Will CBD cause me to fail a drug test? 

Doctor handing woman cup for urine drug test


It is not unusual for a potential employer to have a drug test done as part of the pre-qualification process.

The use of CBD has spread as more and more people discover the benefits of using CBD for its potential health benefits. Unfortunately, failing a drug test has become a major concern for users. 

THC, a cousin to CBD and the psychoactive component in marijuana, is illegal in many states and will cause a failed drug test. Many wonder if CBD can have the same effect.

This is frightening for people who use CBD to:

  • Potentially manage chronic pain caused by serious illnesses like cancer, arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, Multiple Sclerosis, and more
  • Potentially reduce stress and/or manage anxiety disorders

Drug tests typically check if the applicant uses illegal substances or abuses prescription medication. 

Failing a drug test can impact a person’s future and livelihood. For some professions, failing a drug test results in an automatic job loss. It is important to be armed with the right information when it comes to CBD and drug testing. 

What substances do drug tests screen for? 

The most common substances that are targeted in a drug test include, but not limited to:

  • Barbiturates 
  • Cocaine
  • THC (derived from marijuana)
  • Amphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Methamphetamines

Drug tests do not screen for CBD. CBD is legal in all 50 states, so there is no need to worry that taking pure CBD will cause you to fail a drug test.

However, certain CBD products may contain a compound that is tested for in drug tests: THC. If your CBD product contains a high enough percentage of THC, it may cause you to fail the drug test. Not because of the CBD (because, again, drug tests do not look for CBD) but because of the THC.

There are also a few other potential reasons that taking some CBD products may cause a failed drug test. Keep reading to learn more.

Types of drug tests used in the workplace

There are a few different types of drug tests used, and their use varies depending on who is administering the test. Certain workplaces prefer specific tests. The most common tests include:

  • Urine test

This is the most commonly used test in the workplace thanks to its low cost. 

It can only detect THC when the levels in the urine are above nanograms per milliliter.

THC is detectable in the urine up to thirty days after consumption. 

  • Saliva test

In this test, a cotton swab is rubbed along the inside of the cheek to collect saliva and other material. This test looks for chemicals left behind by drugs.

THC can be detected in the saliva up to three days after use and longer for heavy and consistent users. 

  • Hair test

These drug tests target the first inch and a half of hair from your scalp. The reason for this is because it takes a month for your hair to sprout from your scalp and grow half an inch.

The test can detect THC up to 90 days after use. 

However, these tests are not quite as common because there is a higher than average chance of false positive results.

  • Blood test

This test is not commonly used in the workplace for drug testing because it is very invasive.

THC leaves the bloodstream five hours after consumption, so a drug blood test would need to be administered within hours after taking THC.

Scientist studying CBD for a drug test

What is CBD?

To understand why it’s a major concern whether CBD can cause a failed drug test, we need to understand what CBD is and what it is not.

CBD is short for Cannabidiol, one of the two naturally occurring substances in Cannabis sativa or marijuana. 

The other major compound found in marijuana is THC, short for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol. Unlike THC, CBD does not cause the user to be intoxicated or experience a sense of euphoria. 

A lot of people looking for natural alternative treatments opt for CBD. CBD has numerous potential health benefits without the intoxication effect that is characteristic of THC. 

Although THC and CBD are like cousins because they both are derived from the same plants, they are very different. THC is illegal in many states while CBD is legal throughout the U.S.

For the most part, using CBD will not result in a failed drug test. Not only is CBD not illegal, it is not tested for in most tests as well.

The question that arises next is, if CBD is extracted from its purest form, why then would a CBD user fail a drug test?

Factors that can increase the likelihood of failing a drug test

As we mentioned above, drug tests do not test for CBD because CBD is not an illegal substance. If you take only pure CBD with no trace of THC, you theoretically will not fail a drug test. However, there is still the potential that using CBD could cause a failed drug test in the following situations:

  • Some CBD products contain THC

Unfortunately, since CBD products are not regulated by the FDA, you cannot be sure what is in them. This makes it very important to only purchase CBD from reputable companies who participate in independent third-party testing so that you know exactly what is in the product.

CBD comes in three forms: 

 Full-spectrum CBD

This extract contains all the elements of the source plant from which it was derived.

