Many consumers have a growing interest in the use of cannabidiol, or CBD, as a therapeutic remedy for a wide range of common conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, and chronic pain management. But this spike in interest has also brought about rising concerns about whether it’s possible for CBD oil to show up on a drug test. While CBD is one of the most common chemical compounds found in the cannabis sativa plant (the same origin plant as marijuana), there are some important differences in how CBD affects the body, and thus the way it is detected by traditional drug testing.
Frequently Asked Questions About CBD and Drug Tests
- Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
- Can CBD Oil Make You Fail a Drug Test?
- How Can CBD Products Trigger a Drug Test Failure?
- How Much THC Must Be Present to Register on a Drug Test?
- Does CBD Show Up on a Hair Follicle Test?
- Does CBD Show Up in a Roadside Saliva Test?
- What If I Fail a Drug Test Because of CBD Oil?
CBD is one of hundreds of chemical compounds present in the cannabis sativa plant family. In fact, cannabis sativa is an extremely versatile plant that can be cultivated for many different purposes, including food, construction materials, and its better-known medicinal and recreational uses. To date, researchers have identified approximately 400 different chemical compounds within the cannabis plant.
Two of the most common are cannabidiol (CBD) and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). As of this writing, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has mandated that cannabis products containing more than .3 percent THC are illegal. In fact, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency lists THC as a Schedule I drug, and it is screened for in just about any conventional drug test, along with alcohol, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, opiates, and cocaine.
CBD, on the other hand, has gained attention in recent years as a feasible alternative to prescription drugs when it comes to treating the symptoms of many different health conditions. And while research into CBD’s ultimate health benefits remains early, many are optimistic about the long-term health and wellness benefits. The increase in adoption of CBD oil as a therapeutic remedy may leave you wondering if using the cannabinoid on a regular basis puts you in danger of failing a drug test. We’ve outlined everything you need to below in the FAQs below.
Frequently Asked Questions About CBD and Drug Tests
Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
Not typically. Most standard drug tests are designed to detect the cannabis compound THC or any THC metabolite, which is the chemical compound inherent in marijuana that produces an intoxicating effect.
Unless the drug test is specifically designed as a CBD drug test, it will not register as a test result.
Be aware, though, that whoever is requesting your drug test has the ability to request that CBD be added to the list of substances to look for—but this is highly uncommon, especially in areas where CBD use is common and legal.
There is a serious caveat here, though. You must be very careful about the type of CBD oil you’re using and the specific contents it includes. Technically, all legal CBD products in the United States must contain less than .3 percent THC content. However, it’s important to keep in mind that CBD products are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so there may be some CBD products that do contain higher amounts of THC.
Can CBD Oil Make You Fail a Drug Test?
Not under normal circumstances. If you’re using a quality, pure CBD product, containing .3 percent THC or less, CBD oil will not make you fail a drug test. Only when the amount of THC present in your CBD product is above the legal threshold of .3 percent is it likely for you to get a positive drug test result, or if you were to consume more than the daily recommended dosage.
That’s why it’s so important for a CBD user to carefully read the labels of any CBD products purchased, and only purchase CBD from a reputable retailer. For example, most of our CBD products at Farmer & Chemist do not include any THC at all. And those that do include trace amounts of THC are below the legal .3 percent limit. It’s also important to check whether the CBD product you’re purchasing is broad spectrum CBD or full spectrum CBD. Broad spectrum CBD products are much less likely to contain trace amounts of residual THC. Broad spectrum CBD is less widely available than full spectrum CBD, and is most often sold as an oil or tincture.
In addition, you can find CBD in isolate form. CBD isolate is hemp derived CBD, and it is completely pure, with no additional compounds from its source plant, which means it should contain absolutely no THC. You might see this type of CBD as an oil or tincture, or sold as a crystalline powder or small slab. You can also talk with your physician or pharmacist about the type of CBD that makes sense for you, along with how to take CBD oil so that it’s most effective.
How Can CBD Products Trigger a Drug Test Failure?
A CBD product can only trigger a positive drug test result if it contains more than the legal amounts of THC. Remember that both the hemp plant and the marijuana plant are part of the cannabis sativa family. Hemp derived CBD is entirely legal, as long as it contains .3 percent THC or less. CBD derived from hemp is much less likely to have high amounts of THC.
