Will CBD Show Up On A Drug Test? A Louisville CBD Company Experiment
“Will you fail a drug test using CBD?”
“I’m interested in trying CBD but I’m worried about random drug screens at work. Does CBD show up on a drug test?”
“Will I pass a drug test if I take CBD?”
With all of these questions from our customers and community, I began to question this myself. So what did I do? I took a drug test. I’ll go into the full details in this article but I’ll give you the cliff notes version: I passed.
BUT: We want to firmly express that our research and evidence is purely anecdotal and is by no means a claim that our products will not impact the results of drug screenings.
CBD and Drug Testing: It’s Complicated
There is a lack of scientific research on CBD and drug tests, making it impossible for any CBD company, including ours, to substantiate claims that the use of their product will irrefutably not cause a positive result for marijuana use. For this reason, many people who want to use CBD abstain due to the fear that they will test positive for marijuana during a drug screen.
In this article, we hope to shed some light on certain aspects of CBD that can help you make an informed decision about which products you use or whether you should decide to abstain from CBD.
Choosing a CBD Product
When choosing a CBD product, we believe that it is of paramount importance that the company produce lab verified results to substantiate the cannabinoid and terpene content of their products.
Not only do lab results provide valuable information regarding the effectiveness of the product and piece of mind that it is free of contaminants, but it also lets us know the level of THC in the product. If you are worried about taking CBD and a testing positive for marijuana on a drug tests, we highly recommend choosing a THC-free product.
All of our CBD products contain 0% THC based on the detection limits of the lab equipment used to analyze them. This means that based on the sensitivity of the equipment used by third party labs, THC is not detectable in our products.
We have chosen to grow our business around THC-free products because we believe that THC does not produce the effects that our customers and community are after. We are purely looking for something to help us with the day to day grind, and a psychoactive component to our products regardless of how small, doesn’t really provide us a benefit.
THC-free or 0% THC products, however, may contain minute but undetectable quantities of THC. We’ll explain why this is the case further down.
The Experiment: Taking a drug test after regular CBD use
“Experiment” is maybe giving us too much credit.
Most of our team uses our CBD products on a regular basis, so to that end there was not so much experimental design but I’ll give you a thorough rundown of my usage before the experiment.
Over the past sixty days before taking the drug test, I had consumed 50-100 mg of CBD a day pending on my level of joint inflammation from exercise and how many hours I had available to sleep.
CBD was taken in both tincture and melatonin softgel form. I tend to not use our melatonin softgels (which I love) unless I have at least seven hours available to sleep. 50-100 mg of CBD is a substantial amount of CBD for most people. Being a large guy weighing between 220-240 lbs with a heavy weight training routine, I find this to be suitable for me.
The drug test used was a five-panel urine test through LabCorp laboratory. The five-panel urine test was chosen because it is what is most commonly used by employers for drug screenings.
In typical Team Lou CBD fashion, we decided that we wanted to kick things up to eleven and really try to give failing this drug test a shot. The night before the drug test, I took 10.5 mL of tincture and three melatonin softgels which was equivalent to approximately 250 mg of CBD. I will elaborate on what that was like in another article, so stay tuned.
I chronicled the experiment in a series of poorly taken photographs:
How does a drug screen test for the use of marijuana?
There are various methods of drug screening employed by organizations to see if an individual has consumed a specific drug. Most commonly, employers use a five panel urine screen to test potential employees for previous substance abuse. Sometimes hair follicle testing is utilized because it provides a longer window of detection which can be as long as ninety days.
A five panel drug screen tests for:
- Cocaine Metabolites
- Marijuana Metabolites
- Phencyclidine (Commonly referred to as PCP)
Notice that the drug screen tests for “Marijuana Metabolites.”
THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive component present in the cannabis plant. Marijuana, whether it is consumed through smoking or oral ingestion, will result in exposure to THC, which is what produces the “high.”
THC is heavily metabolized in the body and converted to various compounds after ingestion. The main compound is known as THC-COOH, which is the metabolite that drug screens are able to detect after THC has been consumed. It is a common misunderstanding that the drug test is screening for the THC compound specifically.
Drug screenings are limited to specific thresholds of detection. What this means is that, a certain level of a substance has to be detected for the lab to definitively say that the user has consumed a specific substance. The level of detection will vary based on what drug is being tested and the method used to analyze the specimen.
