Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

Published March 03, 2020
Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? - Secret Nature

Smoking or vaping CBD flower is one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of CBD. Many people who are new to hemp flower, however, wonder if you can fail a drug test from smoking CBD.

Secret Nature products contain less than 0.3% THC, and drug screenings aren’t designed to test for CBD. In this guide, we'll cover all your CBD drug testing questions, and we'll finish by telling you what to expect from CBD drug screening in the future.

Can you fail a drug test for CBD?

The short answer is “no” since drug tests are usually not designed to detect the presence of CBD. Some CBD products contain THC, however, which has the potential to cause a positive drug test reading even when only present in small concentrations. Types of CBD that contain up to 0.3% THC are usually referenced as “full-spectrum” while products with undetectable levels of THC are called “broad-spectrum” or “isolate.”

What types of drug tests are there?

There are three major types of drug tests: urine, hair, and blood. Urine drug testing (urinalysis) is the most common, and it can generally detect drug use that occurred within the last 3-30 days. Hair drug testing can detect the use of drugs going as far back as 90 days, but it’s less accurate in detecting drug use that occurred more recently.

Blood testing, for its part, can detect drug use that occurred very recently but usually isn’t useful anymore after 24 hours have passed. None of these types of drug testing are commonly used to detect the presence of CBD. 

Is there a drug test for CBD?

If you are being tested for cannabis or marijuana at work or for another reason, it is very unlikely that your employer is testing for CBD. The majority of testing parties are interested if you’re using THC products, not hemp, and the overwhelming majority of cannabis drug tests only test for THC, not CBD.

However, there are some drug tests in existence that test for CBD. These tests aren’t widely used, though, and make up less than 1% of the total cannabis tests used per year.

Can using CBD make you fail a drug test?

There’s always a potential — however slim — that CBD might make you fail a drug test since every CBD product contains some trace amount of THC. That’s the case whether it's full-spectrum CBD with up to 0.3% THC or purified CBD isolate with just a few THC molecules kicking around.

From there, it's all a matter of math. Even if you consumed nothing more than a huge amount of isolate CBD with less than <0.0001% THC, it’s technically possible to test positive for “marijuana.” Full-spectrum CBD products can contain up to 0.3% THC, but it’s still necessary to consume an extraordinary quantity to yield a false positive.

If you were to consume an enormous amount of Secret Nature products (an ounce of flower per day for two weeks for the sake of argument), it's possible enough THC would accumulate in your system to make you fail a drug test. You’re encouraged to fire up your lighter or vape and place a big order.

How much CBD will make me fail a drug test?

No amount of CBD will make you test positive for THC since these substances are clearly distinct from each other on a chemical level. Most CBD products, however, contain trace amounts of THC, making it possible to test positive for cannabis or “marijuana” under certain circumstances.

That’s why third-party lab testing is so important. Secret Nature offers verifiable, third-party lab reports with every batch of products we produce, which you can use to determine the exact amount of THC you’re ingesting in our full-spectrum hemp products.

What’s in CBD that might make me fail a drug test?

The main substance detectable in drug tests that might be a contaminant in CBD products is THC. While it’s technically possible that CBD products might contain other illicit drugs, this has never been noted to be the case. On the other hand, THC is a natural byproduct of the CBD production process, making it the most likely culprit if you’ve tested positive for an illegal drug after using CBD.

Does CBD oil contain THC?

Some types of CBD products contain THC, but not all. The main type of CBD that contains THC is full-spectrum extract, which remains quite common despite the emergence of alternatives.

Broad-spectrum CBD extract, for instance, is almost exactly the same as full-spectrum CBD except that it does not contain any THC. Purists may contend that the broad-spectrum extraction process damages some of the delicate compounds present in hemp buds, but the average user is unlikely to notice a difference.

There’s also isolate CBD, which consists of only the CBD molecule. There’s no chance of isolate CBD offering the entourage effect, but in exchange, there’s also no chance of this super-simple type of CBD extract making you test positive for THC.

