Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test? What Science Has to Say

More and more people are using CBD or cannabidiol for various reasons. Some use it to treat various medical problems, while others use it recreationally. Usually there is no problem with this, but when you work in a place that requires frequent drug tests, it can cause anxiety and endless hassle.

Cannabidiol (CBD) does not show up in drug tests because they do not specifically look for CBD. Instead, it is the presence of THC that can lead to a positive result.

Whether you’re worried about an upcoming drug test or you’re just curious, this article aims to help you understand CBD and drug testing.

CBD and drug testing

Cannabis sativa is a very versatile plant that growers cultivate for a variety of uses such as food, medicine, and entertainment. There are some who use CBD products to treat chronic pain and alleviate symptoms of anxiety, while there are others who use weed for great sex! This simple plant and the products made with it help a variety of causes – personal and medical. It depends on the people and what they use it for!

However, researchers have discovered more than 400 chemical components in the hemp plant, of which about 80 are physiologically active.

The main component of cannabis, THC, is euphoric and has psychoactive effects. Because CBD may have some psychoactive effects, researchers are looking into how it might treat mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.

However, it does not have the same addictive properties as THC.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), products with more than 0.3 percent THC are illegal. These products are classified as Schedule I drugs by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA.

So, before starting your CBD adventure, it’s wise to do some research because CBD comes from the hemp plant. This means it may naturally contain THC.

Although drug tests do not specifically look for CBD, they can detect THC. So, if you use a CBD product that also contains THC, you may get a positive result.

Your body usually retains CBD for a week or more. However, this can change based on how often you use CBD oil and how potent the oil is. If you take CBD oil regularly, it can stay in your system longer.

Any amount of THC in CBD oil, even less than the allowed limit of 3%, can cause you to fail a drug test. Investing in CBD oil with a broad spectrum and CBD isolate is the best way to prevent this.

Although some full-spectrum CBD oils and broad-spectrum CBD oils may contain trace levels of THC, these concentrations are minimal.

So, if you know that your CBD oil doesn’t have THC in it, and yet you test positive for a drug test, there can be a chance of it being a faulty test report. This might lead to you looking at Medical compensation cases and legal help, it is always best to get a second opinion in the case that you do want to file a case against the medical practitioner or firm. As such cases are not that common it might just be a fluke or a misprint. But if it does happen to you, in that case, you can consult a Medical Malpractice Lawyer about what actions you can take to resolve such a situation.

How do drug tests for cannabis work?

The most frequent cannabis diagnostic test is a urinalysis. Immunoassay tests used in urine drug screening use antibodies designed to bind to certain substances or their metabolites.

In this instance, the presence of THC and its metabolites.

A signal that indicates a test is “positive” is if the antibodies recognize a substance or chemical.

However, the immunoassay cannot determine whether THC is present. It also can’t tell how impaired a person is or the amount of THC they’ve been exposed to.

Immunoassays are accessible, affordable, and quick to provide results. However, there are examples of false positives and false negatives, so confirmatory drug tests are a common next step.

Mass spectrometry verification testing is typically performed for forensic or workplace testing. It is considered the “gold standard” because it is the most accurate way to determine whether a person has a drug in their urine or blood.

Mass spectrometry integrates the latest testing techniques for confirmatory testing. It is a sophisticated testing technology that identifies chemicals based on their specific structure.

However, compared to immunoassays, mass spectrometry is more expensive and takes longer to complete. It also requires highly skilled personnel, and they may not be ready for days or weeks.

Given the potential for false-positive and false-negative results, physicians should exercise extreme caution when interpreting positive cannabis test results.

Urine drug test results that are unexpectedly positive should prompt the patient to see their physician.

According to an article in the American Family Physician (AAFP), drug concentration standards for urine drug testing are regulated by the federal government.

If the screening test is positive, a follow-up test may be needed.

According to the AAFP, the test can show cannabis use up to 30 days after heavy use and up to 3 days after a single use.

THC stays in the fat cells of the body as a result of the fact that it is fat soluble. The kidneys then get rid of THC and its byproducts.

Researchers are also interested in using saliva and breath testing to detect cannabis in specific non-lab settings.

What can make you fail a drug test?

