As cannabis legalization sweeps across the country, more people are turning to the flowering plant with interest in what other ailments it can help alleviate or cure. Enter cannabidiol, also known as CBD. CBD has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, both mentally and physically. With confusion mounting on the subject of CBD and exactly what it’s good for, many people want an answer to the question: “Will CBD cause me to fail a drug test?” The answer is, “rarely.”
What Is CBD?
CBD, produced by the cannabis plant, is a molecule that has grown in popularity for its use in acute and chronic conditions. It is important to remember that CBD is not the same as THC. CBD is required to have less than 0.3% THC in it.
What Is It Used For?
As controversy is starting to settle down and laws become more accomodating, CBD is finally getting the research and study that it deserves. So far, we know that CBD is an excellent naturopathic treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis and seizures, aids in pain relief, and can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Tired of the pharmaceutical route, many people are trying to find out if they can test positive on a drug test to utilize the natural healing qualities of CBD.
CBD vs. THC
What is the difference between CBD and THC, and why does it matter for a drug test?
CBD: Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive component and cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Since it is non-psychoactive, it will not produce a “high” that one would get from consuming THC. It is important to remember there are different types of CBD products, which will result in varying levels of THC.
THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive cannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant. This psychoactive molecule will create positive drug tests. However, in CBD, the THC is either completely removed or has levels of THC less than 0.3%.
Types of CBD
There are three different types of CBD: Full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD contains all of the cannabinoids from the plant it came from. Nothing is removed. This means that THC levels can vary, and may be higher since it generally comes from a marijuana plant instead of a hemp plant. Consuming large amounts of full-spectrum CBD could potentially result in a positive drug test for THC.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD has no THC in it. It is derived from the plant, and then the THC is removed. This variety of CBD usually comes from the hemp plant, which naturally contains lower levels of THC.
CBD isolate is 100% CBD, containing no traces of other parts of the plant that it came from. Like the broad-spectrum CBD, CBD isolate does not contain THC and will not trigger a positive drug screen.
Drug Test Cutoff Limits
Drug tests have “cutoffs,” and each one is different, depending on the substance being tested for. Most drug tests have a THC cutoff level of 50ng/mL for the initial screen and a 15ng/mL for the confirmation screen. This is to help reduce the number of positive drug tests caused by very small amounts of THC that could be in the body.
If you are using broad-spectrum THC from a reputable company, you will have no issues with a drug test. Non-reputable CBD companies and full-spectrum CBD are where it can get tricky. Due to poor regulation, some companies may advertise their product as being free from THC, even though it still contains trace amounts. Full-spectrum CBD is still supposed to be less than 0.3% THC, but again, due to poor regulation, some companies may sell full-spectrum CBD that has amounts higher than the federally mandated cutoff level.
Always buy your CBD from a reputable company to avoid any issues with THC levels and drug testing.
Avoiding a Positive Drug Test
So, will CBD cause a positive drug test? It’s possible. Always use caution and do thorough research before purchasing and using any CBD products. The company you are buying from should be reputable and source their plants from an industrial hemp supply. Ask questions about the production of the CBD and any potential cross-contamination with the marijuana plant.
A reputable CBD company will have these answers and will give them happily and honestly. You should also ask them for a Certificate of Analysis, which shows that the company has had its products tested for THC, CBD, and any potential contamination.
If your CBD does contain THC, it could cause a THC build up in your body. Since THC is fat-soluble, it tends to hang around in the body much longer than other drugs, and excess use over time could trigger a positive result.
If you are being tested for work, it’s not a bad idea to purchase at-home drug tests and test yourself regularly. If you do have a positive drug test, take a break from the CBD for a couple of weeks. This will allow your body to metabolize the THC that has built up and give you a clean slate.
If You Failed a Drug Test
Try not to panic and talk to your employer. Arm yourself with facts and well-versed knowledge on CBD. If that fails, you can also try talking to your HR department or volunteering to be retested in a week or two. If you know you have a scheduled drug test coming up and are using full-spectrum CBD, it would be wise to discontinue use until after the test.