Will CBD Oil Make You Fail a Drug Test?

CBD oil dropper

Posted on July 6th, 2020

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally-occurring compound that’s found in cannabis plants, one of over 100 components known as cannabinoids. Once CBD is extracted and consumed, it interacts with receptors in your body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Since the ECS is responsible for regulating internal functions like mood, sleep, and pain responses, these interactions produce numerous effects in your body. 

Now, whatever your reason for taking CBD oil, you want the experience to be positive. This means the last thing you would ever want to do is test positive for an illegal substance in a drug test. Whether randomized tests are a requirement in your job or you simply want to be safe, you can be sure to find all the information you need to achieve peace of mind before taking CBD oil products. 

Will CBD Oil Make You Fail a Drug Test?

As we mentioned, CBD is a cannabinoid. And so is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the component of marijuana that gives users that euphoric high. Now, because CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, and THC is still a regulated substance in the United States, it’s only natural to wonder whether using CBD could also get you into trouble on a drug test. 

But here’s the thing. Unlike THC use, it is entirely legal to use CBD in the United States (as long as your product meets the federal guidelines laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill–more about that in a bit.) In other words, taking CBD oil won’t make you fail a drug test since a drug test for CBD doesn’t exist. Ready to breathe a sigh of relief? Hold on just a minute: just because drug tests don’t screen for CBD doesn’t automatically mean that you are actually in the clear.

In that 2018 Farm Bill, the federal government legalized hemp-derived CBD products. Now, hemp plants are cannabis varietals with low THC and high CBD concentrations. (In order to meet federal guidelines, legal CBD must have a THC concentration below 0.3%.) Unfortunately, even that small concentration could be a sticking point for certain drug tests. 

You see, low levels of THC can’t deliver psychotropic effects, so taking legal CBD oil won’t get you ‘high’. But cannabis drug tests aren’t always able to determine the concentration of THC in your body, so even a small THC concentration in your CBD could be a problem. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy CBD products; it just means you may need to sample a broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate since those forms of CBD oil contain no THC whatsoever.

Man in lab setting running testsCBD Drug Tests

Drug tests are typically conducted at workplaces or schools to check for substances that may impede your individual abilities. THC is one of the common substances screened for in these tests. Oral fluid testing, hair follicle testing, and urine tests are the most common types of drug tests, and all of them consider THC a failing substance. 

How Do the Various Tests Check for THC?

Different drug tests have different thresholds for the level of THC they are capable of detecting. A urine test is the most common type of administered drug test, but you can also be tested for the presence of THC in your blood, hair, sweat, or saliva.

Drug tests are only capable of identifying THC that has been recently metabolized in the body. Yet, as noted earlier, these tests are unable to accurately pinpoint how regularly you consume banned substances or the amount of banned substances that entered your body. 

Oral Fluid Test

With an oral fluid test, your saliva is screened for the presence of THC. The test is incapable of detecting CBD or any other cannabinoids. Even consuming large quantities of products with a high concentration of CBD won’t lead to a positive drug test.

Hair Follicle Test

Hair follicle tests generally don’t check for the presence of CBD, but rather they are used for checking whether THC is present. It, therefore, goes without saying that CBD will not show up on a standard hair follicle test. However, THC will.

Urine Test

With a urine test, you must submit a urine sample for testing. The test looks specifically for THC-COOH, which is a cannabis metabolite. If it is present in the body, it shows that THC has been recently metabolized.

Does CBD Oil Ever Contain THC?

The answer to this question truly depends on the form of CBD you choose to sample. The source of cannabis used in the making of CBD oil as well as the method used to process the buds strongly dictates the amount of THC that’s present in the oil.

As we touched on earlier, hemp and marijuana are both varieties of cannabis plants. The difference between the two is their relative THC and CBD concentrations. Marijuana is cannabis that contains more than 0.3 percent THC while hemp is cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC. CBD that’s extracted from marijuana is illegal in the United States and in many other countries. So you should stick to hemp-extracted CBD if you don’t want to fail a drug test.

