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Does CBD show up on a drug test? Guide and best CBD products

The complete guide to buying CBD Products and learning more about CBD and drug tests. Check out our top 5 CBD brands, too.

By Davies Media | Published Nov 19, 2021 6:00 PM

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid compound found in the cannabis plant which does not have psychoactive properties that are associated with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Many people are turning to CBD products if they want to enjoy additional benefits of cannabis without experiencing an altered state of mind from the THC.

CBD is currently being studied for a variety of health benefits and has already been proven to have some very promising results, especially when it comes to the treatment of medical conditions such as epilepsy.

Given that CBD is still relatively new in terms of being introduced into the mainstream market, many people are still trying to uncover its potential uses in medicine in addition to its benefits when it comes to wellness.

CBD is typically taken orally in pill, liquid or capsule form and can be found in both low-THC/high-CBD hemp plants and high-THC cannabis plants. CBD products are usually derived from the whole plant or aerial parts but can also come from sources such as cannabis oil.

Despite the fact that CBD has been widely praised for its medicinal benefits, there are still concerns when it comes to testing for the substance. This is mostly because while CBD itself cannot cause a positive result on a drug test, certain products or methods of use may lead to a false positive.

CBD from hemp or cannabis – what’s the difference?

One of the most common questions concerning CBD is whether or not it will show up on a drug test when derived from hemp vs. marijuana.

There are big differences between CBD products sourced from industrial hemp and those that come from other types of cannabis, such as medical marijuana. It’s important to understand these distinctions when trying to figure out whether you can take CBD without the fear of testing positive for THC.

One main thing to take into consideration is that while industrial hemp-derived CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC, these levels are so small that it’s unlikely they will trigger a positive result when tested at work or other places where drug screening is done. In addition to this, the amount of THC present in CBD from industrial hemp is significantly lower than the amount found in other types of cannabis.

This means that CBD products derived from hemp are viewed much differently when it comes to drug testing and do not have the potential to give a false positive like THC-rich products.

The primary difference between CBD from hemp oil vs. marijuana comes down to how each type of plant is used by people.

Hemp is a type of cannabis that contains negligible amounts of THC and has been cultivated specifically for its strong, durable fiber. It’s also commonly used in the production of plastics and other materials as well as being a highly-nutritious food source thanks to its seeds.

CBD from hemp oil is typically made from the flowers and upper leaves of a hemp plant.

Medical marijuana is another type of cannabis made from the dried buds and leaves of a high-THC variety. It’s usually grown indoors where there’s a higher concentration of THC in this specific part of the plant, resulting in products that can be much more potent when they’re derived from medical marijuana.

The THC content found in CBD products sourced from medical marijuana is typically much higher than those derived from industrial hemp.

That’s why it’s so important to know where your CBD product comes from as well as the concentration of THC within it.

It is possible to extract CBD oil that contains virtually zero amounts of THC, but this will require that you use highly specialized equipment and follow specific procedures.

If you want to know exactly what the CBD products in your possession are made of, it’s recommended that you look for third-party lab tests on the packaging or ask your supplier directly.

Does CBD show up on a drug test?

In short, yes – but it depends on what type of drug test is being used.

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CBD products derived from industrial hemp will almost certainly not be included in a standard drug screen for THC because it contains insignificant amounts of the psychoactive ingredient most associated with getting “high.”

While CBD itself cannot cause a positive result on a drug test, certain products or methods used to extract CBD may contain some amount of THC – and this can cause a false positive.

The good news is that if your CBD is sourced from hemp, it may be possible to transfer it to a CBD isolate. CBD isolate contains a high concentration of CBD and no measurable levels of THC, so there is no way this product could lead to a positive result on a drug test.

If you’re unsure about whether or not your CBD will show up when tested, the best thing you can do is order some CBD drug testing kits and try them out yourself.

These are inexpensive and will allow you to see if your CBD will test positive so you can adjust accordingly.

What else can you do to make sure your CBD does not show up on a drug test?

While the majority of people who use CBD will never be tested for THC, there is always a possibility that you could be.

In this case, the thing you’ll want to look for is products made with 99+% pure CBD isolate combined with zero-THC hemp oil. This will ensure that no matter what type of drug test you take, your results will be accurate.

Best CBD Products

People are scrambling to find high-quality CBD products for themselves and their loved ones, but the sheer volume of options available – not to mention all the scams out there – can make things pretty difficult.