There are several possible reasons for a positive drug test as a result of CBD use. Below are just a few of them:

Cross Contamination

Manufacturers of CBD products may claim that their products do not contain THC, but this is not necessarily true.

If your CBD oil has not been independently tested or if it has false labels with incorrect THC content, it may be flagged.

Product Mislabeling

Another factor may be negligence. Some vendors scrimp by using less expensive extraction techniques that don’t eliminate THC.

The potential for THC in your CBD products increases because there are no regulatory standards for extraction methods.

In a 2019 investigation of 67 food items in Germany that contained CBD, researchers detected THC in 25% of samples above 2.5 milligrams daily, linked to adverse effects of intoxication.

Secondhand Exposure to THC

According to research published by the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, people exposed to passive or secondhand cannabis smoke can test positive on saliva drug tests.


False positive results are another theory that is more likely to occur if a person is taking other medications at the same time. Examples are:

  • dronabinol
  • NSAIDS like ibuprofen, naproxen, and sulindac
  • pantoprazole
  • efavirenz

Different Drug Testing Methods

According to the Mayo Clinic Proceedings from 2017, federal occupational drug testing cutoff values ​​were designed to prevent the possibility that microscopic levels of THC or THC-COOH could result in a positive drug test result.

In other words, just because you test negative for drugs doesn’t mean you don’t have any THC in your system.

A negative drug test, on the other hand, means that the level of THC or THC-COOH is below the cut-off point.

Urine Drug Tests

Urine testing for cannabis is common, especially at work. To get a positive result on a urine test, THC-COOH must be at a level of 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or higher.

Depending on dosage and frequency of use, detection windows can change significantly. THC metabolites are often found in urine 3 to 15 days after use.

However, regular, heavy cannabis use can result in detection windows that can sometimes be longer than 30 days.


Blood tests are more unusual for drug testing than urine tests. They are therefore unlikely to be employed in workplace testing because THC is rapidly eliminated from the bloodstream.

While THC metabolites are detectable for seven days, it is only detectable in plasma for five hours. Blood tests are helpful in detecting an existing impairment, such as in cases of drunk driving.

Blood THC levels of 1, 2, or 5 ng/mL indicate impairment in jurisdictions where cannabis use is permitted. Other states have zero tolerance laws.


There is currently no recognized cut-off level for detecting THC in saliva, and saliva testing is not widely used.

THC is detectable in saliva for about 72 hours. However, chronic, intense use can increase this time.


There is no recognized cut-off value for THC metabolites in hair, and hair testing is not standardized worldwide.

Up to 90 days after use, hair may contain THC metabolites.

How to Pass a Drug Test

Now that you know how CBD can show up on a drug test, you may have a better understanding of how to pass a drug test.

Check out the product details.

Find out if the product is from marijuana or hemp-derived CBD. Next, determine if the CBD is pure CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, or broad-spectrum CBD.

Remember that full-spectrum CBD products made from hemp and CBD extracted from marijuana are more likely to contain THC.

Finding this information should be fairly straightforward. The manufacturer should include this in the product description.

Choose products that list the CBD content.

It’s a good idea to know how much CBD is in each serving. Note that this may depend on whether the product is an oil, tincture, edible, etc.

Although they may seem the same size or even smaller than other products, highly concentrated CBD products are sometimes more expensive. If possible, start with low-dose products.

Find out the CBD product source.

Depending on the state, the quality of hemp-derived CBD varies. States with better reputations – such as Colorado and Oregon – have mature cannabis businesses and strict testing regulations.

If the product description does not include cannabis information, contact the vendor.

Do your research.

When reviewing a CBD product, research specific phrases, such as:

  • CO2-extracted
  • decarboxylated
  • devoid of pesticides or herbicides
  • lab-tested
  • nothing added
  • no preservation agents
  • solvent-free
  • USDA organic certification

However, these statements are often difficult to prove. It is best practice to search for any lab test results associated with a particular company.


Most importantly, standard drug tests should not detect CBD.

The business is not consistently regulated, so it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re getting when you buy a CBD product. With that in mind, make sure you’re buying CBD isolate from a reputable supplier if you want to avoid THC.

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