CBD has become quite the buzz word and is becoming well known for its health benefits. There are many types of cannabis-derived CBD products on the market. Hemp-derived CBD products with extremely low THC levels are legal in most states. However, many people are left wondering if CBD will show up on a workplace drug test because both hemp and marijuana do contain THC. Indeed, it is possible to fail a drug test for CBD!
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- 1 Table of Contents
- 2 Drug Tests Weren’t Designed to Detect CBD
- 3 High Doses of CBD Could Trigger a False-Positive
- 4 Medical Professionals and Drug Testing
- 5 Employers Looking Past Positive Drug Tests
- 6 So will CBD show up in a drug test?
- 7 Is there a drug test that could detect CBD?
Drug Tests Weren’t Designed to Detect CBD
There are many reasons an employer might require drug screening – safety, legal protection, improved productivity, or even federal mandates. The ultimate goal is to determine impairment, not a medical regimen. Therefore, most drug screens are not designed to detect CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from either hemp or cannabis plants.
Most employers use either a 5-panel or 10-panel drug screen, both of which test for THC-COOH (what THC turns in to after the body metabolizes it). In addition to THC, the 5-panel drug screen tests for cocaine, opiates, PCP, and amphetamines/methamphetamines while the 10-panel screen also tests for barbiturates, propoxyphene, benzodiazepines, methadone, and propoxyphene. Though the 10-panel test contains more recreational drugs, it also contains more pharmaceutical drugs which have become a growing epidemic over the last few decades.
High Doses of CBD Could Trigger a False-Positive
Because hemp products can legally contain up to 0.3 percent THC, regularly consuming CBD products could trigger a false-positive result! This is mainly a concern for people who take regular high doses of daily CBD that would surpass the federal limit of 50 nanograms THC metabolite per milliliter of urine.
Please note, a positive test would be the result of minute traces of THC in the body, not CBD!
Though tests are being developed to detect CBD metabolites, most employers don’t really care about it, they just want to know if you get high. Unfortunately, THC very readily accumulates in body fat and can take over 3 months of complete cannabis abstinence to fully eliminate from the body!
Medical Professionals and Drug Testing
Though an employer’s reason for drug testing is to determine your ability to remain safe and productive at work, a medical professional has a whole different reason: to determine what medications to give you to keep you safe. Non-disclosure of cannabis consumption could alter the effectiveness of sedatives and other pain medications.
Because cannabis and anesthesia are both depressants, mixing the two could make for dangerous mid-surgery interactions. Many surgeons recommend avoiding cannabis consumption prior to surgery to avoid a miscalculation in anesthesia. Some medical professionals will conduct a pre-surgery drug screening to ensure all chemicals and medications floating around in the body be identified prior to putting you under.
Because many cannabis consumers don’t always have a clear idea of the specific cannabinoids they are ingesting, some researchers have suggested testing for both CBD and THC (in addition to other narcotics) as part of standardized pre-surgery testing procedures.
Employers Looking Past Positive Drug Tests
Though it’s still legal to test for cannabis in 420-friendly states, many employees have begun to look past results that test positive for THC. Largely due to the shrinking pool of eligible employees. Let’s face it, if you can legally smoke weed, you probably will smoke weed at some point, right? Due to an inability to determine cannabis impairment on standardized tests, a growing number of employees are opting out of the cannabis-free workplace mentality.
So will CBD show up in a drug test?
It's unlikely that CBD will show up in a standard drug test. If you have to take one for employment, chances are they will be screening for cannabis (marijuana). But that actually means they're looking for the presence of THC or THC metabolites- not CBD.
Technically, CBD is a chemical, and if you ingest it, your body will metabolize it, so it can be detected. But the average drug test is not designed to pick up CBD, or any other compounds found in cannabis other than THC, says Brenda Gannon, a toxicologist and laboratory director at Steep Hill Arkansas.
She says that “because CBD is chemically distinct from THC, it is unlikely that pure CBD would be detected in these types of drug tests. However, hemp-based CBD products often contain trace amounts of THC." (This is because some researchers believe that a tiny bit of THC enhances the effects of CBD.)
If there’s a little THC in my CBD oil, will I fail my drug test?
Different types of drug tests have different detection thresholds. A hair test, for example, is designed to catch chronic substance use. So if your CBD oil only has trace amounts of THC in it (0.3 percent is the standard amount if there's any in it at all), and you're not chugging it by the bottle, it still may not show up in a hair test. However, it's worth noting that because CBD isn't regulated, you don't ever really know what's in a product that contains it.
If you're taking urine or oral fluid drug tests, the detection thresholds are even lower. Gannon says that "depending on a number of parameters, including amount consumed, how often one uses CBD products, and body composition, it is possible that these trace amounts of THC could accumulate and then be detected in a drug test."
"It’s possible, but it's highly unlikely," concurs Jamie Corroon, a postdoctoral fellow at the National University of Natural Medicine and the founder of the Center for Medical Cannabis Education.
Is there a drug test that could detect CBD?
Since it's not standard to test for CBD, it would take a very specific test to detect it—your employer would have to commission it (and pay for it). Gannon says this would involve “notifying the testing company that the employer would like to test for an additional analyte” and “paying the testing company an additional charge to cover expenses associated with CBD—such as having to purchase additional standards for detection and [slightly] modifying their existing standard operating procedures to include CBD.” And that's really unlikely, since CBD doesn’t get you high—and therefore won’t impair your ability to perform your job functions—and most companies don’t like to spend extra money for no reason.