Drug testing is common and failing a drug screening for work can only have negative outcomes. Failing a drug test because will leave you with a lot of explaining to do between you and your employer.
We wanted to see if CBD oil would pass or fail in some of the more popular drug tests. CBD supplementation has gained heavy traction as of late as a natural remedy for pain & inflammation relief, improved quality of sleep, and has shown to help with general anxiety.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of the many compounds derived from the hemp plant. Most CBD products contain small traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD products are federally legal but some states still do not allow them. To see which states allow CBD, see our frequently updated CBD State Laws article.
THC is another compound found in hemp that is also present in medical marijuana. THC makes you high and is considered an illegal substance in the corporate workplace. Alternatively, CBD products do not make you high.
We were curious to see how an avid CBD user would fare when taking two popular drug tests. In this article, we are going to see if taking CBD can lead to a positive drug test.
Laura has been supplementing CBD hemp oil for the past 4 months to help with lower back pain. We reached out to her because she is a good representative of a consistent CBD user. Laura is 5’1 and weighs 115 lbs.
Laura currently does not take any other prescription drugs or medications. Be sure to read our CBD Drug Interactions to see if CBD supplementation is safe with your prescription drugs.
Laura's CBD source
- 1,000 mg full spectrum CBD oil – blood orange by Urbul (30ml)
- This batch has been third party rated for 1,120 mg of CBD per 30ml
- This batch contains 135 mg of THC, which accounts for 0.02% by volume.
Disclaimer: All full spectrum CBD products contain small amounts of THC. The federal government says products containing less than 0.03% is legal.
Below is the link to Laura’s lab report.
Laura's current dosage
- Total CBD consumed is 20mg, taken twice daily
- Serving one is taken every morning at 8:00 am.
- Serving two is taken every night before bed at 9:00 pm.
Laura has agreed to take both tests so we can better educate the CBD community about drug testing in regard to CBD supplementation.
Home Drug Tests from First Check and Equate
We decided to use two widely available take-home tests from First Check and Equate. The tests we are using are single panel and only test for Marijuana.
How do these drug tests work?
Both home urine tests compose of 4 steps.
- Collect a urine sample in the given container.
- Attach container lid. The lid itself is what tests the urine sample.
- Wait 5 minutes & read the preliminary result.
- For the official result, mail the sealed container to the lab with the attached identification number.
How to interpret the results
Understanding the results is pretty straightforward. Both tests use this standardized layout. You can read results after 5 minutes but it is not advised to wait longer than 10 minutes.
There must be a red line next to Control (C) to indicate the test worked properly.
If a second line appears under Control (C), then the result is negative. This line may be lighter in color or thinner than the control line.
If no line appears under Control (C), then the result is preliminary positive. In this case, the entire test container should be sent in for confirmation from the lab.
Why we chose First Check and Equate
First Check is the most popular take-home test that claims to be 99% accurate. Their lab analyzes over 70,000 urine specimens a day using Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) as their testing method. This method is known as the gold standard in laboratory testing for most drugs.
First Check is cleared by the FDA and was voted the #1 Pharmacist recommended brand according to 2010-2019 Pharmacy Times Annual Pharmacists Recommended OTC Survey.
We chose Equate as the second test because of how available it is. Equate products are available across all Wal Mart stores nationwide. Their test also boasts 99% accurate and is cleared by the FDA.
Taking the test
Here are Laura’s id numbers for each test.
First Check Identification Number: 201 845 035
Equate Confirmation Label: E010480054
Laura followed the provided instructions. What happened next was unexpected. Both tests were taken at the same time and day.
Preliminary results showed positive for THC
Initial results for both tests came in as Preliminary Positive. This is positive because there is no line under the Control line.
We were shocked to see this as the CBD community claims you will always pass drug tests due to cannabidiol products containing very low amounts of THC.
Upon seeing this result, Laura sent both tests to their respective labs for more information. Turnaround time is about 3-5 business days.
Official lab results remain negative for both tests
The actual results from the lab came back about a week later. The lab did not test positive for marijuana even though the preliminary result did.
Notice that both lab results match our identification numbers from earlier in this article.
First Check Identification Number: 201 845 035
Equate Confirmation Label: E010480054
Both results were opposite of the preliminary results which was weird to all of us. We decided to email both companies to find out more.
The results from both tastes came back negative. A negative result means that THC was not found there is just not enough drug present to confirm a positive result (50 nanograms/milliliter).
We emailed First Check for clarification. Here's what they said.
We were confused about the false positive drug test so we emailed First Check for more information. I received a response in a few hours from First Check. Equate has a customer service line available for questions.
I received a POSITIVE on the home screening portion of the test for marijuana (THC) and NEGATIVE when I sent it in to your laboratory. What does this mean?
First Check's answer
It is possible to get a Positive Test Result at home and a Negative at the laboratory. The home portion of the test is considered a preliminary screening which tests for a group of metabolites.
