Many CBD Oils Contain THC
By now, you probably know that CBD products won’t get you high. But can CBD make you test positive during a drug test?
It’s a simple question… with a not so simple answer.
To get to the bottom of it, we spent days compiling and comparing research articles from reputable sources. We’ll give you the full rundown on CBD, but first, here’s the short version:
While drug tests don’t look for hemp-derived CBD, they do look for THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. So if your CBD product contains trace amounts of THC, you could possibly fail a drug test.
This quick answer is the partial truth, but the full truth is a bit more complicated. Read on to find out more.
Most CBD products are derived from industrial hemp. According to federal law, hemp is defined as having no more than 0.3% THC. That’s far from enough THC to make you feel stoned. But is it enough THC to fail a drug test?
Even though hemp has not more than 0.3% THC, that’s enough to test positive during a test.
We’ve found countless news reports of people losing their jobs and facing legal charges as a result of using fully legal CBD products. As unfair as it is, this kind of thing does happen.
With this in mind, it’s good to avoid CBD products that contain THC if you think you might get tested soon. And to be honest, if you know a drug test is in your near future, you should avoid ingestible CBD products altogether. That’s because even pure CBD isolate products can cause you to test positive on a drug screening (more on that later).
Which CBD Products Have THC?
CBD products that contain THC are advertised as “full spectrum” hemp extracts.
So if you’re trying to avoid THC, it’s best to avoid CBD products that say “full spectrum” on the label.
Unfortunately, avoiding THC isn’t as easy as choosing “THC-free” pure CBD isolates. In a 2017 study, researchers found that many products advertised as “THC-free,” actually tested positive for THC. If THC exposure is something on your checklist for purchasing a CBD product, you might want to avoid CBD altogether.
Even if a CBD product is advertised as “THC-free,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it is.
That’s just one of the many reasons you should always look for a third-party lab test.
It Gets Worse…
Many online resources claim that there is no need to worry about failing if you’re taking CBD isolate. This is an incorrect statement. Even CBD providers themselves, who are aware of the liability they take on if they make claims, have come out of the woodwork to say that CBD isolate and broad spectrum CBD products are without risk of flagging positive during workplace drug testing.
While it is unlikely that CBD will trigger a false positive on a drug test, there are a couple exceptions to this rule that you should worry about.
According to this 2012 study, a specific type of drug test used in labs across America can’t tell the difference between CBD and THC. We don’t know exactly how many labs use this specific method. But if this testing method detects CBD in your system, it will flag you for a false positive for THC.
If you’re one of the unlucky ones, 100% pure CBD could actually make you fail a drug test.
The New York Times published an article about this in 2019, and it reminded us how little we actually know about CBD and drug testing.
Just last year, a study found that a cannabinoid known as CBN, often called CBD’s “cousin,” can trigger a false positive for marijuana use—even in small doses.
This study only looked at three of the most common cannabinoids found in hemp, and one of them failed a test for drugs. This is alarming news, especially since cannabis plants could contain more than a hundred different cannabinoids.
While many CBD users pass their drug tests just fine, you should keep these risks in mind when taking CBD. And be especially wary of any CBD brands that claim you can take their product and pass a drug test.
Can You Sue Your Employer?
Every employer that tests for THC does so under the incorrect notion that THC remains 100% illegal under federal law. But last year, the USDA announced that THC derived from hemp is now federally legal. Because drug tests cannot determine the origin of the THC it detects, whether from legal hemp or illegal marijuana, businesses should not be allowed to use positive THC test results as grounds for termination. But most employers don’t see it that way—yet.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. If your doctor recommends that you take CBD for certain conditions and then you test positive for THC, then what?
So far, this theory has only been tested against claims related to medical marijuana, not against hemp-derived CBD. But the USDA declared that hemp-derived THC is legal under federal law with a cutoff level of 0.3% THC content during the manufacturing process. That means this issue has become ripe for a court case, but as of yet, no such court case has emerged.
If you would like CBD protections in your state, contact your state legislators. Tell them to pass laws that protect your right to take CBD. You might also bring up the fact that most employers don’t test for any opioid pain medications, but CBD users have to worry about getting fired. It doens’t make much sense.
Can You Sue a CBD Company?
Two women sued a CBD company because they claimed that company’s products caused them to fail drug tests. In another case, a New York man sued another CBD company for failing a test that cost him his job, according to Consumer Reports.
Fair warning: our products contain a legal dose of THC.
If you get fired for a positive drug test result while using Cornbread Hemp, that’s not right, but it’s also not our liability. Always make sure you know the levels of THC in any product you use. We fully and openly admit and warn you that our product contain trace amounts of THC. And therefore, our products could cause you to fail some urine drug tests.
How to Pass Your Drug Test
To calculate your actual chances of failing a drug test from hemp-derived CBD, we refer to a 2001 study 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.
Although each dose of our organic CBD oil contains slightly more THC than that, this study indicates that our full-spectrum CBD oil is unlikely to produce a positive result on a drug test.
Regardless, here are some steps you can take to increase your chances of passing:
- Stop using CBD products two to three weeks before a known test date.
- Find out which test you’ll be taking: urine tests have a smaller window of detection than hair tests.
- Track your own THC levels with an at-home test.
- Drink plenty of water on the day of your test. This dilutes urine tests and reduces the amount of cannabinoids in your sample.
And if you don’t want to worry about this issue at all, here are some proactive actions you can take:
- Talk to your HR department or union steward to change your employer’s testing policies. (This is not impossible—the firefighters of Pittsburgh are allowed to use medical marijuana because their union went to bat for them.)
- Contact your representatives in state and federal government to tell them to protect full spectrum hemp-derived CBD users.
It’s also helpful to know that about 5-10% of drug tests produce false positives. This is well-documented, and it’s a reason to ask for a re-test if you fail the first time.
Get It in Writing
The bottom line is this: to protect yourself, get it in writing.
- Get your doctor’s recommendation (for full spectrum CBD) in writing.
- Talk to your HR department and get their permission to use hemp oil in writing.
- Save your receipts from Cornbread Hemp in case you need to prove where the THC in your system came from.
This is a serious issue: the side effects of CBD are minimal, but the side effects of a positive drug screening can be severe.
We believe that workplace drug use is wrong, but we also believe that workplace drug testing should exclude all THC and cannabis compounds. However, we understand that many employers just aren’t there yet.
Final Advice: Be Careful
To sum up this article, here’s a quick recap:
- Drug tests are designed to only check for THC metabolites.
- Full spectrum CBD products contain low amounts of THC, which could build up in your system over time and cause positive results on drug tests.
- Even some “THC-free” CBD products do contain THC. Always look for a third-party lab test before purchasing CBD.
- A specific test (which is used in some labs) can’t tell the difference between CBD and THC. This means that 100% pure CBD could, in theory, still make you fail a test for drugs.
- Researchers have also found that CBN, one of the most common cannabinoids found in hemp plants and cannabis plants, can test positive for THC, even in small doses.
- If you get fired because you used CBD, this might be grounds for a lawsuit under the ADA, but this hasn’t been tested yet.
- If you’re taking CBD, get your doctor’s recommendation, your HR department’s approval, and the receipt for your CBD product in writing. Right now, this is the best way to protect yourself from trouble.
We wish CBD wasn’t such a questionable substance when it comes to drug testing. Then again, we wish drug tests didn’t screen for THC at all. But for now, this is the way things are.
We encourage you to do proper research before trying any CBD product, and we urge you to proceed with caution—especially if you have an upcoming drug screening.
Best of luck, and stay safe!