Can you pass a drug test with CBD in your system? This question might be the most common one we get at cbdMD. Recently, a survey we did here found that 55 percent of participants thought that CBD might make them flunk out.
It’s not surprising that people are worried. If you’ve ever been employed in the United States, you’ve likely taken a trip to a little clinic somewhere, been handed a clear plastic cup, and asked to do your business up to the line – sometimes with the door open.
Urine tests are the most common form of drug screening because they are cheap and useful, but does CBD show up on a drug test? As always, the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. It depends on many factors, which boil down to:
- What kind of CBD oil you’re taking
- What type of drug test you’re getting
- When exactly you’re getting the test
Each of those factors requires some explanation, so let’s get started.
What Kind of CBD Oil Will Show Up on a Drug Test?
A drug test can detect small amounts of THC, so you need to know what type of CBD oil you’re taking. So when you’re worried about whether CBD oil will show up on a drug test, what you’re concerned with is how much THC is in it? By itself, CBD will not show up in a drug test, period. The tests are not designed to look for it, and it is not an illegal substance.
When it comes to CBD oil and drug testing, if CBD oil is contaminated with THC, that may cause you to fail a drug test. Whether or not your CBD oil contains THC is dependent on a variety of factors. The two most important of these are hemp quality and extraction methods. Our CBD oil buyer’s guide can help you know what to look for when buying CBD oil.
CBD Starts With Hemp
In the United States, industrial hemp does come from the same family of plants as marijuana, Cannabis sativa L. The critical difference is the THC content. By federal law, no hemp in the U.S. may contain more than 0.3 percent THC. You could smoke a whole truckload of hemp, and it wouldn’t do the trick. That’s not why it's cultivated.
Industrial hemp in the U.S. is either grown for fiber to make goods like cloth, rope, or even plastics or is bred for high CBD content. Companies like cbdMD take industrial hemp and extract all the helpful cannabinoids and terpenes to make CBD oil products like CBD tinctures, CBD gummies, or CBD topicals.
With that said, marijuana plants with more than 0.3 percent THC also contain CBD, so in states where that’s allowed, you can obtain CBD products with higher THC content. That’s why it’s so important to know where your CBD is coming from exactly.
Can You Fail a Drug Test Due to CBD? The Extraction Process Is an Important Factor
When trying to figure out if CBD oil will show up on a drug test, it’s important to look at the extraction method. For CBD tinctures and other products, there are three types of CBD extract that are typically used:
- Full Spectrum
- Broad Spectrum
CBD isolate is pure cannabidiol, i.e., CBD. It excludes all the other cannabinoids and compounds in the plant. That means there’s no THC, so you can be sure you won’t fail a drug test. But it also means you won’t get the benefits of the other good stuff in hemp, like CBN, CBG, and terpenes. There’s also reason to believe that they can work with CBD in an “entourage effect” to enhance each other’s benefits.
Full spectrum CBD oil contains all of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds naturally present in the plant, including THC. That’s why it’s known as a pure extract. While a full spectrum extract does have potential benefits, there are definite drawbacks.
The presence of THC in a full spectrum CBD oil is enough for you to fail a drug test in some cases – even if only at 0.3 percent. You may want to avoid full spectrum CBD oil if drug tests are a part of your everyday life.
While some believe the presence of THC has some benefit, the risks far outweigh any minimal difference in effects between full spectrum and the next type of CBD oil, broad spectrum.
Broad spectrum CBD oil is made by extracting all the most beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and additional compounds without any THC. While there are several ways this can be accomplished, at cbdMD, we have developed our own.
We call it Superior Broad Spectrum. For us, we wanted to deliver a THC-free* guarantee, so we needed a process to precisely provide the same level of accuracy every time. We start by creating a CBD extract, pulling just the CBD from the hemp plant.
We then take the other beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids and add them back to the extracted CBD to produce a CBD oil that retains all the best properties hemp offers, without the risk of THC. This method allows you to take CBD oil and makes drug testing no problem.
The Big Difference
So in sum, if you get CBD oil that a) comes from hemp and b) uses CBD isolate or broad spectrum CBD, then you will almost certainly be just fine when it comes time to take your drug test. However, if you’ve been taking full spectrum CBD oil, you should know how drug tests work, how they detect THC, and what to expect. First, though, why would you need a drug test?
Why Am I Being Drug Tested?
You Want a Job
If you want a job, your employer wants to know whether your habits will affect their bottom line. This decision might be because the position involves heavy machinery or requires that you operate a vehicle.
The employer wants to know if you pose a risk to your safety or the safety of others. In other cases, the position may require you to have access to sensitive information, and a drug screening is an effective way to measure what they see as your trustworthiness.
So, before they start sending you your monthly subscription fee, they want to peek at your pee. And broad spectrum CBD oil won’t show up on a drug test.
You Want to Compete
Athletes, especially those at the top of their game, are subject to drug screening as well. Performance-enhancing drugs such as human growth hormone and steroids were once rampant in the upper echelons of sports.
