Will CBD Show Up in a Drug Test?

A very common question we come across is whether or not CBD shows up in a drug test. Here, we will take a look at a few aspects that go into drug testing, as well as whether or not a CBD product will show up as THC on a drug test.

How does a drug test work?

The main purpose of a drug test is to detect the presence of substances such as THC, alcohol, opioids or other harsh drugs such as cocaine or heroin. With cannabis specifically, a drug test is used to find traces of THC and its metabolites. Depending on the individual, THC can remain in the body for up to 30-days or longer. A variety of factors play a role, including body weight, frequency used as well as the quantity used.

Although some companies may test for cannabinoids- drug tests are not usually designed to detect CBD. Depending on your company’s policy, there are drug tests that only test for THC and THC metabolites, as well as drug tests that test for THC cannabinoids. Depending on which test your employer uses, it is a good idea to have a proof of purchase available that shows you have a hemp-derived CBD product.

Types of drug tests


Being that it is the most cost effective and time efficient drug test, a urinalysis is the most popular type of drug test used by employers. In a urinalysis, a strip is used to test for THC-COOH, which is a fat soluble THC metabolite. If you are a heavy or frequent user, this particular metabolite can stay within your urine for up to three weeks. A urinalysis is not used to detect an actual drug, only the metabolite. Therefore, it will not alert an employer if you are currently impaired from using THC.

Blood Tests

If you are a heavy user, THC can be detectable in your blood for up to 7 days. For rarer users, it only lasts for up to 24 hours. Blood tests are not commonly used by employers, as they are an expensive test to use. Blood tests are used more commonly in DUI cases or criminal proceedings.

Hair Follicle Tests

When you use cannabis, THC metabolites are implanted within the hair shaft. It only takes a hair follicle of 1.5 inches to hold the THC metabolites and they can stay present for up to 90 days. These types of tests are fairly uncommon in employee drug testing.

Saliva Tests

Since THC metabolites are inactive, they cannot be detected in a saliva test unless THC has been used within two hours of testing. Due to this small time frame, saliva tests are not as common as a urinalysis.

The Difference between CBD & THC

The most obvious difference between CBD and THC is the effect on the brain.

Unlike THC, CBD cannot bind to the CB-1 receptors within the brain. When THC combines with these particular receptors, they alter the action and behavior of the neuron. This is what causes the feeling of intoxication (aka- the high.) Because CBD doesn’t cause this type of effect, employers don’t tend to test for it. Both CBD and THC are present within cannabis and hemp. THC takes the stage in cannabis plants, whereas CBD is more prominent in hemp.

Do CBD Products contain THC?

There are some CBD products that contain THC. Depending on your state’s laws, CBD products can contain up to 5% THC. Most likely, a CBD product contains around 0.03%. This is normally considered permissible in most areas. Usually, THC is more present in full spectrum CBD products. Whereas, distillates and isolates are normally THC-free.

False Positive Drug Test Results

The only way a CBD product will result in a positive drug test is if the product contains THC. Even if it is only trace amounts, the THC can still allow the cannabinoid or metabolite to be detected. Usually, it is only individuals who consume 1,000 mg or more of CBD a day that may encounter a false positive drug screening.

In conclusion, CBD does not usually show up on a drug test. If you are concerned, consider trying an at-home drug test, just to be on the safe side. This can prevent the surprise of unexpected results. As previously discussed, employee drug tests are usually used to detect THC, not CBD. However, it always helps to double check whether or not your CBD product contains THC higher than an acceptable level.

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