This means that it will likely contain THC. However, if the extract is from the hemp plant, the law requires that it should have no more than 0.3 percent THC. Typically, this miniscule amount of THC is not going to cause a failed drug test, but unfortunately some CBD brands are dishonest about the true percentage of THC their products contain.  

Broad-spectrum CBD

This extract does not contain THC, but it does contain other compounds like terpenes and flavonoids.  

Again, although broad-spectrum CBD should not contain any THC, some companies are dishonest and THC may be present.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is pure CBD. No additional compounds, and no THC.

Although extracted from the cannabis plant, it does not contain other compounds from the cannabis plant nor does it have any traces of THC.

The type of product you buy should tell you whether how much THC it has. However, manufacturers are not always honest so it’s best to only purchase CBD from companies that undergo third-party lab testing.

In a 2019 study, researchers analyzed 67 CBD products in Germany and found that 17 of the products contained traces of THC above the stated or recommended levels. The amount of THC found was enough to cause intoxication. 

  • Cross-contamination with THC

This happens when products made from CBD isolate, which is the purest form of CBD, are contaminated with THC. 

This may happen in cases where the same manufacturer of CBD isolate products also produces products made from full-spectrum CBD.

Cross-contamination happens during bottling and packing, and when equipment has not been cleaned properly.

  • Second-hand inhalation of THC

There has been a lot of debate whether secondhand inhalation of marijuana can cause you to fail a drug test. 

A study done at The University of Calgary found that even hours after exposure to second-hand marijuana smoke, THC is detectable in the blood. 

You could fail a drug test within fifteen minutes of exposure in a poorly ventilated room. 

Drug tests do have a cut-off level and minuscule traces of THC can be ignored; however, some companies have a zero-tolerance for any traces of drugs found in a test. 

That can be very frightening and unfair for a person who tests positive due to being in the vicinity of an active marijuana user. 

  • Product mislabeling

As mentioned above, CBD products are not strictly regulated, and this can lead to dishonest labeling of ingredients.

A 2017 study found that 69% of CBD products tested contained 26% less CBD than marked. More alarmingly, one in five of the CBD products marked as not having THC had traces of the product. 

  • Accumulation of THC in your body

We’ve established that CBD products can contain small traces of THC. For a regular consumer, these small amounts can potentially accumulate to detectable levels. 

THC that is not metabolized is stored in the body as fat and over time, it is slowly released by the body. This can theoretically result in a positive drug test even when not currently using THC products. However, more research needs to be done before we know for sure how THC accumulates in the body.

Another factor to be aware of is how hydrated you are.

Dehydration causes THC to be more concentrated in the body and thus more easily picked up by a drug test. 

CBD drug test form and pen

How do you make sure that your CBD products are free of THC?

There are a few things you can do to ensure that you buy quality THC-free CBD products.

  1. The first obvious way to safeguard yourself from unknowingly taking THC is by buying your products from reputable, trustworthy companies. Our Wellness Garden Medicinals products do not contain any THC, so you can rest assured that you will not fail your drug test or experience any psychoactive effects.
  2. Read the product information to see what type of CBD it is (full-spectrum, broad spectrum or CBD isolate). 
  3. Ensure that all CBD products you buy are thoroughly tested by third-party independent labs. These labs are not affiliated with the company, so they run unbiased tests to see exactly what the product contains.

Third-party testing is crucial. The CBD industry is poorly regulated, and some scummy manufacturers mislabel their products. 

Honest manufacturers will send samples of their products to third-party testing companies, who will perform their tests and give results. This information will be displayed on a manufacturer’s website or product information. 

Other Ways to Ensure You Don’t Fail a Drug Test

Ensure that the CBD products you’re using have been tested by a reputable third party. 

If taking products with THC, allow time for it to pass through your system. THC typically takes two to three weeks to clear out of your system (although it may take months for certain people). Unfortunately, most drug tests cannot be postponed.

Avoid secondhand smoke from THC users. Although uncommon, studies have shown that it can happen. If you are in the company of a THC-user, be sure that you’re in a well-ventilated area. 


Pure CBD products will not yield a positive drug test for the simple reason that drug tests do not look for CBD. They look for THC.

Our CBD products do not contain THC so the chances of you failing a drug test are essentially non-existent. Enjoy our CBD products knowing that our priority is your health and well-being, and that all of our products contain zero THC.

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