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.
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.
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.
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.)
Although hemp-derived CBD products are available in states where recreational cannabis isn’t legal, some people might worry whether CBD will show up on a drug test. It’s a valid concern considering that even CBD products derived from hemp are legally permitted to contain traces of THC, 0.3% or less to be exact. And even in states where it is legal to buy THC-heavy cannabis from a retail store, some employers still screen employees for cannabis use. This may leave some consumers wondering whether there’s a small amount of THC in their CBD — and whether that will show up on a drug test.
In most cases, it’s highly unlikely that CBD will show up on a drug test. Usually employment drug tests look for the presence of THC or THC metabolites. Most employers abide by the guidelines set forth by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), which includes detection for THC but not CBD. Tests generally look for THC but how much and how long THC sticks around depends on what’s being tested.
When consuming pure CBD, there is evidence you’ll be missing out on some health goodies conveyed by the entourage effect if you chose a full- or broad-spectrum CBD product instead. But it’s the only way to be certain there’s no THC in your CBD, and the only way to buy CBD in states with highly restrictive laws.
To obtain a CBD drug test, an entity would have to pay a testing company to develop a CBD test and to change their testing regimen to include it. When you consider that this non-intoxicating compound won’t get you high or impair your ability at work, there’s really no need for a CBD drug test.
Whichever method, or methods, you choose, be sure to buy from a reputable source and check the label carefully. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t established guidelines for CBD products, it’s buyer beware. Avoid any product making health claims like that it cures or treats anything specific. Most reputable CBD producers typically include the following information on their product labels:
A 2017 study found that about seven out of 10 CBD products did not contain the amount of cannabidiol stated on the label. And about one in five contained THC.
A false-positive on a drug test could have implications for people at work, and in their medical care. For example, some health care organizations do not allow patients to start opioid painkillers if they use marijuana.
Licensed farmers can now grow the plant, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC. The result? CBD is turning up in everything from oils and lotions to coffee and cookies.
While the findings may be a relief to some CBD users, there is a big caveat: The researchers used pure CBD. In the real world, CBD products are largely unregulated and may contain other compounds due to processing.
If you think CBD products are suddenly everywhere, you’re right: There has been an explosion since last year, when Congress lifted a decades-old ban on growing hemp.
According to Robert Fitzgerald, a professor at the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine, “It would depend on the purity of the product.”
She and her colleagues at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City spiked three batches of urine samples with CBD, CBN and two other cannabis compounds — cannabichromene and cannabigerol.