Does CBD Show up on Drug Tests? Comprehensive Guide

Does CBD Show up on Drug Tests? Comprehensive Guide

Psst! Got some burning questions about CBD? Well, we’ve got you covered with our handy-dandy CBD 101 guide, FAQ page, and Highline Blog. But let’s face it, some questions are more urgent than others and require a more detailed answer. 

So let’s skip the small talk and get down to the nitty-gritty: Does CBD show up on drug tests? The answer is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, CBD shouldn’t show up on a drug test. But as with most things in life, there are a few variables to consider. 

So let's roll up our sleeves and explore this topic further! Together, we'll unravel the mysteries of CBD and drug tests.

How Do CBD & Drug Tests Work? 

Ah, the infamous world of drug testing. Urine drug tests are the most common diagnostic tests used to detect weed and certain cannabinoids. But how does it work?

Well, it's all thanks to an "immunoassay test" that uses special antibodies designed to attach to THC and its metabolites.

The test has a certain concentration threshold that the federal government sets. If the drug or substance is detected below this level, you're in the clear. But if it's above that threshold, brace yourself for a possible follow-up test.

Now, here's where things get interesting. THC likes to hang out in our fat, so our bodies store it in fat compartments. 

As we burn or recycle that fat, the THC is slowly released, and the kidneys work their magic to eliminate it and its metabolites. That means that even after a single use, THC can be detected in our urine for up to 3 days. And if you've been hitting the bong pretty hard, it can stick around for more than a month. Yikes! 

Noticed that we never mentioned CBD. You see, as per a recent publication in 2020, urine drug tests only have their sights set on specific substances. 

These substances include: 

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • THC 

Drug testers aren’t actively looking for CBD. Still, the question remains… 

Will CBD Fail a Drug Test?

According to a 2020 study in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, pure CBD should not cause you to fail a drug test. 

Their findings suggest that pure CBD, like the kind you find in your favorite gummies and oils, is highly unlikely to make you test positive for THC on two specific types of drug tests. 

That’s because employers often use drug tests to screen for illicit substances like THC and narcotics. Despite being legal in some states, THC is still considered illegal at the federal level. Since CBD is federally legal, it is highly unlikely that a drug test would specifically screen for it.

Does CBD Really Show on a Drug Test?

cbd products - Highline Wellness

Simply put, CBD's presence alone is not enough to be flagged by a drug test. However, it is important to note that if a CBD product contains enough THC, it could trigger a positive result on a drug test. 

The presence of THC in CBD products can occur due to contamination during the manufacturing process or improper labeling. This is why it’s incredibly crucial to choose high-quality CBD products from reputable companies that provide third-party lab test results to ensure they are free from THC.

Certain Chemical Methods Could Trigger a Positive Drug Test

Here’s what a lot of CBD companies won’t tell you… Some drug testers use a fancy chemical method called Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) to detect the presence of drugs and cannabinoids in your system. 

Now, to make this method work, they need to add a special chemical called Trifluoroacetic Anhydride (TFAA) to help with the process (stay with us, we're about to connect the dots for you).

You see, here's where things get tricky. According to some research, TFAA and GC-MS can make CBD and THC look identical. Yep, you read that right. So, even if you've only been consuming good ol' hemp-derived CBD, you could still potentially fail a drug test if the chemicals, TFAA and GC-MS are used. 

Does CBD Convert Into THC in the Human Body? 

One of the most bizarre theories floating around out in the world wide web is that CBD can somehow magically transform into THC once it enters the human body. Sounds like something straight out of a sci-fi flick, right?

Well, when it comes to drug testing, they’re not looking for CBD at all. Instead, they’re on the hunt for a specific metabolite of THC. So, even if your CBD consumption is off the charts, you’re theory.

Sure, the chemical structures of CBD and THC may seem a little too similar for comfort, leading some researchers to fear that CBD could morph into THC via stomach acid. But in all honesty, these studies have some serious limitations. 

Even the researchers themselves admit that this theory “deviates significantly from physiological conditions in the stomach.”

Simply put, you can rest easy knowing that CBD isn’t going to transform into THC inside your body. With that said, let's examine the significance of various CBD products to drug testing.

Do Different Types of CBD Show Up on Drug Tests?

drug tests - Highline Wellness

Truth be told, not all CBD products are created equal. This means that while the type of drug test is beyond your control, the purity of CBD is something you can choose.

You see, the type of CBD you use can make all the difference when it comes to passing a drug test. And with a vast array of CBD products on the market, it's important to know the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolates. 

