Will cbd oil test positive for cannabinoids

Will CBD Oil Result in a Positive Drug Test?

Sherry Christiansen is a medical writer with a healthcare background. She has worked in the hospital setting and collaborated on Alzheimer’s research.

Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Arno Kroner, DAOM, LAc, is a board-certified acupuncturist, herbalist, and integrative medicine doctor practicing in Santa Monica, California.

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a popular product for everything from pain control and anxiety to promoting sleep. However, with the rise of CBD use comes a concern about failing a drug test.

News stories are emerging across the country involving famous people who have gotten positive drug screening results for the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the component of marijuana that can cause people to feel high. This is happening even though CBD oil is said to be THC-free.

What are the odds that CBD oil users will test positive when subjected to illicit drug screenings? And what can be done to prevent it?

This article explains why a positive drug test can happen with CBD use, which types of CBD are most likely to trigger one, and what you can do to avoid it.

Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

The active chemical in marijuana that gets detected in a positive drug test screening is THC. Most people are under the impression that CBD oil is THC-free, which is generally true. But not always.

As it turns out, depending on the source of the cannabis that is used to produce the CBD oil, some products do contain traces of THC. This includes low-quality isolates and many full-spectrum tinctures. A full spectrum oil contains other active plant compounds in addition to the CBD.

Cannabis Types

Cannabis is the umbrella term describing hemp and marijuana plants—two different varieties of the Cannabis genus. Both marijuana and hemp can be described as cannabis, but they are two different plants.

CBD is one of many active chemical compounds in cannabis plants. One reason it’s becoming more popular is because it’s said to lack THC.

The primary difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp is nearly void of THC. In fact, a cannabis strain must contain less than 0.3% THC to be classified as hemp. This is why hemp can be legally sold in various products.

Most CBD products are made from hemp, not marijuana.

There are many distinctions between marijuana and hemp that relate to CBD oil. Marijuana contains both THC (the “high”-inducing element) and CBD. Hemp contains CBD and only trace amounts of THC.

Hemp also contains many cannabinoids, which is a name for the compounds found in cannabis. CBD is only one example.

There are several techniques for extracting CBD oil from the cannabis plant. The extraction method determines whether the CBD oil is an “isolate” or a “full-spectrum oil.”

A CBD isolate is a pure compound with no other active compounds or cannabinoids. The full-spectrum compounds may include other active chemicals, such as cannabinol and cannabis terpenes (the part of the plant that gives the plant its aroma).

Study of CBD Oil

While some CBD oils claim to be isolates, they may be full-spectrum oils and actually contain more cannabinoids (such as THC) than they claim.

A study conducted at the internationally known Lautenberg Center For Immunology and Cancer found that CBD was more effective at treating inflammation and pain when used with other cannabis plant compounds.

These compounds were derived from a full-spectrum product rather than a CBD isolate product alone. This is one reason that full-spectrum products (those containing THC) are popular.

However, the distinction between full-spectrum oils and isolates makes all the difference if you are being tested for drug use.

Reasons for Failing a CBD Drug Test

There are several common reasons a person fails a CBD drug test.

Using Product With THC

The most common reason for a failed CBD drug test is that a person is using a CBD oil product that contains THC. This may be a full-spectrum product. Sometimes, though, it could be a low-quality isolate product that contains a small amount of THC.

Although most manufacturers claim their products do not contain THC, this is not always the case.

Cross-Contamination of THC

Very small amounts of THC present in the material that CBD is extracted from can get into the CBD oil in high enough amounts to result in a positive drug test. This scenario may be more likely to occur when CBD oil is purchased from cannabis dispensaries in places where cannabis is legal.

Mislabeling of Products

CBD oil extracted from hemp is not supposed to contain more than 0.3% THC. However, it’s not uncommon for sellers to mislabel their products as THC-free hemp when, in reality, it’s a low-quality oil extracted from marijuana. And marijuana does contain THC.

