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.
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.
The following variables affect the amount of time that marijuana (THC) and its metabolites remain detectable in the urine or other biological samples:
Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 30, 2019.
Several patient factors can also affect the result, such as body mass, urine pH, urine concentration and other medical conditions such as kidney or liver disease.
Some concerned consumers may wonder if a CBD-specific test exists. Technically, since CBD is a chemical that your body metabolizes, a specific test could be developed to detect it. But the average drug test is not designed to identify usage of CBD or CBD oil specifically.
THC and its metabolites can also be detected in the saliva of occasional and chronic users. A 2014 study published in the journal Drug Testing and Analysis looked at cannabinoids in oral fluid and found that THC metabolites were detectable in the saliva of occasional users for one to three days and chronic users for up to 29 days.
Recognized as the preferred method for cannabis drug testing, urine screenings are often used as a benchmark to detect for cannabis use. Most urine tests utilize a specific sensitivity for the cutoff concentration of THC-COOH. The most common cutoff concentration point is 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), as suggested by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
If you’re vaping or dabbing your CBD, it’s the same advice as above — look for concentrates made with isolate or crystalline to avoid THC completely. (If you smoke or vape flower, you’ll be consuming whatever level of THC is present in the bud, which is at least 0.3% even for hemp plants.)
Topical CBD products like ointments, lotions, or balms don’t enter the bloodstream in a way that would be picked up by a drug test. Even if it contains the federally legal amount of 0.3% THC, topicals are still safe as far as drug testing is concerned.
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.
For example, if someone smokes a joint and exhales near someone who doesn’t consume cannabis, THC can be transferred to the non-smoker’s head or body hair. The same study found that, after giving participants 50 milligrams of THCA every day for one month, no THC was found in the hair specimen samples, but THC-COOH was still detected. As for the detection period, the hair follicle drug test timeline is much broader than with urine and blood tests, sometimes detecting the presence of THC up to 90 days after use.
CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a popular product for everything from pain control to anxiety to promoting sleep. However, with the rise of CBD comes the concern about failing a drug test due to detection of CBD oil. News stories are emerging across the country involving famous sports players, employees of companies, and others who have gotten positive drug screening results for the presence of THC—the psychoactive component of marijuana —even though CBD oil is said to be THC-free.
There are many distinctions between marijuana and hemp that relate to CBD oil. Marijuana contains both THC (the psychoactive component) and CBD, whereas hemp contains CBD and only trace amounts of THC. Hemp contains many cannabinoids—CBD is only one example.
Does CBD Oil Contain THC?
CBD is one of many active chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. One reason it’s gaining momentum in popularity is because it is said to lack the component of the plant that causes a person to get high, which is called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Cannabis is the umbrella term describing hemp and marijuana plants—two different varieties of the cannabis genus. Both marijuana and hemp can be described as cannabis plants; however, it is important to note that they are still two separate plants.
Very small amounts of THC present in the material that CBD is extracted from can get into the CBD oil in high enough amounts to result in a positive drug test. This scenario may be more apt to occur when CBD oil is purchased from cannabis dispensaries in places where cannabis is legal, as opposed to an online retailer.