April 7, 2021

What To Know About CBD Oil And Drug Testing

Written by - Mallory Milne

minute read

CBD oil has steadily been increasing in popularity, especially in the past year. The rise in demand has seen an insane response, with literally hundreds of new companies jumping aboard to try and fill the need of consumers.

With people all over the globe claiming relief from issues such as anxiety, insomnia, pain relief, and much more, you may be thinking of trying it as well.

Despite it being legal in all of the US, as long as its under 0.03% THC or less, there are still many employers who are sticking with a zero tolerance policy.

What does this mean for you?

When it comes to CBD oil and drug testing, that innocent oil that everyone is talking about could cost you your job if you’re not careful.

What To Know About CBD Oil And Drug Testing

Before we get into the logistics, let's start with the basics.

Cannabidiol(CBD) is just one of the over 100 identified cannabinoids in Cannabis. Hemp and marijuana are from the same family class, Cannabis, and the majority of the world’s CBD comes from the tamer of the two plants, hemp.

Because of its high CBD, low THC ratio, it makes it perfect to use for CBD oil.

But…unless you’re taking CBD Isolate, which we’ll go over a little later on, you’re getting more than just CBD when you ingest CBD oil.

Full Spectrum CBD oil contains all of the beneficial nutrients, phytocannabinoids, and terpenes that are in the plant. One of these cannabinoids, THC, is the one you have to watch out for if you are one of the many who are drug tested for work.

THC is the compound in marijuana that is responsible for the high that you experience when you ingest it. While the amounts of THC in Full Spectrum oil may be extremely low, it is still in there.

THC and Drug Testing

Employers have every right to provide and maintain a drug and alcohol free workplace, regardless of what is federally legal or not.

They have the ultimate say when it comes to what is allowed on their premises, and what is not.

A breathalyzer can easily detect alcohol levels, but such a thing doesn’t exist when it comes to marijuana. Right now there is no real test that can determine between regular use or not.

Some employers make it a mandatory part of the hiring process, while others will periodically test.

Because THC can stay in the body for up to weeks after last ingesting it, it makes it difficult for employers to judge whether or not you’ve just toked up, if your last indulgence was a week ago, or in this case, whether you’re using CBD oil on the regular.

This is the reason that a lot of employers have a zero tolerance policy against any marijuana use.

How Do Employers Test For THC?

There are a few different tests that you may be subject to if your workplace implements drug testing.

The main test used to detect THC is actually looking for THC-COOH. This is what THC metabolizes into when processed by the body, and is called a THC metabolite.

Testers use an immunoassay with antibodies to detect any presence of the drug in your system

Employers may decide to use another method depending on the circumstance. Here are a few of the different tests that may be used:

  • Saliva – Can detect recent use, up to two days depending on the drug.
  • Urine – Most commonly used in the workforce, can detect from 3-30 days.
  • Blood – This method is used if an employer wishes to see the levels of any drug at that current time may be.
  • Hair – This method can show up to 90 days past drug use.

Most places of employment require 24 hours of notice  to employees in order to drug test, but there are a few cases when one might be immediately required to take one.

Cases such as an accident, near miss, or probable cause all fall under this category.

Things such as body fat, how regularly you smoke/ingest THC, the sensitivity of the test, etc all play into whether or not you might pass or fail.

THC is a lipid soluble chemical, and binds to fat cells, and this effect is cumulative(builds up). The THC that isn’t immediately used by your body is stored in your fat cells, and slowly released into the body over the next days/weeks.

Even if you haven’t recently taken any product with THC in it, depending on how heavy your usage is, it could show up for quite some time.

The more the fat you have on your body, the longer it is going to take to get rid of the THC that is stored within.

CBD Oil and Drug Testing

The vast majority of drug tests out there aren’t testing for CBD, they are testing for THC. The three different types of CBD products you can get are:

Full Spectrum – All cannabinoids and plant matter, including traces of THC.

Broad Spectrum – Full Spectrum, but with the THC removed.

CBD Isolate – CBD, and nothing else. No other plant material, cannabinoids, terpenes, etc are present. CBD Isolate is generally sold as a 99% pure crystalline powder, which can be mixed into any carrier of choice.

Because CBD Isolate contains only CBD, and nothing else, it is the ideal choice for anyone who is drug tested. This comes with a drawback however.

Scientists have coined the term the “Entourage Effect“. This is the name given to what happens when all of the parts of something work better in conjunction with one another than any of the singular parts on their own.

When it comes to CBD, some parts work to boost other parts, having more effect than just one compound would.

Research has shown that Full Spectrum CBD products are more effective than CBD Isolate, or Broad Spectrum.

THC may seem to some like an unwanted afterthought, but the truth is that this cannabinoid has a whole host of benefits to it. It isn’t just used for getting high.

Some benefits to THC:

  • Pain relief
  • Nausea relief
  • Cancer fighting properties
  • Stimulates brain cells, helps foster new growth
  • Sleep aid

Unfortunately, not everywhere in the world is ready to get on board just yet, despite the growing research on the many benefits that the Cannabis plant brings.

How To Avoid Failing A Drug Test Using CBD

There are a number of things that you need to take into consideration if you are drug tested and want to consume CBD.

As mentioned above, CBD Isolate is just CBD, and nothing else. This is your safest choice for products.

Any reputable company in the industry will have their lab testing and reports publicly listed on their site, and this is the most important thing to look at.

These tests need to be done by a non-affiliated 3rd party company.

This is called a COA – Certificate of Analysis. If a company isn’t willing to share this information with you, look elsewhere.

Mislabeled products are a huge problem right now. This study by JAMA, in 2017, shows 18 out of 84 products tested contained levels of THC high enough to possibly cause a fail, in spite of the “THC free” labels.

Broad Spectrum products are also an option, though again, you need to be very careful when reading the COA’s from your company of choice.

Broad Spectrum offers more benefits than just Isolate alone, and can contain other beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes. It is manufactured in such a way so the THC is removed from the final product.

Final Thoughts On CBD Oil And Drug Testing

The benefits are seemingly high, and with more research showing its true potential, CBD oil is fast becoming an alternative to some other medications that have more detrimental side effects.

Being smart about it is key though, and doing thorough research before buying and consuming any CBD product is extremely important if you want to keep your job.

Many companies understand the need for completely THC free products, and offer different options depending on what your looking for.

All of the companies on our recommended lists have been thoroughly vetted for quality, transparency, and accurate lab reports.

Some of them offer both Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum or Isolate, and some are completely dedicated to providing THC free products.

View the list of the best CBD brands here.

About the author 

Mallory Milne

Mallory is a mom of two, as well as the main content writer and owner of CBD Handle. She has been a consumer advocate and CBD user since 2018, and strives to relay accurate, easy to understand information and to educate others on the health benefits of CBD.


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    • We recommend starting out with an oil or tincture, at least 1000mg or more. Are you able to take full spectrum or does it need to be THC free?

  • i want to try cbd (oils) for sleep and anxiety. Not sure where to start either. I DO NOT want any thc though

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