Will CBD Test Positive on A Drug Test

Will CBD Test Positive

Posted on March 19th, 2021

CBD or cannabidiol is growing in popularity as an alternative to help manage a number of different health conditions. The compound is relatively low risk and has few side effects that are generally mild in comparison to pharmaceutical drugs. However, there is still a considerable amount of research pending to fully assess its health benefits, side effects, contraindications as well as dosage. In addition, there is still a great deal of confusion about CBD, how to use it, its effects, and if will CBD test positive on a drug test. Below is everything that you need to know about CBD.

Cannabinoids, CBD and THC

To date, researchers assure us that there are around 113 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body to regulate certain bodily functions. What few people don’t know is that the human body produces its own small number of cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, to fulfill the same regulatory function.

The cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant go by the name of phytocannabinoids. Of the 113 cannabinoids, the main focus related to the health benefits of the cannabis plant fall to CBD and THC.

CBD is the cannabinoid to which researchers attribute a large part of the potential health benefits of the cannabis plant. THC, on the other hand, is the cannabinoid that holds the psychoactive properties associated with cannabis. Thus, THC is the very reason that you get high from cannabis. In contrast, CBD is entirely non-psychoactive, so you don’t have to worry about getting high from it. However, THC apparently has some therapeutic effects that are, nonetheless, accompanied by an often impairing high.

Where Does CBD Come From? The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana

There are two different species of the cannabis plant – Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. Cannabis Sativa also goes by the name of the hemp plant and has a high concentration of CBD and a negligible concentration of THC. Cannabis Sativa, commonly referred to as marijuana, has higher concentrations of THC than CBD.

Manufacturers extract CBD most of the time from the hemp variety of cannabis rather than marijuana due to low THC. This allows for greater concentrations of CBD while sidestepping the need for further processing to bring down THC levels. Although they, in fact, can extract CBD from the marijuana plant, it does result in higher concentrations of THC in the product. Most CBD products almost always come from the hemp plant.

In the past, different species of cannabis were specifically bred in order to increase the amount of THC and, therefore, the psychoactive properties. In the case of hemp, they seek species containing higher concentrations of CBD in order to deliver more therapeutic benefits with the end product.

Is Hemp and CBD Legal?

Hemp became legal in the United States with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. This bill legalizes the production of hemp and hemp-related products on a Federal level. However, in order to meet the classification of hemp, a plant or product produced from the plant cannot contain concentrations of THC in excess of 0.3%. In other words, hemp cannot contain more than 0.3% THC. Marijuana, which contains THC in excess of 0.3%, is still not legal at a Federal level and, thus, still classifies as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.

Concentrations of 0.3% and lower are negligible and cannot result in the psychoactive effects of marijuana and the feeling of getting high.

However, the matter of whether hemp and marijuana are legal or not is a little more complicated than that. Currently, Federal law allows the regulation of hemp and hemp products to happen on a state level. This means that restrictions related to the production, distribution, sale, purchase, and use of hemp and hemp products apply differently in each state. Some states previously legalized medical marijuana for certified or registered while a few ones still ban hemp and CBD entirely though that is rapidly changing.

Do All CBD Products Contain THC?

In general, it is better to assume that all CBD products hold a THC concentration of 0.3% or lower. Even products that claim to be 100% pure may contain even tinier trace amounts of THC.

However, some products use an extraction process that entirely isolates the CBD and therefore contains no THC. These are called CBD isolates and are 100% THC-free.

Broad-spectrum CBD also uses processes to eliminate as much THC as possible. However, some broad-spectrum CBD products may contain trace amounts of THC. Broad-Spectrum is not the same as Full-Spectrum CBD despite the similar names. Full-spectrum does contain THC. The question “will CBD test positive” therefore depends largely on whether how much THC a product hold.

