Does CBD Show Up On A Drug Test? What Science Has to Say

More and more people are using CBD or cannabidiol for various reasons. Some consume it to treat various medical issues, while others take it for recreation. There’s usually no problem with it, but when you work in a place that requires frequent drug tests, it can cause anxiety and endless worrying.

Cannabidiol (CBD) doesn’t show up on drug tests because they do not specifically look for CBD; instead, it’s the presence of THC that may lead to a positive result.

Whether you’re anxious about an upcoming drug test or you’re just curious, this article aims to help you understand CBD and drug testing.

CBD and Drug Testing


Cannabis sativa is a very adaptable plant that producers raise for various functions like food, medicine, and leisure.

Researchers discovered over 400 chemical components in the cannabis plant, of which roughly 80 are physiologically active.

The main component of cannabis, THC, is euphoric and has psychoactive effects. Since CBD can have some psychotropic effects, researchers are looking at how it may help treat mental health issues, including anxiety and depression.

It does not, however, have THC’s similar intoxicating qualities.

Products with more than 0.3 percent THC are unlawful, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are classified as Schedule I drugs by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA.

So, before starting your CBD adventure, it is wise to conduct some research since CBD comes from the hemp plant. This means that it may naturally include THC.

While drug tests do not expressly look for CBD, they can detect THC. So, if you consume a CBD product that also contains THC, you may end up getting a positive result.

Your body typically retains CBD for a week or so. However, this may change based on how often you consume CBD oil and how potent the oil is. If you regularly take CBD oil, it could linger in your system for longer.

Any amount of THC in CBD oils, even the permitted limit of less than.3%, can make you fail a drug test. Investing in CBD oil with a broad spectrum and CBD Isolate is the best approach to prevent this.

Although certain full-spectrum CBD oils and broad-spectrum CBD oils may include trace levels of THC, these concentrations are minimal.

How Do Drug Tests for Cannabis Work?


The most frequent cannabis diagnostic test is a urine analysis. The immunoassay test used in urine drug screenings employs antibodies made to bind to certain substances or their metabolites.

In this example, the presence of THC and its metabolites.

A signal that indicates the test is “positive” will be generated if the antibodies recognize a substance or chemical.

However, the immunoassay cannot determine if THC is present. It also can’t tell how impaired a person is or the amount of their THC exposure.

Immunoassays are accessible, affordable, and quick to provide findings. However, there are instances of false positives and false negatives, so confirmation drug tests are a common next step.

Mass spectrometry confirmation testing is usually done for forensic or workplace tests. It is regarded as the “gold standard” since it is the most precise method of determining if a drug is present in a person’s urine or blood.

Mass spectrometry integrates cutting-edge testing techniques for confirmatory testing. It is a sophisticated testing technology that identifies chemicals based on their distinctive structures.

However, compared to immunoassays, mass spectrometry is more costly and takes longer to complete. It also requires highly skilled personnel, and may not be ready for several days or weeks.

Given the possibility of false-positive and false-negative findings, physicians must exercise extreme caution when interpreting positive cannabis test results.

Urine drug test results that are unexpectedly positive should prompt the patient to see their physician.

Drug concentration standards for urine drug testing are regulated by the federal government, according to an article in American Family Physician (AAFP).

A follow-up test could be required if a screening test results in a positive result.

According to the AAFP, the test may still show marijuana use up to 30 days after heavy usage and up to 3 days following a single use.

THC remains in the body’s fat cells as a result of the fact that it is soluble in fat. The kidneys then get rid of THC and its byproducts.

Researchers are also interested in employing saliva and breath testing to find cannabis in specific non-lab settings.

What Can Make You Fail A Drug Test?


There are several possible causes for CBD consumption to result in a positive drug test. Below are just some of them:

Cross Contamination

Manufacturers of CBD products may claim that their products contain no THC, but this isn’t necessarily true.

If your CBD oil hasn’t undergone independent testing or if it contains incorrect labels with an erroneous THC content, it may be flagged up.

