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Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?


The medical benefits of cannabis have captured the attention of the world. Once vilified and blamed for many of the ills in the world, current research and testimonials suggest that CBD is one of the most significant medical breakthroughs in history. While the legal issues surrounding cannabis use continue to change rapidly throughout the United States and CBD products are now permitted under federal law, many people still ask the question, does CBD show up in a drug test?

Testing positive can have devastating consequences for an individual and their family. Failing a drug test can mean loss of employment and even result in a loss of freedom. With repercussions such as these, the question “Does CBD show up in a drug test?” is relevant and complicated for the many people who use CBD for medical reasons and general health.

What is CBD and what does it do?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of over 100 chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are the two most well-known cannabinoids. Unlike THC, the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s euphoric quality, CBD has no psychoactive effects and is best known for its perceived medical benefits.

CBD works by attaching to receptors of the endocannabinoid system, a system found throughout the body, including the brain, central, and peripheral nervous systems. Cannabis research led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, and it is now believed that this system is crucial in regulating the body’s functions, maintaining health, and preventing disease.

The CBD found in cannabis closely mimics naturally occurring substances in the body called endocannabinoids. Natural endocannabinoids produced by the body and the cannabinoids found in cannabis have both proven to be major effectors on the endocannabinoid system.

Recent research on the medicinal properties held by cannabis, as well as consumer testimonials, suggests that CBD is an effective treatment for many ailments and their symptoms. CBD can help to alleviate anxiety, reduce pain, and even treat skin conditions such as acne.

Cancer patients have found that CBD helps to reduce pain, relieve nausea, and stimulate appetite. Numerous recent cell culture and animal studies have found that CBD also has antitumor effects and is a potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth.

CBD has been in the news for years and gained national attention in June of 2018 when Epidolex became the first approved U.S. Food and Drug Administration drug containing purified CBD derived from cannabis. Epidolex is a breakthrough CBD oral-based medication for treating seizures caused by two rare and severe forms of epilepsy, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, and Dravet syndrome.

CBD alone has many health benefits, but studies have found that the effects are more significant when combined with the other cannabinoids found in cannabis. Known as the entourage effect, it points to the beneficial effect of all the cannabinoids working together rather than just one or two compounds working in isolation. The entourage effect is produced from the interaction of the cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and fatty acids naturally found in cannabis.

What are the different types of CBD?

CBD is manufactured and extracted from both marijuana and hemp, and CBD products are available in a variety of forms, including CBD oil, edibles, and topical lotions and ointments. While CBD is now legal and readily available to consumers, the issue of legality also hinges on whether the CBD is hemp-derived or extracted from marijuana.

While the legality of marijuana and marijuana products is rapidly changing, the 2018 Farm Bill and Hemp Act legalized the farming and manufacturing of products from industrial hemp. While marijuana contains high levels of THC and is legal to use for medical and recreational purposes in some areas of the country, it is still illegal in much of the country. Industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC but has high concentrations of CBD, distinguishing it from marijuana.

CBD is manufactured as a full-spectrum product that contains the full range of cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, including THC, or as a pure isolate, which is 100% pure CBD. When extracted from marijuana, full-spectrum CBD oils often contain specific ratios of THC and CBD. Hemp-derived full-spectrum CBD products still contain all of the cannabinoids found in cannabis, including trace amounts of THC, but are predominantly CBD.

Understanding how a CBD product is manufactured and where it is sourced from, as well as the difference between full-spectrum CBD products and those that are pure CBD isolates, is key to knowing whether a drug test can be passed or whether a false positive is possible.

How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System?

Unlike THC, which can stay in the system for as long as 30 days, CBD is removed much faster. Studies have shown that single doses of CBD are only detectable in the bloodstream for up to six hours.

A 1991 study tested the CBD levels of patients that were administered a daily dose of 700 milligrams of CBD over six weeks. Researchers found that the approximate half-life of CBD was between three and five days and that a week after CBD use stopped, the levels in the blood were virtually undetectable. While the time it takes for the body to metabolize CBD entirely varies among people, research suggests that the cannabinoid will be entirely out of the system within one or two weeks.

Do Drug Tests Screen for CBD?

Drug testing has become commonplace in the United States in both the legal community as well as by private employers. There a variety of drug tests available used for pre-employment screenings, random testing of employees, and often when a workplace accident occurs. These tests typically screen for the presence of drugs or alcohol and include urine drug tests, blood drug tests, hair drug tests, breath alcohol tests, saliva drug screens, and sweat drug screens.

There is no standard drug test but the most comprehensive tests screen for cocaine, THC, PCP, amphetamines, opiates, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, propoxyphene, Quaaludes, Ecstasy or MDA, and Oxycodone or Percocet. There is no drug test that screens for CBD, but many CBD products also contain low levels of THC. While the THC levels found in hemp-derived CBD are extremely low, there is still a chance that a full spectrum CBD product will create a false positive for marijuana.

Can CBD Show Up In a Drug Test?

For decades the government classified all cannabis and cannabis products as illegal with no distinction between marijuana with high levels of THC and hemp containing only minuscule amounts of the compound. While the legal status of marijuana continues to change along with public perception, there is still controversy surrounding the cannabis plant and its use.

CBD has no intoxicating effects and is not generally screened for in a drug test. Marijuana drug tests screen for THC and not CBD, so if the product consumed is a pure CBD isolate, it will not show up in a drug test.

Most of the CBD products available today are hemp-derived and contain such low levels of THC and other cannabinoids that they will not affect a standard drug test. For consumers using a full spectrum oil and ingesting higher concentrations of CBD oil, it is possible that a false-positive result could occur, but a more comprehensive follow up analysis should provide more conclusive results.

While it’s unlikely that CBD products alone can lead to a positive result on a drug test, CBD is known to affect the way that the body metabolizes certain compounds, including THC. For regular consumers of marijuana, this means that CBD usage may prolong the time that THC remains detectable and even show higher levels than would be found without CBD.

It is also critical to understand that not all CBD products are accurately labeled. The cannabis plant, including hemp, is susceptible to stress when it is grown, and that can affect the levels of cannabinoids in the plant. Under certain growing conditions, industrial hemp may have higher levels of THC than the 0.3% that is allowed by law. Researchers have found that when CBD products purchased online were analyzed, nearly 20% of them contained THC levels that were well above the legal limit.

Answering the question Does CBD show up in a drug test? is complicated due to many factors. CBD alone should not be an issue with any drug test, but factors such as whether it is pure or contains trace amounts of THC may affect results.


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One thought on “Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

  1. I specifically like CBD Isolate products because they do not contain any THC so I have peace of mind in the case that I have to take a drug test for work because I am a fire fighter.

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