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Will I Fail a Drug Test after CBD?

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Dr-Weedy Medical Team Chromometer 8 min

Lately, millions of Americans have got the legal and easy access to various cannabis products. More than 30 states allow medical marijuana, and in 11 states you can use it for fun. And still, this does not mean that you can smoke weed whenever and wherever you want. On a federal level, a marijuana plant is a controlled Schedule 1 drug, and there are lots of situations when the law requires you to stay THC-free.

But what if you use CBD-high cannabis that has next to no THC? Will the test show positive in this case? Unfortunately, the answer is “it is possible.” Drug tests do not respond to cannabidiol, and yet, they can be positive after the CBD hemp, due to many reasons, ranging from chemical similarities between various cannabinoids to simply inaccurate tests from the local store.

Marijuana Drug Tests — How They Work and What They Are For

First of all, let’s answer one simple question: what is a drug test in general? It is a test that can show or prove the absence of some drug or its metabolites in your system. Why do we need to know this information? Because mostly we use drug tests to determine the presence or absence of substances that have mind-altering powers. So, how does this relate to weed?

Chemical Makeup of Marijuana

Main active ingredients of marijuana plants includes but not limited to:

  • cannabinoids;
  • flavonoids;
  • teprenes.

The last two biochemical compounds provide the taste and smell of weed, as well as certain medicinal powers, and their concentration varies from one hemp strain to another. But we will not dwell on them in this review, as they are never the substances determined by the drug tests.

Cannabinoids present in marijuana are numerous:

  • THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol);
  • cannabidiol, or CBD;
  • cannabigerol, or CBG;
  • cannabinol, or CBN, and many others.

THC is not the only one psychoactive compound found in cannabis, but it is the only cannabinoid that can seriously intoxicate a weed user. THC causes poor judgement, impaired coordination and orientation, euphoric state, and other adverse effects. Being affected by THC, you cannot drive a car or operate heavy machinery, and should not make any important decisions.

At the same time, CBD is not the psychoactive substance and does not change your time and space perception, thinking, and decision making. Taking CBD products, you remain fully functional, and can do any work. All other cannabinoids, as well as CBD, do not make you high by themselves. Their role is mostly to intensify the performance of THC and CBD. This is why all drug tests are designed to determine THC only, when it comes to cannabis.

When And Why Drug Tests Are Required

cbd drug test

Of course, one can order a drug test upon their own initiative, but it happens very rarely. It is more likely that the drug test will be required by the police or employer, for the following legal reasons:

  • you are on the probation period, or released early from prison, and the officer needs your test results on the regular basis;
  • some accident happens, and the police or employer needs to know if any psychoactive substances are involved;
  • you are a college student;
  • you are a professional athlete;
  • the company that hires you has the obligatory pre-employment drug screening;
  • sometimes, random or regular drug tests are also required to improve safety at work.

There is no need to go deeper into details as to what professions require drug testing, as the laws change from state to state, but there is one common thing. If your work makes you responsible for other people’s lives (transportation, safety, military, surgery, etc.), it is most likely you will have to do it.

Can Cannabidiol Cause Positive Result

The professional test for cannabis will never show positive for CBD. The word “professional” is key in this sentence, as there are many reports from regular weed users who failed the drug test after CBD consumption. These reports have spawned some rumors that CBD is chemically identical with THC and the test responds to it, or that the stomach acid converts CBD into THC. Both are not true:

  • the theory of the edible CBD conversion was debunked by scientists;
  • as for the similarities between CBD and THC, only at-home drug tests do not see any difference and show positive when detecting any cannabinoid;
  • also, some not very precise drug tests contain reagents that really transform CBD to THC, but modern labs do not use them any more.

So, what I want to say here is that you should not rely on the drug tests bought from the local store. They can give you the false-positive result. Yes, many people still use them as a preventive means to stay in the clear. Still, you should not rely on the results of such tools.

The Reasons Why You Can Fail the Professional Test

drug test

You may wonder, how one can fail the professional test if it never responds to anything but THC. There are several ways you may get in trouble even using pure-CBD products:

  • some think that a CBD-high hemp contains insignificant amounts of THC, which leads to problems with further drug testing. Even the lowest and legal level of THC, 0.3%, can show up positive on the test. Imagine, that you’ve smoked lots of CBD marijuana during the day, or several days in a row. These 0.3% can make 1 mg of THC and more, which is enough concentration of the drug in the blood or urine to fail the test;
  • some use CBD isolates and think that they are on the safe side. Yet, all depends on the manufacturer of the products you use. Some oils that are claimed to be CBD-pure still contain some amounts of THC. The problem here is the poor regulation of the CBD medicines, which lets companies mislabel their products;
  • moreover, some manufacturers do not pay enough attention to the purity of their oils. Usually, they are derived from the hemp oil, and without proper technologies they cannot achieve the necessary purity of the CBD isolates;
  • and do not forget about secondhand smoking. If someone smokes weed around you, you may have a positive result during testing for cannabis, because you also inhale the smoke with all chemical compounds in it;
  • one more thing worth mentioning is the possible false-positive result for another cannabinoid, CBN. Chicago Tribune writes that cannabis with next to zero THC and some level of CBN can be the reason to fail the drug test for cannabis.

Remember also, that the THC metabolites are present in the urine for 3-15 days, and in the blood — for a week.

How To Stay In the Clear

To conclude this article, I’d like to give you some tips on how to have no problems with cannabis tests. First of all, use only high-quality CBD products. If you prefer isolates, read the reviews from other users and make sure that the label on the bottle says the truth.

The second thing to remember is that the only certified CBD medication is Epidolex. All others, that advertise their medicinal powers and claim that they treat various diseases, are more likely to lie about their chemical makeup, too.

Always be honest with your employer and the police officer. If you use cannabis with some, even the tiniest, amounts of THC, for medical purposes, tell about it, and it will help you avoid lots of problems.

And of course, before you start the engine of your car, or come to work, check if you feel alright and can perform the activities you are going to perform. Following these simple tips, you should not have any problems with the drug testing.

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