CBD-based cannabis products have become very popular in recent years – however, there are still many questions revolving around. For instance, a common question cannabis consumers often ask themselves is this: “Will I test positive for a drug test if I’ve consumed CBD oil?”
Even though CBD marijuana products have practically become a household name along the same lines as Pepsi or Apple – that hasn’t put a stop to the concern some medicinal users have about failing drug tests. The worrying is completely justified too, because it may mean losing jobs or not getting a driver’s license, for example, or even missing out on benefits as a US or Canadian citizen.
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The Lowdown on CBD Oil and Drug Tests
If you’re concerned about failing a drug test and losing your job as a result, not all is gloom and doom. First of all, it’s important to acknowledge the fact that not all CBD products are the same. On one hand, there are CBD-rich strains sold in legalized US states which not only have a generous 30% or more CBD but also plenty of the psychoactive, ‘high’ inducing THC – enough to indefinitely make you fail a drug test.
On the other hand, however, CBD oils that have been extracted from the hemp plant do not carry the same risks. They are used for therapeutic purposes and typically contain between 3-4% CBD – more importantly, there’s hardly any THC present (about 0.3%) – which means no ‘high’ feeling or failing tests for that matter.
Majority of drug screenings search for the most common psychoactive cannabis compound and that’s THC. Therefore, no matter how much medicinal CBD you’re using, it will not result in a failed test – for the most part.
At this point, one caveat worth mentioning is that there may be a minute chance of failing drug tests after consuming CBD oils under specific circumstances. There are a number of variables to consider, as always, and this real-life example isn’t particularly encouraging:
A woman in Georgia lost a potential job opportunity because the mandatory pre-employment drug screening revealed THC metabolites in her system. Oddly, the woman had no history of smoking or otherwise consuming cannabis in any form. However, she did say that her doctor had prescribed some CBD oil to help her deal with pain and anxiety. It’s quite likely that it was the THC in her CBD oil (without her knowing) than the CBD content itself which led to her candidacy disqualification.
Another report revealed that a woman, who was asked to undergo a drug test in order to qualify for a job, had already been using CBD oil for 2 weeks. She gave the test only to discover that she had been effectively disqualified from the applicant pool. The reason: a failed drug test.
The woman later made a statement that her drug test revealed the presence of THC, even though she had never consumed cannabis in any form, ever.
Here’s the lowdown on CBD oils: even though CBD oils themselves will not trigger a positive drug test result, there are certain products which have very high CBD and consequently, high enough levels of THC – which will likely register a failed drug test.
Even the mildest CBD oils may contain at least 0.3% THC – but is this enough to fail drug screenings? CBD users typically will not test positive on drug tests – although patients who are consuming more than a gram of CBD in their oil (per day), may register what’s called a ‘false’ positive result. The average CBD oil user consumes anywhere between 12-160mg daily. However, at least 10% of those consumers may test positive for a THC drug test.
Does this sound confusing or somewhat misleading? It doesn’t have to be. Here are some facts to consider:
- Every individual metabolizes CBD differently
- Special attention needs to be paid to the CBD oil quality – it is best to buy your product from a reputable distributor
- To play it safe, ensure that your CBD oil contains no THC;
- And, do not consume any CBD products 2-3 days prior to the drug screening because THC compounds in your oil may metabolise even though it said ‘no THC’ on the label
It also pays to understand that a false positive test does not necessarily mean a ‘failed’ test. There are a handful of CBD oils out there that can yield ‘false positives’ for users.
As a regular CBD user, you should know that the compound can stay in your system for up to 10 days. THC is a fat soluble compound and the same analogy applies to CBD – however, the total duration for which the latter can be traced in your system can vary depending on factors like diet and physical activity levels, hydration levels, body mass index, how frequently it’s used, how it’s consumed etc.
So, the bottom line is: the presence of CBD is irrelevant in terms of failing a drug test, as the compound is not psychoactive. Just to reiterate, drug tests will look for the presence of the psychoactive compound THC – a positive result would indicate that the individual is ‘high’ or under the influence, which may adversely affect his/her judgement and performance on the job.
We would again recommend buying your CBD oil from a well-known online retailer because there are many shoddy products out there which claim to have no THC or low levels of CBD, and yet will have very high CBD levels along with high enough levels of THC to trigger a positive drug screening result.
CBD is Not What Drug Tests Look for But is that All There is to it?
All drug tests conducted at the workplace are typically urine tests which look for the main metabolite of THC – that’s THC-COOH. So you’re in the clear if you have CBD in your system because it isn’t psychoactive like THC.
In most cases, employers will have no issues with workers consuming CBD for medicinal or therapeutic purposes. It is, unfortunately, the stigma that surrounds cannabis use in general, rather than CBD use, that often sees employers rejecting certain candidate profiles or asking employees to resign after a ‘false positive’ result.
In the US, employers follow the SAMHSA guidelines for testing – which stands for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, just so you know. The guidelines stipulate a 50ng/mL cutoff point for urine tests. Therefore, if a urine test yields a positive result, it is then run through a mass spectrometry test which has a 15ng/mL cutoff point, for THC-COOH only (and not CBD).
There’s generally a very low probability of urine tests showing positive results for non-psychoactive cannabis products such as CBD oils. However, if you are mega-dosing with CBD for certain illnesses and ailments, metabolites can be initially detectable in urine tests. But there’s no cause for concern; this will more than likely be proven as a ‘false positive’ through a mass spectrometry test. In any case, we’d recommend that you let your employer know ahead of time that you’re using CBD oils for medicinal purposes and not consuming the kind of recreational cannabis that gets you ‘high’.
The possibility of ‘THC contamination’ should not be overlooked. Even though CBD is extracted from the sativa variety of cannabis plants, you should know that these plants naturally produce THC. So, if your CBD oil has been derived from, say, industrial hemp, it may very well have THC in trace amounts.
A scientific paper published their results on the presence of THC content present in CBD oils that are produced from the sativa plant:
- The presence of small amount of THC in CBD products has been a cause for concern, due to how they influence workplace drug test results for cannabis use.
- The main objective of the study was to determine what levels of THC-COOH (THC metabolites) were present in test subjects after ingesting CBD products.
- A total of 15 subjects were asked to consume CBD oils containing 0.09-0.6mg of THC, over a span of 10 days. Using the radioimmunoassay measuring method, urine samples were tested for the presence of cannabinoids – and later run again through a mass spectrometry test to confirm the efficacy of the results.
- It was discovered that not a single subject who had ingested 0.45mg of THC present in the CBD product, tested positive with respect to the 50ng/mL benchmark/cutoff point that marijuana drug tests adhere to. However, one subject who did ingest 0.6mg of THC in the CBD product was tested positive.
- A THC consumption of 0.6mg per day equals to roughly 125ml of CBD oil.
It is without a doubt that the findings of this study lend to the belief that CBD oils taken in relatively large doses and on a very frequent basis may trigger a positive drug test, simply because of the percentage of THC that you are ingesting along with your oil.
Play it safe – monitor your intake before embarking on a job hunt and cultivate your knowledge on the CBD oils you are using. More importantly, understand how much THC you’re consuming with your CBD oil. Anything over 0.4mg may lead to a positive result.