CBD & Drug Test

Will CBD Make Me Fail a Drug Test?

jen keehn

Written by Jen Keehn


Dr. El-Hajj

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sandra El-Hajj

Many establishments and companies adopt drug tests to ensure their employees are not addicted to any substance, which may affect their safety, the safety of their colleagues, and the quality of their work.

Police officers, in many cities and states, have to continuously submit to drug tests. Employers in the private sector might also request them as well, either for safety reasons or just as a matter of organizational ethics.

If you happen to work for a company or public sector department that does routine screenings, failing a test could put your career in jeopardy. 

If you’re a professional athlete, one failed drug test would get you kicked out of a team. 

Drug tests are also common in the criminal justice system, as a condition for parole or probation. For this group of people, the risk is even higher. Even the slightest amount of THC or any illicit substance detected in a blood test would send that person back to jail.

While being an addict is certainly a bad habit and has to be discontinued, the worst situation that you may face is when your test gives a false positive and you end up losing too much for no reason! Imagine losing your job or even your freedom just because something in your system skewed the result. This can certainly happen and we will explain to you how. Considering the importance of remaining drug-free in such delicate situations, it’s understandable that you might feel a bit nervous about using CBD. After all, CBD does come from cannabis, which is the genus of the plant that gives marijuana (cannabis sativa).

So will CBD make you fail a drug test? 

To answer this question, we’ll need to look at how CBD is obtained, how drug tests work and also cover some preventative steps that you can take.

What is a Drug Test?

Holding Drug Test Application

As insinuated by its name, a drug test is a test that is done to detect the possible presence of drugs in your system. It is as simple as this.

But how do common drug tests work and how are they conducted? Are they blood tests? Are they urine tests? Here is what you need to know!

Urine Tests

We hear about urine drug tests a lot, especially when it comes to professional athletes. The way a urine test works is fairly simple.

Certain drugs can be detected as your body eliminates them through urine. 

A urine test, also known as UDS or urine drug screening, is a painless test with no needles involved.  All you need to do is provide a urine sample1.

These types of tests are effective at finding a variety of illicit drugs, including marijuana.

The tests vary in complexity. Consequently, some are more reliable and efficient than others.

Whether used in clinical, employment, educational and legal settings, it is essential to expect urine drug screening2. Imagine if an air traffic pilot or a bus driver is on drugs, he or she would put all the passengers and people passing by in danger!

There are two types of urine drug tests: the immunoassay and the gas chromatography/mass spectrometry test that is usually more of a confirmatory test for the first test in case it came positive. The first test is cheap and gives rapid results while the second test is expensive and takes time for the results to be delivered.3

Blood Tests

Blood tests use blood samples to detect the presence of a variety of different drugs, such as amphetamines, cocaine, and opiates. 

Although they are capable of detecting marijuana use, they’re not very reliable in this respect. THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, only lasts about six hours in the bloodstream for most users. So, a single-use six hours prior to a blood test would not show in the results. People who use THC heavily, however, could test positive for up to 24 hours.

Blood tests are the most accurate of them all, according to Addiction Resource, a substance abuse organization4. However, they’re the least preferred because of many reasons. They cost more than any other drug test and are “the most invasive of all the drug tests.” Also, everyone prefers to give a urine or saliva test over getting pricked with a needle and having blood taken out. Finally, blood tests require high-tech medical equipment and trained lab technicians. 

Saliva Tests

Taking Saliva

Saliva tests are becoming more common for a variety of reasons including their effectiveness at detecting marijuana use in the most simplistic sampling method. 

One big advantage is that saliva tests are very difficult to cheat. 

When you are expected to give a urine sample, many bring with them a sample from home pre-drug use. They slip that clean sample into the container when in the bathroom door. This would never be the case with saliva! 

The saliva test cannot be rigged. To give a sample, you will be in front of the person collecting the sample. Also, it allows for much faster detection, since testers don’t have to wait for your body to pass the drug through urine.

Saliva drug tests are non-invasive, are quick to be done, and give fast reliable results. 

This makes them particularly handy if law enforcement wants to draw a clear connection between impairment and the presence of certain drugs in your system.

Hair Follicle Tests

Hair tests can detect the presence of marijuana and other illicit substances that has been used over the past 90 days or even more5. So, it gives a more comprehensive answer about the history of a person’s drug use.

They rely on trace amounts of the drug being collected in the hair follicle, which can then be easily detected. It’s important to note, however, that these tests generate more positive results than any other6

This is due to the wide timeframe that other tests simply don’t cover. So, those who have taken any drug over a period of three months would show a positive result!

Understanding the Source of CBD Oil

Cannabis In Test Tubes

When it comes to marijuana testing, THC is the culprit that gives you away. Drug tests that are administered nowadays are testing for the presence of THC.

This is where the fundamental difference lies and why CBD shouldn’t create a positive result.

CBD oil can be extracted from the hemp plant, a member of the cannabis genus that contains only negligible traces of THC. Regular CBD cannabis oil, on the other hand, comes from the cannabis sativa (marijuana) plant and is guaranteed to contain enough THC to trigger a positive drug test. That’s why it’s only available in states with medical or recreational marijuana laws.

When CBD was legalized, it was under one condition: the product containing CBD has to contain less than 0.3% of THC to be approved. The level is so low, in fact, that CBD hemp oil isn’t treated as a controlled substance7.

Will CBD Hemp Oil Cause a Failed Drug Test (i.e. a False Positive)?