Will CBD Test Positive on A Drug Test?Will CBD Test Positive - HEALTH WORKER ANALYZING A BLOOD SAMPLE

Drug tests do not screen for CBD, and CBD will therefore not result in a positive drug test. However, drug tests do generally screen for THC. If you are using CBD isolates or broad-spectrum CBD that contains no THC, a drug test cannot return a positive result.

However, because most CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC, it is possible for a drug test to return a positive result when using full-spectrum CBD products. This can depend on a number of different factors, such as the concentration of THC in the CBD product. It also depends on how often you use the product, dosage, and how quickly your body metabolizes the THC and CBD.

The trace amounts of THC can build-up in the fatty tissue of the body throughout regular use. This is likely to return a positive drug test.

Even though CBD with THC concentrations lower than 0.3% is legal, a positive drug test may still have consequences. Most employers who screen employees for drugs will not take into consideration the use of CBD. Nor do they care if the positive result was as a result of a product with trace amounts of THC. It is highly recommended to discuss CBD use with your employer beforehand if they perform regular drug testing. Alternatively, it is best to use CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD products that contain zero THC to be more certain of the outcome.

How Long Does It Take for CBD To Leave the Body?

In general, CBD takes between two and five days to leave the body. However, there are a number of factors that can change that timeframe. Your metabolism, weight, dosage, and how often you use CBD can all affect how long CBD remains in your system. The lower your metabolism, the greater your weight, and the more you use it, the longer it will take for CBD to leave your system.

The amount of time that it takes CBD to leave the body should, however, not be of concern when it comes to drug testing. Because drug tests screen for THC, the amount of time it takes to metabolize the cannabinoid is more important if you are using full-spectrum CBD products.

How Long Does It Take for THC To Leave the Body?

THC passes into the bloodstream, undergoes metabolization by the liver, and exits the body through the urine. How quickly it goes through this process depends on a variety of different factors:

Will CBD Test Positive - fired employee after testing positive for THC

The Delivery Method

You can apply CBD topically, which means it passes into the bloodstream through the skin. You can also smoke it or vape it, which allows it to pass into the blood through the lung tissue. Finally, you can also ingest it for it to pass into the bloodstream through the digestive tract. Edibles are the slowest delivery method and therefore take the longest to metabolize.


An excess of THC in the body could find itself stored in the fatty tissue for a period of time before going through liver metabolization. This will allow for THC to remain detectable for longer periods in people who have excess fat or are overweight.

Dosage and Usage

The higher the concentration of THC or the more often you use the product, the longer it will stay in the body.

Testing Methods

Different testing methods may also detect THC in the body for different periods of time:

In the blood, THC remains detectable for up to 36 hours after use. This is the shortest detection period of all tests and is the least preferred method of testing.

In the saliva, THC remains detectable for up to 48 hours after ingesting, smoking, or vaping. Saliva tests are the least invasive testing method. Yet, due to the short detection period, it is not a preferred method of drug testing.

As for in the urine, THC remains detectable anywhere between three and thirty days. The detection period is largely dependent on when you used the THC, and the concentration took. Trace amounts of THC found in CBD products exit from your system much faster. However, THC stored in fatty tissue remains detectable for much longer periods due to the liver taking longer to metabolize it.

Also, THC is detectable in the hair and remains so for a period of 90 days. This period is actually much longer, depending on the length of the hair they choose to test. Hair grows approximately 1cm a month, and a sample of 3cm will detect THC for a 90 days period. Still, some are reluctant of taking hair samples to seriously due to the posibility of it not being conclusive of cannabis consumption.

If you are using full-spectrum CBD products that contain tiny concentrations of THC, be aware that it can result in a positive drug test.

Will CBD Test Positive on A Drug Test? – The Takeaway

Drug tests do not screen for CBD also, and, thus, CBD by itself will therefore not return a positive result in a drug test. Just remember that if you take very large amounts of full-spectrum and are overweight, it’s possible to store up enough for a test to return positive.

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