Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

Does CBD show up on a drug test? The reply to this common question may surprise you. It’s a hard maybe.

But you’ve come here looking for answers, and we’ll give you the full explanation. Whether or not you test positive on a drug screening after using hemp CBD depends on several key variables:

  • The type of CBD used
  • The amount and frequency of CBD consumed, and how long it’s been since you last took CBD
  • The kind of drug test administered
  • Your body

Are you ready to tease apart the details? Here we go!

Professional Golfer Bubba Watson discusses his work-around for eliminating the risk of failing a drug test by using a broad-spectrum CBD formulation with Dr. Ara Suppiah on know n' go, a GBL TV channel.

Drug Testing Basics

Knowing the fundamentals of drug testing will help you understand how CBD might cause you to fail a screening.

Who Cares About CBD Drug Testing & Why

There are plenty of use cases for drug testing. So it’s no surprise that certain groups of people are concerned that CBD might show up on a screening. Drug tests are often done on:

  • Employees and job candidates' roles in security, IT, transportation, and construction
  • Athletes
  • Military and police personnel
  • Healthcare workers
  • Teachers and daycare workers
  • Government employees and contractors in sensitive positions (like aerospace or defense)
  • People recovering from substance use disorders

For these folks, a positive drug test result can have major consequences. For example, it could prevent an applicant from getting hired, ban a competitor from a sports match, or get a soldier discharged from service. 

What Drug Tests Are Looking For

A routine drug screening — the kind of test most private employers, sporting organizations, and government agencies will have you do — is a five-panel urine test that looks for the top misused controlled substances:(1,2)

  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates
  • PCP
  • Cannabis (marijuana, hash, synthetic cannabinoids)

Certain jobs may require a more encompassing drug screening, such as a 10-panel drug test. This test screens for the substances above plus five more.

CBD (or CBD metabolites, substances the body produces as it breaks down the cannabinoid) aren’t usually screened for, especially in states where cannabidiol is legal. But, this compound can be added to the test if desired.

CBD & Drug Testing — How It Works

Not all drug tests are the same. In addition to searching for different compounds, they can use different kinds of bodily samples — like blood, urine, hair, saliva, etc. Some types of tests are better able to detect sought-after substances than others.

Regardless, they ultimately work in a similar way.

  • Rather than seeking out the substances in question, the tests look for clues that your body’s processing them. When you consume CBD internally, your body begins to metabolize its THC content, converting the cannabinoid into THC metabolites. Drug screenings are designed to recognize and report on these metabolites.
  • Test results indicate if the substances are in your sample, not how much of the substance is there. This is why even minute amounts of THC can result in a failed drug test.

CBD Oil & Drug Testing — A Look at the Variables

You can better assess your likelihood of passing a drug test after consuming a CBD product if you have a grasp of the factors that influence the results.

Factor #1: Type of CBD

So much hinges on what kind of CBD you use and how it’s administered.

If you’re consuming CBD that has THC in it — there’s a chance that the THC will trigger an undesirable drug test outcome. This means that:

  • Full-spectrum CBD, which has up to 0.3% THC, is more likely to show up than broad-spectrum CBD.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD, which only has trace amounts of THC, is often cited as “non-detectable” on product labels. This kind of CBD is more likely to show up than isolate CBD but less likely than full-spectrum CBD.
  • CBD isolate, which has no THC, won’t register on test results.

Product formulation or administration methods can also make a difference. Cannabinoids will dissipate from your body more quickly with certain preparations of CBD oil. For example, inhaled CBD leaves your system faster than ingested CBD.

From here on out, the information mostly applies just to full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD because they have at least traces of THC. But, what follows is interesting and useful knowledge for isolate CBD devotees, too!

Factor #2: Magnitude & Timing of CBD Use

It’s probably no shocker when we tell you that the more CBD you consume, the greater the quantities there are of it in your body. And the more CBD in your system, the higher your odds of the THC content coming up on a drug screening. For example, if you consume large amounts of CBD — like 2,000 mg daily — you’re probably going to get a positive drug test.(3)

It’s also important to take timing into consideration. The more recent your dose of CBD, the more of it that will be coursing through your bloodstream. Over time, your body metabolizes the cannabinoids so there’s less and less of them in your body.

Factor #3: Kind of Drug Screening

What type of test is selected is largely based on precedent, cost, availability, and sensitivity.

Urine tests are the most frequently given, but saliva and hair tests are also prevalent.(4) Blood, sweat, and breast milk can also be tested.

Each kind of test has a different window of THC detectability (see below) and can yield varying rates of true positive results. For example, saliva and hair tests can be more reliable than urine tests.(4)

Cannabis Detection Windows by Drug Screening Type(5)

Test TypeDetectability Timeframe
Urine≤ 30 days
Hair≤ 90 days
Saliva≤ 24 hours
Sweat7-14 days

Factor #4: Your Body

Each human is a unique machine. Your body composition is unlike anyone else’s. How your body processes cannabinoids are singular as well.

