For better or worse, drug testing has become commonplace in the United States. People are subject to drug tests by employers, pain management doctors, law enforcement officials and others for a multitude of reasons. And the consequences of failing a drug test can be catastrophic for some.
So it’s no surprise that one of the most frequently asked questions about CBD oil is whether it can cause a positive drug test. This is an important question given the potential ramifications so it deserves an honest answer. Especially since there is a fair amount of inaccurate information out there about this topic.
Let’s cut right to the chase: if you are unwilling to accept some risk of a positive drug test, then you should not use any CBD oil product.
That may sound extreme but it’s the honest truth. Now to clarify, the risk in most cases is low. Not everyone tests positive. In fact, most successfully pass a drug screen even after prolonged use. But just as you accept some risk every time that you get behind the wheel of a car, there is always going to be some risk of a positive drug test with every CBD oil product.
We run the largest CBD oil group on Facebook so we hear from thousands of users every day. And we’ve heard plenty of stories from users who have tested positive on a drug test from using CBD oil. This includes full spectrum CBD oil products with trace amounts of THC as well as broad spectrum and isolate products that are marketed as having zero THC.
Many of those people were told by companies or people on social media that there was zero chance of testing positive, especially if they used a product with 0% THC. But if someone tells you there is no risk, they are either uninformed or being dishonest.
With that out of the way, let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about CBD oil and drug testing.
CBD Oil and Drug Testing FAQs
Why Would CBD Oil Make Me Fail a Drug Test?
Drug tests are typically looking to detect the presence of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, in addition to other controlled substances. CBD oil products available online and in local stores are derived from industrial hemp and by law must have less than 0.3% THC. Unlike marijuana that has high levels of THC, industrial hemp is high in CBD but has only trace amounts of THC. This is why there is no “high” associated with hemp-derived CBD oil products.
But even trace amounts of THC are enough to possibly trigger a positive test.
What Factors Affect The Risk of Testing Positive on a Drug Test?
Product type – Full spectrum products will carry the most risk because they contain the trace amounts of THC. Broad spectrum and isolate products contain undetectable levels of THC based on the manufacturer’s testing and carry a lower risk.
Metabolism – Body chemistry will affect how long any THC and other cannabinoids remain in your system. Those who metabolize the CBD oil quicker than others will have a lower risk of testing positive.
Dosage – Those taking an average daily dose of 25-50 milligrams of CBD per day will have a lower risk than those taking high doses.
Duration of use – Those who just recently started using CBD oil will have a lower risk than those who have been taking it for a prolonged period. Depending on your metabolism, THC levels can build up over time.
Sensitivity of the test – According to SAMSHA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a user would test positive for THC if there are 50 nanograms of THC per milliliter in their sample. Different testing methods show positives at different rates, including as low as 15 nanograms per milliliter.
Why Would a CBD Oil Product with 0% THC Make Me Test Positive?
Just because a product is marketed as having 0% THC doesn’t mean there aren’t trace amounts of THC in it. It means that levels of THC were below the manufacturer’s internal and third party lab’s lower detection limit.
A product that shows a THC level of 0.0%, “ND” (none detected) or “<LOQ” (less than the limit of quantitation) on its lab report may still have very trace amounts of THC. For example, a product with 0.02% THC would be reflected on the third party lab reports as having a THC level of 0.0%.
So it is possible that there are trace amounts of THC that weren’t detected by the company testing but that could be detected by a more highly sensitive drug test. Not probable when taking average doses but possible.
Broad spectrum and isolate products are the best choices for those concerned about drug testing who are willing to accept a small risk of testing positive.
Another Person Taking the Same Product Tested Negative – That Means I’ll Test Negative Too, Right?
Not necessarily. People metabolize CBD differently. Other variables such as dosage, duration of use and type of drug test also vary. So again, there are no guarantees that you won’t test positive just because someone else didn’t.
What Brands Will Guarantee That I Won’t Test Positive?
No reputable CBD company or salesperson will guarantee that you won’t test positive on a drug test. If a company or salesperson makes you this guarantee, ask them to put that in a legally-binding document that will make them liable for damages if you fail. You’ll be met with silence to that request for a reason.
My Home Test was Negative – Why Was My Employer Drug Test Positive?
Do-it-yourself drug test kits are available at many drug stores and discount stores. Taking a home drug screen may give you some indications. But it won’t necessarily give you the same result as the more sophisticated drug tests typically used by employers. Additionally, all of the factors mentioned above come into play every time that you are tested. So a negative drug test today does not mean that you won’t positive tomorrow.
I Tested Positive on an Employer Drug Test – What Now?
Incorrect interpretations of positive drug tests are not uncommon. Poppy seed pastries can trigger a positive test for opium in a person that has never used opiates. Similarly, CBD oil can trigger a positive test for THC in a person that has never used marijuana.
If you test positive after using CBD oil, you can request a retest. You may also want to tell the testing party that you are a CBD oil user to explain why you may have tested positive. If your doctor is aware of your CBD oil use, you may also ask them to write a note substantiating that fact.
Being upfront about your CBD oil use may help change the interpretation of the positive result.
Summary of CBD Oil and Drug Testing
Not everyone who uses CBD oil will test positive on a drug test. But it can and does happen, even with products that claim to have 0% THC. If you’re using any CBD oil product, you should be aware of the risks and make the decision that is right for you.
The level of risk is dependent on a number of factors including the type of product you are taking, your body chemistry, dosage and duration of use and the sensitivity of the drug test.
For those who have drug testing concerns but are willing to accept some risk, broad spectrum and isolate products are the best choice. They carry a lower risk than full spectrum products. Broad spectrum and isolate products don’t contain detectable levels of THC based on manufacturer testing.