CBD that’s extracted from hemp can fall in one of three categories:

  • Full-Spectrum: CBD is extracted together with the rest of the cannabinoids present in hemp; THC included (in legal concentrations.)
  • Broad Spectrum: CBD and additional cannabinoids are extracted together, but all traces of THC are removed from the final product. 
  • CBD Isolate (Pure CBD): CBD is extracted and separated from THC and all other cannabinoids. 

The only way to ensure that you don’t fail a drug test is by consuming pure CBD or CBD isolate. While you’re unlikely to fail a drug test from taking a full-spectrum CBD product, there is a small chance that trace THC levels could trigger a positive test result.  

Tanasi CBD Tincture and box on white backgroundWhere to Get the Best CBD Oil and Other CBD Products

Many different factors affect the final concentration and quality of CBD products. Because CBD comes from living plants, any changes in the weather, environment, water, or soil may affect the plant’s biology. Choosing healthy hemp plants and employing consistent farming and manufacturing methods leads to the highest quality product.

Having said that, we’ve all seen a market flooded with CBD products. But they’re not all created equally. Look for a retailer, like Tanasi, who can provide proof of hemp source and a product certificate of analysis, to ensure the safety and quality of your CBD. 

Is It Possible to Prove That You Have Taken CBD Oil and Not Marijuana?

Unfortunately, once you’ve failed a drug test, it’s impossible to prove that you took CBD, not marijuana. Now, if you keep your CBD packaging, receipt, and perhaps a bank or credit card statement that shows the purchase, you may get lucky and offer believable proof of your legal CBD use. But there are no guarantees that you won’t get in trouble. 

Why CBD Oil Could Make You Fail a Drug Test

There are three reasons why consuming CBD oil may still result in a failed drug test:

  • Using CBD oil that contains THC
  • Accidental contamination of the CBD with THC
  • Being exposed to THC via secondhand smoke

Using CBD Oil That Contains THC

Legal CBD products may contain up to 0.3 percent THC concentrations. While this THC concentration is negligible, and won’t affect your body, it could still show up on a drug test. And in most states, THC is not legal. 

Accidental Contamination With THC

Accidental contamination is a commonly reported problem in dispensaries where cannabis is legal, so if THC isn’t legal in your state, this isn’t something you need to worry about. Truly, cross-contamination only occurs when THC and CBD oils are either extracted within the same laboratory or sold in the same dispensary.

Being Exposed to THC via Secondhand Smoke

You can be inadvertently exposed to THC if you spend time with regular marijuana consumers. Second-hand THC exposure is more likely to be picked up on a hair follicle test as opposed to a blood or urine test, but it still can lead to a false positive on a drug test.

Note: Watch Out for Old Technologies That Produce False Positives

It is important to note that an older drug test could falsely identify THC in a sample that contains only CBD. The specific method to watch out for is gas-chromatography mass spectrometry using the derivatization agent trifluoroacetic anhydride. Fortunately, there’s some recourse – CBD users have managed to successfully challenge failed drug tests for THC if they can prove that the laboratory is using this method since it is more prone to false positives.

Summary: Will CBD Oil Fail a Drug Test?

On the surface, this seems like a very simple question that requires a simple answer, but that’s just not the case, as you’ve likely figured out by now. Drug tests don’t screen for CBD since it is not an illegal controlled substance and doesn’t cause intoxicating effects.

Still, it is possible for CBD users to fail a drug test. CBD products can contain trace amounts of THC, whether that’s because you’re using a full spectrum product or you’ve accidentally purchased an improperly labeled product. Other drugs and testing methods may also interfere with the results, leading to false positives.

To avoid worrying about failed drug tests after consuming CBD products, stick to CBD oil you’ve purchased from reliable providers, who offer ingredient transparency and third-party testing. That’s the reassurance we offer our Tanasi customers, and it’s what you should expect from any reputable CBD manufacturer. 

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