And, because things tend to slow down as we age, older folks’ bodies may metabolize cannabis at a more tortoise-like pace. This is to say that — all other things being equal — THC could remain present in a mid-lifer longer than it would in a teenager.

A close-up of a person in a lab coat wearing gloves and holding a test tube to complete a drug test.

How Long Do CBD & THC Stay In Your System?

There’s a broad range, based on the type of CBD consumed, the frequency of use, and the body tissue or fluid sampled. That said, this should give you a good general idea.

If you want a broad-stroke answer, CBD typically lurks in your system for 2-5 days and THC is there for 4-8 days (one-time use).(6,7)

Approximate Time in Body(8,9,10,11)

Tissue/FluidCBDTHC/THC Metabolites
Urine2 hours-3 days (infrequent use) 1-4+ weeks (regular use)Up to 3 days (single use) 15+ days (frequent use)
Blood/Plasma3 hours-28 days5 hours-7 days
Saliva1.5-3 daysUp to 3 days
Hair3 months3 months
Breastmilk1 weekUp to 6 days
SweatLess time than THC1-4+ weeks

Prepping for a Drug Test — Best Practices for CBD Users

Let’s say you have a drug test coming up. And you want to do your best to make sure you pass with flying colors.

Here are some suggestions for detoxing the THC out of your system.

  • Do a home drug test to see if the THC from your CBD is showing up.
  • Abstain or scale back the frequency of use.
  • Use a lower dose or less potent CBD product.
  • Always check your CBD product’s COA to verify its cannabinoid profile.
  • Switch to isolate CBD.
  • Switch to a topical CBD oil product.(12)
  • Exercise to burn fat. (THC is fat-soluble and will disappear with the fat.)
  • Get sweaty to excrete THC via your pores.
  • Ask for a retest, if you think you got a false positive.

And, of course, support your body’s natural cleansing processes by eating wholesome foods, staying well hydrated, and getting plenty of quality sleep.

Why Using CBD Might Make You Fail a Drug Test

CBD oil does not show up on most drug tests. And if it does — it’s the THC content that’s actually flagged.

As a CBD user, it’s important to remember that CBD can be derived from either a marijuana or hemp plant (both are cannabis plants) but contain different amounts of THC. Hemp-derived CBD comes in three different formulations (isolate, broad spectrum, and full spectrum) with a maximum of no greater than .3% THC. You’re more likely to fail drug screening if you use CBD from the marijuana plant that has higher-THC levels, consume larger amounts of CBD, and/or take CBD often. The type of drug test being performed and your body chemistry is also factors.

If you have a drug test in the future, your best bet is to prepare for it by following some common-sense practices. These include refraining from CBD use as far in advance of your test as possible (or switching to isolate CBD), doing fat-burning exercises, and nurturing your body by eating, hydrating, and sleeping well.

FAQs Buzzin’ Through the Hive

Is CBD a drug?

It depends on who you ask. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived CBD with no more than 0.3% THC is not a drug. However, the federal government does consider marijuana-sourced CBD or hemp CBD that exceeds 0.3% THC a drug. CBD may be viewed as a drug if it shows up on a drug test. And, of course, if you go by the dictionary definition, a drug is any substance that has a physiological effect when introduced to the body. So, context matters.

How long is CBD detectable in urine? 

CBD with THC may be detectable in urine for anywhere between a couple of hours and about a month. It depends on the amount consumed and frequency of use. Basically, the more you use it, the longer it’s likely to be present in your pee.

Will CBD show up on a 10-panel drug screening?

CBD won’t appear on a standard 5-panel or 10-panel test; these screenings are looking for — and may find — marijuana (i.e., THC or its metabolites). So, pure CBD shouldn't show up on standard drug tests. However, because full-spectrum CBD and broad-spectrum CBD contain some THC, it's possible that the THC in your CBD could register on your test results.

References

  1. Vandergriendt, C. (2019). 10-Panel Drug Test: What to Expect. Healthline.
  2. (2022). 5 Panel Drug Test for Employee Screening. Mobile Health.
  3. Kosecki, D. (2021). Why using CBD might make you fail a drug test. CNET.
  4. Maurer, R. (2018). Hair, Saliva or Urine—Which Is Best for Drug-Testing Job Candidates? SHRM.
  5. Hadland, SE, et al. (2016). Objective Testing. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America.
  6. Santos-Longhurst, A. (2019). How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System? Healthline.
  7. (2022). How long does Marijuana stay in your system? Drugs.com.
  8. (2019). How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System? | Blood, Saliva, Hair & Urine. Spring Hill Recovery.
  9. (2019). How Long Does CBD Stay In Your System? - Urine, Blood & Hair. Bedrock.
  10. (2020). What You Should Know About Using CBD When Pregnant or Breastfeeding. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  11. Huestis, MA, et al. (2008). Excretion of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol in sweat. Forensic Science International.
  12. Hess, C, et al. (2017). Topical application of THC-containing products is not able to cause positive cannabinoid finding in blood or urine. Forensic Science International.
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