Cannabis is currently experiencing what some may call a “Golden Age”, whereupon cannabis-derived products are becoming increasingly popular and publicized. While this may be good news to consumers and producers of such products, it also raises several concerns, many of which revolve around the legality of the plant, which is still a grey area in many parts of the country.
One of these concerns is prominent amongst CBD users specifically, and that is the question of whether or not CBD use will lead to a failed drug test. The answer depends on the purity and amount of product being used. Many full spectrum CBD oils contain trace amounts of THC, which is limited to 0.3 percent by law for nationwide distribution.
Many CBD companies market their products as containing no THC whatsoever. However, since CBD remains unregulated by the FDA, it’s far more likely that some products will contain more THC than advertised. While many manufacturers provide lab test results for each batch of CBD they sell, this lack of regulation increases the chances of these results being inaccurate or even falsified.
Question: Does CBD Show Up on Drug Tests?
While it’s generally unlikely that CBD products would lead to a failed drug test, it has happened. A notable case is that of Bianca Thurston, who lost her job due to a failed drug test and sued the CBD manufacturer whom she claims is responsible. Then there’s the case of Lorraine Jeffries, a school bus monitor in Missouri who was prescribed CBD for pain by her doctor, leading to a failed drug screening and subsequent termination of her position.
There are several reasons why CBD use may cause a false-positive for THC on a drug screen. One of these reasons has to do with cross-reactivity. In a recent study at the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City, researchers added various cannabinoids – CBD, CBN, CBC and CBG – to three separate urine samples. They then tested each sample using two commonly utilized THC screening procedures and found that CBN reacted with one of the tests, causing a false positive reading.
The type of screening used in this instance was an immunoassay, meaning it utilizes antibodies to detect the presence of drugs. These antibodies differ slightly across manufacturers and can lead to differing results. However, immunoassays are typically followed up with additional confirmatory tests that are more effective in differentiating THC from other cannabinoids that may be cross-reactive.
While these follow-up tests would indicate a false positive, it’s important to note that in high doses, some CBD products may contain enough THC to trigger an actual positive reading. This is especially relevant to users who require a much higher dosage of CBD oil for it to be effective, such as those suffering from epilepsy who may ingest up to 200 milligrams a day.
Although there is evidence for CBD causing failed drug screens, such cases are few and far between, and there isn’t much cause for concern – as long as you’re obtaining CBD from a reputable manufacturer who provides full disclosure and test results regarding the THC content of their products. Additionally, consumers can potentially prevent conflicts by communicating this same level of disclosure to any potential or current employer regarding personal CBD usage.