Disclaimer: This post is purely for informational purposes and should not be considered medical or legal advice.
CBD is quickly gaining traction as a popular treatment for various maladies. In this post, we’re going to be addressing the burning question on everyone’s mind: does CBD show up on a drug test?
We will also talk about:
- Different types of CBD
- The different ways you might fail a drug test
- How long you might expect CBD to stay in your system
- And more…
Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
Yes and no.
Yes, using CBD products can show up on a drug test. Specifically, using full-spectrum CBD products which contain trace amounts of THC can show up on your workplace drug test.
And no, CBD in an isolated form, will not show up on a drug test, because that’s simply not what the drug test is looking for.
Let’s take a deeper look at the question.
Why Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test
Your CBD product might show up on a drug test because your product may contain trace amounts of THC.
Products that do are called “full-spectrum” CBD, meaning that they contain all of the cannabinoids produced by the hemp plant. When the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law, the definition of hemp became cannabis containing “a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis.”
This small 0.3% allowance of THC in certain full-spectrum CBD products can, in some cases, show up on a drug test.
Full-spectrum CBD is the most common form of CBD on the market. That’s because it requires the least amount of processing. Full-spectrum CBD extracts and products contain THC as allowed by the 2018 Farm Bill.
Most CBD oils, all CBD hemp flower, and smokables are full-spectrum CBD products.
Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum CBD in that it contains other cannabinoids that aren’t CBD inside the product, but broad-spectrum differs because it’s had its THC removed. Creating broad-spectrum CBD requires more processing and specialized equipment which makes this form of CBD more expensive than full-spectrum.
It’s possible to find broad-spectrum CBD oil, and broad-spectrum CBD edibles. You won’t find any broad-spectrum CBD smokables.
CBD isolate is sometimes referred to as “pure CBD.” CBD isolate is usually found in solid crystallized form— think table salt— after it’s been separated from the other cannabinoids present in hemp.
It’s possible to find CBD oils, edibles, topicals, and other non-smokable CBD products made with CBD isolate.
Full-Spectrum CBD Topicals
It is possible to find full-spectrum CBD topicals, like Sunset Lake’s CBD salve, that won’t show up on a drug screening. That’s because it’s very unlikely that the active cannabinoids, like CBD and THC, will make it into your bloodstream.
That’s all to say that you should be able to pass a drug test even if you use full-spectrum CBD topicals.
How Else Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
There are a few other reasons that your CBD product may end up showing up on a drug test.
During the manufacturing process, there is the potential for product cross-contamination. Cross-contamination is much more likely to occur in facilities that manufacture both CBD and THC products, including delta-8 THC and other isomers.
CBD products are not yet controlled via rigorous regulations meaning that while all CBD vendors should be getting their products tested by a neutral third party— a lot of them aren’t.
Mislabeling and misrepresentation are unfortunately common throughout the cannabis industry as a whole. A CBD product labeled as THC-free may still contain THC, and it’s unlikely that the buyer will have any method of recourse.
The best way you can help combat misrepresentation is by asking your CBD vendor for a third-party certificate of analysis.
False positive results tend to occur if a person is also taking other drugs like:
- NSAIDs like ibuprofen
How Much THC Will Make Me Fail A Drug Test?
Drug tests work by screening one of THC’s primary metabolites, Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC-COOH), or a piece of what’s leftover after your body processes THC.
Back in 2017, federal workplace drug testing thresholds were established to address the possibility of trace amounts of THC-COOH triggering a positive test. In other words, passing a drug test doesn’t mean that there isn’t any THC-COOH in your system. It means that the amount of THC-COOH in your system is so low as to not register above the threshold level.
Different testing methods have different thresholds.
Drug testing more often than not is done via urine test.
In urine testing, the THC-COOH threshold is 50 nanograms per mL. (One nanogram equals one billionth of a gram.)
THC-COOH is generally detectable in urine for approximately 3 to 14 days after use. In heavier cannabis users, THC-COOH may be present in urine for 30 days or longer.
Saliva testing is less common than urine testing as there are no established thresholds for THC-COOH in saliva.
That, and THC metabolites are detectable in saliva for around 72 hours— longer in heavier cannabis users.
Hair Follicle Testing
Private industries do utilize hair testing to an extent. The most common threshold used in hair testing is around one picogram THC-COOH per milligram of hair. (A picogram is one trillionth of a gram.)
THC metabolites are detectable in hair for up to 90 days.
How Long Does Full Spectrum CBD Stay In Your System?
Full-spectrum CBD can stay in your body for up to several days after use. This estimation is greatly simplified though as everyone’s metabolism is different.
If you use CBD frequently, in larger doses, and eat fatty foods, expect full-spectrum CBD to stay in your system longer.
Can You Be Denied A Job For Using CBD?
Unless your workplace has a specific rule against using CBD products, then you shouldn’t be denied a job for using CBD. Most cannabis-oriented drug screens are for THC, so assuming you’re using broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products, then you should be in the clear.
How To Find Out if Your CBD Shows Up on a Drug Test?
A good way to figure out if your CBD will show up on a drug test is by looking at your product’s certificate of analysis.
All CBD vendors and retailers are required to have third-party analysis documents available. You can actually see all of Sunset Lake CBD’s certificates of analysis here.
The first thing you’ll want to check is the cannabinoid summary— sometimes called the potency report. It will look like this:
You should see two numbers, one for “Total THC” and another for “Total CBD.” The latter is good to figure out your own CBD dosing schedule, but we’re more focused on the former for the purposes of this piece.
If you’re worried about whether or not your CBD will show up on a drug test, look for products that contain 0.0% “Total THC.”
Will Vaping CBD Show Up In A Drug Test?
It depends on the product. Be sure to look at your product’s certificate of analysis and look for the “total THC” report.
If you’re vaping CBD hemp flower, odds are that the trace amounts of THC will show up on a drug test.
If you’re vaping from a cartridge, it’s possible that your product has had the THC removed. Again, be sure to double-check your certificate of analysis.
Do Edibles Show Up In A Drug Test?
If you’ve made homemade edibles from CBD hemp flower, or THC cannabis, then yes, there’s a very good chance that they will show up on a drug test.
It is common to find CBD edibles that are made with CBD isolate though. Sunset Lake’s CBD Gummies are one such product. Edibles made with CBD isolate will not show up on a drug test.
The Takeaway: Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test?
If you’re taking full-spectrum CBD frequently or semi-frequently, then yes, your CBD may show up on your drug test.
If you’re taking broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate products. Which you should be able to confirm by looking at a certificate of analysis, then you shouldn’t test positive on a routine drug test.
Updated August 19, 2022