While it may be strange to think that something with a minute amount of THC would trigger the alarm of a drug test, it does!

This is certainly why people have been using CBD hemp oil, fail drug tests, and realize that the product they bought wasn’t exactly sold as advertised. Remember, hemp can still contain a minute amount of THC which can be detected by a drug test. 

Another scenario would be that you can never control the natural content of THC in all plants. Not all are created the same. the plant used in their particular brand had a bit more THC than intended. 

Some manufacturers might not care about compliance in this respect, which is a serious legal gamble in people’s lives. But, as a result, they will end up losing a lot of business as people are more aware of CBD and this is certainly one of our goals at CBD School.

Many consumers feel stress when buying CBD products; but, when you pick a reputable brand that provides lab reports indicating exactly how much THC is in their finished products, you are safe and comfortable.

The second reason why a CBD hemp oil user could fail a drug test due to the possible detectable presence of THC is heavy use. When CDB was legalized, it allowed a certain level of minimal THC. Full-spectrum CBD hemp oil products can and may contain up to 0.3% THC. 

The more of these products you use, the more THC you are taking into your system. Sure, 0.3% THC is pretty insignificant when you compare it to the common 10 – 20% THC levels of recreational cannabis products. But, taking high doses of CBD hemp oil will have added THC amounts. So, you will end up ingesting larger amounts than 0.3% THC CBD hemp oil on a regular basis. 

Another factor to consider is your individual metabolism and lifestyle. The way your body processes THC will likely vary from the way any other person processes THC. 

There are too many variables that need to be accounted for in order to predict how long the THC will stay in your system. So, if you are one of those concerned about whether you are ingesting large amounts of THC due to your large consumption of CBD hemp oil, here are the solutions we have for you!


Hemp Leaves On Wooden Background

Make sure you evaluate your CBD hemp oil source. Just because a website looks professional and neat with attractive pictures and excellent testimonials doesn’t mean they’re not peddling a substandard product. Search about the company and its credibility. Also, dig deeper and ask them to share with you recent lab reports, if not provided on their website. Evaluate the cannabinoid profile and make sure THC levels are not above 0.3% THC.

When it comes to professional or legal matters, it’s critical to have your bases covered. If you are about to take a drug test, you could advise your employer or parole/probation officer, for instance, of your CBD use. Since this product is a supplement, it’s no different than multivitamins in the eyes of the law. But, there’s no guarantee that this will be satisfactory. 

Your best bet is to let your bosses know of your plan to engage in a CBD protocol prior to using it. A doctor’s note will be helpful to back you up. Only then, you would truly understand where they stand in regards to CBD.

Finally, consider using a CBD isolate and products made from CBD isolate that is a pure form CBD with no THC: CBD is extracted from the hemp plant and isolated to be packaged into finished products.

With the increasing popularity of CBD, you can find just about any products (tinctures, capsules, edibles, vape, and topicals) made only with CBD isolate. 

These products are ideal for athletes and workers who are subject to regular drug tests.

Even when using CBD isolate products, we still suggest you check lab reports to ensure the product is truly free of THC.

Using CBD isolate products with zero THC is the best way to avoid testing positive for THC in your system.

Concluding Remarks

Molecular Structure Of CBD

Considering the growing anecdotal and scientific evidence for CBD as a therapeutic supplement, it would be a shame if you lost your job or went to jail for using CBD to improve your life. 


In this article, we covered the following information:

– Common drug screening methods include urine, blood, saliva, and hair tests.

– The foolproof way to avoid failing a drug screening is to use ZERO THC products

– When searching for marijuana use, drug tests look for THC in your system, not CBD.

– CBD hemp oil contains low levels of THC (0.3%) but any product which contains THC carries the risk of coming up on a drug screening.

– Some reasons why CBD hemp oil users might fail a test are:

1. The CBD product is mislabeled or improperly processed and contains more than 0.3% THC.
2. The user is regularly taking a high dosage of CBD hemp oil.

– Be careful and think ahead if your employer or organization requires regular drug testing.


1Moeller, K. E., PharmD, BCPP, Kissack, J. C., PharmD, BCPP, Atayee, R. S., PharmD, BCPS, & Lee, K. C., PharmD, MAS, BCPP. (2017, March 18). Clinical Interpretation of Urine Drug Tests: What Clinicians Need to Know About Urine Drug Screens. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.12.007 

2Anderson, L. A., PharmD (Ed.). (n.d.). Drug Testing FAQs. Retrieved January 29, 2021, from https://www.drugs.com/article/drug-testing.html#:~:text=Urine%20drug%20testing%20Urine%20is%20the%20most%20common,for%20testing%20of%20the%20federally%20mandated,%20safety-sensitive%20workforce.

3Kale, N., PhD, MD, MBA. (2019, January 01). Urine Drug Tests: Ordering and Interpreting Results. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.aafp.org/afp/2019/0101/p33.html

4Peter J. Grinspoon, M. (2020, December 17). Blood Drug Test: Facts, Pros and Cons, Detection Window. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://addictionresource.com/drug-testing/blood-drug-testing/

5How Does A Hair Drug Test Work. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.expomed.com/drugtest/hair-drug-testing-explained-part-1.html

6Harkson, K. (2019, September 18). The Hair Follicle Drug Test: Myth Vs. Fact. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.usdrugtestcenters.com/drug-test-blog/259/the-hair-follicle-drug-test-myth-vs-fact.html

7Commissioner, O. (n.d.). FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products: Q&A. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd

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