Last updated: September 14, 2020
The answer to that question is perhaps. Although, it is not intentional, CBD (cannabidiol) oil is usually extracted from the hemp plant a strain of cannabis; and, being of the cannabis family, it also contains THC. Even though hemp contains much lower levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) than marijuana, it stands to reason that trace amounts can be found in CBD products.
Why is that a problem?
Theoretically, it shouldn’t be. You wouldn’t think minuscule amounts of THC wouldn’t be detected by the typical drug test panels. However, that is not always the case. There have been documented reports of employees testing positive for marijuana use after only consuming CBD products. It is estimated that as many as 10% of CBD users have failed drug tests when using these products.
|Produce a “high”||NO||YES|
|Side effects||Almost none||Psychoactive side effects|
|Shows on drug test||YES**||YES|
How does CBD use result in a false positive?
Apparently, a major contributing factor is due to some CBD manufacturers having low production standards. In fact, over the last several years, the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) has issued warning letters to companies manufacturing and marketing products containing cannabidiol. There reasons were twofold. Use of cannabis, albeit it in the form of THC or CBD, is illegal from a federal viewpoint and testing of said products by the FDA showed that many do not contain the levels of CBD claimed.
Depending on the strain, marijuana can contain up to 12 percent THC, while CBD only measures up with 0.03 percent THC. This is a big difference, but if THC levels are not monitored correctly in the distillation process of CBD, the likelihood that THC levels are too high rises. This could lead to the THC levels in a person’s system being detected during a drug test without their ever using marijuana.
Also, the body stores both THC and CBD is in the fat cells. That being said, a person’s metabolism is also thought to play a part in positive results.
Where does zero tolerance fit in to the picture?
Many employers have a zero tolerance drug policy in place (such as those mandated by the DOT to drug test all employees hired for safety-sensitive transportation positions, for example). If a test result is positive, the employee is terminated immediately.
This may seem unfair from the employee’s perspective. However, whether or not the positive result was caused by the marijuana, or CBD products that contain higher levels of THC than it should, the end result is the same. If levels are high enough to create a positive test result, could an employee be mildly impaired without being aware of the fact? If, indeed, that is the case, the risk would be too great to risk chancing.
What can be done about it?
For the time being, it is up to the user of CBD products to do their homework. Study up and find a reputable supplier. If you use the grab and go method, you will be more apt to find a reliable brand at a dietary supplement store rather than the corner quick shop.
No matter how much they are touted as being of medical benefit, CBD products have not been approved by the FDA to be sold as dietary supplements nor is it legal to sell food products containing CBD. However, for the time being, they rarely seek prosecution of companies that manufacture and distribute it.
The growing number of states legalizing both marijuana and CBD use in varying degrees may have something to do with that fact. That said, it’s probably best to check the laws in your state before beginning use of CBD products.
Where do we go from here?
Regulations must be put into place pertaining to many aspects of this species of plant. State and federal legislators have much work to do regarding the use of cannabis and the products created from it. Teams of both advocates and non will be put together to study and debate this situation.
It could take years before everything is hashed out, but the wheel has started to turn. And, that’s a step in the right direction.