Do all CBD products contain THC?

No, not all CBD products contain detectable quantities of THC. While it may be impossible to eliminate every single THC molecule from CBD products, you can remove this illicit cannabinoid to enough of a degree to absolutely ensure it won’t show up on a drug test after you use CBD.

If you’d rather take a zero-THC route, the two types of extracts you’ll need to be on the lookout for are isolate and broad-spectrum CBD. Unlike broad-spectrum extract, CBD isolate lacks even the terpenes and minor cannabinoids that might trigger the observed form of cannabis synergy known as the entourage effect.

So, if you decide to only use CBD products that don’t contain THC, you’ll be missing out on some of the potential benefits hemp might be able to provide. If drug testing is a major concern for you, though, such an abundance of caution might be worth it.

How long is CBD detectable in urine?

Like most cannabis compounds, CBD is fat-soluble. Water-soluble substances pass through your body quickly, but fat-soluble substances absorb into your fatty tissues where organs like the liver and kidneys process them out slowly.

If drug screenings tested for CBD, it's likely this cannabinoid would remain detectable in your system for around 30 days. That's how long THC stays in your system as well, and approximately 30 days is the standard excretion time for fat-soluble substances.

With the exact percentages of CBD and THC in the product and the THC detection threshold of the test, it’s possible to calculate how much of a particular CBD product you can use before you test positive for THC. Just keep the following in mind if you're worried about failing your drug test due to CBD:

  • Cannabinoids only last about 30 days in the body,
  • Will 0.3% THC show up on a drug test? CBD products that are verified to have less than 0.3% THC by an independent lab can only make you fail your drug test when you consume them in very high quantities.

Why doesn’t CBD show up on a drug test?

The primary reason that CBD doesn’t show up on a drug test is that drug tests are not designed to detect the presence of CBD. Since the early days of cannabis research, scientists have noted that THC and CBD appear to have opposite effects: CBD is calming while THC is mentally stimulating, CBD is non-intoxicating while THC makes you high.

As these two compounds are by no means similar despite coming from the same plant, designers of drug tests and the regulators who enforce them never saw any need to include CBD in drug testing despite THC being an illegal substance.

Why did I fail a drug test after taking CBD?

Even though drug tests are not designed to detect the presence of CBD, that doesn’t mean using CBD is entirely incapable of making you fail a drug test. Using CBD can sometimes allow enough THC into your system to trigger a false positive on a drug test, usually due to one of the following reasons:

Product contamination

Since it’s relatively difficult to keep THC percentages in hemp products under 0.3% (as mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill), product contamination is unfortunately common in the CBD industry. Over the last few years, the FDA has released dozens of warning letters to CBD companies for incorrect labeling of cannabinoid concentrations in their products, making it clear that it’s relatively common for CBD products to not contain their stated CBD concentrations.

Product mislabeling

Sometimes, allowing THC into CBD products is an accident, but other times, it’s allowed on purpose to avoid wasting a batch of extract. Some CBD brands are clearly not above mislabeling their products to turn a profit, as a new Johns Hopkins Medicine study reveals.

In this study, the prestigious medical institution inspected more than 100 CBD products and found that many of them contained THC. Most concerning was the finding that 11% of CBD products labeled as “THC-free” actually contained up to 0.3% THC, potentially leading users to fail drug tests due to no fault of their own.

Exposure to THC in some other way

It’s also entirely possible that your accidental exposure to THC had nothing at all to do with your CBD use. If you live with someone who smokes marijuana, for instance, it’s possible that you inhaled enough smoke secondhand to trigger a drug test. Accidental THC exposure can also happen at concerts and other settings in which public cannabis use is common.

Does Secret Nature provide lab tests?

Reviewing lab reports is the best way to ensure your hemp flower won't make you fail a drug test. At Secret Nature, we provide fully transparent and detailed lab reports from a select group of widely respected, independent cannabis testing facilities.