CBD harvested from the marijuana plant, however, is more likely to register higher levels of THC than the United States considers legal. And since most drug tests are designed to detect THC specifically, using a CBD product with more than .3 percent THC could trigger a drug test failure.
Your CBD product may end up with higher than .3 percent THC because of product mislabeling or even because of cross-contamination during the CBD production process. This is why, even if you’re paying close attention to the label, it’s a good idea to request a certificate of analysis for any CBD product you purchase. It isn’t uncommon for CBD oil, CBD gummies or other CBD products to be mislabeled as containing acceptable amounts of THC. For example, one study out of the Netherlands found in 2017 that of 84 CBD-only products purchased online, 18 of them actually contained detectable THC.
How Much THC Must Be Present to Register on a Drug Test?
The acceptable level of THC generally depends on the type of marijuana drug test you’re taking. According to the Mayo Clinic, federal law has established workplace drug testing cutoff values for THC to avoid the possibility that trace amounts of THC would trigger a positive test.
For a traditional urine test, THC or any other marijuana metabolite must be detected at a level of 50 nanograms per milliliter in order to trigger a positive result. A urine test is the most common type of drug screen used, especially for workplace-related drug testing. The typical urine drug test uses antibodies designed to adhere to specific drugs or their metabolites. THC and other marijuana metabolites are detectable in urine for anywhere from three to 15 days after use, depending on frequency and duration of use. For heavy and frequent marijuana use, however, THC may be detectable for as much as 30 days.
A blood test to check for marijuana is much less common, and is generally used to determine whether someone is impaired. For example, this type of test might be used to determine whether someone has been driving while under the influence of marijuana. For this type of test, a THC blood concentration of one, two, or five nanograms per milliliter typically shows impairment.
Does CBD Show Up on a Hair Follicle Test?
CBD will not show up on a hair follicle test because a hair follicle test looks for THC.
Hair follicle drug testing is extremely uncommon, so there are currently no established acceptable limits for THC concentration in a hair test. A recommended private industry cutoff limit for THC in hair is one picogram per milligram. A picogram is roughly one trillionth of a gram. THC and other marijuana metabolites can be detected in hair for up to 90 days following use.
Does CBD Show Up in a Roadside Saliva Test?
No, CBD will not show up in a roadside saliva test. Because CBD does not cause impairment, it’s not something the police will test for. Saliva tests are typically designed to detect THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.
It’s important to note that saliva drug tests are extremely uncommon. As such, there are no officially adopted cutoff levels associated with them. However, one study published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology has suggested a THC cutoff value of four nanograms per milliliter. THC is detectable in saliva for approximately 72 hours, except for in cases of heavy marijuana use, when it may be detectable for much longer.
While the police could use a roadside saliva test (similar to today’s breathalyzer test) to determine if someone is driving while impaired by THC, the technology for this type of testing is still new and needs further testing and research before it’s widely adopted.
What If I Fail a Drug Test Because of CBD Oil?
If you believe you have received a positive drug test because of a CBD oil, topical CBD, or another CBD product you are using, it’s time to carefully check your label.
Look for a listing of the THC level present in the product, and if you haven’t seen it already, you can request the product’s certificate of analysis—which should be issued by a third-party laboratory and explicitly outline everything that’s in the CBD oil product. If you’re working with a retailer who doesn’t have this information readily available (or who won’t share it), then it’s time to find a new vendor and product that you can feel more confident about.
And if the labeling and/or certificate of analysis supports a THC-free product, you may want to consider other potential THC sources you may have come into contact with, or request a retest (if possible).
CBD Won’t Show Up on a Drug Test, But THC Will
In general, most standard drug tests are not designed to detect CBD, chiefly because CBD does not, on its own, cause an intoxicating effect and is therefore not classified as an illegal controlled substance.
However, the caveat here is that you should always do your due diligence to make sure that any CBD oil or CBD product you’re using does not contain trace amounts of THC higher than .3 percent. If your product is contaminated or mislabeled, a high enough THC concentration could lead to a positive result on a marijuana drug test. That’s why it’s so important to purchase your CBD products from a reputable and trusted source, like Farmer & Chemist. Our products follow the legal guidelines in regards THC content, and our knowledgeable and experienced group of experts is ready to help you find the CBD products that work best to support your health, wellness, and overall quality of life.