At the lab, our GC/MS equipment tests for one specific metabolite called delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The home portion has a higher cut-off level than GC/MS; however the sensitivity of the two testing methods is similar.
Since the home portion of the test is meant to screen for a group of marijuana metabolites in urine, you may get a Positive at home and a Negative at the laboratory if there is not enough of the one specific metabolite being tested to cause a positive result in the laboratory. Samples at or near the cut-off level contain the greatest margin of error.
Please note: It is highly unlikely that you would get a Positive result on the home portion of the test unless there were traces of marijuana in the urine (or another substance or medication was cross-reacting to cause a Preliminary Positive test result).
There are a few known over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs and other substances which can cross-react with the First Check Home Drug Test to cause a preliminary positive test result for marijuana (THC) on the home portion of the test.
There is no accurate list available and if this situation occurs, confirmatory testing will rule that out.
Understanding the take-home test
The email above suggests that traces of Marijuana was definitely present in the test sample. The take-home test analyzes the urine sample differently than lab testing. This is why results are mixed.
The take-home test checks for a group of marijuana metabolites such as THCA and 9-carboxy-THC. If present, the preliminary results are positive, otherwise the preliminary results are negative. Laura’s initial result was preliminary positive result because all full spectrum CBD products contain trace amounts of THCA / 9-carboxy-THC.
The labs only test for one specific metabolite: delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC amounts over 50 ng/ml result as positive, under 50 ng/ml is negative. Laura’s lab result is negative because the amount of THC found was less than 50 ng/ml.
THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that makes you high. This is important to know because CBD products must have zero or low (0.3%) amounts of THC to be legally sold.
We believe traces of THC metabolites were found in the urine sample. When tested in the lab, the amount of specifically THC was under the SAMHSA limit of 50 ng/ml resulting in a negative result.
Our advice going forward: Tread carefully
If you use full spectrum CBD products, we strongly suggest that you tread carefully if you frequently take drug tests. We cannot accurately tell you what a safe dosage is because everybody’s body composition is different.
Trace amounts of THC in full spectrum CBD oil are definitely being noticed without a doubt. Whether or not they pass a lab’s test will ultimately depend on serving sizes and bodyweight.
The following factors can directly affect your lab test results:
- Low quality full spectrum CBD – make sure to do your due diligence when picking a CBD product. Make sure the THC content is under the legal limit of 0.3%.
- CBD dosage size – Laura uses 20mg per day. The amount of THC in your system increases as your full spectrum CBD consumption increases.
- Body composition – Physical makeup such as weight, height, and age varies significantly.
- Different types of CBD – We believe CBD topicals will not affect THC levels in your blood as much as edibles and tinctures.
Consider CBD isolate products if you want to avoid all risk
Unfortunately, both labs do not disclose exactly how much THC was found in the test sample. We simply know it was low enough to for a negative result.
There are many benefits of choosing full spectrum CBD products. The other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant aside from cannabidiol are also beneficial and work better when supplemented together. This is known as the entourage effect.
However, if you prefer to completely separate yourself from any trace amounts of THC, consider CBD isolate products. People use CBD isolate to remove all risk of ever failing a drug test. Isolate products have an extremely low percent THC that will show up as ND (not detected) on drug tests.
CBD isolate simply means the cannabinoid CBD is separated from the rest of the cannabinoids that are present in full spectrum CBD products. Some of these include THC-A, THC-V, CBD-A, CBC, CBN, CBG.
If you’re interested in CBD isolate, consider some of Urbul's CBD isolate products. Our American grown hemp is harvested across 900 acres of land and extracted in Colorado. Our products are distributed across the United States and every product comes with 3rd party lab reports.
- 900 mg of pure CBD isolate
- THC free
- Portable vape system
- Disposable flavor pods, each pod contains 250 mg of pure CBD isolate
- 6 handcrafted flavors
Daily consumption of 20 mg full spectrum CBD oil did not trigger raise any red flags in the actual lab reports. Laura’s CBD dosage is pretty standard and it helps that she takes her dosages on a consistent schedule. CBD lasts in your body for 3-7 days so it's important to follow a consistent dosage schedule if you are looking for accurate data.
It would be harder to make any deductions if our subject supplemented CBD at different times of the day with different serving sizes. In the future, we’d like to see additional testing from CBD users who consume higher dosages.
It's understandable why companies test for drug use. Substance abuse statistically is a precursor for bad habits and lower productivity. It's unfortunate that CBD falls into this category because the use of CBD helps deal with stress, inflammation, chronic pain, and sleep. Because CBD is derived from the cannabis plant, there will always be levels of THC present in full spectrum CBD products.
For more information, feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding CBD supplementation. Take our CBD Quiz to see which CBD products fit your needs and lifestyle.