CBD and Drug Testing: Does CBD Show Up in Test Results?

CBD Icon and Drug Test Forms

Could your CBD product show up on that drug test you’ve got coming up? The short answer is no, CBD shouldn’t show up on a drug test – but because of inconsistent regulation in the CBD industry right now, you may not yet be in the clear.

As more and more CBD products sweep across the nation with popularity, concerns by consumers continue to build on whether their CBD products will cause them to fail a drug test or if they’re in the clear. Little distinction is even known about where cannabidiol (CBD) begins and where the psychoactive, THC-side of cannabis begins.

The hemp that CBD is derived from is legal nationwide, and marijuana is legal in more states medically or recreationally than ever before. This doesn’t stop employers from still including cannabis – more specifically, the THC in cannabis plants – as one of the components to look for with drug tests.

Can you fail a drug test just because you’re taking CBD in some way? If CBD and THC are different, aren’t you safe if you’re taking a THC-free CBD product?

We look today to answer these questions, relieve your worries and set the record straight on whether cannabidiol can play a role in popping positive on a drug test. First, let’s examine what CBD is and how it’s different from THC.

What is CBD?

Cannabis Plant Coming Out of the Ground

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the 400+ components found in the cannabis plant family. Found more abundantly in the hemp plant than most marijuana strains, CBD is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid. The cannabinoid being non-psychoactive means you don’t feel the “high” with CBD that you would with THC.

Instead, much research has already been put into the potential for CBD to provide a series of medicinal properties and benefits. More users are trying cannabidiol products than ever before because they’re the quick answers to promoting general wellness, relieving forms of anxiety and types of pain, mitigating or regulating inflammation in the body, and much more.

There is still much research to be gathered on the subject, and we look forward to learning more answers about the extract that’s already helped so many people. Now that the 2018 Farm Bill made industrial hemp legal for cultivation, possession, and use across the USA, CBD can safely and more easily be extracted and studied within the states.

CBD vs THC

If you want to learn more in-depth about the differences between CBD and THC, we’ve written an entire guide on the subject, which you can check out here.

The short summary is that THC can interact with the endocannabinoid system, but not like most other cannabinoids. THC saturates the cannabinoid receptors primarily found in the brain that play a role in cognitive thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination, time perception, and more. This causes the “high,” triggering psychological and psychoactive responses throughout the body.

CBD can help the endocannabinoid system without saturating the cannabinoid receptors. In fact, if THC is already saturating the CB1 receptors in the brain, research shows that CBD might play a role in negating the negative psychoactive or psychological effects. That’s right – a CBD product by your side could help you if you ever feel you got “too high” from THC.

Why CBD vs THC Matters

There’s a big reason we bring up CBD versus THC, though. They aren’t different in psychoactive effects alone. Out of the 60+ other cannabinoids contained in a cannabis plant, CBD and THC are what the body can absorb the most of. Other cannabinoids, like CBN or CBG, help enhance either CBD or THC’s effects. On a molecular level, THC and CBD are, remarkably, almost exactly identical.

Why does CBD and THC looking almost the exact same on a molecular level matter, though? Well, it may trick your at-home drug test into thinking there’s THC in your system. Unfortunately, many at-home drug tests are not advanced enough to be able to detect differences in cannabinoid substances.

Instead, most at-home drug tests can merely pick up if there’s a cannabinoid substance in your urine or not. Likewise, the inaccuracies found for most over-the-counter drug tests mean they’re not the best option for finding out if you’re going to fail your work drug test or not. In fact, many user’s results are often inconsistent with what the drug test at work or another professional setting shows.

Why Store-Bought Drug Tests do More Harm than Good

As a preventative measure, it’s not uncommon to want to take an at-home drug test. Parents might test their teenage children. In other situations, consumers are worried about popping hot on a drug test for work, school, or other professional or legal matter. The issue with taking a store-bought test as a preventative measure is that it may not be showing the most accurate result.

False positives or false negatives can create more harm than good if you take an at-home test and get a different result for the test that matters. Before we can feel more confident with recommending at-home drug tests, store-bought brands need to get caught up on the times. Popular drug test brands that sell to the masses haven’t caught up with the, albeit recent, laws regarding CBD and hemp, in general. Drug test brands must change the technology they use to detect THC before the criticism over their inaccuracies can be over.

How Could CBD Cause a Positive Drug Test?

We said earlier than the short answer for if CBD shows up on a drug test is no – but that doesn’t mean you’re completely in the clear. The 2018 Farm Bill quickly defined and provided rules for hemp-derived CBD products, but it’s a massive industry that only grows by the day.

Regulating an industry that’s skyrocketing as fast will take time, which means some CBD brands will take advantage in the meantime and try to provide you with a product that is inconsistent in quality, not tested properly, or contains too much THC. Let’s look at the reasons CBD users across the country are still failing their drug tests – and how you can make sure it doesn’t happen to you.

THC in the Product

Legal industrial hemp is legally defined as any hemp or marijuana plant that contains 0.3% or less of THC. In order to ensure your product contains less than the legal maximum of THC, CBD brands must have every product batch tested through an independent, third-party lab. That lab not only tests the cannabinoid content levels for accuracy, but they should also be testing for heavy metals, pollutants, and other contaminants.

Some CBD brands like to skimp on this part of the process. Instead of every batch, they may get their very first batch tested so they can have lab results to show their customers. Without a second glance consumers assume it’s a safe product that doesn’t need further analysis. Instead, make sure you look at the lab results for your specific product’s batch. A reputable enough cannabidiol brand will be able to confidently provide you with a different lab report for every batch number of products in their inventory.

Too Much Product

It’s a CBD brand’s job to make sure all their products contain under the legal limit of THC per product. It’s your job, however, to ensure you’re not consuming too much product at one time. Pay attention to the serving size listed on the label of your CBD product.

Consuming too much more than the recommended serving size for multiple days at a time can cause the trace amount of THC to build up in your system faster than it’s supposed to. Stay conscious of how much of a CBD product you’re taking so you can stay confident that you’re not consuming too high of a trace amount of THC with it.

How to Avoid a Positive Drug Test When Taking CBD

Just because you’re taking a CBD product doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to fail a drug test. There are measures you can take to ensure you’re just getting the proper benefits and medicinal properties from CBD without being contaminated by trace amounts of THC.

First, do thorough research on any brand you choose to shop with. You should be able to find information about a CBD company outside of that company’s website. In addition, you should be able to see lab results from each of their product batches directly on their web platform.

Second, always look into how that CBD company extracts the CBD from their hemp. Likewise, make sure they’re also using USA-grown hemp. They should be able to source their hemp from a reliable industrial hemp supplier.

Finally, avoid the risk of second-hand exposure to THC by staying away from cannabis users when they’re using marijuana. Exposure via smoking cannabis can show up in trace amounts in urine, but also on the hair. If you get stuck with a hair follicle test, second-hand exposure to cannabis will cause you to fail that hair follicle test.

Final Thoughts

When you use a reliable CBD product that’s been tested to be free or close to free of THC, you can be more confident about passing your drug test. If you have any follow-up questions on the subject, though, our specialists are here to ease your concerns about what’s in our product.

What CBD product are you using right now, and have you ever encountered any issues with a drug test so far? We look forward to you answers in the comments!

Author Profile Picture

Rachel Sims | Author

Rachel Sims is a passionate CBD and cannabis writer. A huge proponent for marijuana legalization across the country, Rachel's proud to be on the ground floor of an industry making history. Her goal is simple -- help spread awareness and destigmatize cannabis. Rachel regularly writes for companies in the CBD and marijuana industries, as well as on her own website, Hashing It Out.

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