Can CBD make you fail a drug test? – Organabus CBD

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Can CBD make you fail a drug test?

Can CBD make you fail a drug test?

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On the surface, it seems like a silly question. Of course, CBD won’t show up on a drug test. It’s not the molecule they’re looking for. What the nebulous and ever-present they want to find out is if you’ve been partaking of THC, the other active molecule of the cannabis plant; the one that causes you do to ridiculous things, like eat a whole box of Cheez-its in one sitting or argue that songs by Phish are actually listenable. So why in the name of Sanjay Gupta would anyone think CBD posed a danger here? 


Easy, tiger. Slow down and take a breath. It was barely ten years ago that people were still afraid the hemp protein powder from Whole Foods would get them high. We’ve come a long way, so cut the newbs in our midst a little slack. Besides, believe it or not, there is actual merit to the concern.   


Wait, really? Yes, really. 


The concern isn’t actually with CBD, but rather lies in the fact that a lot of the CBD products you’ll find on the market aren’t just CBD. Often, the active portion of the product is a plant extract made from a CBD-rich strain of hemp. Hemp, per section 10113 of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, is any variation of the species cannabis sativa L with a THC content of no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis. This means that depending on the type of CBD product you are ingesting, it could still have trace amounts of THC—and sometimes, a trace amount is all it takes to trigger a positive on a drug test.  


It’s nearly impossible to prescribe a universal, one-size-fits-all answer here. There are myriad factors that come into play; weight and metabolism of the individual, exact level of THC in the product, frequency of use, the type of drug test administered—the list goes on indefinitely. 


Here’s what we do know. 


In 2019, the Journal of Analytical Toxicologyreleased a study in which two out six participants tested positive after a one-time vape session of cannabis with a THC content of only 0.39%. Granted, that’s technically above the legal limit, but by less than one-tenth of a percentage point and they only vaped once. We also know that THC can build up in your system with repeated use. Therefore, if you are one of the millions of Americans whose job (or freedom, even) is dependent on a clean drug test, your best bet is to steer clear of whole plant extracts altogether.  


Sadly, the mounting anecdotal and preliminary scientific data we have suggests that CBD works best when taken in the most natural form possible, i.e., as a whole plant extract. It’s called the entourage effect and we’ll likely address it in a future post. For now, Google is your friend. 


But that doesn’t mean that isolates are totally useless. Hardly the case. After all, there is great, and there is greater. A quality isolate is great; a broad-spectrum extract, greater. 


Below, we’ve provided a quick rundown of the three basic extraction types in which CBD products come, along with a description and level of risk. 


Extraction Type


Risk of Triggering Drug Test Failure

Full spectrum

Hemp extract that contains all the natural compounds of the plant. 


Broad spectrum

Natural hemp extract that has been slightly altered, but still contains a wide variety of the natural plant compounds. THC is eliminated, but trace amounts are still possible, though not probable. 



Pure CBD, typically in crystalline form. 

Virtually nonexistent




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