In addition to testing for each of the major cannabinoids, we also test the terpene profile of each Secret Nature product. Terpenes are almost as important as cannabinoids, and you deserve to know exactly how much myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene are in your vape cartridge or hemp flower.

How to avoid a positive drug test after taking CBD

If you’re concerned you might fail a drug test after using CBD, there are a few precautions you can take beforehand. First, make sure to check if the product contains any amount of THC. Don’t just trust that a product is THC-free just because it’s described as “isolate” or “broad-spectrum” — check the product’s third-party lab reports to be absolutely certain.

Once you’ve already used CBD products you’re concerned might contain THC, the best thing you can do to help your body process the THC out is to get plenty of rest and exercise while staying hydrated. Drug detox kits can sometimes harm your body as they remove illicit substances, and such an approach would likely be overkill anyway given how small the concentrations of THC in CBD products usually are — even in contaminated products.

The bottom line: Drug tests don’t test for CBD

In the end, there are two things you should keep in mind above all others: Drug tests do not test for CBD, and most CBD products do not contain enough THC to trigger a false positive on a drug test. As a result, it is incredibly unlikely that using CBD will make you test positive for THC, and even if you do, attitudes toward THC use are relaxing nationwide.

Especially in the case of accidental THC use due to CBD product contamination, employers (and, increasingly, probation officers) now practice much more leniency. In most cases, it should be enough to explain that you’ve been using CBD if you come up positive for THC on your next drug test.

Do your best, though, to avoid CBD products that have become contaminated with THC. While ingesting small amounts of THC most likely isn’t harmful, incorrect or faulty product information is a bad sign that there might be other issues with a product.

FAQ — CBD drug test

Anything else we can answer about how CBD might impact a drug test?

1. Will CBD ruin a drug test?

If you consider a drug test to be ruined when it shows a positive result for THC, then the chances of CBD “ruining” a drug test are very slim. All CBD products contain trace amounts of THC, and some contain more THC than others. If you’re concerned that testing positive for THC could impact your job, clear your CBD use with the party requesting the test first.

2. Will CBD show on a probation drug test?

CBD is very unlikely to be a problem with your probation court. In some states where recreational cannabis is legal, probation drug tests no longer test for THC, and as a non-intoxicating substance that drug screenings don’t even test for, nobody will care if you use CBD even if you’re a parolee. Using full-spectrum CBD products in states where THC remains illegal, however, could land you in hot water with your probation officer due to the small chance of THC accumulation reaching the designated testing threshold.

3. Can you pass a DOT drug test on CBD oil?

The United States Department of Transportation (DoT) enacted a very strict zero-THC policy for its employees in February 2020. Per this policy, “CBD use is not a legitimate medical explanation for a laboratory-confirmed marijuana positive result.”

As a DOT employee, a positive THC result may still result in termination even if you claim you “only used a CBD product.” Proceed with caution.

4. Will full-spectrum CBD oil make me fail a drug test?

Out of all the different types of CBD, full-spectrum CBD is the most likely to cause a false positive on a drug test for THC. That’s because full-spectrum hemp products might contain up to 0.3% THC, which is allowed by the 2018 Farm Bill.

As you can imagine, consuming enough products containing 0.3% THC can make you fail a drug test. Even though it’s in concentrations so small that a single CBD flower session could never make you high, those tiny amounts of THC can accumulate in your fatty tissues over time to make it seem like you’ve used more THC than you have.

5. Will CBD make me fail a hair drug test?

A hair drug test, also known as a follicle drug test, provides detailed data on the substances you’ve used that goes back much further than urine testing (urinalysis). If THC doesn’t show up in urinalysis since it’s been too long since you’ve used it, this cannabinoid might nonetheless show up in a hair drug test.

If you use a lot of full-spectrum CBD products that contain up to 0.3% THC, it’s certainly possible that this THC might show up in a hair follicle test. One thing follicle tests are great about, though, is determining exact concentrations of substances. So, it should be readily apparent that the amount of THC you consumed was too small to have been from a cannabis product, proving you used hemp instead.

