Does CBD Show up on a Drug Test? [Know the FACTS!]
The use of CBD for medicinal purposes, or even to just feel better throughout the day, has become extremely common in the USA and the western world in general.
CBD is now known as a useful medicinal treatment, able to help manage and ease the symptoms from a variety of different conditions. However, there do still remain a few problems associated with CBD use, especially when it comes to working.
The most significant problem is concerning drug tests; despite what many people think, drug tests are quite frequently conducted by companies across the USA. Is there any risk with drug tests when using CBD?
Does CBD show up on a drug test?
What Exactly is a Drug Test & Are You At Risk of Being Asked to Take One?
Most people only think of a drug test as something given to hardened criminals or recently released convicts, so as to test whether or not they are remaining clean from illicit substances.
In actuality, drug tests are conducted across the USA by all manner of different companies. The idea behind a drug test is to determine what substances you are regularly using, as well as what substances you have taken in the past.
Employers are concerned with this information because they want to know what kind of substances you use when out of work. Regardless of how you might feel about an employer’s right to infringe on your personal life, the US government, unfortunately, agrees with them.
What’s really interesting about a drug test is that there is a huge propensity for mistakes to occur, especially with regard to false positives and not recognizing legitimate medicines.
For example, the common ADHD medication Adderall is essentially a rebranded methamphetamine, just in a lower dosage than you would find being sold from a street dealer. However, if you take a drug test when using Adderall, you are liable to register as positive for regular Meth, despite the fact that you have a legal prescription for your medicine.
This is especially a problem for those that take marijuana for medical purposes, as a drug test conducted by your employer does not take into account whether or not you have a legal, state-sanctioned medical marijuana card.
Despite the fact that thirty-three different US states allow medical marijuana, it is still federally illegal and, most importantly, not a protected class. This means that any and all employers are entirely able to discriminate against any marijuana user, as they are technically breaking the law, despite their local government permitting their marijuana use.
Drug tests are typically conducted in one of three ways: Blood tests, saliva/hair tests, or urine tests. When it comes to cannabinoids, the worst tests are ones that involve hair and urine samples, as these two methods maintain traces of your marijuana use up to 90 days after you have last used them.
This means that even if you have only tried a little bit of marijuana in the last three months, you are liable to be fired from your job. However, CBD is not the same thing as regular marijuana – CBD does not contain any THC (the principal cannabinoid that gets you high).
Are there any problems with using CBD and being drug tested?
So, Does CBD Show Up On Drug Tests?
It is surprisingly challenging to speak about drug tests and the rules for passing them and be confident that we include all possible drug tests, as there isn’t one single, unified system of drug testing. Though the federal government generally uses the same methods for all drug tests across the country, individual companies can use whatever testing apparatus and failure parameters that they so choose.
This makes it pretty hard to go into a drug test with 100% certainty that you will pass, no matter the substance. However, generally speaking, most drug tests are not testing for CBD when they test their employees. This is because most drug tests are actually looking for THC, the primary cannabinoid within cannabis and the part that actually gets you high.
When a drug test occurs, they need to measure your sample up against one particular chemical compound, so as to be able to confidently say whether or not you have that substance within your system.
This means that they are only testing to see if your sample has THC, rather than checking to see if you have other cannabinoids or other compounds from the cannabis plant. This is important because then the drug test could accidentally pick up on terpenes within the cannabis plant, which are substances that occur naturally in a great many different plants.
For the most part, you are completely safe using CBD and taking a drug test; you only really have one other significant problem, and that is based on what kind of CBD you use.
The Risk of Traces of THC in Your CBD
Contrary to what many people believe, there are actually multiple different types of CBD available for sale across the USA. Some types of CBD, like CBD isolate, are nothing more than pure, unadulterated cannabidiol and whatever substance is used to suspend it and keep it preserved, such as coconut oil.
However, many CBD products on the market are actually full spectrum CBD, which means that they have been made using the standard CO2 extraction method and come with other cannabinoids as well.
Though all CBD oils and CBD products go through a process known as winterization and a further filtration step to ensure all unwanted compounds aren’t present in the final product, there is still an unfortunate risk of getting trace amounts of THC within your CBD oil.
This is why most CBD oil retailers will make reference to the quantity of THC within their product, using less than 1%. As the use of CBD is technically legal throughout the USA, but cannabis itself is still illegal, different municipalities have different rules and regulations about how much THC can be within CBD products.
For example, in the UK, all CBD products cannot have more than 0.2% THC; otherwise, they are no longer branded as CBD oil and instead are labelled marijuana oil, which is illegal.
The critical problem is that this legal limit changes across different US states; this means that the CBD oil you buy from a local store might only have 0.2% THC, but it is also possible to buy CBD oil that contains something like 0.4% THC, as that is legal in the state where it is made and sold.
This isn’t typically a problem regarding legalities, as it is legal to sell these CBD products across state borders. The real issue is concerning drug tests in different states. You might be taking CBD oil that contains 0.3% THC, not getting any kind of psychoactive effect whatsoever from it, instead only using it as a medicine. However, because the drug test that your employer uses is extremely sensitive to trace amounts of THC, you might still show up as positive for THC.
Although it doesn’t really make any sense, you are at risk of registering as a false positive on many drug tests if you use CBD oil.
What Are You Supposed to Do to Pass a Drug Test When You Use CBD?
It might seem like the odds are completely stacked against you; like there is nothing you can do to avoid registering as a false positive for THC when you only use CBD. Well, it is an unfortunate consequence of trying to medicate yourself with cannabidiol – many people simply don’t understand it and treat you poorly because of it.
One of the things you can do is to speak to your employer before the drug test and explain that you are using CBD extract as a medicine. It is probably best to frame it as something that your doctor recommended, so as to encourage him to see it as a medicinal treatment, rather than some kind of illicit substance.
If you don’t have a problem with lying, you might consider saying that you frequently eat hemp seed oil as cooking oil; it is not impossible for hemp seed oil to flag as a false positive on drug tests looking for cannabis, so this might be enough to dissuade them.
However, if you are working for someone with an incredibly intolerant view of marijuana, the only thing you can do is to cease using any type of cannabinoids or cannabis products as soon as you learn that you are going to be drug tested.
Though THC can stay in your system for up to 90 days, it does get less sensitive to testing equipment as time goes on. Assuming you learn about your drug test well in advance, you might be able to avoid taking any cannabinoid products 90 days before you have your test.
Final Thoughts on CBD Showing Up on Drug Tests
The modern world can sometimes feel incredibly harsh and intolerant to CBD users; despite the fact that it does not, in any way, get you high, many people still consider CBD as the same as THC with regard to danger and illegality. When it comes to drug tests by your employers or the government, this can feel even worse, as CBD can sometimes register as a false positive for THC.
The best way to avoid this is to make sure that the CBD you are using, definitely uses less than 0.2% THC in its extraction method. As well as maybe just stop using any cannabinoid products entirely, prior to your drug test.
By far the best way to pass your drug test if you use CBD is to have a good relationship with your employer. If you do run the risk of having your drug test flagged for THC, being able to explain to your boss that you use CBD and the test is incorrect might just be your only choice.
Until medical marijuana use is turned into a protected class, or it is made entirely federally legal, CBD users are going to have a multitude of problems when trying to take their medicine.
It’s not fair, but unfortunately, that’s just the way it is.