It's one of the biggest concerns that CBD users have: can you take CBD oil and pass a drug test? This is a straightforward question with a not-so-straightforward answer. The best response is: maybe.
In this article, we explore how the contents of CBD products might impact the results of a drug test and help provide some information that will enable you to make informed choices when using these products.
Can Using CBD Make You Fail a Drug Test?
If you're one of the millions who are subject to drug testing, there is a high chance you're being screened for marijuana use. Most drug tests, like a common 5-panel screening, are looking for the presence of the THC metabolite THC-COOH in your urine, saliva, or hair.
CBD products sold publicly must be sourced from hemp to be legal according to the federal rules set in place by the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill defined hemp as any cannabis plant and it's derivatives containing 0.3% or less THC. The class of CBD product that contains THC is called full-spectrum.
These full-spectrum CBD products will not get you high, so they can be misleading when it comes to drug testing. The issue is, even the trace amount of THC is enough to trigger a drug screening. A 2020 study reported that full-spectrum products can produce a high enough reading to produce positive urine results for THC-COOH.
This establishes a clear conclusion: a full-spectrum CBD product contains trace amounts of THC which can cause you to fail a drug test. If you're subject to testing, avoid these products. That said, there are other types of CBD products on the market that don't contain THC. So the question becomes, will these products also cause you to fail a drug test?
Which types of CBD products contain THC:
Full-spectrum is one of the three main classifications of CBD products. Full-spectrum is joined by two THC-free alternatives: broad-spectrum and CBD isolate. All three of these spectrums begin as hemp before being extracted and subject to further processing to strip various components away:
- Full-spectrum retains all major and minor cannabinoids and terpenes, including up to 0.3% THC.
- Broad-spectrum retains all major and minor cannabinoids and terpenes but does not contain THC.
- CBD isolate is stripped of all other major and minor cannabinoids and terpenes, leaving only the single CBD molecule.
Choosing a THC-free broad-spectrum or isolate based product is the best way to reduce your risks of testing positive for marijuana.
Will You Fail a Drug Test Using Broad-Spectrum or CBD Isolate?
Removing THC from the equation reduces your positive testing risks extensively. That said, there are still some factors at play that could put you at risk of testing positive, even with a THC-free option.
The 2020 study we cited above noted that: "After pure CBD administration, only 1 out of 218 urine specimens screened positive for ?9-THCCOOH (20-ng/mL IA cutoff) and no specimens exceeded the 15-ng/mL confirmatory cutoff." This means that even taking a CBD isolate there was a case where a user would have had a false-positive result.
Understanding why you might test positive or false positive when using broad-spectrum or CBD isolate is hard to pin down exactly, but there are many possible factors:
- A specific type of drug testing can't tell the difference between CBD & THC. This common type of gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS) called trifluoroacetic anhydride, or TFAA is unable to discern between CBD and THC.
- The minor cannabinoid CBN has been shown to cross-react with urine immunoassays designed to detect the THC metabolite. This cannabinoid is growing in popularity as a standalone compound which is where the primary concern might lie. That said, it is also sometimes found in full/broad-spectrum CBD products, though often in very trace amounts.
- The product could be mislabeled or contaminated and contain THC. Again, choosing a reputable company that provides lab reports will remove most of your risk here.
- The drug test is testing for the presence of cannabinoids outside of just THC.
So while many, many users of THC-free CBD products pass drug tests without issue, there are no guarantees. Never take a company's claim that you can take their products and pass a drug test. You have to weigh the risks on your own and choose wisely.
Considerations when taking CBD & Being drug tested:
The simplest way to reduce your risk of failing a drug test as a CBD user is to avoid any products that contain THC. This will largely, though not completely, reduce the risks of testing positive. Beyond this, you must weigh the risks of consuming even a THC-free product and mitigate the risks yourself. Consider the following:
- Confirm the type and specifics of the drug test you will be subject to and confirm that the use of your chosen product is safe.
- If you choose to use a CBD product, verify the THC content via lab reports so you know what to expect.
- Discuss the use of CBD with whoever subjects you to testing before beginning use.
If you use CBD and know you will be tested, refraining from all CBD use for a period before the test is performed is an additional way to give yourself some peace of mind. It's also helpful to know that about 5-10% of drug tests produce false positives. This is well-documented, and it's a reason to ask for a re-test if you fail the first time.
Here at Big Sky Botanicals, we recognize the need for a THC-free product that offers the maximum potential benefit to the user. That is why we carry a line of products that are produced by a manufacturer certified by the CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) as a producer of 0.0% THC products.
*This information is provided as reference only, not advice. It is your responsibility alone to understand what you are being tested for and your choice to consume or not consume substances on those tests. We do not claim that our own or other products will or will not cause you to pass or fail a drug test. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment for any health problems. In addition, the information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.