That’s why we’ve put together a list of the five best CBD products available so you don’t have to waste any more time or money trying to track down what works:

How to Choose the Right CBD Products for me?

There are several things you’ll want to consider when choosing the right CBD product for your needs.

First, decide if you’d rather give yourself a topical treatment or take an oral capsule. There are benefits and drawbacks to both types of treatments, so it’s best to do some research before making a decision.

Next, take a look at concentration. CBD products come in a variety of concentrations, but the amount you’ll need depends on your specific treatment goals. Make sure to use our search function to find reviews of specific products so you can see if they’re right for you. Finally, consider the price. We all have limited budgets, so be sure to check out reviews that let you know how much CBD products cost so you can buy the best one for your budget.

Will CBD Oil Result in a Positive Drug Test?

Sherry Christiansen is a medical writer with a healthcare background. She has worked in the hospital setting and collaborated on Alzheimer’s research.

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Arno Kroner, DAOM, LAc, is a board-certified acupuncturist, as well as an herbalist and integrative medicine doctor. He operates a private practice in Santa Monica, California.

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a popular product for everything from pain control and anxiety to promoting sleep. However, with the rise of CBD use comes a concern about failing a drug test.

News stories are emerging across the country involving famous people who have gotten positive drug screening results for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the component of marijuana that can cause people to feel high. This is happening even though CBD oil is said to be THC-free.

What are the odds that CBD oil users will test positive when subjected to illicit drug screenings? And what can be done to prevent it?

This article explains why a positive drug test can happen with CBD use, which types of CBD are most likely to trigger one, and what you can do to avoid it.

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Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

The active chemical in marijuana that gets detected in a positive drug test screening is THC. Most people are under the impression that CBD oil is THC-free, which is generally true. But not always.

As it turns out, depending on the source of the cannabis that is used to produce the CBD oil, some products do contain traces of THC. This includes low-quality isolates and many full-spectrum tinctures. A full spectrum oil contains other active plant compounds in addition to the CBD.

Cannabis Types

Cannabis is the umbrella term describing hemp and marijuana plants—two different varieties of the Cannabis genus. Both marijuana and hemp can be described as cannabis, but they are two different plants.

CBD is one of many active chemical compounds in cannabis plants. One reason it’s becoming more popular is because it’s said to lack THC.

The primary difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp is nearly void of THC. In fact, a cannabis strain must contain less than 0.3% THC to be classified as hemp. This is why hemp can be legally sold in various products.

Most CBD products are made from hemp, not marijuana.

There are many distinctions between marijuana and hemp that relate to CBD oil. Marijuana contains both THC (the “high”-inducing element) and CBD. Hemp contains CBD and only trace amounts of THC.

Hemp also contains many cannabinoids, which is a name for the compounds found in cannabis. CBD is only one example.

There are several techniques for extracting CBD oil from the cannabis plant. The extraction method determines whether the CBD oil is an “isolate” or a “full-spectrum oil.”

A CBD isolate is a pure compound with no other active compounds or cannabinoids. The full-spectrum compounds may include other active chemicals, such as cannabinol and cannabis terpenes (the part of the plant that gives the plant its aroma).

Study of CBD Oil

While some CBD oils claim to be isolates, they may be full-spectrum oils and actually contain more cannabinoids (such as THC) than they claim.

A study conducted at the internationally known Lautenberg Center For Immunology and Cancer found that CBD was more effective at treating inflammation and pain when used with other cannabis plant compounds.

These compounds were derived from a full-spectrum product rather than a CBD isolate product alone. This is one reason that full-spectrum products (those containing THC) are popular.

However, the distinction between full-spectrum oils and isolates makes all the difference if you are being tested for drug use.

Reasons for Failing a CBD Drug Test

There are several common reasons a person fails a CBD drug test.

Using Product With THC

The most common reason for a failed CBD drug test is that a person is using a CBD oil product that contains THC. This may be a full-spectrum product. Sometimes, though, it could be a low-quality isolate product that contains a small amount of THC.

Although most manufacturers claim their products do not contain THC, this is not always the case.

Cross-Contamination of THC

Very small amounts of THC present in the material that CBD is extracted from can get into the CBD oil in high enough amounts to result in a positive drug test. This scenario may be more likely to occur when CBD oil is purchased from cannabis dispensaries in places where cannabis is legal.

