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.
This story discusses substances that are legal in some places but not in others and is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You shouldn’t do things that are illegal — this story does not endorse or encourage illegal drug use.
When it comes to marijuana, drug tests typically only screen for THC — the compound in cannabis that gets you “high” — or one of the compounds created when your body metabolizes it. And by law CBD products can only contain up to 0.3% THC.
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
First, THC is fat-soluble, so when you ingest it — especially via edibles or a drop of oil under the tongue — it’s absorbed along with other fats and can be stored in your body’s fatty tissue.
To hit 50 ng/mL of THC, you’d probably have to consume upwards of 2,000 mg of CBD products that contain 0.3% or less of THC, which is much higher than the average person is likely to take. Even in clinical trials and research studies, people are usually only administered 100-800mg/day.
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.
How cannabis drug tests work
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.
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.
Use the utmost caution and do your research when purchasing a quality CBD oil product to ensure its purity, especially if you need to undergo a drug screening.
Hemp also contains many cannabinoids, which is a name for the compounds found in cannabis. CBD is only one example.
Arno Kroner, DAOM, LAc, is a board-certified acupuncturist, herbalist, and integrative medicine doctor practicing in Santa Monica, California.
Drug tests look for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the element in marijuana that causes a high. CBD oils can have trace amounts of THC even if they're labeled “THC-free.” The FDA does not regulate these products, and mislabeling is common.
A Word From Verywell
CBD oil extracted from hemp is not supposed to contain more than 0.3% THC. However, it’s not uncommon for sellers to mislabel their products as THC-free hemp when, in reality, it’s a low-quality oil extracted from marijuana. And marijuana does contain THC.
Although most manufacturers claim their products do not contain THC, this is not always the case.
There are several common reasons a person fails a CBD drug test.
Reasons for Failing a CBD Drug Test
Most CBD products are made from hemp, not marijuana.
For instance, say that someone who had direct contact with marijuana then touched your hair. You could feasibly receive a false positive on a drug screening that tests your hair.