Hundreds of employees in various sectors of life are encountered with specific questions when it comes to CBD and drug testing in their different work environments. Will CBD show on a drug test? What about military personnel…will CBD show on a military drug test?
Unfortunately, some people who decide to use CBD to address anxiety, insomnia, pain, or other several symptoms, can unfairly fail drug tests for cannabis.
There is a lot to discuss about CBD and drug testing so let’s get started.
Can You Fail a Drug Test for CBD?
You could fail a drug test for any residual THC in a CBD product, but you won’t fail a drug test for CBD itself. How does a drug test work?
Employers collect and transfer samples, most commonly urine, to companies who run drug tests via a machine that has the potential to measure trace chemicals in the liquid. The technicians search for evidence of a by-product of the main active cannabinoid in cannabis, THC.
It is rare for employers to test hair, saliva, or blood from their employees.
A federal worker can fail a drug test if their urine test positive for any trace amount of THC metabolite (THC-COOH). When we say ”trace”, we mean only 50 billionths of a gram per mL of urine.
That is such a small number that I can’t really imagine such a small size.
The common reason a worker may fail a drug test is THC content. According to popular cannabis website Leafly, “In 2018, about 2.3% of all US drug tests came out positive for the use of cannabis.”
There is a potential that an older, and common type of analytical method falsely identifies THC in a sample containing only CBD.
A reporter by the name of Amanda Chicago-Lewis estimated that thousands of false positives might result from this error, annually. CBD and drug testing obviously has some errors that it needs to address, as Amanda says.
Some users of CBD have challenged a failed drug test for THC successfully if the laboratory-made use of this particular method, which can result in a false report of CBD as THC.
Will CBD Show in a Drug Test?
The cannabis plant produces both CBD and THC. Medical cannabis and industrial hemp can be likened as both can create hundreds of similar compounds called cannabinoids.
CBD derived from federally legal hemp can still possess up to 0.3% THC by dry weight. If you consume very high CBD doses (thousands of milligrams) per day from the federally legal hemp oil, it implies that you may also be consuming at least 1 mg of THC.
If a user of CBD tests positive for THC, the test can either be inaccurate or, most likely, the zero THC product possessed some THC. It would be best if you tried to avoid accidental exposure of THC by using certified, tested, and well reviewed CBD products.
A urine test is the most common workplace drug test. In this test, employers are not looking for CBD, as CBD hasn’t been found to affect judgment or motor skills – at all.
According to Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, “Out of users in this study, no side effects included effects similar to being intoxified.”
Employees fail workplace drug testing for THC, which is the main active ingredient for marijuana. THC can be found in trace amounts in some CBD products and then remain in the human body for a period of time.
Some CBD products may be mislabeled, whereby, the amount of THC in some CBD products is understated. The quality of even premium CBD oils can vary in some unregulated markets, except for state-licensed adult-use and medical cannabis stores that are regulated by product testing.
CBD product testing from unlicensed stores have returned positive for THC. You get what you pay for when it comes to CBD, so please make sure you are buying from a reputable source, or you may find yourself on the wrong side of CBD and drug testing results.
Additionally, if you consume a lot of CBD, for instance, 1,000 milligrams per day of CBD, some residual amounts of THC could endanger your test results.
This is quite important because a failed drug test can bring about a denial of loss of job, income, or even both. This can also result in a loss of individual access to vital resources such as welfare and education benefits, prescriptions for pain medication, and also child custody.
CBD and Drug Testing Failure
Once again, it is not because of CBD use that you failed a drug test. It’s about failing a THC drug test because you consumed CBD with THC in it.
This failure depends on the source of your CBD, the amount you took, how long you took it, your metabolism, and other several factors such as hydration levels.
CBD and drug testing is a tricky area, and it’s mainly because of either the residual THC or the false positive from cheaper THC test kits.
Since phytocannabinoid research is still in it’s infancy stage, the drug test kits can easily detect CBD and count it as a THC molecular makeup. This is typically only the case for very cheap testing kits. If you are worried about CBD and drug testing leading to a negative result, see if you can identify which type of drug testing kit is used.
This can help give an indicator of the nature of the kit (cheap vs. expensive). The Journal of Cannabinoid Medicine actually claims that, “CBD, the latest wellness craze, won’t cause users to fail a drug test–but its lesser-known cousin CBN will.” While this article focuses more on false positives for THC, the user should keep CBN in mind as well.
Will CBD Show on a Military Drug Test?
Military drug tests are essentially no different from civilian drug tests. For this reason, the results will be no different.
That means, CBD can show on a military drug test, just like it might show as a false positive on normal drug tests. Will CBD show on a military drug test? Yes, it can.
Just like we mentioned above, it all depends on the level of THC in your CBD products. Residual amounts of THC are enough to trigger the THC levels in drug tests – even if its a minute amount.
If you are in the military, I would advise against using CBD for two major reasons:
- It may flag you as a false positive for THC
- The DoD has a restriction on the use of CBD (as of FEB2021).
Even though CBD is non-psychoactive, it’s still considered a controlled substance according the the US Department of Defense.
Put Your CBD Oil’s Source Into Consideration
Another factor that MAY compromise CBD and drug testing results is reported THC content being inaccurately labeled. A commercially available pure isolate of the CBD molecule should not contain any THC.
Meanwhile, these isolates are derived from hemp oil and vary in quality. Going by Federal United States law, hemp oil can hold up to 0.3% THC by dry weight.
Due to variations in the test results, sometimes the number is even higher. As we have recommended in the past, make sure you can check the certificate of analysis to verify the real contents of the CBD oil you’re consuming.
Our CBD eBook has an entire chapter dedicated to reading this type of report. Be sure to check it out!
Other Factors to Consider
Aside from your source of CBD, bodily chemistry, length of use, dosage, and some other factors can dictate drug test failure or success. On the one hand, a person who smokes cannabis with high-THC every day and then quits can still possibly fail a drug test more than a month later (depending on body fat reserves).
As mentioned previously, CBD and drug testing for a negative outcome has a lot to do with the specific testing kit and its quality. But how can you fail a drug test more than a month later? The human body often stores THC in fat cells and then burns it into THC-COOH later.
On the other hand, you could theoretically consume CBD hemp oil for some months, at little amounts (50 mg/day), and never fail a urine test for THC-COOH. It is not certain how much CBD hemp oil is required or for how long to come up with more than 50 ng/ml of THC-COOH in your urine.
However, if you are consuming vast amounts of CBD, you could test positive for THC dependent on the source.
CBD and Drug Testing Pass Rates
If you haven’t figured it out already, you will not be tested for CBD. You will be tested for THC.
This is where CBD and drug testing gets tricky. If you are interested for any reason, you may consider following the detoxification guidelines for THC, including dieting, exercise, discontinuing use, and staying very hydrated to remove as much THC from your body as quickly possible.
The trend for drug testing marijuana use is moving toward testing less for non-safety mandated jobs. Many more states are stopping the discrimination against THC usage. Until all states make up their minds, make sure you are careful with your CBD and drug testing requirements.
If your job is on the line, I ALWAYS recommend to just stay away for now. It’s not worth the loss of income and the hardship that will bring.
Journal of Cannabinoid Medicine: https://journalofcannabinoidmedicine.com/cbd-the-latest-wellness-craze-wont-cause-users-to-fail-a-drug-test-but-its-lesser-known-cousin-cbn-will/
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6043845/