In fact, one study discovered that almost 70% of the CBD products sold online were mislabeled. This caused “potential serious harm to its consumers.” The reason for this widespread mislabeling is that CBD products are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Secondhand Exposure to THC

Inadvertent exposure to marijuana (via secondhand smoke) is unlikely to be enough for a person to get a positive drug test result. But it is possible. Being in a room with heavy pot smokers for several hours may cause the inhalation of enough THC-containing smoke to result in a positive test result.

A more likely secondhand exposure scenario is a positive marijuana hair test. This results from direct contact with marijuana paraphernalia or from another person having THC on their hands.

For instance, say that someone who had direct contact with marijuana then touched your hair. You could feasibly receive a false positive on a drug screening that tests your hair.

CBD Oil Breakdown in the Digestive System

Some sources report that in rare cases, false positive test results have come from CBD oil that breaks down into very small amounts of THC in the stomach. Other studies, however, have refuted this finding.

The conclusion is that it’s still theoretically possible for traces of THC to be present in stomach acid when “less-purified CBD productions” are ingested.

How to Avoid a Positive CBD Drug Test

If you take CBD oil, you can take steps to try to prevent failing a drug test:

  • Do thorough research to ensure the CBD product you’re using is pure and that the company is legitimate.
  • Look for manufacturers that have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ensure that the CBD oil is an isolate product extracted from a viable industrial hemp supply. It should not be a low-quality tincture.
  • Ask questions about product processing techniques and the possibility of cross-contamination.
  • Avoid secondhand exposure to marijuana use via pot smoking or hair contact from THC users.

Summary

CBD oil is usually marketed as THC-free, but that’s not always the case. Full-spectrum CBD oils contain other cannabinoids, which may include THC. Isolate products may be contaminated with THC, as well.

You have to be proactive to avoid failing a drug test if you’re taking CBD oil. Most important: Ensure that you’re using a pure product made by a reputable company.

A Word From Verywell

In theory, getting a false positive on a drug test from CBD oil should be relatively impossible from pure CBD oil containing less than 0.3% THC. However, because CBD oil is not well regulated, there is no guarantee that a product contains pure CBD oil, or that its concentration is safe or effective.

Use the utmost caution and do your research when purchasing a quality CBD oil product to ensure its purity, especially if you need to undergo a drug screening.

Frequently Asked Questions

Drug tests look for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the element in marijuana that causes a high. CBD oils can have trace amounts of THC even if they’re labeled “THC-free.” The FDA does not regulate these products, and mislabeling is common.

Yes. If the products contain THC, you could test positive. If you know you’ll need to take a drug test, avoid full-spectrum CBD products that may contain small amounts of THC. Be sure you purchase products from a reliable source. And be wary of online retailers; researchers have found that 21% of online CBD and hemp products were mislabeled.

Will CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is a popular supplement for symptoms like anxiety, pain control, and sleeping difficulties. While CBD alone doesn’t show up on a drug test, with the rise of CBD products comes the concern about testing positive for another cannabinoid — tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) when using CBD oil.

THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis plants — and the primary compound drug tests are designed to detect.

Even though hemp-derived oil is said to be THC-free, new stories are emerging among corporate employees, sports players, public service officers, and others who have gotten positive drug test results for the presence of THC after using hemp oils.

So, does CBD show up on a drug test? What should CBD users be aware of before taking a drug screening at work, and what can they do to prevent a THC-positive result?

Continue reading this article to find out.

Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

Drug tests are usually designed to detect the presence of THC, or its metabolite THC COOH, to be precise. There’s no point in testing anyone for CBD because this compound doesn’t have intoxicating properties or impact psychomotor functions — however, in theory, drug tests could be designed to test for the presence of CBD and its metabolites.

Long story short, CBD doesn’t show up on a drug test. However, there’s a chance you may get a false-positive result for THC if you’re using hemp oils with trace amounts of THC.

Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

Depending on the source of the cannabis used to extract the CBD oil, some products do contain at least some THC.