6. Does LabCorp test for CBD?

With hundreds of offices nationwide, LabCorp is one of America’s biggest drug testing providers. LabCorp does offer tests that detect both CBD and THC that are primarily designed to be used in workplace settings.

Testing for CBD is incredibly rare, though, because most employers don’t see any reason to restrict the use of a non-intoxicating substance. With the lines between hemp and cannabis blurring daily, though, making sure your CBD products don’t contain enough THC to get you high is an increasing priority.

7. Can you fail a drug test from CBG?

The cannabinoid CBG (cannabigerol) is not a controlled substance, and to our knowledge, there are no lab tests that specifically detect CBG. Many CBG hemp products, though, are full-spectrum, which means they contain up to 0.3% THC.

As a result, the same potential issues with CBD also apply to CBG. If you consume too many CBG-rich hemp products that also contain trace amounts of THC, you might test positive for THC in urinalysis.

8. Will vaping CBD show up in a drug test?

Vaping CBD is one of the most potent ways to use this cannabinoid, and many CBD vape products contain trace amounts of THC. As a result, it is certainly possible, though very unlikely, that you could fail a drug test for THC after using CBD vape products.

If you want to avoid testing positive for THC, consider using CBD vapes that are advertised as “isolate” or “broad-spectrum.” Without the terpenes present in full-spectrum hemp extract, though, CBD might become less effective.

9. Does CBD show up on a drug test?

Just to be abundantly clear, CBD will never show up on a drug test since tests aren’t calibrated to detect it, but they might detect the trace amounts of THC present in most CBD products. For a false positive for THC to take place, though, you’d need to be a habitual hemp user consuming large quantities of full-spectrum CBD products every day.

10. Will CBD products from a dispensary show up on a lab test?

The types of CBD products available at adult-use cannabis dispensaries are much more likely to make you fail a drug test than CBD products bought online. That’s because dispensary CBD products can contain any amount of THC while CBD products sold online must keep their THC concentrations under 0.3% by federal law.

The most common ratio of CBD to THC in dispensary-bought products, for instance, is 1:1, which would definitely deposit enough THC in your system to trigger a drug test. CBD products bought at dispensaries can also get you high, which isn’t the case for CBD products bought online.

11. Will hemp lotion show up on a drug test?

Just as with other CBD products, the potential to fail a drug test after using a hemp topical certainly exists. To understand how topical and oral CBD might affect drug testing differently, we need to look at the differences between the oral and transdermal CBD administration routes.

When you ingest CBD orally, it passes through your liver before entering your bloodstream. This option provides a full-body effect, but the intensity is limited by your digestive system’s filtration mechanisms, and you can’t pinpoint problem areas.

Topical application of CBD, on the other hand, addresses specific areas without providing a notable system-wide effect. CBD can be formulated into both water-based and oil-based topical products, which has resulted in an extremely diverse cannabidiol topical market.

The major bulk of the cannabinoids you apply topically remain in the area they’re applied. A small percentage enter your bloodstream, but it’s a fact that topical administration delivers far fewer cannabinoids throughout your body than oral ingestion. So, failing a drug test after using a CBD topical is much less likely.

12. Do CBD gummy bears show up on a drug test?

Using CBD gummy bears is very unlikely to make you test positive for THC in drug testing, but there’s certainly a possibility if you choose CBD gummies that contain broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD extract. To make sure CBD gummy bears won’t show up on a drug test, only choose gummies that contain undetectable concentrations of THC.

13. Will there be drug tests for CBD?

Given the direction cannabis laws are shifting, it’s extremely unlikely you'll never have to worry about "testing positive" for CBD. Employers will remain free to fire workers for cannabis use for the foreseeable future, but state and federal laws are changing. Even though THC might inevitably prove itself inextricable from CBD, THC already testing isn’t a priority for many employers.

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