Product Mislabeling

Another factor can be negligence. Some vendors scrimp by employing less expensive extraction techniques that don’t eliminate the THC.

The chance of THC in your CBD products rises since there is no regulatory standard for extraction methods.

In a 2019 investigation of 67 food items in Germany that included CBD, researchers detected THC in 25% of the samples above the daily amount of 2.5 milligrams linked to intoxication adverse effects.

Secondhand Exposure to THC

According to research published by the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, people exposed to passive or secondhand cannabis smoke may test positive on a saliva drug test.


False-positive results are another theory that is more likely to happen if a person is concurrently taking other medicines. Examples are:

  • dronabinol
  • NSAIDS like ibuprofen, naproxen, and sulindac
  • pantoprazole
  • efavirenz

Different Drug Testing Methods

Federal occupational drug testing cut-off values were created, according to Mayo Clinic Proceedings from 2017, to prevent the likelihood that microscopic levels of THC or THC-COOH might result in a positive drug test.

In other words, just because you test negative for drugs doesn’t indicate that you don’t have any THC in your system.

A negative drug test, on the other hand, means that the level of THC or THC-COOH is below the cut-off point.

Urine Drug Tests


Cannabis testing of the urine is prevalent, particularly at work. To get a positive result on a urine test, THC-COOH must be present at levels of 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or above.

According to dosage and use frequency, detection windows might change significantly. THC metabolites are often detected in urine for 3 to 15 days following usage.

However, regular, heavy cannabis usage might result in detection windows that can sometimes be longer than 30 days.


Blood tests are more uncommon for drug testing than urine tests. Hence they are unlikely to be employed in workplace testing because THC quickly goes away from the bloodstream.

While THC metabolites are detectable for up to seven days, it is only detectable in plasma for up to five hours. Blood tests are helpful to detect present impairment, such as in instances of drunk driving.

A blood THC level of 1, 2, or 5 ng/mL indicates impairment in jurisdictions where cannabis use is allowed. There are zero-tolerance laws in other states.


There are currently no recognized cut-off levels for detecting THC in saliva, and saliva testing is not widely used.

THC is detectable in saliva secretions for around 72 hours; however, chronic, severe usage may extend this time.


There are no recognized cut-off values for THC metabolites in hair, and hair testing is not standard worldwide.

For up to 90 days after use, hair may contain THC metabolites.

How to Pass a Drug Test

Now that you know how CBD might appear on a drug test, perhaps you have a better understanding of how to pass a drug test.

Check out the product details.

Find out whether the product is from marijuana or hemp-derived CBD. Next, determine if the CBD is pure CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, or broad-spectrum CBD.


Remember that full-spectrum CBD products made from hemp and CBD extracted from marijuana are more likely to include THC.

Finding this information ought to be pretty straightforward. The manufacturer must include this in the product description.

Choose products that list the CBD content.

It is a good idea to learn how much CBD is in each dosage. Remember that it could differ depending on whether the product is an oil, tincture, edible, etc.

Even though they may seem to be the same size as other products or even smaller, highly concentrated CBD products are sometimes more costly. Start with a low-dose product if at all feasible.

Find out the CBD product source.

By state, hemp-derived CBD quality varies. States with a better reputation—like Colorado and Oregon—have mature hemp businesses and strict testing regulations.

Contact the vendor if the product description doesn’t include information on the hemp.

Do your research.

Research for specific phrases while reviewing the CBD product, such as:

  • CO2-extracted
  • decarboxylated
  • devoid of pesticides or herbicides
  • lab-tested
  • nothing added
  • no preservation agents
  • solvent-free
  • USDA organic certification

However, it will often be challenging to substantiate these statements. The best action is to search for any lab test results connected to a particular company.


The bottom line is that standard drug tests should not detect CBD.

The business is not constantly regulated, so it might be challenging to know what you’re receiving when you buy a CBD product. With that in mind, ensure you’re buying CBD isolate from a reputable supplier if you want to avoid THC.

Leave a Comment