Cannabis is the umbrella term describing hemp and marijuana.

Marijuana plants are characterized by the presence of THC — so even when the oil is extracted from a CBD-rich strain, it may still contain detectable levels of THC.

Hemp is a plant that comes with higher concentrations of CBD and only trace amounts of THC (usually below 0.3%). This isn’t enough to get a person high — the reason why hemp products are federally legal — but can it result in a THC-positive test result?

As it turns out, the source of CBD isn’t the only factor. Harvesting and refinement methods can also change the chemical makeup of your CBD oil.

CBD extracts are typically broken down in the following categories:

1. Full-Spectrum CBD

Full-spectrum CBD products contain all of the compounds that are naturally found in the hemp plant.

In short, a full-spectrum extract carries CBD alongside terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids — including THC.

For hemp-derived CBD oil, the legal limit for THC content is less than 0.3%.

Not every manufacturer discloses the information about the source of their full-spectrum extracts, so it may be difficult to tell just how much THC may appear in a given product.

That’s why third-party lab testing is important. A lab-tested product should bear a certificate of analysis that lists the entire cannabinoid content along with other compounds present in the extract.

Full-spectrum CBD oils are the most likely to result in a positive finding on a drug test looking for THC.

2. Broad-spectrum CBD

Similar to full-spectrum CBD products, broad-spectrum products contain additional compounds from the hemp plant, including other cannabinoids and terpenes.

However, in broad-spectrum CBD, all of the THC is removed.

This makes broad-spectrum products less likely to trigger a positive test result for THC.

3. CBD Isolate

As the name suggests, CBD isolate contains nothing but pure CBD. It doesn’t have any additional compounds from the source plant.

A lab-tested CBD isolate shouldn’t contain any THC and thus isn’t capable of resulting in a positive drug test.

Due to being odorless and flavorless, the isolate is more versatile than full-spectrum products — you can take it as is or add it to foods and drinks. CBD isolate is also available as oils, tinctures, edibles, and vapes.

Reasons Why CBD Oil Users May Test Positive for THC

Using CBD oil from a trusted source rarely results in a positive drug test. However, there are certain cases where a CBD product will make you fail a drug test. Here’s how it may happen:

1. Some Hemp Oils Contain Trace Amounts of THC

This is the number one reason for a failed drug test.

If your CBD oil makes THC show up on a drug test, this may be because you bought a product that isn’t actually sourced from hemp or contains more than 0.3 % THC.

Most manufacturers will claim their products don’t contain THC — or it’s below 0.3% — but this isn’t always the case.

2. Cross Contamination

Very small amounts of THC occurring in the sourcing material can get into CBD oil in concentrations high enough to result in a positive drug test. This is more likely to occur with cheaper extraction methods.

3. Mislabelled Products

CBD oil obtained from hemp shouldn’t have more than 0.3% THC. However, it’s quite common for retailers to mislabel their products as THC-free when in fact, it’s a product whose THC content exceeds the legal limit.

Interestingly, one study found that almost 70% of the CBD products sold online were mislabelled, causing potential serious danger to its consumers. The reason for this common phenomenon is that CBD products aren’t regulated by the FDA.

4. Secondhand Exposure to THC

Unintended exposure to marijuana through secondhand smoke shouldn’t be enough for a person to test positive for THC, but it’s still possible. If there’s a drug test in your workplace coming soon, you should avoid spending time in a room with heavy smokers.

How to Use CBD and Avoid a Positive Drug Test

If you take CBD oil, you can take certain measures to try to prevent failing a drug test.

First things first, do in-depth research to make sure that your CBD product is sourced from hemp and that the company uses proper refining methods to filter the THC out of the extract.

The best way to verify the credibility of your manufacturer is to check whether they provide third-party testing reports to prove what’s stated on the label. This way, you know exactly how much CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids are in the product you choose.

If possible, ask the customer service about extraction techniques and the possibility of cross-contamination. Most trusted companies use CO2 extraction to produce their CBD oils, which is a solventless technique that yields clean and potent products.

