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Does CBD show up on a drug test?

CBD does not show up on a drug test. However, that isn’t a guarantee you won’t fail a drug test from using CBD products. 

Wait a minute, what?

Yes, it is true. There is a potential for failing a drug test from the use of CBD products because of the potential build-up of small amounts of THC in your body. But, the good news there are plenty of ways to make sure that doesn’t happen.  So, let’s drill that down. 

What is CBD and Is It Legal?

Yes, CBD is legal.

CBD was removed from the Controlled Substances Act as part of the adoption of the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp, making it federally legal. THC is still listed as a Class 1 scheduled drug and while some states have adopted legal marijuana state laws, THC is still considered federally illegal.

Hemp is the same cannabis species as marijuana, Cannabis Sativa (and potentially Cannabis ruderalis and Cannabis indica). The big difference, however, is the percent of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, in the plant. THC is the intoxicating, ‘psychoactive’ compound in the cannabis plant.

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Hemp is defined as a cannabis plant with less than .3 percent THC. Keep in mind, typically, ‘weed’ tests at 10 percent and even 20 percent and higher THC. So, while hemp flower will have some minute levels of THC, it is so minor it will not make you feel ‘high’ like smoking marijuana flower would.

CBD, cannabidiol, plus the many other non-psychoactive cannabinoids in the cannabis plant like CBG (cannabigerol), CBN (cannabinol) and CBC (cannabichromene) interact with our bodies natural endocannabinoid system by supporting it and boosting serotonin levels.

These cannabinoids are showing many promising benefits for human health in studies including:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Controlling pain
  • Relieving anxiety
  • Controlling seizures

Do Drug Tests Check For CBD

Drug tests do not check for CBD or any other compounds in cannabis except THC.

Drug tests routinely check for:

  • Alcohol
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabis

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However, in the case of cannabis, the tests (typically urine drug screens) detect the presence of THC. Not the other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, like CBD.

The problem is the potential for THC to build up in a body. Studies have shown that THC consumed in marijuana products in a single use will show up even three days after light use, and up to 30 days after a heavy use episode. THC binds to the fat molecules in our bodies. As people burn fat, the THC is slowly processed through our kidneys and the metabolites (which show up on the drug tests) are released. Essentially, your body holds on to THC a lot longer than it feels the effect. And it is cumulative.

Drug tests are testing for concentration levels over a particular threshold (asset by the federal government). If the tests come in under the limit, it will be negative. Over the limit, even if it is from cumulative use, not a single the event, the test will come back positive.   Unfortunately, shoddy, unethical CBD manufacturers may put out products that exceed the legal levels of THC.

According to one study in Germany, nearly 25 percent of 67 CBD products were found to have THC levels above the daily recommended dose to avoid intoxication. In the U.S., with hemp legalization, a flood of CBD products to hit shelves have made it hard for regulators to keep up on problems with products that have THC levels exceeding federal limits.

How to Use CBD without Risking a Positive Drug Test

Alright, so now we know why people who don’t use marijuana sometimes test positive for THC. If you are in a situation where your job and other circumstances require frequent testing, what can you do to avoid this potential pitfall?

Use CBD Isolate Products and Avoid Full-Spectrum Products

CBD isolate is what the name implies. It is CBD oil that has been ‘isolated’ in the lab, so it is the only compound in a product. In that case, assuming you are purchasing from a reputable provider, you can be assured that the product you are using is, indeed, CBD only with no minute amounts of THC.


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This could be anything from oils, to candies to topicals.   Full-spectrum products, on the other hand, include all the compounds in the hemp plant. So, you will get CBD, other minor cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and small amounts of THC. Many people argue that the best therapeutic benefits from hemp products come when using full-spectrum products because of the interaction of all the unique compounds (over 400!) found in the cannabis plant.

But, you are taking a higher risk of ingesting THC and building up in your system. Especially in the case of products that are using an oil, it has been processed and potentially concentrated in the lab extraction process.

Only Purchase from Reputable Hemp Companies         

This one can’t be stressed enough.

When hemp was legalized, a lot of companies, some who only were concerned about profit, jumped into the marketplace. We now have hemp CBD products found almost everywhere, even gas stations.   Unfortunately, this created a ‘Wild West’ scenario and many potential problems. Not only do some products have higher THC levels then they claim, but some also have much lower levels of CBD, or they have potentially harmful levels of metals or toxins.

Recently a Florida company recalled one of its CBD products after it was found to have a dangerously high level of lead. So, how do you tell? Well, every CBD product or hemp product you buy, you should be able to access the COA or ‘certificate of analysis’ test that indicates all the levels of compounds in that batch, including CBD, THC and heavy metals. If you are buying something over the shelf, there should be a website link to find the test for that product. If you are buying online, it should be easily accessible on their website.

Here is an example of the “compliance” tab on Colorado Breeder’s Depot website. As you can see, we freely publish all the COA’s on the strains we breed and sell and explain precisely what is being tested for and how.

Instead of Ingesting or Applying Your CBD, Smoke It!

The safest way to enjoy the benefits of CBD in a ‘full-spectrum’ manner but without risking a build-up of THC is by enjoying smokable hemp. Now, the caveat to that is to make sure you are genuinely purchasing tested, low THC hemp. Remember, check those COA’s!

But if so, you can be assured that you would have to smoke a HUGE amount daily for weeks on end of legal, smokable hemp flower even to get close enough to build up enough THC to trigger a positive on a drug test.

Ironically, however, because smoking allows the cannabinoids to be absorbed into our system more quickly and effectively than either ingesting or topical application, smokable hemp also offers more of the benefits with less of the potential THC risks of oil-based products. So, bottom line if you’re worried about a drug test but want to enjoy the benefits of CBD. Keep in mind these three rules:

  1. Buy from a reputable company.
  2. Check the COA’s.
  3. Smoke it.

Contact Colorado Breeder’s Depot for our very own, in-house bred, selection of high-CBD, low THC smokable hemp flower.


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