In the case of a urine test for marijuana, an EIA (enzyme immunoassay) method is used to look for preliminary presence of drugs in the system of individuals. An easier way to put this is: the test is essentially a dipstick is placed in the urine sample that will change color if the substance is present in the urine sample.
The EIA method will detect marijuana metabolites at a concentration of 50 ng/mL of urine or greater. An individual may have consumed THC and have the metabolite present in their system but the metabolite is not at a high enough concentration for the EIA test to detect. If a concentration of 50 ng/mL or greater of the metabolite is not detected then no additional testing is required. Then, if a positive result is detected via the EIA method, the samples is then tested with a Gas-Chromatograph which has a detection cutoff of 15 ng/mL. Lastly, if the Gas-Chromatograph detects a concentration of the metabolite higher than 15 ng/mL then it will be confirmed that the individual has tested positive for marijuana.
How could CBD use result in a positive result for marijuana on a drug test?
Hemp derived CBD comes from the extraction of cannabinoids from the stalks, stems, leaves, and flowers of industrial hemp plants. For a plant to be classified as industrial hemp, it must contain less than 0.3% THC by weight percentage. Furthermore, the products derived from these plants must also contain less than 0.3% THC to be classified as derived from industrial hemp.
Although there is a very small concentration of THC present in the products available in market, theoretically consuming enough of these products could result in a concentration of marijuana metabolites that would result in positive for marijuana in a drug screen.
Let’s look at this mathematically in a hypothetical situation. I am going to use some chemistry here but bare with me a minute:
Say an individual drank a whole 1000 mg tincture of CBD that contained 0.3% THC by weight %
The tincture is 30 mL and the fluid mass is roughly 30 grams
0.3% of 30 grams is equal to 0.09 grams of THC that has now entered the body
THC has a molecular weight of 314.45 grams per mole which means we have consumed 0.000286 moles of THC
Let’s assume that all of the THC converts to THC-COOH resulting in 0.000286 mol of THC-COOH in the blood stream that will eventually exit the body via various pathways
0.000286 mol of THC-COOH at 344.44 grams per mole equates to 0.0985 grams of the metabolite now present in the body
0.0985 grams is equal to 98,500,000 nanograms of THC-COOH in the body
Okay, we got in the weeds there, but here is where the problem lies. When you look at it in terms of nanograms of THC consumed, it seems like a lot of THC may be present in a CBD product, but understand a nanogram is one billionth of a gram!
The rate at which these many nanograms will exit the body cannot be determined as there are so many factors that come into play. Also understand that these metabolites are not just exiting the system via urine. These metabolites exit the body in your nails, your hair, and other non savory things that I will fail to mention in this article.
It is impossible to say that a certain amount of THC consumed will result in a specific result in a drug screen as there are so many individual factors such as metabolism and body size.
All things considered, there aren’t many people out there taking as much CBD as mentioned in the example, but I wanted to go to the extreme to demonstrate how using a large quantity of CBD can result in the presence of THC metabolites in the bloodstream and urine.
Once again, the challenge with interpreting all of this is that regardless of what amount of THC metabolites are present in the body it is impossible to quantify what percentage of those metabolites will be present in a urine sample at any given time.
You will find statements on the internet, that claim a positive marijuana test from use of CBD is a false positive, and I simply do not believe that claim.
Understand that drug screens are looking for the presence of THC metabolites and employers do not care what the source of those metabolites are, nor is it likely that they would understand the difference between the two. In a sense, drug screens for marijuana are a misnomer as they are not testing for the use of marijuana rather they are testing for the presence of THC metabolites which can come from other sources such as CBD products.
Conclusions – Will you fail a drug test using CBD?
The results of our experiment by no means guarantee that you will have a similar outcome when taking a drug screen. Understand that this is a data point of one person.
Our products are lab certified to be THC-free, but we cannot make any claims as to whether or not you will pass or fail a drug test by taking our CBD products. All products we sell have no detectable THC using advanced analytical chemistry methods. We cannot, however, make any guarantees about your drug testing results. If you have concerns about drug testing, we recommend talking with your healthcare provider and employer before taking CBD products.
That being said, based on the information provided, we hope that you are more equipped to make an informed decision about choosing the right CBD product for your lifestyle – especially if drug screening is a concern for you.