CBD and Drug Testing

Can CBD show up on a drug test?

Before you try any natural product or compound, it’s important to know how it’ll affect your body. This seems particularly true for Cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabinoid found in both hemp and cannabis plants.

That’s because when anyone mentions cannabis or hemp, most of us think of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychotropic cannabinoid also found in hemp and cannabis.

But CBD interacts with your body differently than THC. For one, it’s not psychotropic—it won’t alter your consciousness—you can drive, work, or relax on CBD with no concerns of impairment.

Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer to how long CBD stays in your body; the science is still out.

But what we can do is direct you towards some general ways of thinking about CBD, how it travels through your bloodstream and digestive system, and when, approximately, you can expect the compound to leave your body.

In this thorough explainer, I’ll briefly fill you in on CBD and where the latest research is headed. Then we’ll look at the steps your body goes through as it processes CBD, from the primary effects after ingestion, through to the end of the line, the point where no test can detect CBD in your blood, urine, or saliva.

How long does CBD stay in your system?

2-5 days is how long CBD, or cannabidiol can remain in your body. Research tells us that different factors can influence how long CBD can stay in your system.

Factors that influence the presence of CBD

#1 Metabolism

 Everyone metabolizes CBD differently; there’s no universal formula that can calculate our unique biomes.

#2 Physical Activity

 Active users, or anyone who burns lots of calories every day, may break down CBD faster than inactive users, such as those with desk jobs or sedentary lifestyles.

#3 BMI

A high Body Mass Index (BMI), especially an index with an abundance of fat cells, can cause you to store more CBD than someone with less fat cells.

#4 Medication

It’s possible prescription medicines, especially strong metabolic medications, could affect how you feel CBD and its overall half-life, too.

#5 CBD Methods of Consumption

The method of consumption will determine how long it takes for CBD to work. Ingesting, smoking, vaping or applying CBD as a cream or lotion are al different methods.

When you eat CBD, only 5% of CBD will have entered the bloodstream. 

A popular method of consumption is ingesting CBD oil in tincture format. This method usually takes 20 minutes to work. 

The Raw Material: Industrial Hemp and Cannabis

The first step to finding out how THC can end up in your CBD oil is by understanding industrial hemp’s relationship to other cannabis plants, like marijuana.

Both plants are part of the diverse cannabis genus, which is a branch of the Cannabaceae family. This family, like any family, is quite varied with over 170 plant species, including hops, a key ingredient in beer.

The main domesticated plants of the cannabis genus are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. While indica is always classified as medical marijuana, sativa can either be categorized as industrial hemp or medical marijuana.

In the US we differentiate sativa between hemp and marijuana by how much THC is in the plant. More than .3% and it’s marijuana, less than .3% and it’s hemp.

This is an unorthodox way to separate plants in a genus, and the two varieties are often indistinguishable in appearance. It’s how they’re grown and what they’re used for that attributes to their unique appearance.

For millennia humans have cultivated cannabis sativa for two reasons: its strong fibers and its medicinal properties. But no matter how we’ve used it, the plant always contains THC.

What does this mean to you and your CBD oil? The raw material, known as industrial hemp, contains trace amounts of THC because it’s the same plant as medical marijuana—it’s all cannabis.

How Long Until The Effect of CBD Wear Off?

As a rule, the quicker CBD’s onset, the faster CBD will leave your body. That’s because one factor of CBD’s half-life, or the time it takes for CBD metabolites to break down by half, is how you consume it.

The thing is, we don’t know the exact half-life of CBD as we do for THC. But the two research papers I mentioned earlier arrive at similar half-life values.

For now, we have to use their preliminary findings for our rough estimates. Upon oral ingestion of CBD, the half-life of CBD detected via a blood test was 20 to 30 hours—roughly one day.

With this information and some quick math, we can predict that CBD lasts around 5-7 days before it’s no longer detectable in the body either through urine or blood tests.

Also, keep in mind that all cannabinoids are fat-soluble. Meaning, they dissolve into fats and lipids. We know this because of the bounty of research on THC.

So, using CBD every day can build up CBD in your fat cells. And if you take CBD routinely for, say, a month, it will probably take much longer to disappear from your system—anywhere from two weeks to a month.

Will CBD appear on a drug test?

Just because you don’t feel the effects of THC in a broad-spectrum CBD product doesn’t mean there isn’t any. While unlikely, buying broad-spectrum CBD could put you at risk of failing a drug test.

Remember, no drug test screens for CBD because employers usually adhere to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) guidelines. CBD is not on the SAMSHA list—THC is, or more specifically, its primary metabolite, THC-COOH.

The reports of failed drug tests usually occur for two reasons: First, heavy consumption of a product that has trace amounts of THC; second, the product contains higher THC content than advertised.

There’s already some great literature on trace amounts of THC resulting in a positive drug test. The gist is that you’d need to consume upwards of 1,000 mg of broad-spectrum CBD to fail a drug screening.

But it’s also important to know that different tests have different fail thresholds, and our bodies metabolize THC at individualized rates. So, there’s no exact dose of broad-spectrum CBD that’ll cause a fail—for you, it could be more or less than 1,000mg.

And what if the victims of failed drug tests didn’t take high doses of broad-spectrum CBD? Most likely, they bought a broad-spectrum product that had more THC than advertised; the company didn’t properly extract the compound.  

Closing Thoughts

If you’re worried about failing a drug test, you need to confirm that your CBD consumables are free of THC.

Your safest option? Purchase CBD oils that use an isolate, like ours at Balance CBD. Broad-spectrum products are just too risky because they can contain unknown quantities of THC.

Not only are our CBD consumables THC-free, but they’re full of organic ingredients, too. We have product lists dedicated to specific needs. Check them out and begin your journey towards a balanced state of mind today.

This article contains information from multiple sources, including information from materials that have been medically reviewed by Eloise Theisen, RN, MSN, AGPCNP-BC, Dominique Fontaine, BSN, RN, HNB-BC, HWNC-BC and Bindiya Ghandi, M.D on a range of different websites. This information should not be taken as legal advice.

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