Many professional athletic organizations have instituted mandatory drug screenings for all their athletes to make things a little more competitive. The NFL, the NBA, MLB, and the NHL all do drug screenings at random points during the year. Luckily, THC-free* CBD won’t show up on a drug test and is used by a full roster of cbdMD Athletes for performance, recovery, and beyond.
So, next time you’re standing over a toilet holding a cup, remember that LeBron has been in the same position and try not feeling too bad.
You Need Help
If someone has had issues with drugs or alcohol in the past, they might seek help in the form of a rehabilitation program. Considering what they came there for, it shouldn’t be surprising that these facilities consistently drug-test their patients to ensure they are clean and sober, at least while they are there.
If the rehab program is court-ordered, then those drug screenings may continue for some time after a person has completed their therapy to make sure they stay on the straight and narrow.
What Are Drug Tests Looking For?
There are a couple of different drug tests, but they all look for the same thing. Drugs, obviously, but which ones? Urinalysis can test for a wide range of substances, including:
So, while urine tests for illegal substances are simple, they are also very comprehensive in what they are trying to find. As a bonus, they can also detect nicotine and cotinine; the substance made when the body breaks down nicotine. So, your health insurance knows whether you checked the non-smoker box truthfully. Also, they might see the CBD oil in a drug test, but without THC, you won’t test positive.
Types of Drug Tests
In some cases, drug testing can also involve a blood test, but those are more commonly done as toxicology screenings in hospitals for specific medical reasons. The two most common types of drug screening that you’ll see are differing urinalysis tests.
The first is called an immunoassay (IA) test. It is the quickest and most cost-effective test. The IA test simply uses antibodies to detect the presence of drugs in the urine. It does not, however, identify how much is present. Any amount of a drug in your system will show up on this test. This type of analysis is less accurate and can result in potential false positives, but CBD oil won’t show up in this drug test.
Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Testing
The second type of urinalysis is called a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry test (GC-MS). It is considered the standard for drug screening as it is incredibly accurate and can detect a broader range of drugs than a simple IA test.
It works by separating a chemical mixture and identifying its parts at a molecular level. These tests are used more rarely because they are more expensive and take longer to get results. An analysis that is so granular tends to be pretty accurate but can still deliver false positives due to interfering compounds. Thus, science will know if you’ve taken CBD oil with this drug test, but it won’t count as a positive result.
Both urine screenings use a cut-off level. If an amount of a compound is below a certain threshold, it does not trigger positive results. In the case of IA screenings, antibodies will not react with compounds below a certain level unless they mistakenly mix with something else in your system to create a false positive. If compound interaction is suspected of having caused a false positive, the GC-MS test will be helpful for more accurate results.
For the GC-MS test, if detected compounds are below a certain level, they do not count as a positive result, even though the analysis detected them. Many things that have nothing to do with drugs can interfere with drug testing results.
If you’ve eaten something that contains a narcotic-like compound – poppyseed chicken or bagels is the most common example – then it could potentially give you a positive result on your screening. Full spectrum CBD oil in drug tests might deliver a false positive due to the low levels of THC.
The length of time that something has been in your system also affects whether or not it will appear in a drug test. Several factors come into play to determine how long something will stay with you and show up.
- Your body mass
- Hydration level
- The acidity of your urine
- How long ago you took it
As for the amount of THC that is in full spectrum CBD oil, drug tests may detect it because frequent use has the potential to build it up in your body and remain detectable for longer. CBD oil that does contain THC can show up on a drug test anywhere from 3 to 30 days, depending on how heavily you’ve been taking it.
So how long is CBD detectable in urine? CBD in a drug test by itself will not be detected, the analysis is not looking for it, and it is not an illegal substance.
You’re Not the Only One
Remember, whenever you are asked to take a drug test, you aren’t alone or the only person who may be feeling nervous about it. The last thing you want is CBD oil adding to drug-test anxiety. It’s supposed to do the opposite.
Try to Relax; We’ve All Been There
If your CBD oil does not contain THC, it will not cause you to test positive for marijuana in a urine drug screening. I’ve often found that education reduces anxiety. Hopefully, having more information about CBD oil and drug tests, like how drug screenings work and what they are looking for, will help calm your nerves if you find yourself going in for screening.
Drug testing is very common. We’ve all been there at one time or another. When asking yourself, does CBD show up on a drug test, remember CBD oil is meant to bring you the best beneficial properties of hemp without the risks involved. By understanding that THC-free* CBD oil will not show up in a drug test, you can enjoy the benefits CBD offers without adding to your stress.
Disclaimer: The cbdMD page contains general information about health, diet, lifestyle, and nutrition. Any information provided should not be considered or treated as medical advice and always consult a medical professional before making any lifestyle changes. Products and information mentioned on the cbdMD blog are not intended to be used as a substitute for medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and cbdMD is not responsible for their content.