Now, according to Medical News Today, the main difference between these types of CBD categories has to do with the compounds they contain. Therefore, depending on the percentage of compounds, CBD will fall into one of three main categories:

Full-Spectrum CBD & Drug Tests 

Full-Spectrum CBD is the type of CBD that contains all of the naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. This includes terpenes, flavonoids, and most importantly, up to 0.3% THC. Yup, you read that right – Full-Spectrum CBD contains THC, which is the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant that gets you high.

It’s believed that one of the biggest advantages of Full-Spectrum CBD is that the different compounds work together to create what's known as the "entourage effect." This means that the compounds enhance each other's effects, making the overall CBD experience more potent and effective.

But it also has a stronger flavor profile than other types of CBD, which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on your taste preferences. 

Now, some cannabis connoisseurs suggest that even Full-Spectrum CBD won’t cause a failed drug test. That is if you’re not guzzling gallons of Full-Spectrum CBD oil every day. 

However, according to research, the presence of THC in Full-Spectrum CBD products could accumulate in our fat compartments. And as we burn those fat compartments, that THC slowly gets released through our kidneys which could result in a failed urine drug test. 

For these reasons, many people steer clear of Full-Spectrum CBD products altogether. 

Broad-Spectrum CBD & Drug Tests 

Broad-spectrum CBD is like the cooler, more refined cousin of full-spectrum CBD. It contains all the same beneficial compounds as full-spectrum, such as other cannabinoids and terpenes, but with one key difference: it's completely free of THC. 

So, if you're subject to drug testing for work or other reasons, you can enjoy the therapeutic effects of CBD without any risk of getting busted.

And the best part? Broad-spectrum CBD is a fantastic option if you're looking for the "entourage effect" - the idea that different cannabinoids and terpenes work together to enhance each other's effects. So not only are you getting the benefits of CBD, but you're also getting a whole host of other beneficial compounds that work in harmony to support your health.

In a nutshell, broad-spectrum CBD is the way to go if you want to enjoy the full spectrum of benefits without any of the risks associated with THC.

CBD Isolate & Drug Tests 

Isolate CBD is highly purified. It only contains the purest form of CBD with no other cannabinoids or compounds from the cannabis plant. This means that it does not contain any trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana that can potentially show up on drug tests.

For individuals who are concerned about drug testing, isolate CBD is an ideal option as it eliminates any risk of THC showing up on a drug test. This is especially important for those who are subject to regular drug tests, such as athletes, law enforcement officers, and employees in certain industries.

Isolate CBD also offers a consistent and predictable experience because of its high level of purification. You don't have to worry about varying potencies or effects that come with full-spectrum CBD. Plus, it's highly effective in addressing specific health concerns.

But there’s a catch… While isolated CBD is free of THC and won't show up on a drug test, it may not provide the same synergistic effects as Full-Spectrum or Broad-Spectrum CBD.

Full-Spectrum and Broad-Spectrum CBD products contain a range of beneficial compounds that work together to enhance the overall therapeutic effects. So, it's a bit of a trade-off if you decide to use CBD Isolate instead of Full or Broad-Spectrum CBD. 

However, for those who solely seek the benefits of pure CBD, isolated CBD is a great choice.

How Do You Avoid CBD Showing Up on Drug Tests? 

To avoid CBD showing up on drug tests, it’s best to choose a CBD product that’s free from THC –– the psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana that drug testers are looking for. 

But here's the thing… CBD can be derived from either hemp or other cannabis plants, like marijuana. 

Now, if you're going for the hemp option, it's important to keep in mind that the FDA says it shouldn't contain more than 0.3% THC. But hold your horses, because testing has shown that sometimes this limit can be exceeded.

In fact, in a 2021 study, researchers tested the urine of 15 participants who consume Full-Spectrum, hemp-derived CBD. And guess what they found? Seven of them had detectable levels of THC in their urine even four weeks after they stopped using the product!

The researchers warned that using hemp-derived products doesn't guarantee you'll pass a drug test. And to make matters worse, cannabis is still illegal on a federal level, which means if you test positive for THC, you could be in some serious trouble, even if it was just from contaminated CBD products. 

But don't lose hope just yet. According to some medical toxicologist experts, Broad-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate products are less likely to be contaminated with detectable levels of THC. That's because the extraction methods used in creating these CBD products specifically remove THC from the formulations. 

The creation of CBD isolate products goes a step further in removing all other terpenes and cannabinoids from the final product. Thus creating a pure CBD-only product. 

