This is the golden question in the CBD community. The skirmish of drug testing is a prerequisite to virtually every professional endeavor today. Whether something as seemingly innocent as CBD can deter you from a possible chance at employment is very important to consider. It's important to recognize that drug tests are most commonly used for cannabis, which is the plant of which cannabidiol (CBD) is another primary ingredient of. So if you’re tested for cannabis then does CBD show up on drug tests? In order to understand how CBD is involved in all this, you first need to understand how these drug tests actually detect cannabis by using your urine.
How do drug tests work?
When discussing drug tests for cannabis, the key elements to focus on are the cannabinoid THC, or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and the metabolites that it’s broken down into. However you ingest it, whether it's by smoking, eating, or even applying your skin, the liver will break down the compound into some inactive molecules and some linger within your bloodstream for up to 7 days.
The metabolite carboxy THC (11-COOH-THC), derived from hydroxy THC (11-OH-THC), is often the molecule detected in your urine samples. THC can also be detected through hair, oral fluid, and sweat and there it can last for much longer. In hair it’s up to 90 days.
THC vs. CBD
THC is just one of the hundreds of different compounds found in the cannabis plant. It is the main active ingredient and is where most of the psychoactive effects stem from. Another main ingredient, which is non-psychoactive, is our own CBD. They both share many similarities including their molecular structure and attachment to the same endocannabinoid receptor called anandamide. But it is the way they interact with our metabolic processes that differs.
A major metabolic enzyme called FAAH breaks down anandamide, which is known to induce the calming effects you are familiar with. THC prevents FAAH from breaking it down, so the THC remains unaffected and abundant in your system to produce its psychoactive effects. CBD however prevents FAAH from breaking down anandamide, and the calming effect remains to create a larger impact without the psychoactivity.
I know this sounds like a lot of science talk, but the main idea is that CBD and THC are different arrangements of the same chemicals that affect your metabolism in different ways. One induces psychoactive effects while the other induces the calm feeling so often used to reduce anxiety and aches and pains. In a way, they balance each other's effects in the body. Once either substance enters your bloodstream it will be filtered through your kidneys and trace amounts will be found in your urine sample. CBD can last up to 5 days, but
Does CBD show up on drug tests?
As mentioned before, drug tests detect a metabolite broken down from THC. Since CBD has a different chemical arrangement that affects your body differently, it shouldn’t be detected right? Normally you are correct, however you have to be wary of the small traces of THC in your CBD products. This is because CBD can be extracted from the cannabis plant, which can have a trace amount of THC still inside of it.
Usually CBD comes from the hemp plant, which is used as an alternative to cannabis due to its non-psychoactive effects. Before you ingest your CBD product, make sure you check from which plant it was derived from; hemp or cannabis.
There are various ways of determining this. CBD products can fall into three different categories that indicate what kinds of compounds might be included in the product.
The full-spectrum CBD extract includes all of the natural compounds from the plant it was derived from. This may include THC. Not all companies indicate what the source plant is in full-spectrum products so expect a good chance of THC to remain. These can include oils, edibles, topical creams, tinctures, and serums.
The broad spectrum extracts may contain some additional cannabinoids, but none of the THC. It is specifically extracted from the CBD for these products, however it doesn’t completely eliminate the chance that even the smallest trace is still left. This is why CBD isolate is the best bet for you if you want to pass the drug test. This is the purest form of CBD, derived from either plant without any additional compounds. Isolate CBD products are usually derived from hemp and sold as oils.
There are other possible hazards, however, that can put a crick in your confidence, even if you’re dealing with pure CBD. The possibility of cross-contamination of these two compounds during the manufacturing process is still real, especially if the company is selling both kinds of products. Although the packaging might indicate that there are no levels of THC, the contents might prove otherwise. The packaging itself might also be mislabeling the product.
There are always outliers to a predicted outcome, and these small probabilities might be all it takes for you to fail your drug test. All in all, the best way to answer the question “does CBD show up on drug tests?” is to read the label, do the research, and you will come to find out that more than likely, you are fine!
Written by Gabriel Anton