In truth, the answer is probably. But not for sure.
Unfortunately, no CBD product can guarantee a negative drug test result. In fact, you should be wary of products that make such an absolute claim, even products that are pure CBD isolate. Why? Because even with pure CBD, false positives can occur, although it’s rare. And full spectrum CBD can possibly trigger false positives and sometimes true positives.
Why? Because you are intoxicated? No. Because there are a number of factors at play that make it difficult to give a definitive answer. We can, however, explain to you what those factors are, so that you can make an informed decision about taking hemp-derived CBD.
(Remember: full spectrum CBD derived from hemp is legal, and can have the legal, non-intoxicating amount of THC—.3% or less—and a range of other cannabinoids.)
CBD Knowledge Before CBD Sales
We don’t want to make anyone paranoid about taking CBD. We believe hemp-derived cannabinoids are not only therapeutically beneficial, but that they have the power to change the future of health. We take them ourselves, every day.
But the world has not quite adjusted to integrate CBD into all aspects of human lives. This includes drug tests for work, sports, parole, and substance abuse programs. More than anything, we want people to feel comfortable with and informed about the CBD they take. In order for this to happen, we have to be as transparent as possible at every step, and hold the CBD brands that we sell to those standards as well.
In our research, we found that both WebMD and a senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics claim that pure CBD will not generate a positive test. It’s true that more than likely it won’t—because drug tests are not looking for CBD. But we will not make that claim and intend to explain why in this article.
We also will share this with you: One of our select products, Ananda Hemp (a full spectrum product—meaning it contains a legal amount of THC and other cannabinoids from hemp), regularly gets 100% true negatives with their products. However, they (and we) still will not claim that this will be the case for everyone who takes it. Read on to find out why.
Variables Affecting CBD and Drug Test Results
- The specific drug test itself (urine/saliva vs. hair/blood, different manufacturers, different detection levels, sensitivities, etc.)
- The individual that consumes the CBD and their medical factors. (how they metabolize the drug, added medications, liver and kidney function, etc.)
- Full spectrum CBD (other cannabinoids in the CBD, including THC and metabolites of THC)
- Dosage and how often CBD is taken
- Mislabeled CBD products
What Can Trigger a FALSE Positive When Taking CBD
Most drug tests, at least initially, are immunoassay tests. These tests use antibodies to detect drugs, and they don’t always differentiate THC from its metabolites. Cannabinol (CBN), for example, is a cannabinoid usually found in full spectrum CBD, along with THC and other cannabinoids. And … CBN is a metabolite of THC.
Also, these commercial tests do not always use the same antibodies to detect drugs and have proven to have different results when CBN was present. These urine and saliva tests are screening tests that are used because they are cheap and easy. But they’re not very specific. They are meant to look for THC molecules above a certain threshold.
But cannabinoid molecules look similar. These tests can confuse one molecule for another, especially when they look alike. While pure CBD will not trigger a true positive, it could trigger a FALSE positive. Until proven otherwise, it can safely be assumed that other cannabinoids could do the same (remember, cannabinoid science is new … a lot of knowledge gaps still need filling).
Also, THC is what Dr. Capano, chief science officer at Ananda Hemp, calls a “clingy molecule.” It can build up in your system over time. According to Norbert E. Kaminski, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University in East Lansing, that’s because THC is fat-soluble. THC that isn’t metabolized right away is stored in fat tissue.
You could test positive for THC even if you’ve stopped using it, in some cases up to 30 days. This is why an individual’s metabolism and medical factors can contribute to test outcomes.
What Can Trigger a TRUE Positive When Taking CBD
Full spectrum CBD derived from hemp can include up to .3% THC per the 2018 Farm Bill. It would take a lot (and cost a lot too) for the THC in a full spectrum hemp product to bust the THC threshold on a drug test and trigger a true positive, but it is possible, according to Dr. Capano.
But more likely, and what has been a real issue, is products having more THC in them than the legal amount. There is no unified system for regulating hemp; it’s done on a state level, and states use different approaches. Unfortunately, some hemp crops that have too much THC in them slip under the radar. And just as equally alarming, a lot of hemp CBD producers do not test their final product.
In the Case of Hemp Flower and Drug Tests
Raw hemp flower must be smoked, vaped, or baked—like raw marijuana—in order to activate the cannabinoids it contains. This process is called decarboxylation. During this process, the inert forms of cannabinoids, like tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA), go through a chemical reaction (heating) to become their active forms. In the case of THCA, it becomes THC.
Therefore, when your certificate of analysis (COA) for your hemp flower says you it contains .3% THC, and there’s a separate count of THCA, know that you are going to get more than the legal dose of THC. Combine that with the issues above, and you have the potential to trigger a false or even true positive with a drug test.
What Can You Can Do?
As a consumer, there are steps you can take to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you. It begins with empowering yourself with knowledge, just like you are doing right now.
First of all, know that anytime you take a hemp CBD product, even isolate, you could have positive results, at least initially. Only you can decide what is best for your situation. Should you stop taking CBD if you know you have an upcoming drug test? Or will you be able to navigate the murky waters of drug testing with some good old-fashioned communication? The decision, of course, is yours alone to make. However, if you choose to risk it, there are some things you could do to perhaps resolve the situation.
Request A Blood or Hair Test
The immunoassay tests are usually preliminary screening tests. You will more than likely be able to request a blood or hair sample test which will be more accurate. Unfortunately, you may have to pay for a test of this kind, which could be expensive.
Know Your Product
It’s important that you know as much as possible about your CBD product. First and foremost, you only want to put a high-quality CBD product in your body. Second, there is a shocking amount of mislabeled products being peddled in the market. Some have more or less CBD than they claim, but they can also have more THC than is legal. Even products that are labeled THC-free have been found to contain THC.
In a 2018 study on the effects of CBD for epilepsy treatment, researchers stated that a key concern and challenge to their results was the problem of mislabeled CBD products. They pointed to a study conducted in 2015, in which all labeled CBD content was mislabeled 100% of the time.
The Takeaway on CBD and Drug Tests
Only buy products that have a certificate of analysis (COA). This is a report of everything in the product worked up by a third-party lab. But you can go further. A little research about the product can give insight with regard to if and how the brand conducts quality control. If you can’t find this information, or if the seller of the product can’t tell you about it, you may want to reconsider. Your CBD should have an accessible, transparent history.
At The Hemp Haus, it is our mission to share our knowledge with you and sell only high-quality CBD products that we trust in our own bodies. All of our CBD comes with a COA, and we’re happy to tell you all about the brands we stand behind.