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Can CBD Show Up on a Drug Test

You might have heard about CBD when looking for natural alternatives for treating certain conditions. But when you look it up and discover its connection with drugs, you might second guess its effectiveness. 

You might also worry that CBD could lead to a failed drug test and get you fired. We’re here to clarify that CBD is only part of the illegal (depending on where you live) plant it comes from.

The drug tests you undergo detect another compound called THC, which is different from CBD. The two compounds come from the same source but each has different effects. In other words, it should be fine to take, right?

Technically, yes. However, there are some CBD products that have THC mentioned on their label. This is usually the case in high-quality CBD products. They contain trace amounts of THC to amplify the CBD’s alleged effects. 

This phenomenon is known as the entourage effect. The THC from such CBD products may accumulate with frequent use, which drug tests may eventually detect.

Drug Tests for CBD

Mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug tests placed cutoff levels for THC at an initial drug test level of 50 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter) and a confirmatory drug test level of 15 ng/ml

You must remain cautious when taking CBD products that contain THC, especially if you have a drug test coming up.

Here are a few known drug tests that may detect THC when you take CBD products that contain THC.

Urine Tests

Most workplace drug tests involve urinalysis. When testing for THC, a drug test will have positive results when it detects 50 ng/ml of THC in a urine sample. Note that THC may remain detectable between three days and a month after using a THC-rich product.

Saliva Tests

A lot of CBD products come in oral tincture form, which suggests that saliva tests may detect the THC in oral fluids. When it comes to THC testing in saliva, experts have suggested the initial screening cutoff to be 4 ng/ml and the confirmation cutoff level at 2 ng/ml.

Blood Tests

Although blood tests are uncommon for cannabis testing, some states have established policies against driving under the influence of THC. States like Colorado and Washington consider 5 ng/ml of THC in blood as an impairment, while other states have zero-tolerance policies.

How Much CBD Can I Take Daily?

It’s difficult to put a number on how much CBD you can take to lessen the chances of THC accumulating in your system. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve a drug to determine proper and standard dosage. Epidiolex is the only FDA-approved CBD drug, which is used to treat children who experience seizures due to rare epilepsy forms (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome or Dravet syndrome).

If you intend to use CBD for any condition other than the FDA-approved use, you may get some insights from existing studies conducted on humans’ CBD tolerance. One study noted that human subjects can tolerate up to 1,500 mg of CBD a day. Meanwhile, a clinical study on anxiety had positive results when patients took a daily dose of 25 mg to 175 mg of CBD with only minimal side effects.


As mentioned before, CBD is non-psychoactive while THC is psychoactive. Both compounds are naturally occurring in hemp plants. Some plants have higher concentrations of THC, while other hemp plants have less than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis, which is the federally legal limit.

Types of CBD

When you want to buy CBD, you will notice that a lot of them come from hemp plants because they contain more CBD than THC. Currently, there are three types of hemp-derived CBD for sale on the market:

  1. Full-Spectrum CBD: This type of CBD product contains all components of the plant from which it comes. This includes both THC and CBD along with flavonoids and terpenes, which are responsible for a plant’s aroma and natural flavor.

Since this type of CBD contains the full range of naturally occurring cannabinoids, it produces the entourage effect. Experts believe that this phenomenon involves all cannabinoids working together to produce synergistic effects.

  1. Broad-Spectrum CBD: This type of CBD product contains most components of the hemp plant. The only difference is that this variant is THC-free. If you are worried about the potential psychoactive effects that you might experience when you use CBD products with trace amounts of THC, consider broad-spectrum CBD products.
  2. CBD Isolates: This is the purest type of CBD product on the market. Manufacturers extract CBD from the hemp plant and sell the CBD they retrieve as a powder or crystalline product.

How to Use CBD Oil

CBD oil products come in various forms. There are oil tinctures suited for ingestion, topical products for external use, and CBD vape products for inhaling. Ingesting or vaping CBD with THC content may increase the chances of THC accumulation. Meanwhile, you may opt for topical CBD products that you apply to your skin to lessen the chances of failing a drug test.


Drug tests detect THC, not CBD. But if you regularly use CBD products that contain trace amounts of THC, the THC may accumulate enough to be detected. The best way to avoid failing a drug test is to use CBD products with THC that are within the federally legal limit (0.3% by dry weight) or products that have no THC at all.

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