Worried CBD might cause you to fail a drug test? You’re (kind of) in luck. If you’re a CBD user that gets tested for drugs on the regular, we suspect you’ve asked yourself, “Does CBD show up on a drug test?”. The answer to this is a little more complicated than you think.
While CBD on its own isn’t detected by drug tests, certain hemp-derived CBD products mightcause you to fail a drug screening.
Will CBD show up on a drug test?
No. CBD on its own will not show up on a drug test. However, you can fail a drug test if you consume a CBD product containing small percentages of THC or its variants. Certain hemp CBD extracts carry up to the federally legal limit of 0.3% THC, alongside delta-8, delta-10, and THCV — all of which can be detected by a drug test. If you want to avoid failing a drug test, stick with CBD isolate and broad-spectrum extracts (the latter is more potent).
Drug tests screen for THC, its variants, and its metabolites (11-OH-THC and THCCOOH). CBD is not the same as THC or its variants. It also doesn’t become 11-OH-THC or THCCOOH when metabolized. It’s its own separate cannabinoid with a completely different molecular structure, one that doesn’t get detected by any type of drug test.
Over time, trace THC and other THC variants can accumulate in your body, storing securely in your body’s fat cells and hair follicles for long periods.
Understanding the extracts: Full-spectrum vs broad-spectrum vs isolate
Not all CBD products are created equal. Some only carry CBD, while others carry a full range of plant compounds, including trace percentages of THC. Knowing the differences between them is important, particularly if you have an upcoming drug test and don’t want any THC in your body, trace quantities or otherwise.
1. Isolate extract
CBD isolate extracts carry only CBD and no other plant compounds. This won’t result in a failed drug test unless the extract wrongfully carries THC without you knowing.
2. Full-spectrum extract
Full-spectrum extracts contain a full range of hemp plant compounds, including CBD, THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. A full-spectrum extract might cause a failed drug test due to the 0.3% THC content.
3. Broad-spectrum extract
Broad-spectrum hemp extracts carry all the same plant compounds as full-spectrum minus the THC. A broad-spectrum extract won’t cause a failed drug test unless it accidentally contains more THC than labeled.
4. Marijuana extract
Marijuana extracts are completely different from hemp extracts. First, they’re extracted from marijuana plants. Second, the THC level in marijuana extracts is far higher than hemp extracts. Some marijuana extracts carry up to 99% THC (cannabis concentrates). When consumed, marijuana extracts will almost certainly result in a failed drug test.
How much CBD oil do you need to fail a drug test?
It’s unclear how much full-spectrum CBD oil you need to consume before you fail a drug test.
Some research suggests 1,000-2,000 mg of full-spectrum CBD oil per day over an extended period increases the likelihood of failing a drug test. This is a significant and unrealistic quantity to consume per day.
The exact length of time CBD stays in your body is unclear but researchers believe it remains in your system for approximately 2-5 days, though this is dependent on several factors, including:
Delivery method — CBD edibles stay in your system for for up to 13 days, while CBD flower and CBD vapes stay in your body for less time
Frequency of use — The more you use CBD, the longer it stays in your body and accumulates in your system
Dose — The more CBD dosed daily, the longer it stays in your system
Water consumption after dose — Water flushes CBD and other plant compounds out of your urine and feces. It won’t have an effect on CBD already stored in fat cells and hair follicles later on in the metabolization process
Body Mass Index (BMI)
How is CBD metabolized?
Metabolism of CBD, THC and other plant compounds depends solely on the route of administration.
When ingested orally, CBD enters the body through the gastrointestinal system and metabolizes via cytochrome P450 system liver enzymes CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and CYP3A4. Once metabolized, CBD converts into primary metabolites 7-hydroxycannabidiol (7-OH-CBD) and 7-nor-7-carboxycannabidiol (7-COOH-CBD). The onset of effects is delayed by up to 1-2 hours after consumption.
When ingested sublingually (under the tongue) or inhaled, CBD enters into the body via the mucus gland and lung alveoli, respectively. Both routes completely bypass the gastrointestinal system and liver enzymes and enter directly into the bloodstream. The onset of effects is almost immediate (10-15 minutes after consumption).
How is CBD excreted from your body?
Roughly 50-80% of CBD and other plant compounds are excreted from your body via feces within 3-5 days.
Only trace amounts of CBD are eliminated from your body via urine.
The remaining CBD flows through your bloodstream and disperses to your brain, central nervous system, peripheral organs, fat tissue, and hair follicles.
When CBD stores in your fat cells and hair follicles, it can stay there for up to three months depending on how much you take daily.
How do you pass a drug test for CBD?
