Last updated: September 25, 2023
If you’re a believer in CBD (cannabidiol) and live in a state where using the products are legal, you can purchase it anywhere from the corner store to a nationwide chain of pharmacies. Although, there’s not much research to support the claims, it’s medicinal benefits supposedly run the gamut.
- Pain relief
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Ease cancer symptoms and reduce the effects of some medications
- Possibly reduces acne
- Treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis
- May benefit heart health
- Possible diabetes prevention
- May reduce the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia and other mental disorders
- Induce sleep
This may be one amazing drug! However, self-medicating may not be in your best interest and, as with any medication, it’s best to check with your doctor before using CBD products for any reason.
Despite all it’s many claims, you may also have heard that CBD can cause you to pop positive on a company drug test.
While CBD does remain in the system for up to three or four days after discontinuing use, rarely do employers actually test for it.
They’re looking for THC.
The truth about CBD products
Even if your CBD product is made from extracting the oil from the hemp plant, there may be THC in it. Both the hemp and marijuana plants are varieties of the cannabis plant, so, it makes sense that both would contain the same make-up to some degree.
The hemp plant contains a greater ratio of CBD in comparison to THC, the exact amount is plant-specific. Overall, though, hemp contains less than 0.3% of THC. And, of course, marijuana has a higher level of THC.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. When under the influence, users experience a feeling of euphoria. However, in some instances, THC can invoke feelings of depression. Furthermore, in high doses, THC can make the user paranoid or even hallucinate.
THC also induces a distorted sense of time, effects motor skills, and inhibits one’s ability to think clearly. It’s understandable that employers believe it has no place on the job. All of the above put the user and everyone around them at risk of being involved in an accident.
Whether manufacturers are processing marijuana or hemp, both CBD and THC are removed during extraction. Medical marijuana users expect to fail a drug test and as long as marijuana remains a Schedule 1 controlled substance, employers have a right to terminate them.
The problem with CBD use is that there’s no regulation for either extracting or product testing. If the THC level in the product reaches the cut-off level, 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng.ml) in urine, for instance, the test yields a positive result.
With no set standards in place, manufacturers really have nothing on which to base their claims. Less reputable companies may not test for THC levels at all and those that do may not do so on a regular basis.
This presents a problem for the consumer.
It’s important to find a reputable manufacturer rather than, say, grab something off the counter at the 7-eleven, perhaps. On the other hand, just because something is sold in a health-based shop doesn’t mean it’s golden either.
The packaging may even proclaim the product to be THC free, however, if tested they may be proved otherwise. Likewise, products claiming minuscule levels of THC may contain much higher levels.
It’s best for consumers to shop around and do some research.
Still, it’s possible that a drug test will yield a positive result.
Contributing to the matter
THC remains in the body for a varied amount of time depending on the frequency of use as well as the potency of the drug. The detection period also ranges depending on the test method used.
If someone occasionally uses CBD, the odds are in their favor that the THC will clear their system in as little as a few hours. However, people use CBD to treat physical symptoms and often that means daily use, perhaps, even including multiple doses. Once the drug reaches the detection level, it takes up to a week or more to clear it from the system. Frequent, long-term use may result in THC detection for up to a month or more.
Many employers choose the instant result mouth swab tests for random drug tests. They detect marijuana use for up to 24 hours after intake. Laboratory testing extends that window up to 72 hours. CBD products may be less likely to test positive if they occasionally use the product, however, once the cut-off level is reached the test is positive.
Hair follicle test
The hair follicle test identifies drug use for ninety days. That means each time the THC level in your body reached the cut-off level, it shows up.
In addition to the amount and frequency of use of the CBD products containing THC, there are other reasons that detection windows vary.
- Genetics play a big part. Our DNA make-up determines the speed at which we metabolize things.
- Age is a factor, as young people tend to have a faster metabolism than those who have grown older.
- Weight/BMI—Because drug metabolites are stored in the fat cells, the body fat ratio causes slower excretion. We all know those fat cells can be tenacious!
It all boils down to this
Until regulations are put in place in regard to extraction and product testing, those who use CBD products are, indeed, in danger of testing positive on a drug test.
Change may ensue if the STATES Act passes and marijuana’s Schedule 1 classification is removed. This would leave regulation of the drug at the individual state level. Until that time, however, employers are free to leave marijuana on their drug test panels.
Some CBD users may rethink whether the benefits that using CBD provides them outweigh the chance of losing their job.