Will CBD Oil Trigger a Positive Drug Test?


It is not a pleasant thought when one contemplates understanding that the world we know is experiencing an opioid epidemic, unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Drug tests are a common and easy way to substantiate legally prescribed opioids from non-legal ones. It is also one of the steps taken to reduce illegal usage and abuse of certain drugs. However, we cannot deny the fact that some drugs provide a good level of relief for people suffering from acute and chronic pain. CBD oil is one such pain relief alternative to opioids that offer relief from different forms of pain and is only recently attracting attention from the medical field. Nevertheless, any cannabis-related product risks testing positive in a drug test. This is bad news for CBD oil users like athletes, employees of companies, and others who require mandatory clean test results.

Can CBD Show Up On A Drug Test

This article outlines the details regarding the implications of CBD drug tests, reasons for failing a CBD test, and the measures you can take to prevent failing one.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD or cannabidiol is one of eighty-five variant cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are the molecular compounds found in all cannabis plants. CBD is formulated predominantly from hemp and can also be extracted from marijuana. The flowers leaves and stalk of hemp contribute to the making of CBD oil, except for seeds. This oil has been used to treat various health conditions such as cancer, inflammation, acute pain, neurodegenerative disorders, and even epilepsy. It also has taken off as an organic and natural remedy. It is interesting to note that, unlike THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the other infamous cannabinoid, CBD does not have psychoactive properties. In simpler terms, it doesn’t make you ‘high’. However, CBD can still get you into trouble when it comes to drug tests and so should be used with caution only in the appropriate dosages prescribed.

CBD Drug Testing

As mentioned earlier, CBD oil has various health benefits to its credit and is one of the main pain-relieving strategies used for various medical conditions. However, one of the cons, if not the most critical of the cons, is the fact that there is little guarantee of escaping drug tests. As we already know, CBD oils can be made from cannabis, which is the umbrella term describing both hemp and marijuana. It is a well-known fact that marijuana, being a psychoactive drug, has THC in a considerable amount. During a drug test, the active chemical compound in marijuana which is THC gets detected. Therefore, getting a clean test result after using that particular CBD oil is impossible. In contrast, hemp-based CBD oils don’t contain THC, and when used in low doses completely goes undetected for THC. Although the risk of testing positive is low, CBD products may still show up on a drug test. As it turns out, most CBD products depending on the source may have traces of THC and high dose suggestions and uncertain THC levels in your bloodstream will result in non-negative test outcomes. The source of the cannabis from which the CBD oil is extracted may include low-quality isolates of THC. Interestingly, most people consider CBD oil to be THC-free. However, this fact is up for debate. There is not enough empirical evidence to support this claim. Besides, some studies have revealed that CBD is more effective when used alongside other compounds made from a full spectrum product (for instance, containing THC) over a CBD isolate product (no THC). Nevertheless, the odds of testing positive during drug screening are ubiquitous.

Factors Contributing to Positive CBD Drug Test

The differentiation between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and CBD isolate oils makes all the difference in a CBD drug test. The full spectrum CBD contains other chemical compounds such as terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids such as THC. Broad-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, contains other additional chemical compounds excluding THC. Whereas CBD isolate is pure CBD alone and doesn’t contain additional compounds from the cannabis plant at all.

THC or THC-COOH is the main metabolites screened for detection in a drug test. There are cut-off values of THC or THC-COOH predetermined to pass or fail a drug test. In other words, the amount of THC present to register on a drug test has to be following the predetermined cut-off value. It should be noted that different testing methods have different cut-off values, and the mere presence of THC doesn’t necessarily trigger a positive test.

Several other factors also contribute to a positive drug test result. They are:

  • Possibility of using a product with THC- This is one of the most common reasons for failing a drug test. A low-quality CBD oil may have a small amount of THC present even though sellers claim otherwise.
  • Possibility of cross-contamination- The potential for cross-contamination during the CBD derivation process is always a possibility. It can happen in stores, at home when CBD oil is exposed to other compounds that contain THC. Even traces of THC present in the substance from which CBD is extracted can contaminate CBD oil in large amounts.
  • Possibility of second-hand exposure- Although it is highly unlikely that inhaling second-hand marijuana (contain THC) smoke would trigger a positive test result, the possibility of the same cannot be denied. There is research that suggests secondhand smoke absorption relies mainly on the potency of the cannabis product.
  • Possibility of product mislabeling- Mislabeling of cannabis products is very common. Besides, CBD products are also not tested properly for actual composition. CBD oil derived from hemp is allowed to contain no more than .3 percent of THC. However, sellers mislabel the product as a THC-free hemp product and always claim their product does not contain THC.
  • Possibility of CBD oil break down in the stomach- Although very rare, it is theoretically possible for CBD oil to break down into small amounts of THC in the digestive system. Therefore, when low-quality oil is ingested, traces of THC can be detected during a drug test.

How to avoid testing positive?

CBD will not get detected in a drug test because drug tests are not screening for traces of CBD. However, THC will show up in a drug test as the potential for CBD oil or other products to contain THC is more likely. Hence, if you need to take CBD oil, you must consider the following measures to avoid testing positive in a drug test. When you follow these steps, you may be able to reduce the chances of failing the test, although let us bear in mind that there is no 100% guarantee for the same.

  1. Always conduct thorough research to make sure the CBD oil you are using is pure and devoid of THC traces. Check your sources as CBD oil extracted from full-spectrum CBD always contain THC.
  2. CBD oil manufactured as an isolated product derived from hemp is a high-quality tincture and may not have traces of THC. Look for CBD products that are properly tested by a legitimate lab.
  3. Enquire about processing techniques and potential for cross-contamination, especially from home or store-based sellers.
  4. Be mindful of secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke. Even though the chances of testing positive due to secondhand exposure are low, any exposure such as pot-smoking or hair contact from THC users still poses a threat.
  5. Last but not least, always remember that dosage and duration play a key role in failing a drug test. The more CBD you take and the more often you take it, it may take longer for any traces of THC to leave your body. Hence, chances are you are more susceptible to get detected during a drug test.


In theory and practice, CBD oil may be an effective and reliable pain-relieving source for some people, especially those struggling with chronic health conditions. However, it certainly cannot be endorsed by employees because the chances of failing a drug test are always present. It is relatively impossible to test positive when CBD oil is well regulated and contains less than .3 percent THC. However, the likelihood of a product containing pure CBD oil is very low. There is no guarantee that CBD oil usage will give you a clean test result. So, goes without saying that it is best to practice caution and conduct a thorough background study before purchasing the product to ensure its purity and reliability, especially if drug testing is obligatory at your workplace. It is always good to be safe than sorry.