CBD is making its way into treats and drinks as well as tinctures and balms, and for good reason. The benefits are numerous– increased focus, less pain, better sleep, and decreased anxiety. According to Consumer Reports, 64 million Americans have tried CBD in the last 2 years. With products showing up everywhere, you might wonder: does CBD show up on a drug test too?
In short, yes, CBD can show up on a drug test. However, whether or not CBD itself is being tested for and what the ramifications are if it doesshow up can vary.
Are You at Risk of a CBD Drug Test?
Many employers use standardized drug testing as a way to lower the costs of workers comp and disability insurance. Nearly 60% of companies nationwide do pre-employment drug testing.
As new legislation passes concerning cannabis, some states are changing their workplace and marijuana policies while others are not. New York, where cannabis is medically legal but not recreationally, passed a bill banning pre-employment drug testing for THC. However, in California, where cannabis is both medically and recreationally legal, an employer can still drug test and determine employment status if a person fails.
Even with the dynamic laws surrounding cannabis, THC is still one of the five main substances employers look for when testing. The most common drug test, especially for employment, is a urine test. Blood, saliva, and hair are also becoming more common drug testing, but are generally used for probation and child custody cases.
The top 5 substances tested for are:
- Amphetamines (meth, speed, ecstasy)
- THC (cannabis, marijuana, hash)
- Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)
- Cocaine (coke, crack)
- Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)
It’s very rare for a lab to specifically test for the compound CBD. Drug testing policies vary state to state, as well as company to company. If you are concerned about having to take a drug test, research your state laws. If you are a current employee, any drug testing policies should be included in your HR paperwork. You always have the right to inquire about what will be tested for and why.
So if you are a CBD user and want to know ahead of time what will be tested on the drug panel – just ask.
Can You Fail a Drug Test Due to CBD?
Even if you’ve never used THC and the test isn’t testing for CBD, it is possible for you to fail the test or produce an inconclusive result if you’re a CBD user.
But if CBD and THC are different compounds and the test isn’t looking for CBD, you might be wondering: how could you fail?!?
There are a couple factors that could lead to a failing result.
CBD and THC come from the same plant: cannabis. Some CBD is derived from the hemp plant, which naturally has lower levels of THC. Other CBD comes from the marijuana plant which naturally has higher levels of THC.
The legal limit for THC in CBD products is .3%. However, testing verification of compound levels in CBD is not yet required or standardized nationally. Some products claiming to have no THC actually test with levels above the legal limit. Whereas others claiming to have high doses of CBD actually contain little to no traceable amounts when tested. If you have been taking a CBD product that has more THC than specified, then you are more likely to fail a drug test.
THC Fat Storage
THC being fat soluble is another factor that could yield a failing result.
THC that is not immediately metabolized is stored in the body’s fat. Stored THC metabolites are released over time. The more THC that you consume, or even CBD containing trace amounts of THC, the more it can accumulate in your fat cells.
If you are a heavy user, traces of THC could be expelled in your urine rendering a failing drug test result.
How to Avoid Failing a Drug Test
If you are worried about failing a drug test here some precautions you can take.
- Ask if your test will be looking for CBD specifically.
- Research the CBD you are taking. Check to see if they post their lab results and look at the report for any measured levels of THC.
- Buy CBD that is sourced from Hemp and not Marijuana.
- If the CBD you have been taking contains THC, discontinue use until after the test.
- If you are a heavy CBD user or an occasional THC user, discontinue use.
Don’t let the possibility of a drug test scare you away from the benefits of CBD. However, staying informed is the name of the game when it comes to CBD. Especially if your employment status may depend on it, understand what you are consuming and research your drug testing rights.
Here are two good places to start: