CBD products can still be problematic, however, when it comes to drug testing. Though drug tests screen for THC, not CBD, many CBD products contain a trace amount of THC which will be detected in your bloodstream during a drug test.
The legality of CBD products can be confusing. CBD products made from certain cannabis plant varieties are legal only in states where marijuana is legal, due to the potential THC content. CBD products made from hemp variety plants are legal throughout the United States as long as they contain less than 0.3% of THC and do not make any medical claims. (A hemp plant is defined as Cannabis sativa that contains less than 0.3% THC.)
Factors in CBD Oil Showing on Drug Screen
THC can be detected in a urine test for up to 15 days, depending on how often and how much you use. It leaves the bloodstream in about five hours, but substances your body makes from THC (THC metabolites) can show up for as long as 7 days. CBD tends to stay in the bloodstream from 2 to 5 days, depending on dosage and frequency. If you have been using CBD for a while, it can stay in your body for up to 30 days or more.
CBD has taken off as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. CBD products like CBD oil can be made from either the hemp plant or the cannabis plant, which are closely related varieties of the same cannabis species, Cannabis sativa. CBD products contain a cannabinoid—a chemical—called cannabidiol, which does not make you high. The substance in marijuana that causes a buzz is a different cannabinoid, called THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.
Topical products that claim to contain CBD—like shampoos, cosmetics or creams—should not cause any reaction during a drug test because they do not enter the bloodstream. In the case of CBD oils, gummies, teas or transdermal patches, the situation is more complicated. In a test of 84 CBD products obtained online, 18 contained THC.
In theory, ending up with a false positive on a CBD drug test should be fairly impossible if the product uses pure CBD that contains less than 0.3% THC. But, since CBD isn’t well regulated as of yet, there isn’t any guarantee any certain product will contain pure CBD oil, or if its concentration is at an effective or safe level if the company doesn’t provide a certification of analysis (COA) from an independent third party.
An article published in 2020 shows urine drug tests typically focus on the following substances:
There are a few reasons why you’d fail a CBD drug test.
How to Avoid a Positive CBD Drug Test
Tiny amounts of THC in material CBD is extracted from could end up in the CBD product in high enough amounts that would trigger a positive drug test. This is more likely to occur when the CBD product is bought from a cannabis dispensary in locations where cannabis is legal.
One study suggests as long as the CBD is pure, it won’t show up on a drug test. Researchers of the study found CBD didn’t react with a couple commercially available tests for screening marijuana use.
CBD oil and other CBD products can be made from either the cannabis plant or the hemp plant. These are closely related variations of Cannabis sativa. Products with CBD in them contain cannabidiol, which is a cannabinoid, and doesn’t make you high. It’s the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana that causes the buzz you experience.
The urine test is most commonly used for cannabis testing. It’s an “immunoassay test” that uses antibodies made for latching on to certain drugs or their metabolites (like the presence of THC as well as its metabolites).
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.
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.
If you take CBD oil, there are measures you can take to try to prevent failing a drug test.
A Word From Verywell
There are many distinctions between marijuana and hemp that relate to CBD oil. Marijuana contains both THC (the psychoactive component) and CBD, whereas hemp contains CBD and only trace amounts of THC. Hemp contains many cannabinoids—CBD is only one example.
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.
In theory, getting a false positive on a drug test from CBD oil should be relatively impossible from pure CBD oil containing less than .3 percent THC. However, because CBD oil is not very well regulated, there is no guarantee that a product contains pure CBD oil, or that its concentration is at a safe or effective level. It is best to use utmost caution and do your research when purchasing a quality CBD oil product to ensure its purity, especially if you need to undergo drug screenings.
However, the distinction between full spectrum oils and isolates make all the difference if you are being tested for drug use.