Drug tests look for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the element in marijuana that causes a high. CBD oils can have trace amounts of THC even if they're labeled “THC-free.” The FDA does not regulate these products, and mislabeling is common.
CBD is one of many active chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. One reason it’s gaining momentum in popularity is because it is said to lack the component of the plant that causes a person to get high, which is called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
In a study conducted by researchers from the Lautenberg Center, researchers discovered that CBD was more effective for treating inflammation and pain when used with other cannabis plant compounds derived from a full spectrum product over a CBD isolate product alone. This is one reason that full spectrum products (those containing THC) are popular.
A Word From Verywell
CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a popular product for everything from pain control to anxiety to promoting sleep. However, with the rise of CBD comes the concern about failing a drug test due to detection of CBD oil. News stories are emerging across the country involving famous sports players, employees of companies, and others who have gotten positive drug screening results for the presence of THC—the psychoactive component of marijuana —even though CBD oil is said to be THC-free.
When a drug test is performed, the active chemical in marijuana that gets detected in a positive screening is THC. However, most people are under the impression that CBD oil is THC-free.
Very small amounts of THC present in the material that CBD is extracted from can get into the CBD oil in high enough amounts to result in a positive drug test. This scenario may be more apt to occur when CBD oil is purchased from cannabis dispensaries in places where cannabis is legal, as opposed to an online retailer.
CBD oil extracted from hemp is not supposed to have any more than .3 percent of THC. However, it’s not uncommon for sellers to mislabel their products as THC-free hemp when in reality, it’s a low-quality oil extracted from marijuana, which does contain THC.
The legality of CBD products can be confusing. CBD products made from certain cannabis plant varieties are legal only in states where marijuana is legal, due to the potential THC content. CBD products made from hemp variety plants are legal throughout the United States as long as they contain less than 0.3% of THC and do not make any medical claims. (A hemp plant is defined as Cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.3% THC.)
CBD products can still be problematic, however, when it comes to drug testing. Though drug tests screen for THC, not CBD, many CBD products contain a trace amount of THC which will be detected in your bloodstream during a drug test.
Topical products that claim to contain CBD—like shampoos, cosmetics or creams—should not cause any reaction during a drug test because they do not enter the bloodstream. In the case of CBD oils, gummies, teas or transdermal patches, the situation is more complicated. In a test of 84 CBD products obtained online, 18 contained THC.
Factors in CBD Oil Showing on Drug Screen
CBD has taken off as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. CBD products like CBD oil can be made from either the hemp plant or the cannabis plant, which are closely related varieties of the same cannabis species, Cannabis sativa. CBD products contain a cannabinoid—a chemical—called cannabidiol, which does not make you high. The substance in marijuana that causes a buzz is a different cannabinoid, called THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.
THC can be detected in a urine test for up to 15 days, depending on how often and how much you use. It leaves the bloodstream in about five hours, but substances your body makes from THC (THC metabolites) can show up for as long as 7 days. CBD tends to stay in the bloodstream from 2 to 5 days, depending on dosage and frequency. If you have been using CBD for a while, it can stay in your body for up to 30 days or more.
If you are concerned that THC in your CBD oil or other CBD product may show up on a drug test, you may be able to reduce the chance of that occurring, though there is no guarantee. Some of the factors that may increase the likelihood of a failed drug test are:
CBD will not show up in a drug test because drug tests are not screening for it. CBD products may well contain THC, however, so you can fail a drug test after taking CBD products. If you take CBD oil, you should plan accordingly if your work or activities require you to undergo drug testing.
For more information regarding the legalities and the ins and outs of drug testing in the workplace, please visit DNA legal’s workplace testing services.
CBD from hemp plants is legal, whereas CBD from marijuana plants is not, however, the CBD and THC contents are not consistent, which can cause drug testing problems further down the line.
It is noted that CBD extracts from the marijuana plant that contains high levels of THC are illegal to consume or use.
Can CBD tamper with the effectiveness of medication?
The market in the UK is worth around £300m a year and that figure is rising, especially as the number of CBD oil users is now in the hundreds of thousands. These figures are expected to triple over the next 5 years according to Savills. Because of the surge in demand for CBD, pharmaceutical companies are entering the industry and attempting to improve the education, knowledge, and reputation of CBD products to maximise their profits.
In this article, we will explore the relationship between CBD and workplace drug testing, hoping to shed light for those in the legal field about this growing activity.
To avoid this unlikely scenario, labs should use different testing methodologies from GC-MS, or they should avoid the agent trifluoroacetic anhydride (TFAA). Fortunately, more advanced drug testing facilities have moved away from GC-MS and are using RP-HPLC, a faster and more reliable test. The High-Performance Liquid Chromatography linked to a tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) offers more detail into the different cannabinoids and delivers results in as little as 10 minutes. GC-MS is still widely used for testing broadly about which drugs have been consumed, but it can lack certain details, as is proven in this example.
That said at DNA Legal when testing hair we also test THC-COOH which is only produced through the consumption of THC and not CBD.