Could CBD trigger a positive test result for marijuana use? Here’s what you need to know about CBD and drug tests.
Tens of millions of Americans get drug tested every year, and you may be one of them. If you keep cannabidiol (CBD) in your pocket to defuse tense situations, you might be worried about what it could mean on a random urine screen. After all, it comes from the same plants as psychoactive THC (delta-8 or delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), right?
Cannabidiol is a “cannabinoid”—a chemical found in the genus of plants called cannabis. It's in both hemp and marijuana plants, and makes up roughly 40% of the plant, in most strains. Since marijuana is a cannabis plant and one of the most common substances checked on an employment drug screening, it’s natural to worry that hemp-derived CBD will also trigger a positive result.
Everyone seems to know someone (who knows someone) who failed a drug test while using CBD—in other words, there are anecdotal reports. But how accurate are they?
Here’s what you should know about CBD and drug testing:
CBD is legal in what states?
First, CBD is legal in every state since the Farm Bill made hemp products legal to grow, buy, and sell in 2018.
There’s no federal or state law against using CBD, nor is there a law saying that employers can test you for it. It’s extremely unlikely that an employer would ever test you for the substance, simply because there's no incentive to care about you using it.
Does CBD show up on a drug test?
CBD shouldn’t show up on an employment screening or any other kind of drug test. There aren’t any commercial drug tests on the market that employers would use to check for this specific compound.
However, that is contingent on a few factors. Rarely, people have flunked a drug test after using CBD for several reasons:
- The product had false labeling that misrepresented the amount of THC.
- The product comes from an untested batch that has too much THC.
- You’re using over 1,000 mg of (broad-spectrum) CBD per day, which could contain enough residual THC to cause a positive test (usually 1 mg of THC is the threshold for detection, and the legal limit for hemp CBD is 0.03% THC).
- The testing company used an outdated test that creates a false positive (more on that below!)
If you’re using high-quality CBD products from a reputable supplier (hello, Scaries!) and you moderate your dosing, you shouldn’t overly worry about failing a drug test.
That all said … while Sunday Scaries products have no detection of THC, some drug tests can’t differentiate among cannabinoids. CBD is from hemp plants in the cannabis family; therefore we cannot guarantee CBD will not show up. If you expect to take a drug test, we do recommend not taking any CBD products.
How long does CBD stay in your system?
CBD's effects can last between 90 minutes and a few hours after the last time you take it. Then it becomes the byproduct CBD-COOH, which stays in your body for several days.
In the context of a drug test, it shouldn’t ideally matter. Your employer won’t explicitly test you for CBD or its byproducts—only THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis.
Poor-quality CBD can contain traces of THC
CBD that comes from sketchy suppliers might have traces of THC that are higher than what's described. That's more likely if you're buying from companies that can't back up where their hemp comes from or don't do regular tests of their batches.
To avoid getting CBD that contains more than you bargained for, look for suppliers that do business with local hemp farms, are open about their sources, and test their batches!
Old tests are more likely to cause false positives for CBD
There’s an old analytical testing method used in certain outdated drug tests that’s notorious for reading CBD as THC: gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) employing a chemical called trifluoroacetic anhydride (TFAA).
It’s rare because most labs use modern tests. But if you do get a false result, ask the testing company what analytical methods they’re using. In the past, CBD users have been successful at challenging failed THC drug tests that rely on GC/MS and TFAA.
How to tell if THC is hiding in your CBD
There’s no federal government oversight that ensures labels are 100% accurate for CBD products, aside from some state-licensing systems. Companies can choose to double-test every batch because they believe it’s the right thing to do, or they can let it slide and test only as often as they think is necessary.
The problem with the second approach is that batches can slide through with some undetected THC if they aren't tested enough. That means you can pick up a product with 0% THC on its label and find out the hard way that this isn't the case.
Luckily, that’s super rare. But it does happen with companies that aren’t very reputable when it comes to testing and production.
You can't tell if there's THC in your CBD by merely looking at it. Instead, you should do your due diligence on businesses before choosing where to get your goodies. Look for companies that are:
- Open and honest about where their hemp comes from
- Clear about how often they test their products
- Able to provide a Certificate of Analysis (CoA) for every batch of CBD they use or produce
Get peace of mind with Sunday Scaries, the world’s most transparent CBD company
We all get down on Sunday now and again, and facing Monday seems a little too hard. That’s why we started Sunday Scaries—to calm the mind, help relieve work pressure, and increase your focus.
You’re unlikely to fail a drug screen with correctly processed broad spectrum or isolate CBD. Nevertheless, we advise people that it’s better to be safe than sorry if you know you will have to take a drug test, since some labs use imprecise or outdated methods. But if you’re in the clear and ready to get your chill on with the best CBD oil on the planet, now’s the time to start fighting your Scaries!
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