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Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

by Christian Vergara |

You’ve been thinking about CBD but have concerns about drug testing. I asked myself the same question, would CBD cause me to fail a drug test? Not that I had to take one, but I was curious to find the answer for others who might be concerned.

Full-spectrum CBD products contain .3% or less THC. THC is the intoxicating, active ingredient found largely in the Marijuana plant. This is the compound that nearly all drug tests are looking for, although some look for other cannabinoids as well. Broad-spectrum or isolate products utilize a process to remove the THC from the extract. This is the recommended option for those subject to substance testing! As the THC is entirely removed from the process this is a much safer option. Although, there’s still a very small chance of some amount of THC being in the products, it is the safest bet.

Are there any options for you?

Yes! Don’t worry, even if you’re subject to drug testing there are options for you. 

Those who are concerned about substance tests need to take extra steps to ensure they’re not putting their job or reputation at risk. For anyone who falls under this category, your best bet would be choosing any “THC-Free” CBD products. These products have gone through a process to remove the THC content entirely from the extract. 

This provides you with a much safer option as opposed to full-spectrum products that do contain a small amount of THC. Although in most cases it is not enough to produce a positive result on a drug test, it can. Therefore “THC-Free” products would provide you with a significantly safer option for ensuring that you pass any upcoming test. 


What is THC?

THC is the cannabinoid (a compound found within Cannabis plants) that produces an intoxicating “stoned” or “high” feeling. Most commonly found in the Marijuana plant due to its high THC content. As opposed to Hemp which has low levels of THC & high levels of CBD.

Although in recent weeks THC has been painted as a more dangerous compound, it is actually very safe & effective for many purposes. In fact, THC has been researched more extensively than CBD!

This is because initially, scientists thought that it was the chemical responsible for most, if not all, of the therapeutic properties of Cannabis. Also, it took time for scientists to discover the hundreds of other cannabinoids & compounds found within these plants. In the year 1940, CBD was identified by Dr. Roger Adams, one of the founding fathers of CBD!


Is it a guarantee that you won’t fail?

Nothing is truly guaranteed in life. As such, there is still a small, unlikely chance that the “THC-Free” CBD you take still has some amount of THC in it. But there are ways to be more certain that it doesn’t!

One of the most important factors when purchasing CBD products is who you’re getting it from. Whoever you decide to purchase from is the one you are placing your trust on. So, research your options & choose carefully. You should ensure that the CBD products are third-party lab tested to ensure the THC levels are truly zero. Any worthwhile brand will provide these reports (AKA “COA or Certificate of Analysis”) on their website available for you to view at any time, for every product produced.


Full-spectrum vs. Broad-spectrum vs. Isolate

There are three main distinctions of CBD products concerning how much they’ve been processed & cleaned of the naturally occurring chemicals. 

Full Spectrum refers to CBD products & extracts that haven’t been altered or processed in a way to remove certain parts of the Hemp plant. Meaning that everything that is found in the plant winds up in the product. This includes, but is not limited to, THC along with 400+ cannabinoids & compounds. Generally, these products work best as the various cannabinoids synergize with one another to create a more powerful, wholesome extract. 

Broad Spectrum represents the “middle-ground” between all three options & includes the removal of some of the naturally-occurring compounds. Usually, this includes THC along with other waxes & compounds. This creates a “cleaner” extract that is more transparent in color due to its higher level of processing. In this case, most of the naturally-occurring compounds are preserved, but not all which is important!

Isolate products are the most stripped-down version of CBD. As the term “isolate” implies, these kinds of products solely contain CBD without any other of the other cannabinoids or compounds from the Hemp plant. This provides the safest option for those concerned about drug testing. Although, typically you will have to take more as an isolate than you would with a broad or full-spectrum product. That doesn’t mean these products can’t be effective, just that you may have to take a higher amount to achieve similar effects.

If you’d like to read more about the CBD spectrum read this article: “The CBD Spectrum: Explained”.

Will CBD cream make me fail?

Most widely available CBD creams, lotions, balms, & salves are considered “topical” in their delivery method. This means that the product only penetrates the skin & therefore doesn’t enter the bloodstream.

This is an important factor as this means that your results from a blood test wouldn’t be affected by the use of topical CBD. There are certain tests that include sampling hair follicles which may be a bigger concern although we have yet to hear of a failed test due to a topical product.

The only way the contents of the cream could reach your bloodstream is with “transdermal” products which are made to penetrate through the skin & enter the bloodstream. These usually come in the form of patches & specifically are for those who’d like the systematic effects of CBD but don’t want to ingest it. The products will clearly be marked as transdermal instead of topical. Be sure to stay away from these products if you’re concerned about drug testing!

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