Would taking CBD make me fail a drugs test?

Monday June 7, 2021

A question we are often asked is “Would taking CBD make me fail a drugs test?” It makes sense to wonder how taking CBD could affect the results of a drugs test that you might have to take in connection with work, driving or sports.

Drug testing is a standard procedure in certain professions, particularly in industries of critical safety. If you work in areas such as transport or emergency services, it is likely that you’ve been subject to drug testing more than once in your career. Some businesses use random testing as part of their everyday safety culture. With this happening more and more frequently, what does it mean for CBD enthusiasts?

Here is what you need to know to stay in the clear.

UK drug testing

Aviation, rail and shipping are just some of the industries where drug testing is standard. According to drug-testing companies, drug tests are becoming more and more common in the UK for employees and reasons include pre-employment recruitment screening, workplace medicals or after an incident or accident.

UK athletes and non-UK athletes training or taking part in a competition at any level within the UK are required to follow the anti-doping rules of their sport and are subject to testing.

It’s illegal to drive if you’re unfit to do so, irrespective of whether the drugs you have taken are legal or not. There are specified limits for a list of 17 drugs which includes prescription drugs, and it is an offence to drive if these are exceeded.

While there may not be a CBD drug test, there is a cannabis drug test to identify the presence of THC, the intoxicating constituent of cannabis which is illegal. CBD consumption will not get you ‘high’ like THC as UK regulated CBD oil contains either very low amounts of THC or none at all. So there is little chance you will have a test positive for THC after using CBD oil.

How do drug tests check for cannabis?

There are a number of different types of drug test but they all work in a similar way. As most drugs break down very quickly in the body, drug tests look for the chemicals called metabolites that remain after the drug breaks down. You are most likely to receive a cannabis urine test, but you could also be tested for the presence of THC in your saliva, sweat, hair or blood.

Drugs are present in a urine test for up to four days following last usage for most narcotics. However, cannabis is metabolised relatively slowly and can be detectable for up to two weeks with heavy use. As well as cannabis, most urine drug tests will also detect cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and benzodiazepines.

The THC drug test

The cannabis drug test identifies the presence of THC, the intoxicating constituent of cannabis which is illegal. Different types of cannabis drug tests will have different thresholds for the amount of THC that they can detect.

To pass a THC drug test, you must have less than 50 ng/mL of THC present in your urine. This means you would have to consume upwards of 2 g of CBD with 0.2% THC to even be remotely close to failing. Considering this is 1000 times greater than the average user’s daily dose, people consuming CBD normally have nothing to worry about.

Police drug tests in the UK

Police in the UK can require individuals to take roadside drug tests if they suspect a driver of drug-driving. This usually involves a saliva test, where people are generally tested for cannabis and cocaine.

CBD users should have nothing to fear. Given that CBD is a legal substance in the UK, it will not show up on the results.

Not all CBD products or sellers are equal

So drugs tests which look for illegal cannabis use test for THC. CBD products should only contain trace amounts of THC if anything at all. To be sure you do not find yourself accidentally consuming significant amounts of THC, always make sure that you buy CBD from a regulated seller. Not all products on the market have the same quality and concentration.

We recommend you look into the brand you are considering and look at the quality of the CBD content in your product. Reputable CBD brands will share their lab results for each batch to show exactly what is in the product. Be aware that you can check how much THC is in the product if they disclose lab results for their product. You can see our independent batch reports here.

If the product does contain trace amounts of THC, this should fall below the cut-off levels of the drug test. With a product bought from outside the UK, however, this could be very different. Some unregulated CBD oils can contain up to 5% content of THC and if you use these regularly, you could test positive for THC.

We hope that this has answered your question of if you were thinking would taking CBD make me fail a drugs test?