For many people, workplace drug testing is a serious concern. More organizations than ever are requiring their employees to undergo periodic drug tests, and in many cases, it is a part of one’s pre-employment on-boarding. It comes as no surprise that many individuals are nervous about whether using CBD could cause them to fail a screening.
The short answer is that in the majority of cases, CBD products made with hemp will not trigger a positive result on a drug test. However, there have been rare instances of this happening. If you want to try CBD, but are worried about failing a drug test, the best way to reassure yourself is to be armed with education.
Understanding Drug Testing
In most cases, drug tests check for prescription or illegal narcotics by using hair, blood, saliva, or urine. Commonly a UDT (urine drug test) is used to detect past use of these substances and most are looking for cocaine, opioids, methamphetamine, and other compounds that could affect workplace safety and performance. They are also typically used in sports organizations to ensure conduct and fair play. If a test comes back positive, a more comprehensive screening is used to find out which substance is the culprit.
While most tests do screen for cannabis, they look for a compound called THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. This is the chemical in marijuana known for its mind altering and psychoactive properties. Drug tests are not intended to detect the presence of CBD (cannabidiol) as it has an entirely different chemical makeup.
So Why Have Some People Tested Positive for Cannabis After Using CBD?
Hemp-derived CBD oil and other products are required by federal law to contain less than 0.3% THC. This is a trace level that is found in most full-spectrum products. Because it is such a small amount, it typically never shows up on a drug test. When you hear about someone testing positive for marijuana after only using CBD, one of the following has typically occurred:
The individual has taken more than the recommended serving size
If someone took a large amount of full-spectrum CBD oil, it could cause enough THC to be detected to produce a positive result. In some cases, people will inadvertently take several products at once such as combining CBD tinctures, gummies, tablets, and other products in a short amount of time. Although this is not considered harmful, THC could be detected.
Again, this is a rare occurrence, but it does occasionally happen. By sticking to suggested serving sizes and being aware of how much you are taking, you can potentially avoid a mishap like this.
The individual has purchased a poorly made product
Another reason THC may be detected after consuming CBD lies with the products themselves. Because the industry is quite new, products are still largely unregulated. While there are many companies that use third-party lab testing to detect the level of cannabinoids in their products, some are not as thorough or don’t follow the strict manufacturing methods they should.
This has resulted in consumers unsuspectingly purchasing products that contain more than the federally legal limit of 0.3% THC. These same people are understandably distressed and confused when their drug screening comes up positive for marijuana use.
The best way to protect against this unfortunate event is to always purchase from reputable companies. Avoid shopping for your CBD at gas stations or street vendors. Do your homework ahead of time so you know the company you are purchasing from has followed good manufacturing practices.
Most importantly, always ask for third party lab testing results for the batch number of the product you are considering buying. These lab sheets will display the exact levels of cannabinoids in each batch. Additionally, they can reassure you that your product is safe from molds, pesticides, heavy metals, and other unwanted contaminants.
Exploring Other Options
If you want to use CBD, but are still concerned, another option exists. Many companies now produce CBD isolate or broad spectrum tinctures that have removed the THC even further. These products are made using a process that filters out even trace amounts of THC and are generally around 99% pure CBD.
While full-spectrum CBD is still the best choice to get the whole entourage effect that cannabidiol can provide, isolates are an ideal solution that is “the next best thing” for those who are unwilling to take a chance.
As always, consult with your healthcare practitioner, drug testing company or employer prior to consuming CBD products.