Mislabeling of Products

CBD oil extracted from hemp is not supposed to contain more than 0.3% THC. However, it’s not uncommon for sellers to mislabel their products as THC-free hemp when, in reality, it’s a low-quality oil extracted from marijuana. And marijuana does contain THC.

In fact, one study discovered that almost 70% of the CBD products sold online were mislabeled. This caused “potential serious harm to its consumers.” The reason for this widespread mislabeling is that CBD products are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Secondhand Exposure to THC

Inadvertent exposure to marijuana (via secondhand smoke) is unlikely to be enough for a person to get a positive drug test result. But it is possible. Being in a room with heavy pot smokers for several hours may cause the inhalation of enough THC-containing smoke to result in a positive test result.

A more likely secondhand exposure scenario is a positive marijuana hair test. This results from direct contact with marijuana paraphernalia or from another person having THC on their hands.

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For instance, say that someone who had direct contact with marijuana then touched your hair. You could feasibly receive a false positive on a drug screening that tests your hair.

CBD Oil Breakdown in the Digestive System

Some sources report that in rare cases, false positive test results have come from CBD oil that breaks down into very small amounts of THC in the stomach. Other studies, however, have refuted this finding.

The conclusion is that it’s still theoretically possible for traces of THC to be present in stomach acid when “less-purified CBD productions” are ingested.

How to Avoid a Positive CBD Drug Test

If you take CBD oil, you can take steps to try to prevent failing a drug test:

  • Do thorough research to ensure the CBD product you’re using is pure and that the company is legitimate.
  • Look for manufacturers that have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ensure that the CBD oil is an isolate product extracted from a viable industrial hemp supply. It should not be a low-quality tincture.
  • Ask questions about product processing techniques and the possibility of cross-contamination.
  • Avoid secondhand exposure to marijuana use via pot smoking or hair contact from THC users.

Summary

CBD oil is usually marketed as THC-free, but that’s not always the case. Full-spectrum CBD oils contain other cannabinoids, which may include THC. Isolate products may be contaminated with THC, as well.

You have to be proactive to avoid failing a drug test if you’re taking CBD oil. Most important: Ensure that you’re using a pure product made by a reputable company.

A Word From Verywell

In theory, getting a false positive on a drug test from CBD oil should be relatively impossible from pure CBD oil containing less than 0.3% THC. However, because CBD oil is not well regulated, there is no guarantee that a product contains pure CBD oil, or that its concentration is safe or effective.

Use the utmost caution and do your research when purchasing a quality CBD oil product to ensure its purity, especially if you need to undergo a drug screening.

Frequently Asked Questions

Drug tests look for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the element in marijuana that causes a high. CBD oils can have trace amounts of THC even if they’re labeled “THC-free.” The FDA does not regulate these products, and mislabeling is common.

Yes. If the products contain THC, you could test positive. If you know you’ll need to take a drug test, avoid full-spectrum CBD products that may contain small amounts of THC. Be sure you purchase products from a reliable source. And be wary of online retailers; researchers have found that 21% of online CBD and hemp products were mislabeled.

Full-Spectrum CBD May Trigger Positive THC Result

Use of so-called “full-spectrum” formulations of cannabidiol (CBD) products can cause users to test positive for THC, the component of marijuana that causes euphoria, according to an open-label study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Full-spectrum CBD products contain THC, but at levels too low (≤0.30% by weight) to meet federal guidelines for Schedule 1 classification. To determine whether use of such a product might cause a positive urine drug test for THC, the authors enrolled 15 individuals being treated for anxiety to receive a full-spectrum, high-CBD extract containing 9.97 mg/mL of CBD (1.04%) and 0.23 mg/mL of Δ9-THC (0.02%), 1 mL sublingually 3 times per day for 4 weeks. Presence of THC was assessed using a presumptive test panel, followed by gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry performed by Quest Diagnostics.

Seven patients tested positive for THC, and 7 tested negative (1 patient dropped out).

“Despite limitations in sample size and diversity, these findings have important public health implications,” the authors concluded. “It is often assumed individuals using hemp-derived products will test negative for THC. Current results indicate this may not be true,” and the results may have “potential for adverse consequences, including loss of employment and legal or treatment ramifications, despite the legality of hemp-derived products.”

Dahlgren MK, Sagar KA, Lambros AM, et al. Urinary tetrahydrocannabinol after 4 weeks of a full-spectrum, high-cannabidiol treatment in an open-label clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. ePub ahead of print. November 4, 2020. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.3567