CBD (cannabidiol) has recently taken on a lot of popularity leading many to become both curious and skeptical. Some of the common questions are:
Will I test positive on a drug test if I take CBD oil?
Can I pass a drug test when taking CBD Oil?
Will CBD Oil show up on a drug test?
These are very valid questions as drug tests have become more and more popular as employers strive to provide a drug free workplace. Some perform a drug test before even offering an individual a job. Others take it one step further and perform random drug screens periodically throughout the year at random. Thus posing the question as to whether an individual will get hired or possibly lose their job if they use CBD oil.
We’ll get to that answer but first let’s explore some background information on drug testing.
Let’s begin by understanding what a drug test is, what the individual is being tested for, what is needed to be provided for a drug test, and why companies perform them.
What Is A Drug Test?
A drug test, for employment purposes, is a test that is commonly requested by a company either before hiring the individual or during their employment at random to screen them for drug use. These tests are typically performed at a laboratory of the company’s choosing.
The company will have a contract with a third party, such as a laboratory, whose job is to collect and test the specimen for the drugs that the employer has requested. A few examples of some of these laboratories are Quest Diagnostics, Lab Corp and Alere.
These laboratories have Medical Review Officers, licensed physicians, responsible for interpreting and reporting drug test results. Although these laboratories might be the ones performing the tests they are partnered with various other organizations that are collection sites such as Any Lab Test Now. Collection sites are responsible for identifying the individual, collecting the specimen and shipping it out to the laboratory for testing.
Prior to beginning the collection and testing process, the employee must consent to the drug test and also consent that the company they are either seeking employment from, or working for, will receive a copy of the results. Sometimes the results are instant and other times the results take a few days. It all depends on the type of test the company requested.
What Am I Being Tested For?
The collection of drugs being tested, or panel, is selected by the employer. This is largely based on the industry of the company and the duties of the employee. There are some predetermined, commonly used panels that laboratories offer. An example of what a basic 5-panel drug test might include is cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamines and opiates.
There might be employers that choose to be more thorough and perform a 10 panel, 12 panel, or more of an a la carte panel. An example of what a 12 panel might include is: cocaine, marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, methamphetamines, propoxyphene, oxycodone, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, methadone, phencyclidine, and buprenorphine. A 10 panel will be similar to a 12 panel but without 2 of the drugs. The drugs included in panels differ slightly but generally include the majority of the ones mentioned previously.
An important thing to note is that individuals who take prescription drugs in the categories of the drugs being tested would lead to a positive drug test. However, if the individual can provide the Medical Review Officer a prescription that a physician has prescribed to them the test will then be reported to the employer as a negative test.
Some examples of this might be a person who recently had surgery and had to take a pain medication such as oxycodone or a person taking appetite suppressants such as benzphetamine or phentermine. These might lead to a positive drug test in which case the Medical Review Officer will reach out to the individual being tested and ask them if they take prescriptions and request the tester to submit the prescription information within a certain amount of time prior to results being released to the company.
In short, the employer determines what they want their employees, or potential employees, to be tested for. This is generally determined based on the company’s HR policies and position responsibilities.
What Do I Need To Provide For A Drug Test?
This too is determined by the employer and mainly the industry that the company is in. The most common type of drug test is a urine test. However, if the company is looking for longer detection times they might test hair or even nails.
What this means is that each drug is metabolized by your body differently and can be detected through different forms for different periods of time. For example, a urine test might show up negative for cocaine whereas a hair drug test might show positive for the same individual because hair has a longer detection time.
Your hair tells a much longer story than a urine test. The amount of hair being collected is not a lot, about the size of two pencil erasers being cut. Law enforcement agencies, medical personnel and pilots are a few examples of industries that commonly require more strict tests due to the nature of their industry.
Why Is My Company Drug Testing Me?
Companies strive to ensure a safe workplace. It will decrease their liability and injuries by having a drug free workplace. Therefore, they want to ensure that before they offer an individual a job they know whether the person has the potential of being a risk to the company.
Certain drugs may interfere with the individual’s ability to perform their job such as their mental clarity and overall alertness. This is especially critical when other people’s safety and lives rely on the individual’s clear headedness.
Industries in which the person is operating heavy machinery, law enforcement, pilots, medical personnel and pharmaceutical agencies are especially vulnerable and therefore typically require larger drug panels and longer detection times to show a longer drug history.
Will I Test Positive On A Drug Test If I Use CBD Oil?
Now that you understand all of the aspects to drug testing we go back to the original question as to whether or not taking CBD oil will cause a positive drug test. An important thing to note is that there is CBD oil that contains THC (0.3% or less is the legal threshold) and CBD oil that DOES NOT contain THC (these are THC Free Isolates).
If the company is testing for marijuana and the person is taking CBD with THC then there is a chance that they might test positive. It will heavily depend on how frequently the individual uses CBD oil with THC and the cutoff levels that the laboratory is using.
Update: Drug Testing & CBD | State Issues Bill To Change Drug Testing Threshold To Protect Consumers
The amount, or percentage, of THC in a high quality (from a reputable manufacturer) CBD oil is pretty low (0.3% THC or less). However, depending on the test cutoff levels and sensitivity of the test they’re performing it might detect it and therefore lead to a positive drug test.
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If the company were to order a ‘quantitative’ urine test instead of a urine dip stick than they would find that the actual percentage of THC levels were very low and not aligned with an individual who smokes or uses marijuana regularly.
If the individual uses CBD oil that DOES NOT include THC and they are being tested for marijuana then they will test negative since there is no THC in standard CBD oil (THC Free Isolates). There are many who use full spectrum CBD oil (0.3% THC or less) and never have problems with drug testing. You should always be cautious to use high quality CBD oil from reputable manufacturers who independently test all products. Not all are created equal nor have the quality of what is listed on the label.
However, if the company is specifically testing their employees for cannabidiol (CBD), then obviously the person taking CBD oil will test positive. The reasons why a company may choose to test specifically for cannabidiol in a drug test is largely based on their policies and overall understanding of the effects of CBD in a person’s system.
Although there is a lot of information out there on what CBD is and what it isn’t there are still a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings. On a positive note, the chances that your employer will include CBD alone, not THC, as a part of their drug test is uncommon unless you’re in a highly regulated industry like law enforcement. Most commonly, marijuana (THC) will be a part of the panel but not CBD.
Drug tests are performed to ensure safety in the workplace, regardless of the industry. The extent to which employees are screened for drugs heavily relies on the duties of their job. Industries where people’s lives are at stake typically have more in depth drug screening and commonly perform random drug screens throughout the year.
There is no standard one size fits all when it comes to drug testing. There are various forms, panels and detection times. Educate yourself of your company’s drug testing policy before taking CBD oil with THC, in the event they perform random drug testing.
It is pretty safe to assume that unless you’re in a highly regulated industry, taking CBD oil (without THC) will not lead to a positive drug screen.
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