So, when it comes to CBD and drug testing, it's always better to err on the side of caution and opt for products that are less likely to land you in hot water. 

3 Reasons Why Your CBD Failed a Drug Test 

failed drug test - Highline Wellness

If you're a CBD user, you're probably aware that the risk of failing a drug test is a major concern. So, why would CBD trigger a positive result on a drug test in the first place? Well, there are three main reasons to consider:

1. Full-Spectrum CBD 

Firstly, if you're using a full-spectrum CBD product, it may contain enough THC to trigger a positive drug test result.

2. Incorrectly Labeled CBD Products 

Secondly, if the CBD products you're using are labeled incorrectly, you may be unknowingly consuming THC or other prohibited substances.

3. Cross-Contamination between CBD & THC

Lastly, cross-contamination can also be a culprit. This can happen when CBD is produced in a facility that also processes THC-containing products, leading to trace amounts of THC in the final CBD product.

Now, the good news is that you can easily avoid the first issue by checking the label of the product you're using. Look for keywords like "broad-spectrum" or "CBD isolate," which indicate that the product doesn't contain THC. And, for extra peace of mind, always look for third-party lab reports or Certificates of Analysis (COAs) to ensure that the product contains only CBD and is free from any contaminants.

By being informed about the products you use, you can enjoy the benefits of CBD without worrying about failing a dozen federal law enforcement employee drug tests unexpectedly.

However, don't let your guard down just yet. There are plenty of shady CBD brands out there that claim their products are 100% THC-free, even when they're not. 

Reputable CBD Brands vs Drug-Testing Claims 

In the last few years, researchers have discovered that more than 60% of CBD consumers use this cannabinoid to alleviate certain symptoms associated with many health issues: Anxiety, pain, sleep problems, and even depression. 

What’s more, researchers have found that more than half of those CBD users experience relief from their troubling symptoms after consuming hemp-derived CBD products. 

However, despite the growing acceptance of CBD, drug testing is still a major concern for many people, particularly those in federal jobs, sports, or on probation. This is because even though CBD products are derived from hemp and not marijuana, there is still a chance of cross-contamination with THC. 

Back in 2020, more than two dozen federal law enforcement employees who rely on CBD for pain relief were placed under disciplinary action for testing positive for THC. It's a tough situation for those who are just trying to manage their health without the risk of losing their jobs or facing legal consequences.

Today, people are still experiencing these same drug testing results even after consuming hemp-derived CBD products. But why? 

The answer: Shady hemp brands! 

Shady hemp brands will say anything to get you to buy their questionable products. And while some of them might be somewhat effective, the issue is that they will ultimately cause you to fail a drug test. 

With the rise of drug testing in many workplaces, using CBD products has become a risky business. And by risky, we mean potentially getting caught with THC in your system. Shady hemp brands don’t care about you failing a drug test. Which is why they will often make false claims about their THC content. 

Bottom line: They just want your hard-earned money. 

But reputable CBD brands are serious about drug testing, and they take pride in producing high-quality products that contain little to no THC at all. 

You see, reputable CBD brands go the extra mile by using third-party labs to test their products for potency and purity, and they make these reports easily accessible to consumers. So, by choosing a trustworthy CBD brand, you can rest easy knowing that you're using a THC-free product that's safe to use and won't trigger a positive drug test.

Highline Wellness CBD & Drug Testing

drug test - Highline Wellness

At Highline Wellness, your health and well-being are of the utmost importance to us, which is why we take the safety of our products seriously. We want you to feel confident that what you're putting in your body is not only effective but also safe.

We understand that navigating the world of CBD can be overwhelming, which is why we provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. Our COAs are easily accessible on our website, providing you with a comprehensive breakdown of every compound in our products, including the amount of CBD and THC.

For example, our CBD Day Gummies for Focus have 9.580mg of CBD per serving. And the best part? No detection of THC at all! 

We’re well aware that not all CBD products are created equal. That's why we manufacture all of our products in a GMP-certified facility, where we strictly adhere to the guidelines set by the FDA.

We only use broad-spectrum CBD in our products because we believe in the power of CBD without the unwanted effects of THC. We're also committed to using only the highest quality ingredients and testing our products rigorously to ensure that they meet our strict standards. 

At Highline, we believe that transparency is key to building trust with our customers. So we invite you to Contact Us for any questions or concerns you may have, no matter how big or small.

Katie Salvi
Marketing Manager, Email Marketing Santa Monica, CA