Depending on how much CBD (and thus THC), you consume, how often you consume it, your body weight and your diet, it’s possible for THC to accumulate in your body in as little as four to six days and trigger a positive drug test. Research has found that THC can be detectable in your system for up to 30 days, but it’s usually only present in heavy cannabis users after the first week.
And in 2018, the CDC released a report that found that more than 50 people in Utah were poisoned by CBD products that actually contained synthetic marijuana commonly known as Spice and K2.
Different types of drug tests have different detection thresholds, but the type you’re most likely to encounter is the “pee test.” To pass a urine drug test, the amount of THC in your body must be below 50 ng/mL. That’s the cutoff recommended federally by the National Institutes of Health and clinically by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which helps set industry standards for lab certifications.
Why CBD might cause you to fail a drug test
While the information here suggests CBD won’t make anyone fail a drug test, there’s no way to guarantee that. The only way to ensure you will pass a drug test is to abstain from using any sort of CBD product.
So you’re in the clear, right? Not quite. There are two ways you could hit that 50 ng/mL mark.
Drug tests don’t screen for CBD, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.
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Second, there’s a good chance that the CBD product you’re using contains more than the .3% THC legally allowed. In fact, when Penn Medicine researchers bought CBD products online and then analyzed their ingredients, they found that about one in five contained up to 6.4 mg/ML of THC — high enough to cause impairment.
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The short answer is no. When using topical marijuana products, remember that your skin acts as a barrier between the outside world and the inner workings of your system. Although there is THC, CBD or other cannabinoids in the lotion/cream which is absorbed into your skin, muscles and nerves, it does not reach your bloodstream (and ultimately, your brain, where the psychoactive aspect of THC is caused), so it cannot be detected by a test. Since you’re not consuming the THC orally, there’s no way for it to get into your bloodstream.
The one caution/exception to the topical rule is transdermal patches. These work similarly to nicotine patches, and send the THC/CBD past the skin barrier where it can reach your bloodstream and your brain so you also experience the psychoactive effects. This WILL result in a failed drug test should you take one.
It’s (fairly) common knowledge that the consumption of marijuana can be detected on a drug test because it ends up in various parts of the body, showing up in urine, blood and even hair follicles. Cannabis is typically consumed orally (smoke, vapor, candy, etc.), which is why it can be found in these tests. So, what happens when we use cannabis in a different way? In other words, if you’re using THC/CBD cream, lotion, salves, balms, etc. are you on the road to a failed drug test and potential lost job opportunity?
When we think of typical cannabis use, we think of smoking a bowl, bong, blunt or joint. Some stoners may also use concentrates such as resin, live budder, water hash, etc. Nowadays, we can also enjoy our cannabis in a plethora of candies, cookies, cakes, and even infused olive oils. Finally, with the arrival of CBD on the scene, products have evolved to include topical cannabis items like body creams, salves, lotions, balms. As the industry continues to change and grow to include new ways to incorporate the cannabis plant, we need to wonder: which of these fascinating new things will get us high and/or, which would show up on a drug test?
In the end think of topicals the same way you would think of alcohol. The only way you can increase your BAC (blood-alcohol content) is by drinking (you can’t get drunk by rubbing Grey Goose on your thigh!). The same holds true with marijuana. The only way you can put THC/CBD into your bloodstream is by oral consumption or a specific transdermal patch. So, assuming you use only topical cannabis and you’re not into smoking, vaping, or edibles, you’re set to go take your drug test and pass with flying colors! If you enjoy oral consumption, too, we might suggest holding off on the other categories before heading in for your test.