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.
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.
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.
There is mounting evidence that hair follicle drug testing methods are not able to accurately detect marijuana. Research published in the journal Scientific Reports suggests that the presence of THC and THC metabolites can be transferred to the hair follicles of non-consumers through contact with hands, sweat, or exhaled smoke.
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
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.
Arno Kroner, DAOM, LAc, is a board-certified acupuncturist, herbalist, and integrative medicine doctor practicing in Santa Monica, California.
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.
4. Secondhand Exposure to THC
Most CBD products are made from hemp, not marijuana.
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.
CBD oil extracted from hemp is not supposed to have any more than .3 percent of THC. However, it’s not uncommon for sellers to mislabel their products as THC-free hemp when in reality, it’s a low-quality oil extracted from marijuana, which does contain THC.
While some CBD oils claim to be isolates, they may be full spectrum oils and actually contain more cannabinoids (such as THC) than they claim.