THC will show up in a drug test, but what about CBD?

Drug testing is mandatory for federal employees, and although it isn’t required in the private sector, more employers are implementing some kind(s) of drug screening. You may be asking, do drug tests target the whole plant, or just a specific component? Many constituents of hemp, such as limonene and beta-caryophellene, are found in other species of plants that do not carry social stigma from any intoxicating abilities.On the other hand, CBD is not only a non-priority of cannabis drug testing, but has a different molecular structure to THC.

To answer that question, you have to know what drug tests are designed to detect. The good news is that CBD, all on its own, won’t show up on drug tests.That’s because the chemicals used in drug tests don’t react with CBD. Drug tests just aren’t designed to detect cannabidiol. But that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

Most CBD products and hemp oils aren’t 100 percent pure; they’re CBD-rich, but not pure, isolated CBD. As a result, most of these products contain small amounts of THC, and rigorous drug tests will detect that.

So in theory, if you took pure CBD it shouldn’t show up on drug tests. But in the real world, if you consume CBD you’re also getting small doses of other cannabinoids like THC. And since the drug screening is looking for THC, your CBD medicine could “show up” on the test.

Put simply, as long as THC is still in your body, you could fail a drug test.

Since drug tests are picking up on the trace presence of THC in your body, whether or not you pass your test depends on how much CBD you took. A small dose of CBD oil, for example, will only carry a tiny amount of THC. Small enough that the drug test might not detect it.

But if you take a large dose of CBD, those trace cannabinoids can be present in quantities large enough for a test to find. A small study found that as long as you take less that 300 mg of CBD hemp oil each day, you should be fine. Still, it’s not a guarantee.

Since most CBD products have small amounts of other cannabinoids, it’s a good idea to do your research. Figure out how much THC is present in the CBD product you’re using. Then adjust your intake accordingly.

Most research suggests that for infrequent or ‘non-daily’ users of cannabis, a typical high-dose marijuana cigarette (containing about 40mg to 50mg of THC) would result in a positive THC metabolite screen for up to two days at this cutoff level. However, for routine and regular users of cannabis, this same screen could be positive for weeks, but this depends on many factors including, but not limited to:

  • how much and how often cannabis is used
  • the metabolism of individual being tested
  • the route of administration
  • other factors such as medications used, liver or kidney disease, etc.

Other Factors That Could Make You Fail A Drug Test

There are other factors that determine whether CBD will trigger a positive on your drug screening. Besides how much you take, your individual metabolism and health, other medications you take, and how you take them, all play a role.

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There’s also the “entourage effect.” That’s the complex interactions between different cannabinoids. These interactions produce different effects in your body depending on the combination of cannabinoids you consume.

In some cases, CBD ends up blocking certain enzymes in your body that break down THC. When that happens, less THC is metabolized, and more of THC will stay in your system. That could make you more likely to fail your drug test, especially if it’s a urine test.

These complex metabolic interactions mean that a person’s individual genetics come into play. So do the genetics and chemical profiles of the cannabis you’re consuming.

The dose that triggers a positive for one person might not do the same for another person. And one strain or CBD product could have a different combo of cannabinoids than another. All of these variables play a role in whether or not you pass a drug test.

The bottom line is this. CBD won’t show up on your drug test, but taking CBD-rich hemp oil could make you fail it. But even then, drug tests aren’t detecting the CBD itself. They’re finding other trace cannabinoids, most likely THC.

The safest route is to stick with what’s been proven. Look for lab-tested products that have no more than 0.3 percent trace THC and you shouldn’t have to worry about getting fired for a failed drug test.

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