Will CBD Cause a False-Positive Drug Test?

This is a very common question to which there are a number of ways to answer. Anecdotal stories abound on CBD drug test results, and it is hard to know who to trust. Isn’t CBD the same as marijuana? What if I have to take a drug test for a new job or get tested at my current one? How do drug tests work? How can I test positive if I am not even getting high? Lets start with some of the basics before answering more advanced questions. – so let’s tackle this subject together!

I Thought CBD was from the marijuana plant?

This is a Yes ‘and’ answer. Hemp (where CBD comes from) is a member of the Cannabis family, but of the Sativa genus, which has very low THC (the psychoactive component of Marijuana). Hemp and Marijuana are actually terms, or broad classifications, that we have adopted in our society. Neither are a legitimate nomenclature for the Cannabis plant, so don’t get too hung up on the names

Hemp is a term used to classify a variety of Cannabis that contains less than the legal limit of 0.3% THC. Once the plant passes this 0.3% threshold is now considered a Schedule 1 Control Substance and becomes federally regulated where it is left to the states to legalize. You can learn more about the similarities and differences here.

Hemp and Marijuana are actually terms, or broad classifications, that we have adopted in our culture. Neither are a legitimate nomenclature for the Cannabis plant. According to a newly legalized 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is only legal if it contains less than 0.3% THC, which is the psychoactive substance in marijuana that makes you high. To put this in perspective, a normal marijuana bud may contain anywhere from 15% to 40% THC, which makes it 1500 times stronger than the THC found in CBD. So yes, CBD can come from the marijuana plant, but Hemp sourced CBD can contain .03% or less of THC.

Next, lets dig deeper into the pharmacokinetics of CBD, which gets my little pharmacist heart racing. Pharmacokinetics is the study of how drugs move and are metabolized in the body. What we know about CBD is that it is fat soluble, which is why we see MCT oil used to extract CBD from the hemp plant. MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, and it is a type of fat found in certain oils and dairy products. Now don’t go judging MCT oil just because I mention the word “fat”. It’s quite the useful supplement and has a variety of pro-health effects like supporting weight and fat loss, increasing your energy, and reducing the risk of heart disease. See…it’s not that bad??

Another fact about fat soluble substances is that our body is slower to metabolize them, and they are stored in our fat cells much more readily. We see this with fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. Fat soluble vitamins are more likely to be stored in fat than excreted by the body, so it’s easier for larger quantities to be held in your body and cause toxicities, which can also lead to testing positive when taking low doses of CBD that contain THC.

The risk of testing positive can be much lower when taking CBD that is sourced from hemp combined with a removal and refining process to remove THC and other compounds like wax, chlorophyll, and plant pigments.

This also may explain why some studies have found CBD to have a half-life (amount of time for your body to metabolize ½ of the drug) of up to 3 days once stabilized on this therapy. So that is all good right? Since CBD is fat soluble, it may build up in your body over time and potentially give you a false positive report for marijuana. Which leads to my next point…

Do you know how much THC is in your CBD?

Choosing the correct manufacturer is the best way to answer this question. There are some critical questions to answer such as: how does the farmer grow their hemp? Do they use organic methods only? Are they Farm Bill compliant and regulated by their state agricultural lawmakers? Do they test their product with an independent lab and post their results for each lot number?

All legitimate manufacturers will have less than the legal limit of 0.3% THC, but many others don’t monitor this which can harm you. Every item you receive of your product should have a QR code, which you can scan and review the contents of each bottle. This kind of transparency is critical in an industry with many fly-by-night and get-rich-quick operators. The product that we carry at Lifegiving Botanicals goes through the additional step to removing THC, yet leaving all the other beneficial portions (terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) of the plant in the CBD.

Can I test positive for Marijuana if using CBD?

If you use a quality product from a verifiable manufacturer then your chances of testing positive decrease dramatically. We cannot say with absolute certainty that you will test negative with either the 0.3% THC version or the 0% THC formulation. In my personal experience, I do not know of anyone that has tested positive with either one, and that includes testing myself after being on the 0% THC formulation for 6 months.

We do know that CBD and THC are fat soluble, which is why taking a softgel with a fatty meal can increase the absorption rate. The body does not excrete fat soluble substances very well, and we see this in the vitamin world.  What this means is that the body stores fat soluble vitamins for a much longer period because it has a harder time dissolving and excreting these substances in our water-soluble blood.

