Industry Insights

Will CBD Oil Result in a Positive Drug Test?

CBD oil is short for cannabidiol and is a compound found in cannabis, which has gained popularity over the last few years for its therapeutic properties. Advocates claim to see positive changes when combating anxiety, seizures, and a number of other issues, but the products aren’t legal in all 50 states. Although most CBD products claim to have under 0.3% THC, which is classified as hemp, the products remain unregulated making the THC levels unreliable.

The DEA states, “for practical purposes, all extracts that contain CBD will also contain at least small amounts of other cannabinoids. Although it might be theoretically possible to produce a CBD extract that contains absolutely no amounts of other cannabinoids, the DEA is not aware of any industrially-utilized methods that have achieved this result.”

What is CBD?

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical compound responsible for marijuana’s psychoactivity and euphoria and is usually screened for in a typical urine drug test. When drug testing is mandated, employers follow guidelines, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which has a set cutoff level for a positive test at > 50 ng/mL. When a test is positive, it then gets screened again with a confirmatory GC/MS or LC/MS test, which have cutoff levels of 15 ng/mL and is specific only to the THC metabolite.

In order for CBD, or cannabinoid-rich hemp oil products to test positive on a drug test, an individual would have to be using unusually large amounts (above 1000-2000 mg) of the product. Due to the fact that it remains an unregulated drug, some CBD oils have as much as 1/10th the THC concentration as marijuana. Therefore, consuming high quantities of CBD oil will leave enough THC in your system to trigger a positive test result and cause impairment.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

One of the main issues lies in the fact that CBD oil brands are often contradicting because the doses aren’t standardized. Some brands will recommend a much higher dose than others increasing confusion with its inconsistency. CBD oils are not from state-sanctioned programs, and those who are using the suggested serving size might test positive on a drug test even if they are going by the doses.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published several letters warning consumers of the inaccurate content of various CBD oil products and states that “many were found to not contain the levels of CBD they claimed to contain.” The FDA is making an official ruling on its first-ever CBD drug, called Epidiolex, on June 27, 2018, but has already voted 13-0 in favor of approving the drug. Once regulated, CBD oil will be a safer solution with reliable doses for users.

Vice President of Operations, David Eades, added, “Bottom line is if you’re unsure of what’s in it, don’t take it. Many hemp or CBD products, regardless of their legality in your state, are unregulated and can contain THC which might show up on a drug test. Medical disclosure policies make employees working in a safety-sensitive position disclose their prescription drug use to the employer, helping to cover all bases for legal drug use that no tolerance policies don’t provide.”

DISA’s drug testing offers expanded drug panels and multiple testing methodologies to enhance your drug testing program and meet compliance and regulations for your industry-specific needs. Our solutions offer best-in-business practices with Medical Review Officer services, compliance assistance, and expert laboratory analysis. Our extensive collection site network makes it easy for you and your employees to effectively meet testing requirements.

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For more than 30 years, DISA has been a provider of workplace safety and compliance services. DISA helps companies make more informed staffing decisions by offering a broad array of industry-leading methodologies to make employee screening faster and more accurate. For more information about DISA call 1-800-752-6432 or email