Can CBD Cause You To Fail A Drug Test?

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Can CBD Cause You To Fail A Drug Test?

A work related drug test could make the difference between employment and having no money, but could something as inoffensive as CBD trigger a failed test?

Testing for drugs is becoming a more and more prevalent practice within the work place. It is an invasion of privacy, and we certainly don’t agree with it. What business is it of your employer to know what you do in your own time? As long as you are getting your job done, not posing a risk to the company, and not turning up to work intoxicated, then who cares? You wouldn’t penalise someone because they like to get drunk in their own time, so why other, often less harmful substances? But we digress, whether you agree with it or not, for many, there is no avoiding the dreaded drug test. Need to pass a drug test? Read this.

DRUG TESTS, WHAT DRUG TESTS?

If you are fortunate enough to be employed by someone that doesn’t require a drug screening then you may not be aware of the practice. It is much more commonplace in the US, but is slowly being adopted more and more by European employers – especially the larger corporations.

Basically, what they do is take a urine or hair sample from you. With this, they can perform a number tests to see if you have consumed any illegal substances recently. If they find that you have, it can result in disciplinary action, or even you losing your job.

WHAT ABOUT DRUG TESTS AND CBD?

Now we get to the crux of the issue. In theory, urine drug tests shouldn’t pick up CBD, but they can. The main psychoactive compound of cannabis is considered to be THC, and this is what drug tests look for. In fact, to get technical, it is actually the main metabolite of THC, THC-COOH, which urine tests normally screen for - through a process of immunoassay screening. These tests tend to have a cut-off point of 50 ng/mL, and anything above this will return a positive result. Once this positive result has been achieved, tester will often verify the finding using a much more sensitive GC/MS test, which will flag positive for anything above 15 ng/mL.

Fortunately, this metabolite has very little crossover with other cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBD, so they should not flag up. However, when CBD is taken in excess (around 1000-2000 mg of hemp oil a day), it can return a false positive during the initial screening. This is because when used in large amounts, other non -THC metabolites can trigger the immunoassay response. When taken to the next level of GC/MS screening, the test should return negative, as it is a much more accurate and specific test. However, an employer needs to have bought a testing service that goes to this level for a false positive to be properly identified and ruled out. If they simply do urine testing, then anyone taking large amounts of CBD could be in trouble.

It is also important to understand that CBD products produced from hemp often contain a fractional amount of THC. When you are taking 1000-2000 mg of hemp oil a day, this can result in the consumption of anywhere up to 2-6 mg of THC – and whilst this may not necessarily get you high if spaced out in doses, it is still enough to build up in your body, and certainly trigger a positive in a drug test.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR CBD USERS?

Well, if you use CBD, use a lot of it, and think you are going to be subjected to a drug test at work, the best thing you can do is ensure that you are buying lab tested, high quality CBD products. These are more likely to contain much less THC, and will have a lab proven reading on content for you to look at. If you use small quantities of CBD, then you don’t really need to worry.

Ultimately, you need to know what the specifics of the drug tests are, whether they will use GC/MS to rule you out, and whether it is safe to inform you employer that you are taking CBD based medicines prior to the test, so that they are less likely to suspect foul play should the test flag you up. There should be no reason for your employer to look negatively on CBD use, as it is legal – but you never know.

Once again, if you are worried about failing a drugs test, check out our handy guide to flushing your system.

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