Does CBD Oil Show Up On A Drug Test?

April 1, 2019

CBD oil, otherwise known as Cannabidiol, has fast become the nutritional supplement of the moment. People of all ages and from all walks of life use CBD as part of their health and fitness regime. But one question continues to be asked: “Does CBD show up on a drug test?” The simple is answer is almost certainly no, but enough doubt still remains for us to dedicate an entire blog post to the issue, hopefully allaying any remaining concerns you may have.

What is CBD?
CBD is a type of naturally occurring molecule found in cannabis and hemp. It is one of over 100 hundred compounds classified as cannabinoids, with perhaps the most well known being THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) - responsible for the high in recreational marijuana.  

Most CBD oil products on the market are made from hemp, which is considered legal as it only contains trace amounts of THC (0.3%).

CBD has become runaway a success story in recent years thanks to some high profile cases of children with epilepsy whose seizures were dramatically reduced after taking CBD oil. Not only that, celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow have endorsed CBD as a natural way to ease anxiety and reduce pain.

Taking CBD does not cause any intoxicating effect as it doesn’t activate the same receptors in the brain as THC. Crucially, it has few, if any side effects, something that was recently confirmed by the World Health Organization.

Because of this, many people take CBD oil who have never tried marijuana before, as they feel safe knowing that they can enjoy CBD’s benefits, without any fear of feeling stoned.

However, there have been occasional reports of CBD oil users testing positive for cannabis in a work drug test, leaving many wondering: “can you fail a drug test due to CBD?”

What Is A Drug Test?
A drug test may occur as part of a company’s recruitment process, and depending on state law, employers may require a drug test prior to making a job offer. The most common type of drug test uses a urine sample to screen for illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, as well as alcohol use. Essentially, this is to make sure there is no chance of impairment at work due to intoxication.

When it comes to finding traces of marijuana or cannabis, the drug tests are looking for THC (the compound responsible for the high), or its metabolites, meaning what’s left of THC when it gets broken down by the body.

However, drug tests are not looking for CBD.
While CBD and THC are both found in the cannabis plant, they have very different molecular structures. As such, a drug test designed to pick up up traces of THC (50 nanograms of THC metabolite per milliliter of urine), will not detect CBD.

Is There a CBD Oil Drug Test?
It could feasibly be possible to create a drug test for CBD, but right now, employers are not interested in whether a future employee uses CBD oil or not. That’s because CBD doesn’t impair their performance at work and there are no dangerous health and safety issues. So currently, there are no CBD oil drug tests. However, there have been some rare cases of CBD oil users getting a false positive in a work drug test.

How could this happen?

Remember we said that most CBD oils on the market are extracted from hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC?

You may have noticed that many CBD oils are called ‘Full Spectrum CBD oil’ or Whole Plant CBD Oil. This means that as well as CBD, they also contain other key compounds in hemp, such as minor cannabinoids, terpenes (responsible for the aroma in hemp), and flavonoids. Within these important extras are trace amounts of THC (less than 0.3%).

It’s thought that if someone consumes extremely high doses of CBD oil - let’s say between 1000-2000mg a day - over a continuous period of time, they could build up sufficient amounts of THC to potentially fail a drug test.

But let’s put this into perspective.

Most people who regularly use CBD, take between 30-120mg a day. CBD taken at such high doses is rare, and most probably only by patients under the care of a medical cannabis doctor. In which case, it is unlikely they would be well enough to be working, let alone taking a drug test.

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