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You may often hear people wondering does CBD show up on a drug test or not? Drug testing normally occurs prior to an offer of employment, after a vehicle crash, or in sports organizations to detect an array of drugs.

Many medical and recreational consumers take cannabidiol-based (CBD) products to relieve pain, ease anxiety, or for a number of therapeutic purposes. While CBD comes from cannabis plants, a federally illegal substance, many CBD products won’t show up on a drug test.

CBD is considered a modern-day miracle compound for its ability to relieve symptoms associated with chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, seizures, and other medical conditions. Despite the preliminary findings of CBD’s therapeutic effectiveness, federal agencies are hesitant to regulate these products. Here’s a guide on how CBD affects drug tests and how you can avoid triggering a positive test. 

Will CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

Most drug screening methods only test for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or one of its metabolites THC-COOH. Drug screeners could opt to detect CBD, but this is not very common, especially in states with legal cannabis laws.

Not all CBD products are the same, however. Some contain THC, while others don’t. Knowing the difference between these varying strains and product types can prevent a positive test.

Pure CBD products that don’t contain any THC are the safest bet for CBD consumers who are worried about passing a drug test. CBD products sometimes contain trace amounts of THC, which can add up in frequent or heavy users. Furthermore, the small amount of THC in a CBD product can bind to fat cells for an extended period of time.

THC can remain in the system for many days or even weeks for chronic users. A lack of FDA-regulation makes finding THC-free CBD products even more difficult.

Cut-Off Values of CBD

A drug testing method’s detection times depend on multiple factors, including drug interactions, frequency of use, body mass, and more. Currently, most drug testing methods only look for THC or THC-COOH. 

Urine tests are the most common, due to their affordability and detection period. These tests typically have a THC-COOH cut-off value of 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Urine tests can detect THC for approximately three to 15 days after use. Chronic users can trigger detection even a month after use.

Other tests such as saliva, blood, and hair drug tests are not as commonly used as urine tests. A blood test might be used to detect current drug use in the case of a suspected state of driving under the influence. Ultimately, these cut-off values don’t detect CBD. As long as customers are aware of their THC intake, they shouldn’t worry about failing a drug test.

Types of CBD

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CBD can come from cannabis and hemp plants. Both plants are in the same plant family. The difference between hemp and cannabis is the THC level. Marijuana plants can contain varying concentrations of THC that can be as high as 30 percent.

Hemp plants, however, must legally contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Growing conditions also affect the cannabinoid profile of a plant. Hemp products often contain considerably less THC than the legal amount.


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Full-spectrum, marijuana-derived, CBD products preserve the strain’s original profile of compounds including terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids. They could include varying levels of THC. Full-spectrum, hemp-derived CBD, however, must legally contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Full-spectrum products can come as concentrates, edibles, or topicals.

Broad-spectrum CBD products are similar to full-spectrum products except for one key difference. Broad-spectrum CBD products don’t contain any THC at all. Although these products feature the other terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids found in hemp, all the THC has been stripped away.

CBD isolates are the purest form of CBD available. CBD isolates are typically hemp-derived, come in crystalline powder form, and contain no THC.

Avoiding THC Consumption

Some individuals insist that their CBD consumption led to a positive drug test for THC. In a critically under-regulated CBD market, customers must worry about cross-contamination, product mislabeling, and other bad business practices by CBD brands.

Manufacturers that deal with THC and CBD separately or together can increase the likelihood of cross-contamination. Customers are left in the dark, especially if no lab testing confirms the cannabinoid content in the product.

Product mislabeling is an obstacle that all CBD consumers must face. A 2017 study in the Netherlands titled “Labeling Accuracy of Cannabidiol Extracts Sold Online” analyzed 84 CBD products from 31 companies. The study found that 18 of the products tested contained THC, despite labeling indicating otherwise. Until manufacturing and testing standards are put in place for CBD products, consumers must do their due diligence when purchasing a CBD product.

Buying THC-Free Products

Before buying any CBD product, you must first ensure you are buying the correct type. For example, pure and lab-tested CBD isolates are less likely to contain THC than broad-spectrum lab-tested CBD products.

Look through a product’s description and ingredient list to ensure you aren’t skipping over any THC content. It helps if the manufacturer publishes a certificate of analysis (COA) for the CBD used in the product. A COA provides lab-verified test results that include information about the presence (or absence) of THC.

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In addition, note whether the CBD product is derived from marijuana or hemp. Products derived from hemp are less likely to contain THC. Finally, check through reviews and compare brands to find a product that works for you. Avoid products that other users have had problems with.

CBD is a relatively harmless compound that won’t show up on common drug screening tests. As long as consumers carefully vet the company they purchase CBD products from, they can lower their risk of triggering a surprise positive test result. Positive drug tests can have an enormous consequence on work or medical care. If you’re really worried about passing a test, abstinence is the best way to put your mind at ease.

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