There is some anecdotal evidence that over time the 0.3% THC may accumulate in your body and spike for a positive test.

If you are at a job or applying for a job that does drug testing, it’s best to be safe and stick with a 0% THC version of CBD. I am uncertain of how long you would have to stop taking the 0.3% THC version for it to flush out of your body, but results vary on the person. We will study this question more in the paragraph below.

Some people may also question the efficacy of the two products. Since my time in the CBD world, I have only sold the THC-free version of CBD and have not had any issues with potency or effectiveness. As long as you have the full range of plant products in your CBD (over 100 different cannabinoids, terpenes, vitamins and minerals) you will receive the full power of this tiny molecule.

How do the drug tests monitor for THC?

Most employers institute a two-stage process for testing for marijuana. The first test is looking for THC or it’s metabolites to see if they are present at all in the body. If this test is positive, then a more detailed assay is taken to verify the actual amount of THC in the urine sample.

A positive test could indicate recent or past usage of marijuana, but the time frame is uncertain. The cut-off level is considered 50 nanograms per ml which is considered the limit when you will be impaired by the THC. The more frequent the use the longer time is needed for your body process the THC stored in its fat cells and give a negative test result. Some articles suggest 3-5 days for infrequent users, up to 15-30 days for heavy users, and 30-60 days for chronic users when specifically dealing with marijuana ingestion. However, much depends on the individual and metabolism times may vary greatly.

So, while it’s not likely to test high enough to surpass the 50 nanogram threshold, it is still a possibility and I have heard many stories where people have failed their drug test. I was not able to verify which product and if any concurrent marijuana use was present, so I have taken these reports with a generous grain of salt.

Why choose Lifegiving Botanicals?

It is difficult in today’s CBD world to know who you can trust. When evaluating manufacturers there are some objective criteria you can use to determine if an item is trustworthy. Whether or not you choose a Lifegiving Botanicals. product, you should apply the following criteria you optimize your chances at procuring a high-quality product that will serve your needs for years to come.

  • Product Label is not confusing – far too many products are hard to understand exactly what you are getting. The label should be clear and easy to understand (e.g. 1500mg / 50mg per serving)
  • Hemp grown in the USA – look for certification that the grower meets the farming standards set forth in their state.
  • Organically grown Hemp – ensure that no chemicals or pesticides are used in growing these crops.
  • Certified lab reports on each lot of CBD Hemp Oil – look to verify amount of CBD in each bottle and also eliminate the potential presence of impurities or toxins from the soil
  • Nanoemulsion technology – increases bioavailability (amount of drug in your bloodstream) and also improves palatability. The name of the game in the CBD world is absorption.
  • Extraction Method – CO2 extraction is preferred method and safest way to extract CBD from hemp.
  • Customer service – does your product have a legitimate website that provides top quality customer care? Do they medical experts with industry expertise to advice on how best to take this medication?

At Lifegiving Botanicals we are committed to providing an educational environment and experience that offers reliable, relevant content and insight supported by the highest quality products and state of the art processes. We believe if our customers have access to concise and up to date information, they will make decisions that are well-informed and right for them.

You can rely on our product to provide consistent results at a reasonable price and it tastes good too! My 27 years of pharmacy practice have helped forge to what I believe is a unique viewpoint on CBD that isn’t being shared anywhere else, so come and join our family and see the amazing things that CBD can do.

For additional information on Drug Interactions, send me a note through the Contact Us page, and I’ll send you my exclusive Drug Interactions Spreadsheet, CBD 101 document, and CBD Oil FAQ article. We will also keep you up to date on industry news and provide valuable information on how to continue to optimize this therapy. Let me be your personal corner drugstore pharmacist and CBD guide, I am here to help YOU.

(1) What Makes Hemp Different From Marijuana(2019). Retrieved from https://ministryofhemp.com/hemp/not-marijuana/


The views in this document are expressly the opinion of Sean Gale RPh, and are not meant to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease states or medical conditions. Please consult your physician before beginning any CBD therapy. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Buyer is to consume CBD at their own risk. You may contact me directly at sean@lifegivingbotanicals.com.