You won’t fail a drug test from CBD alone. Most drug screenings aren’t searching for CBD or its metabolites. They’re looking for THC and its metabolites instead. THC variants such as delta-8 THC, delta-10 THC, and THCV can also trigger a positive drug test, as can cannabinol (CBN).
If you consume full-spectrum CBD products carrying residual quantities of THC (<0.3%), particularly in larger daily amounts, you might want to consider the possibility of a failed drug test.
Types of drug tests used to detect cannabis
Several drug tests are screening for cannabis and THC. The main four drug tests are urine, blood, saliva, and hair.
A urine test is the most common workplace method for screening drugs and is usually performed as a “five-panel” test. A five-panel test not only screens for cannabis (THC) but also amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). THC is detectable in your urine for 3-30 days depending on dose and frequency of use. THC can be detected in chronic users for up to 77 days (maximum recorded). The THC cutoff level is 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
A blood test is an uncommon drug test utilized by workplaces, simply because they’re difficult to administer and often seen as invasive. Blood tests have a smaller window of detection than urine tests. In first-time and casual cannabis users, THC is detectable for 3-4 hours in the blood. In chronic users, THC is detectable for up to 7 days.
Saliva tests are not commonly used by employers to screen for cannabis use. Roughly 10% of employers use saliva tests in the US. Most saliva tests detect THC for up to 24 hours, while others detect THC for up to 72 hours (3 days).
Hair follicle tests are rarely used by employers to screen for cannabis use. Roughly 7% of workplaces use hair tests in the US, which is good news if you’re a cannabis user. Hair tests are the most sensitive drug testing method and can detect cannabis and THC for up to 90 days after use.
Is there a way to detox CBD or THC from your body?
No. CBD and THC cannot be detoxed from your body. It’s simply not possible. If anyone tells you differently, they’re either lying, misinformed or trying to sell you a bogus product.
Why can’t CBD or THC be detoxed or cleansed from your system?
CBD, THC, and their metabolites store securely in your fatty tissue. No detox juice, tea, or “special solution” can enter these fat cells and remove them.
What’s the best way of detoxing CBD or THC from your system?
Short of removing fat cells from your body, which is physically impossible, the only way to viably detox CBD or THC from your body is time, patience, and abstaining from all cannabis products.
Can CBD in marijuana cause a failed drug test?
No. CBD from marijuana will not cause you to fail a drug test, at least not on its own. CBD derived from marijuana plants is no different from CBD sourced from hemp plants. It remains exactly the same cannabinoid no matter where it naturally comes from.
Can marijuana products cause you to fail a drug test?
Yes. Marijuana products will cause you to fail a drug test. Marijuana flower, for example, carries 12-14% THC on average. Likewise, marijuana edibles can contain roughly 5-10 mg of THC per edible. This is more than enough to cause a failed drug test if you use them regularly.
If you have a drug test coming up and you’ve consumed marijuana, we recommend complete abstinence. Do not consume any marijuana or marijuana-derived products for at least 90 days.
Can CBD convert into THC in your stomach?
CBD might convert into THC in your stomach, though current research is inconsistent and conflicting.
One study performed in vitro (outside of living organisms) showed CBD degraded to delta-9 and delta-8 THC in an artificial gastric fluid by 85% after 60 minutes and 98% after 120 minutes. CBD primarily degraded to delta-9 THC and delta-8 THC. CBD conversion into trace quantities of other cannabinoids was also observed.
However, studies in vivo suggest CBD does not convert to THC since the artificial gastric fluid is not similar to natural gastric fluids found in human biological systems, thus presenting inaccurate results.
Does CBD convert into THC during storage?
Yes. CBD can convert into THC when stored and exposed to temperature, light, and oxygen, but this is rare. Conversion of CBD to THC in products during storage can lead to intoxicating, psychotropic effects.
However, research indicates CBD to THC conversion likely occurs over periods exceeding normal storage times, often beyond four years. The research also states degradation of THC to CBN is more likely to occur than CBD to THC.
In other words, your CBD product won’t suddenly turn into a high-THC and CBN product in a short period. It may take years for this to happen.
Closing thoughts: Use hemp and marijuana-derived products at your own risk
Despite CBD on its own not causing failed drug tests, hemp and marijuana-derived CBD products can carry THC in varying quantities. Hemp-derived full-spectrum products contain 0.3% THC, while marijuana-derived products can contain considerably more.
Hemp-derived full-spectrum products are less of a risk but there’s still the problem of not knowing how much will cause THC detection via drug screenings. Marijuana products should not be consumed for at least 90 days before a drug test to almost guarantee a negative drug result.
The best way to consume CBD but still avoid a positive drug result is by purchasing CBD isolate or broad-spectrum products carrying no THC whatsoever.