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.
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.)
Factors in CBD Oil Showing on Drug Screen
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:
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.
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.
Despite the widespread use of urine drug tests, there appears to be some inconsistency in the interpretation of test results. Considering the significant consequences a false-positive result can have (such as loss of job or imprisonment), this is somewhat surprising. But it is also something to be aware of, because it may mean that what is considered a pass (a negative result) in some circumstances may be considered a fail (a positive result) in others.
This is more likely to happen if the CBD you are buying is marijuana-derived CBD rather than hemp-derived CBD. Hemp-derived CBD is required by law to contain less than 0.3% THC, although regular daily ingestion of high doses of this may still cause THC to accumulate.
Drug testing can be conducted on various biological specimens, such as urine, hair, blood, saliva, sweat, toenails, fingernails, and meconium. Urine drug testing is the most common way of workplace testing for specific drugs because it is not invasive, and samples are easy to collect.
How much THC needs to be present to cause a positive drug test?
The following variables affect the amount of time that marijuana (THC) and its metabolites remain detectable in the urine or other biological samples:
Theoretically, CBD should not show up on a drug test. However, because most CBD products are classified as a supplement, it is not regulated for safety and purity. This means that contamination of the CBD with THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) may and does occur, and this may show up on a drug test, depending on the cutoff level of the test and other factors listed below.
An estimate of the length of time marijuana (THC) is detectable in urine is:
There are two main types of urine drug tests: screening and confirmatory tests. Immunoassay screening tests can be conducted on-site (point of care testing) or in a laboratory and allow large numbers of tests to be performed at once with relatively rapid results, providing an initial estimate of the presence or absence of drugs. There are three main types available, and all use antibodies to detect the presence of specific or classes of drug metabolites. Unfortunately, this can mean that substances with similar characteristics may be detected, resulting in false-positive results.
Bottom line: Existing evidence suggests that CBD reaches peak blood concentration within three minutes after inhalation, meaning any effects should be felt shortly after use. The effects should then last anywhere from 45 minutes to a couple of hours.
Inhalation is also an effective delivery method for CBD due to its rapid absorption and the efficiency of the lungs at transferring CBD into the bloodstream. Whether you’re smoking a high-CBD strain or taking a draw from a CBD vape pen, the interaction with the body remains the same. When CBD is inhaled, the cannabinoids are sent directly to the lungs, where they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and put into circulation.
A 1991 study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry & Behavior examined the concentration of CBD in the blood after high doses daily. Over a six-week period, the research team administered a daily dose of 700 milligrams of CBD to 14 Huntington’s disease patients. One week after the dosing ceased, the CBD remaining in the blood was just 1.5 nanograms per milliliter and was “virtually undetectable” thereafter.
Bottom line: While the time that CBD is detectable in the body will depend on the aforementioned factors, we can deduce that CBD will likely leave the system after a week or two.
It’s important to note that, while existing evidence shows us that CBD can definitely be detected in the body for a certain period of time, most drug tests specifically look for the presence of THC. Therefore, accurate information on how long CBD stays in the body remains limited compared with information on THC.
Oral ingestion is the most common method of CBD consumption. Administering a couple of drops of CBD oil directly into the mouth is certainly a convenient way to reap the potential benefits of this therapeutic cannabinoid. However, ingestion is not necessarily the most effective consumption method for those who want to feel the effects of CBD immediately.
Based on existing research, CBD may stay in your system anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks. That timeframe can change depending on a variety of factors including metabolism, consumption method, frequency of use, and dosage.