CBD products can still be problematic, however, when it comes to drug testing. Though drug tests screen for THC, not CBD, many CBD products contain a trace amount of THC which will be detected in your bloodstream during a drug test.
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.)
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.
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.
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 is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Upon inhalation, active THC can be found in the bloodstream within a matter of seconds and can be detected in plasma for several hours, depending on the frequency of use and dosage. According to a 2004 review published in the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, the plasma concentration of THC peaks just three to eight minutes after inhalation and then decreases quickly with a half-life of about 30 minutes. The study claims that THC is detectable in blood for about five hours, but the THC metabolite THC-COOH has a detection time of up to 25 days.
If you prefer CBD oil, tincture, gummies, or other ingestible forms, go with a product made from CBD isolate or crystalline CBD. These use 99% pure CBD so you don’t have to worry about THC or anything else being in there.
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.
While it’s possible that small amounts of THC that exist within a CBD product could accumulate and show up in a drug test, it’s still highly unlikely. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
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.
If you take CBD oil, there are measures you can take to try to prevent failing a drug test.
A more likely secondhand exposure scenario is a positive marijuana hair test, resulting from direct contact with marijuana paraphernalia or from another person having THC on their hands.
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.
How to Avoid a Positive CBD Drug Test
As it turns out, depending on the source of the cannabis that is used to produce the CBD oil, some products do contain traces of THC (including low-quality isolates and many full-spectrum tinctures).
When a drug test is performed, the active chemical in marijuana that gets detected in a positive screening is THC. However, most people are under the impression that CBD oil is THC-free.
Inadvertent exposure to marijuana (via secondhand smoke) is unlikely to be enough for a person to get a positive drug test result, but it is possible. Being in a room with heavy pot smokers for several hours may cause the inhalation of enough THC containing smoke to result in a positive test.
The primary difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp is nearly void of THC. In fact, a cannabis strain must contain less than .3 percent THC to be classified as hemp. This is the reason hemp can be legally sold as various products.