Scientist testing does cbd show up on a drug test

Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

Could taking CBD cause me to fail a drug test? 

“Does CBD show up on a drug test?” is a common question asked by many potential consumers. The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no, and it needs a bit of unpacking. 

Drug tests are used to look for specific drugs in bodily fluids, including saliva, blood, or urine. With cannabis (also known as Cannabis sativa) tests are looking for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is the compound found in cannabis that causes impairment. However, THC is not the only compound in cannabis – it also contains cannabidiol or CBD. People may accidentally find themselves testing positive for THC after taking CBD products, but with a bit of know-how, these can be safely consumed.  

CBD is different from THC in some important ways. First, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t cause users to feel impaired. This makes it safe to use when driving, operating heavy machinery, or doing important jobs like health care. Second, the CBD in most products comes from hemp, which is a sub-species of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC.

Hemp-derived CBD from the cannabis plant was made federally legal in the US with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. In contrast, THC remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level, although it is legalized for recreational and/or medical use in some US states.

Importantly, though, CBD products can contain THC. Because hemp can contain up to 0.3% THC, CBD oil extracted from hemp plants cannot be guaranteed to be THC free. The only way to know for sure that a CBD product does not contain THC is to only consume products that have undergone testing for residual THC, ideally by a third-party lab. The requirement for a THC-free product also means that full spectrum CBD products must be avoided because these will contain up to 0.3% THC.

Testing of CBD Products & Package Labels

In addition to full spectrum products, types of CBD come in other forms, including CBD isolate, broad spectrum, and topical. Here’s how these products compare and to answer the question—”Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test”:

CBD Isolate: CBD isolate products only contain isolated CBD and are THC free. These products are sometimes referred to as pure CBD. 

Broad Spectrum CBD: Broad spectrum CBD products will contain CBD along with other cannabinoids (and usually other compounds like terpenes) but are THC-free.

Full Spectrum CBD: Full spectrum CBD products will contain CBD along with other cannabinoids (along with other compounds like terpenes), and they can contain up to 0.3% amount of THC.

Topical CBD (CBD Lotion or Cream): The CBD in a topical product (applied to the skin) can be an isolate, broad-spectrum, or full spectrum, so it may contain THC. Even though it’s not well absorbed into the bloodstream, the application of a full-spectrum topical CBD could theoretically result in a positive drug test.

While technically you should be able to consume Broad Spectrum or CBD isolate products without consuming any THC, research has found that many CBD products are contaminated with THC, resulting in unintentional THC consumption

The only way to avoid unwanted THC is to ensure that the product has been tested for THC, which will be shown on the Certificate of Analysis (COA). The COA will provide you with details about the composition of CBD products and will help you to ensure that it is safe for consumption.

COAs are not mandatory in most states, so it is up to the consumer to look for them. It is usually found through a link to a QR code on the product package. COAs should be done for every batch of products that are produced as well as for every end product. Be sure the information matches the associated COA.

Types of Workplace Drug Testing and CBD

There are a variety of tests for cannabis, with urine being the most common. Each test has a different cannabis detection window in which a person may test positive:

Urine testing: detects cannabis for 3 to 30 days after use

Saliva testing: detects cannabis for 24 to 72 hours after use

Hair testing: detects cannabis for up to 90 days after use

Blood testing: detects cannabis for 3 to 4 hours after use

None of these tests measure CBD or CBD metabolites.

Health Benefits & Side Effects

There are many benefits to taking CBD. These include:

CBD for Anxiety: CBD has been shown to reduce some forms of anxiety, including generalized anxiety, social anxiety disorder, social phobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). CBD has also been shown to reduce anxiety in healthy adults in a simulated public speaking environment. 

CBD for Pain: CBD has been shown to reduce pain in animal and human studies. In animal models of pain conditions that widely affect humans, including arthritis and myofascial pain, CBD has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment. A recent review article stated that there is an “overwhelming” body of preclinical research supporting the use of CBD for pain.

CBD for Sleep: CBD may help with sleep issues, but it may also promote wakefulness. Whether CBD is sedating or alerting seems to depend on dose. A recent article reviewed the research on CBD’s wakefulness and sleep-promoting effects and concluded that low to moderate doses is stimulating, while high doses are sedating. CBD may additionally benefit sleep by reducing anxiety, which disrupts sleep.

In Summary—Does CBD Show Up in a Drug Test?

There are two ways to ensure that taking CBD does not result in a positive drug test. First, consume only broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products. And second, only use products that have undergone testing for trace THC, which can be verified by checking the product COA (remember to check that the COA matches the product batch). Using products that are trusted and tested allows you to experience CBD’s many potential health benefits without concern.

Dr. Genevieve Newton, DC, PhD has spent the past 19 years as a researcher and educator in the field of nutritional sciences. A series of personal health crises led her to discover the benefits of cannabinoids, and she soon found herself engrossed in studying the endocannabinoid system and therapeutic applications of cannabis/cannabinoids in mental health, pain, sleep, and neurological disorders. She has recently taken a position as the Scientific Director at Fringe, a new medical CBD and education company.