him his job, according to Consumer Reports.8
Full Spectrum CBD From Cornbread Hemp
At Cornbread Hemp, we understand the importance of providing high-quality products with ingredients our customers can trust. This is why we use third-party lab tests to verify the cannabinoid content of all of our products and provide our customers with COAs for every item on our website.
Our hemp-derived CBD products and the processes we use to produce them are 100% organic from start to finish. Every product we offer, from our CBD oil to our CBD gummies, is made from the whole flower and contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids and other beneficial cannabis compounds. As such, our CBD products contain a small amount of THC (no more than 0.3%), and their use could result in failed urine drug tests. However, by following the tips above, you can mitigate the impact in the case of a positive test result.
Remember to always do your due diligence when choosing a CBD wellness supplement to ensure you’re getting what is being promised from a reliable source.