What You Need To Know About CBD And Drug Tests

Mandatory drug testing is a common practice across many different trades and industries. As well as this, there are plenty of police performing random roadside drug testing as well as drug testing for other legal proceedings. There is currently a big question among law-abiding, CBD-using citizens of the USA: will I fail a drug test if I use CBD?


The sad reality is that many medical marijuana users are forced to abandon this form of herbal medicine in order to satisfy the criteria required by their employers. While drug testing might require a person to put down the THC edible, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same for CBD users. Here’s everything you need to know about CBD and drug testing.

Drug testing detects THC and THC-COOH

On the bright side of drug testing, technology doesn’t exist for detecting every substance a person has consumed within the last 24 hours. Police don’t care if you have just ingested paracetamol for example or the sedative that’s in chamomile tea. This is why drug testing targets certain compounds and metabolites. THC is one of the compounds detected on a drug test, as well as its metabolite carboxy-THC or COOH-THC.


This means that CBD is not actually detected on a drug test because that’s not what they are testing for. In almost all roadside drug testing or mandatory employee drug testing, CBD is not screened during the drug test. Rather, it is THC and its metabolite that they are looking for.


This was publicly explained in an interview on The Cannabist, where the interviewer asked Barry Sample, director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics, whether CBD would show up on a drug test. Barry Sample confirmed that in most cases, nobody is actually testing for CBD and therefore it doesn’t cause a failed drug test.

That doesn’t mean that it is risk-free

Of course, this is all very good news. But it doesn’t remove the possibility of failing a drug test for one very important reason: not all CBD products are void of THC. It is essentially the responsibility of the user to ensure that the products they are using contain CBD only.


Thanks to the new Farm Bill of 2018, there are strict regulations about the mandatory labelling of CBD products. All hemp-derived CBD products must be tested for THC presence, and anything containing concentrations of THC greater than .3% is rejected. With that being said, marijuana-derived CBD products are not as strictly regulated – at least not in every state.


In California, all dispensaries are required to purchase third-party laboratory testing on all products. This is to ensure that consumers know what they are buying and what they are consuming. All labelling will display the cannabinoids present and the concentration at which they are present.

Clearing up some misinformation

Following a 2016 study, rumours began that CBD, in fact, converted itself to THC in the stomach. The study itself was performed in a petri dish with simulated gastric juices. And yes, after prolonged exposure to these gastric juices in a petri dish, CBD did transform into THC. As a matter of fact, this information has been known in cannabis research circles since the 1940s, and for most researchers, it isn’t new information.


With all of that being said, the research nowhere suggests that this outcome also takes place in vivo, in the human body. Ethan Russo, a cannabis researcher, confirmed that this rumour simply is just a rumour in his research paper, Cannabidiol Claims and Misconceptions. This man has been researching cannabis and writing about it for what seems like an eternity, so there is an inclination to trust him.


So truly, there is no need to worry about CBD converting itself to THC in the human stomach. As far as we know, this doesn’t necessarily happen in real life – only in Petri dishes.

Taking responsibility

Don’t use this article as a way to consume loads of CBD and avoid responsibility in the instance of a drug test. As a consumer, a person should always know the risks of what they are doing and take ownership of them. Almost every doctor or health professional that recommends CBD as a treatment will warn about the potential of it showing up on a drug test.


As much as we know that CBD and its metabolites are not being tested on a routine drug test, that doesn’t mean there’s no chance that THC exists in your CBD products! If a person does fail a drug test after using CBD, such as this woman who featured in a Forbes article, it is not because the lab tested for CBD. Rather, it is because one way or another, THC made it into the final product and essentially began circulating through the person’s veins (and urine).


It is important to know the contents of your CBD product inside out – especially if you are subject to routine drug testing or roadside drug testing. It is imperative for the individual to take responsibility to avoid any unnecessary and unwarranted surprises.


So the news isn’t all bad! Most people can safely consume THC and pass a drug test, but it doesn’t eliminate the possibility of getting caught out. Always use cannabinoids wisely, and if ever in doubt, simply abstain until you pass your drug test.



Founder, CEO at Addicted
Mark Munroe is the Creator and EIC of ADDICTED. He's ADDICTED to great travel, amazing food, better grooming & probably a whole lot more!