Employers who require pre-employment and/or random drug testing can choose the testing protocol from among several options.
As a best practice, they will leave the testing and reporting to a third-party to reduce the employer’s liability for meeting HIPPA confidentiality requirements.
That’s further complicated by the need for the employer to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
As the Society for Human Resources Management adds, “Drug test results may also be critical in determining eligibility for state- and employer-sponsored benefits.”
So, you can see that employers and employees must put up with tests determining employment and unemployment eligibility, workers’ compensation determination, disability benefits rulings, and more. But, different testing systems test for different issues. The question here is if CBD products will show up on a drug test.
Typical drug test findings
Testing is a routine safety precaution in the workplace. Drug consumption can create situations hazardous to the drug users and other employees. The typically administered 5-panel urine test examines contents for evidence of amphetamines, cocaine (including crack cocaine), marijuana (including hash), phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates. According to the Small Business Chronicle, “Amphetamines include illegal drugs such as methamphetamines, speed, crank and ecstasy.” Opiates include codeine, opium, and heroin.
A 10-panel test looks for additional evidence of barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, methaqualone and propoxyphene. These panels include benzodiazepines, butalbital, Darvon, downers, Librium, phenobarbital, and Quaaludes, and Valium.
Other testing procedures rely on evidence taken from a mouth swab or hair sample. And, some may test for evidence of past use as well as current or recent use.
Will Cannabis CBD Products Show Up on Drug Test?
The testing may not find evidence of CBD products that are 100% CBD. And, that means one of two things:
- You either stop using the products well ahead of the testing, or
- You make sure the product is 100% CBD.
Your problem lies in the fact that the market remains unregulated, so you have difficulty confirming the labeling claims on the package.
Where legal or not, CBD products have gained in popularity as therapy for an inventory of medical complaints. It reduces pain and seizures. It reduces muscular and psychological stress. And, you can find cannabidiol (CBD) in a gross of new products in oils, topicals, edibles, and more.
If the product is 100% CBD with little or no THC, it is not likely to test positive for marijuana. However, the U.S. Drug Center warns, “According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the recommended cutoff level of THC is 50 ng/mL [nanograms per milliliter] to pass a drug test. Most employers and legal services prefer to use SAMHSA certified labs as the standard, since it’s more likely to hold up in court.”
If CBD products are consumed with lower levels of THC, the person should have no difficulty passing. Conversely, using doses of CBD over 2,000mg/day can produce a false positive.
Popular CBD products
Hemp oil is derived from industrial hemp while cannabis CBD oil is derived from the whole cannabis plant. In addition, the cannabis is bred to have unusually plump trichomes. These glands have potent amounts of THC depending on the strain. But, the industrial hemp does not.
- Capsules are taken as daily supplements containing 10 to 25mg of CBD.
- Concentrates have the strongest dosage of CBD extract in the market, up to 10 times more strength than other products.
- Sprays have the lowest CBD concentration from 1 to 3 mg. But spraying is hard to calibrate.
- Tinctures are the most common form of using CBD oil because of the better effect. As a “purer” product, unaffected by manufacturing and processing, tinctures may provide the best screening results.
- Topicals CBD topicals include lip balms, lotions, makeup, moisturizers, and salves.
- Vapes smoke CBD oil. Compared to using capsules, tinctures and concentrates, vaping will have less effect on testing.
What to look for in CBD products
If you want to use with only mild effects and no psychoactive influence, you stand a better chance of passing drug screens. Still, you need to know what to look for:
- CBD-rich: You get the maximum therapeutic effect from a balance of CBD and THC. But, the THC that intoxicates also shows up on test results. So, you need a combination that significantly favors the CBD content.
- Labeling: Labeling, even in legal states, has not been standardized or authenticated. Shoppers must check the CBD: THC ratio and the content per dose.
- Testing: You want products that have been tested for bacteria, contaminants, mold, and so on. But, labels should also report testing on CBD and THC content and strength.
- Content: Best products include only quality products without additive, corn syrups, CMOs, or trans fats.
- Safety: CBD is extracted in different ways. You want to know if it carries the risk of residue from propane, hexane, or other solvents.
The continuing controversy
The argument between the advocates of hemp oil and those favoring cannabis-derived CBD will not end soon. But, it can confuse the question if cannabis CBD products will show up on drug test results.
You don’t want to get lost in that debate. Hemp has been around a long time, but cultivators have only recently sought to develop plants for therapeutic purposes. They market them as natural supplements, so they benefit from customer loyalties to that market. At the same time, their products are prepared and sold without regulation and standardization. It is true that hemp products have no THC, so that’s enough to keep them from showing up on drug tests.
Cannabis CBD products will likely contain some THC element because customers want the effects produced. And, testing experts admit that THC content under 50 ng/mL will pass. The trick is finding reliable information to confirm the CBD and THC content.
So, you have a few choices:
- Stop using cannabis CBD products well in advance of the test.
- Stop using cannabis CBD products with THC in excess of 50 ng/mL.
- Switch to Hemp CBD.
The courts have not ruled on how employers should handle testing of those who use cannabis CBD products as “prescribed” or “recommended” by qualified physicians. It will be interesting to see how employer’s address issues of testing adults who treat their recalcitrant epilepsy with CBD oil.