The best way to ensure there isn’t any THC in your system on the day of a drug test is to take laboratory-tested CBD isolate. This type of CBD is free of any additional compounds from hemp, including THC.

Speaking of which, I’d like you to take a look at my personal recommendations for hemp-derived CBD isolate.

My Favorite CBD Isolate Brands and Products

As a nurse, I’m subject to periodical drug tests. I love the way CBD improves my quality of life — but I also love my job and I find it difficult to imagine losing it due to not paying attention to what I’m buying.

As you may guess, I rarely have the time for measurements, so CBD oil isn’t the best option for me, especially considering that the majority of CBD oils on the market are full-spectrum.

This is where CBD gummies help me out. I take one gummy before, during, and after work to keep myself calm in demanding situations, or when I’m tense and tired after the whole day.

I did my research on isolate-based CBD gummies and came across Royal CBD, a relatively new premium brand that offers CBD in every traditional format. A few months ago, the company added CBD gummies to its product lineup.

These gummy bears contain pure CBD isolate sourced from locally-grown organic hemp plants. Each gummy contains a convenient dose of 10 mg CBD. This potency perfectly fits into my daily routine because I can divide my daily dosage into 3 servings.

Not to mention that now I have a legit excuse for my sweet tooth.

The gummies have a very nice flavor. They actually taste like those candies I remember from childhood. They aren’t full-spectrum, so there’s no herbal aftertaste on the tongue — just a palate-pleasing fruity punch.

Of course, there’s a price to pay (literally) for the quality of the ingredients. Royal CBD gummies are slightly more expensive than what you can find in many online stores, but if you want a lab-tested product that comes from an organic source, I can honestly recommend it.

Can CBD Oil Make You Fail a Drug Test? It Depends…

CBD doesn’t show up on a drug test, and getting a false positive from CBD oil should be impossible so long as it contains less than 0.3% THC.

However, because the entire industry is very loosely regulated, there’s no guarantee that a CBD product you purchase doesn’t contain THC, or that the CBD concentration is at a safe or effective level.

When buying CBD products online, always do your research. Look for third-party lab reports to ensure the purity of your product, especially if you need to take a drug screening soon.

If you want to play on the safe side, choose CBD to isolate instead of full-spectrum extracts. A properly manufactured isolate is free of any THC and often carries higher doses per serving. Isolate products are also less expensive than their full-spectrum counterparts.

Have you ever tested false-positive on a drug test from using CBD oil?

Livvy Ashton

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.

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Full-Spectrum CBD May Trigger Positive THC Result

Use of so-called “full-spectrum” formulations of cannabidiol (CBD) products can cause users to test positive for THC, the component of marijuana that causes euphoria, according to an open-label study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Full-spectrum CBD products contain THC, but at levels too low (≤0.30% by weight) to meet federal guidelines for Schedule 1 classification. To determine whether use of such a product might cause a positive urine drug test for THC, the authors enrolled 15 individuals being treated for anxiety to receive a full-spectrum, high-CBD extract containing 9.97 mg/mL of CBD (1.04%) and 0.23 mg/mL of Δ9-THC (0.02%), 1 mL sublingually 3 times per day for 4 weeks. Presence of THC was assessed using a presumptive test panel, followed by gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry performed by Quest Diagnostics.

Seven patients tested positive for THC, and 7 tested negative (1 patient dropped out).

“Despite limitations in sample size and diversity, these findings have important public health implications,” the authors concluded. “It is often assumed individuals using hemp-derived products will test negative for THC. Current results indicate this may not be true,” and the results may have “potential for adverse consequences, including loss of employment and legal or treatment ramifications, despite the legality of hemp-derived products.”

Dahlgren MK, Sagar KA, Lambros AM, et al. Urinary tetrahydrocannabinol after 4 weeks of a full-spectrum, high-cannabidiol treatment in an open-label clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. ePub ahead of print. November 4, 2020. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.3567