CBD oil and a drugs test: are you at risk of testing positive?
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CBD (cannabidiol) is often crowned as the cannabinoid that first brought attention to cannabis as a possible medicine. Traditionally used to treat rare cases of epilepsy in children, new research is showing that CBD has a wide variety of medical benefits that could come in handy in treating everything from inflammation and pain to psychosis.
One major concern for any cannabis user, whether medicinal or recreational, is the good old workplace drug test. While they aren’t used across the board in all industries, more and more employers are getting excited about finding out what their workers get up to in their spare time.
This is an obvious problem for people using cannabis or cannabis derived products containing THC, the main compound responsible for getting you high. But how do drug tests affect people using CBD or other cannabinoids like CBN or CBG? To answer this question, we first need to understand how drug tests work.
WORKPLACE DRUG TESTS
Workplace drug tests are usually held in advance (known as scheduled drug tests) or within a very short time frame (known as random drug tests). Most employers tend to use either hair or urine test samples as they are the most reliable and easiest to conduct.
These tests basically involve taking a urine or hair sample from a worker and testing them for THC-COOH, a compound produced when the body metabolized THC (the main psychoactive compound in cannabis).
If you happen to test positive for a drug test you’ll be asked to perform a second, confirmatory test known as a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). Since urine and hair sample tests still have some margin of error, GC/MS are designed to give a final reading on whether a worker tests positive for cannabis or not.
CAN CBD TRIGGER A POSITIVE DRUG TEST?
Generally speaking, CBD should not produce a positive reading at a workplace drug test.
As we mentioned above, the main compound workers and testing labs are looking for in a drug test is THC-COOH. This compound is produced by the body when we consume THC and can be detected in the body for up to 90+ days (in extreme cases).
Luckily, urine screening tests, which are generally the most common used by workplaces, have very unlikely to be cross-reactive to other cannabinoids found in cannabis or hemp. This means that CBD, CBG, CBN, and other cannabinoids generally won’t produce a positive reading.
However, it is worth mentioning that high doses of CBD (1000-2000mg+ per day) or other cannabinoids except THC may produce a “false-positive” reading in the preliminary urine test. However, the more accurate GC/MS test would still produce a negative final result as it is more accurate and unable to be thrown by the presence of other cannabinoids that aren’t THC.
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR CBD USERS
If you use CBD or other cannabinoids apart from THC it is really important you only use high-quality, reliable products.
Some CBD products, such as hemp oils, may still contain trace amounts of THC. While the chances of these products producing a positive reading in a urine test are extremely low (below 0.02%), you may consider swapping them out for a pure CBD extract just to be on the safe side.
All in all, it's always best to have an open relationship with your workplace and ask for a clear explanation about their policy regarding drug tests.
If you’re concerned that your CBD product may interfere with these tests, we advise you speak with a healthcare specialist specialising in medical cannabis to get expert advice on how to adjust your dosage/products to avoid any issues at work.