Health & Wellness

Will CBD show up on a drug test?

By Melena Gurganus
drug test 2

CBD rarely shows up on a drug test. Even most full-spectrum oils that contain some level of THC should not cause you to fail a drug test. However, some personal stories report that CBD did come back positive for marijuana, even though the person had used nothing other than CBD.

So what does this mean?

There are certain factors that may contribute to positive results from a drug test, even when only using hemp-derived CBD products.

Anytime you take a product made from the cannabis plant, even those legal in all 50 states, you should worry about the following:

  • Mislabeled products may result in a positive
  • A hair test can make it harder to pass a drug test
  • Trace amounts of THC may trigger a positive drug test

What is CBD?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a compound found in cannabis. It exists in marijuana and hemp. Cannabinoids like CBD work by empowering your endocannabinoid system to regulate physiological and cognitive functions like appetite, anxiety, mood, pain-sensation, and inflammation.

There is evidence that suggests the introduction of cannabinoids into your body may help treat conditions such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Nausea
  • Migraines
  • Appetite
  • Seizures
  • Psoriasis
  • Inflammation

Marijuana may help some of these conditions. But people are turning to hemp-derived CBD oil because it’s more widely available and easy-to-use. Of all the potential therapeutic and lifestyle uses for hemp and CBD, the one’s we hear the most about are:

  • Anxiety – CBD may help people reduce anxiety. This could include social anxiety, generalized anxiety, or panic attacks. Here’s a medically-reviewed article about CBD and anxiety.
  • Pain – CBD may help reduce inflammation, and therefore treat pain. While research is limited, anecdotal evidence supports CBD as a natural back pain remedy, chronic pain treatment, and general pain reliever. Here’s a medically-reviewed article about CBD and pain.
  • Sleep – CBD may help people get to sleep more quickly or stay asleep longer. The sleep benefits of CBD can be indirect, as an oil or edible may calm the mind, or direct, as the substance makes the user drowsy. Here’s a helpful article about CBD and sleep.

CBD does not get you high

To feel high off CBD a person would have to smoke a joint the size of a telephone pole. This is why CBD is gaining popularity. With CBD, you are getting beneficial cannabinoids into your system that can help your body function, without becoming intoxicated.

Does CBD Affect Drug Screenings?

CBD is a cannabis extract that has brought symptom relief and health benefits to many people who have given it a try. But there’s controversy surrounding CBD and its growing potential, primarily because it can contain traces of THC. CBD and THC can be found in hemp and marijuana plants since both are strains of cannabis sativa, although they have different concentrations of each compound. CBD is more commonly derived from hemp plants instead of marijuana, because industrial hemp is required to have less than 0.3 percent THC.

[Learn more about CBD and how it affects the body]

With such a small percentage of THC lingering in CBD oils and other infused products, using CBD should not cause you to fail a drug test. Still, there have been rare cases where individuals report only using CBD and consequently testing positive for THC.

A similar phenomenon has occurred in people that consume poppy seeds, oddly enough. Poppy seeds originate from the opium poppy, which means they contain trace amounts of morphine and other opiate derivatives. Many cases have been reported in which poppy seeds were the culprit causing false positives to appear on drug tests. Poppy seeds themselves do not produce psychoactive effects in people that ingest them, although their urine drug screen results may test positive for morphine. This relates to CBD, which may contain very small amounts of THC that could affect a drug test, although it won’t make you feel high in any way. Luckily for CBD users, small doses can elicit therapeutic effects, yet it would take a massive amount of CBD for it to show up on a drug test.

How to Rule Out a False Positive

If you’re truly concerned about failing a drug test due to CBD use, here are some steps you can take to ensure that no traces of THC are present in your system:

  • Don’t take more than 2,000mg of CBD in a day—this is an unusually large amount of CBD that could affect a drug test result if enough was ingested in a small time frame.
  • Look for THC-free products—a wide range of cannabinoids and other hemp extracts can be found in full spectrum CBD, but there are THC-free options that have extracted this compound all together. CBD isolates are also available that have no other cannabis extracts other than the CBD itself.
  • Consider only using topicals—topicals are a great way to use CBD, as they can relieve aches and pains without ever entering your bloodstream. With this method, neither a full spectrum nor an isolated formula will cause CBD to show up on a drug test.

What else should I know about CBD?

It’s highly improbable that CBD would trigger a positive result since these screenings are only searching for THC. Imagine that you were being tested for a different substance, such as caffeine. If you only drink decaffeinated coffee, you wouldn’t expect to fail a test for caffeine since you’re assuming it had been  removed during the processing of the beans. But you also might not bet your career or insurance on this test. You might assume the supplier was unable to remove any and all caffeine from the beans. Similarly, CBD shouldn’t cause you to fail a drug test that is looking for THC, but if you’re taking a hemp-derived product that contains some THC, you need to weigh the risks of a potential positive test result.

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