Can You Test Positive For CBD In A Workplace Drug Test?
Posted on April 7th, 2021
CBD or cannabidiol is officially legal at a federal level in the United States. Thus, the substance is fully lawful for production, distribution, sale, purchase, and use in most states. However, the law also states that most regulations that apply to CBD are also an individual right for each state to enforce as they see fit. Which is why laws and regulations may differ from one state to another.
But just because CBD is now fully legal, that does not mean that drug testing in the workplace might not have something ‘positive’ to say about it. Many employers drug test on a random or regular basis because of the psychoactive effects that are mostly associated with the cannabis plant, which might be a problem for users. These psychoactive effects can affect an employee’s ability to fulfill their tasks at work to their best ability. They might even make it more likely that they may place themselves and their co-workers at a greater risk of suffering a work-related accident.
While CBD has none of the psychoactive properties, CBD products may contain THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is another cannabinoid that yields psychoactive effects. It is this cannabinoid that employers are testing for and not CBD.
When it comes to drug testing, there is a major concern about whether or not you can test positive for CBD if you are consuming it. The answer is a little more complex than a simple yes or no.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are chemicals that interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body to help regulate certain functions. Cannabinoids bind with or interact with receptors that either stimulate or inhibit the production of other chemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters. This, in turn, elicits or prevents a certain response or regulates a specific function.
The body produces its own cannabinoids in small amounts, as well. These are the endocannabinoids – the most common of which is Anandamide. The cannabinoids found in cannabis and other plants are ‘phytocannabinoids’ and interact with the endocannabinoid system in much the same way as endocannabinoids. Therefore, due to the body only being able to produce small amounts of endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids may act as supplements.
What Is CBD?
CBD is one of two major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. This cannabinoid interacts with the CB-2 receptors located in the endocannabinoid system. CB-2 receptors are mainly in the gastrointestinal tract (the gut) and the immune system.
When CBD interacts with the CB-2 receptors, it stimulates or inhibits an immune response. By inhibiting an immune response to an injury or illness, CBD can prevent the release of certain chemicals that result in pain and inflammation (swelling). Therefore, CBD may act effectively at relieving both acute and chronic pain.
When CBD interacts with the CB-2 receptors in the gut, it encourages the release of serotonin. Estimates say that about 90% of serotonin production occurs in the gut. Serotonin is an important hormone responsible for controlling mood resulting in feelings of happiness and wellbeing. As a result of its modulating attributes, CBD might also help manage anxiety and depression, which are very serotonin-dependent. Additionally, serotonin also does have some pain-relieving properties, which contributes further to CBD potential as pain relief.
Other potential health benefits of CBD include:
- Relieve nausea and vomiting
- Relieve insomnia or sleeplessness
- Reduce seizure activity
More research is still on the way to confirm these and other proposed health benefits of CBD.
Where Does CBD Come From?
CBD comes from a type of cannabis plant called hemp. The hemp plant contains higher concentrations of CBD and low concentrations of THC.
What Are the Differences Between Hemp and Marijuana?
There are two species of the cannabis plant – Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. Cannabis Sativa, commonly referred to as hemp, while Cannabis Sativa is what we know as marijuana. Both species contain the cannabinoids CBD and THC. The main difference between the two plants is the level of concentration each of them holds of these two cannabinoids
Hemp has high concentrations of CBD and low concentrations of THC. Marijuana has high concentrations of THC and lower concentrations of CBD. The concentrations can vary from one variety of hemp or marijuana to another. Any cannabis plant that has 0.3% of THC or less legally classifies as hemp. Anything higher than that is automatically marijuana in the eyes of the law. Keep in mind that marijuana remains illegal in many states today.
The trace amounts of THC found in the hemp plant are negligible and cannot elicit a euphoric response to impair you.
However, it might not be so negligible for drug tests to not pick up on it given the right conditions.
Can You Test Positive for CBD In A Drug Test?
Drug tests are designed to detect THC in the body and not CBD. A drug test can, therefore, not return a positive result for CBD. However, because most CBD products come from hemp, they may contain trace amounts of THC. Therefore, they can, in some cases. Return a positive drug test result.
There are three different types of CBD products available on the market whose names indicate whether or not they hold THC.
- Full-spectrum CBD, which contains THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD, which generally has zero THC.
- CBD isolates that are 100% pure CBD with absolutely no THC.
If you are using CBD isolates, a drug test should not return a positive result as there is no THC present to test for. In extremely rare cases, broad-spectrum CBD can result in a positive due to mislabeling for full spectrum. Full-spectrum CBD can return a positive test result depending on a number of different factors:
- Weight as THC can be stored in fatty tissue.
- Metabolism or how quickly the body metabolizes and expels THC from the body.
- How often you took CBD.
- CBD dosage.
The more often you use CBD and the higher the dosage, the more likely it is that a drug test will be positive.
Can You Test Positive for CBD In Your Blood?
Blood tests can detect THC in the blood for between 12 and 24 hours. This is because cannabis leaves the bloodstream first to metabolize in the liver, then either expelled in the urine or stored in fatty tissue.
However, blood tests are not common to test for cannabis as they are invasive, and the short detection period is not ideal.
Can You Test Positive For CBD In Your Saliva?
Saliva tests can detect THC for between 24 and 72 hours after cannabis use. While this is a less invasive testing method, it is still only has a short detection period.
Can You Test Positive For CBD In Your Urine?
Urine tests can detect THC in the urine anywhere from 3 days to 30 days after use. The detection period relies mainly on the amount of cannabis used and the frequency of use. Regular CBD users (using CBD one or more times a day) are more likely to test positive for a longer period of time. Occasional users (using once or twice a week) may test positive for a much shorter period of time and are less likely to test positive at all.
Urine tests are the best method of testing as they are only mildly invasive and have a longer detection period.
Can You Test Positive for CBD In Your Hair?
Hair tests can detect THC in hair for up to 3 months after cannabis use. Hair grows at an approximate rate of 1cm a month. Drug hair tests, therefore, test a hair sample that is 3 cm’s long taken closest to the scalp. This provides testing for a 3-month period. It is possible for longer hair samples to detect THC for longer periods. THC may remain on affected hairs forever.
Hair testing is growing in popularity because it is minimally invasive and because of the extended detection period. However, the tests are more expensive than urine tests and not yet widely adopted to test for cannabis use in the workplace.
Can You Get Fired for A Positive Drug Test If You Are Using CBD?
This is largely dependent on the drug testing policy of your employer. It is important to read your employment contract and employment policy documents before using CBD. Because drug tests are not designed to test for CBD and cannot detect the amount of THC in the body, it is difficult to determine whether a positive result is due to CBD or marijuana use.
An employer is legally allowed to fire an employee after a drug test detects THC.
If I Take Too Much CBD, Can I Test Positive For THC?
Although we need more research to confirm the correct dosage of CBD to use to treat specific health conditions, it is always recommended to follow the dosage instructions on the product label. While exceeding the recommended dose should not do any harm, it can result in a positive drug test, especially if you are using full-spectrum CBD, which contains THC.
This is because the CBD and THC can remain stored in fat cells for an extended period of time before the body expels them. The more often you use and the greater the dosage, the more likely it is CBD or THC storing up in large quantities.
Best to discuss CBD use with your employer before using any CBD products, even for help with a health condition.