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Can CBD Oil Make You Fail a Drug Test?

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CBD is becoming ubiquitous. It can be found in gas stations, convenience stores, supermarkets, on Amazon, and even in Bed, Bath & Beyond!!  

One of the main concerns expressed by people that are seeking relief from a variety of symptoms who are considering using CBD, is whether CBD oil can make you fail a drug test or not. It is important to understand that this question cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” 

The reason for this is because the FDA does not regulate the CBD industry, and therefore, there are many companies and products on the market that don’t follow standard guidelines for the extraction, production, labeling etc… of CBD products. So, what are consumers’ options and what should you be aware of when choosing a CBD product?   

drug test with hemp and marijuana next to it

Can CBD Have THC in it?

CBD comes from the Cannabis Sativa L plant family, which means it can be derived from marijuana or hemp. All marijuana plants contain various amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid in the plant that gets you “high,” and there is enough THC in marijuana to cause a person to fail a drug test, unless it is completely diluted out during the extraction process, prior to the product becoming a “finished good” on the shelf of a supermarket.

On the other hand, certified industrial hemp plants contain only trace amounts of THC, and therefore, CBD products derived from hemp should not cause a person to fail a drug test, but you still need to exercise caution because CBD products can contain up to but not more than 0.3% THC (three tenths of one percent.) In these trace amounts, one would typically not fail a drug test, but it is important to review the Certificate of Analysis (COA) for the product to verify that there is < 0.3% THC. If the product does not have a corresponding COA, DO NOT PURCHASE THE PRODUCT! Any legitimate hemp manufacturer should have a QR code on their label or on their packaging that leads you to the products COA. Specifically, you want to look at the “Cannabinoid Profile” test for the product you are considering purchasing, and again, if the store or the packaging can’t produce it, just turn around and walk away.  

Another thing to consider is the three types of CBD, namely,

  1. CBD Isolate,
  2. Broad-Spectrum CBD Oil, and
  3. Full Spectrum CBD Oil

CBD isolate is typically made into the form of granulated crystals or powder so it can be vaped, added to beverages and food etc… There are no other terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and notably, there is no THC. CBD isolate is the best option if you cannot risk failing a drug test. Broad-spectrum CBD oil does contain terpenes, flavonoids, and several cannabinoids but any remaining amount of THC in the plant is removed during the extraction process. Finally, a full-spectrum CBD oil contains terpenes, flavonoids, and a diverse range of cannabinoids, including THC, but there is no more than 0.3% THC, and in those trace amounts, one should not fail a drug test if it is a legitimate product. And how do we tell if it is a safe product to take? Remember, ALWAYS review the Certificate of Analysis for the product you are considering purchasing, even if it is a CBD isolate or broad-spectrum CBD oil. 

How Do Drug Tests Detect THC?

THC drug tests are typically done by employers when screening a candidate for a job position; however, there are many other scenarios where a drug test might be required, such as for insurance policies, monitoring someone on pain medication for drug abuse etc…

For the most part, the way a THC drug test works is that a urine sample is collected in a sterile container and sent to a lab. The lab analyzes the specimen using a special type of machine called a mass spectrometer. There are different technologies used in mass spectrometry, like gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). These tests are looking for the inactive metabolites of THC, which is a result of the body breaking down THC (Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol.) These metabolites include THC-COOH or 11-nor-Carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.

If someone is given a drug test for employment and they fail due to a positive THC result, it usually means they will not get the job unless there are extenuating circumstances that were discussed with the employer prior to the person going for the test.

It can be confusing due to the different laws surrounding marijuana in each state, but it is safe to say that if you are a federal employee or you work in a federally-regulated job, there is a zero tolerance drug policy, so if you fail a drug test for a job position, you will not be considered for that job, and if you are currently employed and you fail a drug test, you will lose your job and the benefits that come with it.

There are other ways to obtain a THC test result, such as by a blood draw, a hair follicle sample, or by swabbing the cheeks of a person with gauze or Q-tips, but those methods are not as common as collecting a urine sample.

Does the Quality of CBD Matter?

Let me ask you a question. If you had a Rolls Royce, would you fill it up with regular gasoline? Of course, you wouldn’t! You would use the most premium gasoline available to ensure the engine runs optimally and cleanly. The same thing goes for CBD products that you are going to put in or on your body, so going to a gas station to fill your car up is fine but going to a gas station to purchase CBD is not advised. Here is a list of things you should look for when you are deciding on purchasing a CBD product: 

  • Is it organic and/or non-GMO? 
  • Where is the hemp sourced? Is it made inside or outside the USA? 
  • Is there a QR code on the label or packaging that takes me to their COAs? 
  • What extraction method was used? 
  • Any other additives besides plant extract? 

Where to Find Good Quality CBD Oil

One might think there is an easy answer to this question; however, the truth is, about 70% of CBD products on the market are mislabeled.

Although we are moving closer to having a regulatory framework for the hemp industry, currently there is no regulation or oversight, and as such, a manufacturer may cut corners to save money on producing the product, opting for cheaper ingredients with low to no efficacy.

Therefore, I would recommend purchasing CBD from a reputable pharmacy, since pharmacy managers typically vet all Over the Counter (OTC) products that make it onto a pharmacy store shelf. I would also trust most doctors and healthcare/holistic practitioners offices as a reliable source for CBD oil products. Unfortunately, not many CBD companies take a medical approach to formulating CBD. Most are focused on creating and marketing Lifestyle brands, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but medically focused hemp manufacturers utilize other herbals and adaptogens besides CBD to target specific symptoms of different disease states, and that is exactly what we do a PurWell.    

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