Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? [Yes, It Can]

Despite what a lot of the information out there suggests, it is possible to fail a drug test from taking CBD Oil.

We do not want to jeopardize your employment agreement, livelihood, contract with a pain specialist, commitment to sobriety testing, or any other situation where drug testing is required. Even in states that have legalized marijuana, it is legal for employers, child protective services, housing authorities, and others to test for THC. 

When asking whether or not CBD will cause a failed drug test, there are several variables to consider:

  • Is your CBD full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate
  • How much CBD do you take, and how often?
  • Medical factors (medications or health conditions)
  • Your metabolic rate and activity levels
  • Drug test variables (hair/saliva/urine/blood, different manufacturers/detection thresholds/derivatization agents)

All of Ananda Hemp's products come from hemp, which means they have naturally low THC levels (less than 0.3%). This also means they are legal under federal law - and thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, the cannabinoids in these products are permanently removed from the Controlled Substances Act. Due to the low level of THC, these products are not considered intoxicating.

CBD and drug testing

However, the small quantities of THC in our full spectrum formulas have the possibility of building up in your body over time (THC stores in fat cells) - primarily if you use large dosages. 

A drug test works by checking if your THC metabolite (THC-COOH) level is above a particular threshold. If so, it is considered a positive result (fail). 

Theoretically, you could use huge amounts of hemp extract and manage to consume enough THC to surpass that threshold and cause a positive test - but it would most likely be challenging and costly. Keep in mind, though, that even when you quit taking full spectrum CBD, it can take four weeks or more for all the THC metabolites to clear from your body.

There is no "magic dose" of CBD oil/hemp extract that you can use to ensure you stay below the detection levels in a drug screen. Metabolism of THC is highly individualized and depends on many variables, including body composition, activity level, dose, duration of use, and more.

However, the real problem is that some drug tests cannot tell the difference between CBD and THC. This phenomenon is partially because the most common drug tests (urine and saliva immunoassay) are quick, cheap, and easy.  Immunoassays use antibodies to detect the presence of drugs, and different manufacturers use different antibodies - explaining why some people get false positives and some don't.

Structural similarity of THC and CBD for drug testing

One method of drug testing is gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry (GC-MS). Most GC-MS tests require an added chemical known as a derivatization agent to identify trace compounds. Labs can perform derivatization using various chemicals, but one of the most widely used is trifluoroacetic anhydride (TFAA).

According to a 2012 article in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, TFAA cannot discern between CBD and THC. Many labs have upgraded from GC-MS to a more precise technique known as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), but GC-MS remains common.

Failing a drug test for THC when you have consumed none is known as a false positive - and there are actions you can take if this happens to you.

What to Do If You Get a False Positive for THC

If you get a positive result on a urine or saliva drug screen, ask for a more specific confirmation test, such as blood, hair, or HPLC. These are more expensive tests, but they are incredibly accurate.

We recommend letting your employer, medical provider, or whoever is administering a drug screen know that you may need to ask for a confirmation test ahead of time – just in case it becomes an issue. You could also ask if they have any specific policies or information on using CBD products while undergoing drug screening. 

Full Spectrum vs. Broad Spectrum 

We guarantee that Ananda Hemp's Zero-THC products are 100% THC-free. You can verify this by viewing our Certificate of Analysis completed by an objective, third-party-lab, and made publicly available on our website.

These THC-free products from Ananda are known as broad spectrum, as all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients remain intact to maximize benefits. 

While people who know they will be drug tested yet still want to use CBD often opt for broad spectrum formulations due to THC's absence, this is unfortunately not a foolproof strategy.

THC is not the only cannabinoid to be concerned about regarding drug tests. CBN, a lesser-known cannabinoid, has been shown to give false positives for THC. This is likely because CBN is a THC metabolite - meaning that when THC degrades (from oxidation or sunlight), CBN forms. CBN's close relation to THC is likely the reason behind its correlation with false positives.

The Takeaway on CBD and Drug Testing

Although it’s a major bummer, CBD products are best avoided if you expect to take a drug test. We hope that labs will upgrade their tests soon to detect the difference between THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. Until then, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

To your health and happiness, always! 

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