Thursday June 7, 2018

By Abby Hutmacher

Will CBD Show Up on a Drug Test? Health/Science

CBD has become quite the buzz word and for good reason: it has shown to reduce pain, nausea, inflammation, spasms, intestinal contractions, artery blockage, tumor cell growth and more all without causing a high.

However, since there are many types of cannabis-derived CBD products on the market made from the same plant as THC (everyone’s favorite recreational cannabinoid) and hemp-derived products with extremely low THC levels, many people are left wondering if CBD will show up on a workplace drug test. Though the simple answer is “no,” there’s a bit more to it than that. Here’s what you need to know about CBD and drug tests.

For more information on how to pass a drug test, click here.

Drug Tests Weren’t Designed to Detect CBD

There are many reasons an employer might require drug screening – safety, legal protection, improved productivity, or even federal mandates – but the ultimate goal is to determine impairment, not a medical regimen. Therefore, most drug screens are not designed to detect CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid derived from either hemp or cannabis plants.

10 Panel Drug Test
Example of a 10-panel drug screen. photo credit

Rather, most employers use either a 5-panel or 10-panel drug screen, both of which test for THC-COOH (what THC turns in to after the body metabolizes it). In addition to THC, the 5-panel drug screen tests for cocaine, opiates, PCP, and amphetamines/methamphetamines while the 10-panel screen also tests for barbiturates, propoxyphene, benzodiazepines, methadone, and propoxyphene. Though the 10-panel test contains more recreational drugs, it also contains more pharmaceutical drugs which have become a growing epidemic over the last few decades.

High Doses of CBD Could Trigger a False-Positive

Because hemp products can legally contain up to .3 percent THC, regularly consuming extremely high doses of CBD products (between 1,000 and 2,000 mg/day, in fact) could trigger a false-positive result. However, it is unlikely that even high doses of daily CBD would surpass the federal limit of 50 nanograms THC metabolite per milliliter of urine.

Please note, a positive test would be the result of minute traces of THC in the body, not CBD.

Though tests are being developed to detect CBD metabolites, most employers don’t really care about it, they just want to know if you get high.

Medical Professionals Want to Know What Cannabinoids are in Your System

Though an employer’s reason for drug testing is to determine your ability to remain safe and productive at work, a medical professional has a whole different reason: to determine what medications to give you to keep you safe. Non-disclosure of cannabis consumption could alter the effectiveness of sedatives and other pain medications.

Because cannabis and anesthesia are both depressants, mixing the two could make for a dangerous mid-surgery interaction. Though surgeons recommend avoiding cannabis consumption prior to surgery to avoid a miscalculation in anesthesia, some medical professionals will conduct a pre-surgery drug screening to ensure all chemicals and medications floating around in the body be identified prior to putting you under.

Because many cannabis consumers don’t always have a clear idea of the specific cannabinoids they are ingesting, some researchers have suggested testing for both CBD and THC (in addition to other narcotics) as part of standardized pre-surgery testing procedures.

Many Employers in Legal States are Looking Past Positive Cannabis Tests

Though it’s still legal to test for cannabis in 420-friendly states, many employees have begun to look past results that test positive for THC. Largely due to the shrinking pool of eligible employees (because, let’s face it, if you can smoke weed, you probably will smoke weed at some point, right?) and largely due an inability to determine cannabis impairment on standardized tests, a growing number of employees are opting out of the cannabis-free workplace mentality.

Help Wanted
Few employers are requiring cannabis drug tests in cannbis friendly states. photo credit

If you or someone else gets hurt on the job and the company is expected to pay for it, however, a pot-positive test could result in some sort of disciplinary action though only if it contains THC-COOH and only if the workplace drug policy outlines the consequences in advance. Check your local and state laws for details.

Final Thoughts

CBD has become a popular therapeutic tool throughout the country because of its wide range of benefits. However, because it is often associated with cannabis and THC, many people are reluctant to try it for fear of workplace repercussions.

Ultimately, the consumption of CBD products (with only trace amounts of THC), will not show up on standard drug screens as CBD is not an indication of impairment. Though we always recommend full disclosure to medical professionals regarding cannabis and/or other medications, CBD consumption is not commonly grounds for workplace discipline. Check your workplace drug policy for more information.


Do you have any tips for passing a drug test that you’d like to share with our readers?

Photo Credit: WeedPornDaily (license)


Abby Hutmacher Abby Hutmacher

Abby is a freelance writer and founder of Cannabis Content, a marketplace where marijuana enthusiasts can create and sell digital content to businesses in the cannabis industry. Follow Cannabis Content on Facebook and Twitter, or visit CannabisContent.net to learn more.


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