CBD and Drug Testing: Everything You Need to Know
With the popularity of Cannabidiol (CBD) steadily rising, more consumers are enjoying the natural compound in many different forms. With this increase in popularity, however, there has been a related increase in the confusion surrounding CBD and drug testing.
Some companies use Full Spectrum CBD in their products due to its low cost, however Full Spectrum means the CBD oil has not been further refined to remove other cannabinoids (such as THC). Some consumers who have used these products from other companies have actually failed drug tests due to detectable amounts of THC present in their full-spectrum CBD oil.
Our products on the other hand, use only 100% pure CBD Isolate, this type of CBD is more costly to use in our products, yet it offers non-detectable limits of THC due to its repeated processing that removes all other cannabinoids and terpenes. This means you can confidently consume our oils and vapes, knowing you are receiving only 100% pure CBD without the worry of THC entering your system.
To better understand why some CBD products on the market might contain THC, the illegal compound that will test positive in a drug test, let’s briefly look at how CBD is manufactured, from raw material to extraction methods.
The Raw Material: Industrial Hemp and Cannabis
The first step to finding out how THC can end up in your CBD oil is by understanding industrial hemp’s relationship to other cannabis plants, like marijuana.
Both plants are part of the diverse cannabis genus, which is a branch of the Cannabaceae family. This family, like any family, is quite varied with over 170 plant species, including hops, a key ingredient in beer.
The main domesticated plants of the cannabis genus are cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. While indica is always classified as medical marijuana, sativa can either be categorized as industrial hemp or medical marijuana.
In the US we differentiate sativa between hemp and marijuana by how much THC is in the plant. More than .3% and it’s marijuana, less than .3% and it’s hemp.
This is an unorthodox way to separate plants in a genus, and the two varieties are often indistinguishable in appearance. It’s how they’re grown and what they’re used for that attributes to their unique appearance.
For millennia humans have cultivated cannabis sativa for two reasons: its strong fibers and its medicinal properties. But no matter how we’ve used it, the plant always contains THC.
What does this mean to you and your CBD oil? The raw material, known as industrial hemp, contains trace amounts of THC because it’s the same plant as medical marijuana—it’s all cannabis.
Your CBD Oil: Broad-Spectrum vs Isolate
In the US, only CBD oils made with industrial hemp are legal. But as we’ve seen, hemp plants still contain trace amounts of THC, up to .3%.
How a manufacturer obtains the CBD from the bulk-pressing of hemp plants is crucial. Pressing hemp for CBD leads to two forms of the compound: broad-spectrum and isolate.
Broad-spectrum compounds can contain trace amounts of THC. That’s because they not only include CBD, but other terpenes and cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.
It’s possible to have the trace amounts of THC removed, but that’s up to the manufacturer’s discretion and requires another pass of extraction, which is costly. Some companies may not do it.
The company may even have a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for the product which states that their compound is free of THC, yet a COA doesn’t guarantee that they’re processing every batch the same way as their test batch.
Ultimately, you have to trust that the company is as diligent in removing THC as they claim.
Chromatography is a simple, effective process that scientists have used since its invention in 1900. This is how it works:
CBD molecules are slightly smaller than THC molecules. When you place the raw extract through a pressurized filtration process with liquid and sand, your first extract will be CBD. That’s because the CBD molecules travel through the filter much faster than THC.
The result of chromatography is pure, crystalized CBD. We use CBD isolate in all of our Balance products, like our “Awaken” Strawberry Fields gummies. With an isolate, you can enjoy the benefits of CBD with zero THC.
Drug Tests Don’t Detect CBD
Just because you don’t feel the effects of THC in a broad-spectrum CBD product doesn’t mean there isn’t any. While unlikely, buying broad-spectrum CBD could put you at risk of failing a drug test.
Remember, no drug test screens for CBD because employers usually adhere to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) guidelines. CBD is not on the SAMSHA list—THC is, or more specifically, its primary metabolite, THC-COOH.
The reports of failed drug tests usually occur for two reasons: First, heavy consumption of a product that has trace amounts of THC; second, the product contains higher THC content than advertised.
There’s already some great literature on trace amounts of THC resulting in a positive drug test. The gist is that you’d need to consume upwards of 1,000 mg of broad-spectrum CBD to fail a drug screening.
But it’s also important to know that different tests have different fail thresholds, and our bodies metabolize THC at individualized rates. So, there’s no exact dose of broad-spectrum CBD that’ll cause a fail—for you, it could be more or less than 1,000mg.
And what if the victims of failed drug tests didn’t take high doses of broad-spectrum CBD? Most likely, they bought a broad-spectrum product that had more THC than advertised; the company didn’t properly extract the compound.
You’re Safe with Balance CBD
If you’re worried about failing a drug test, you need to confirm that your CBD consumables are free of THC.
Your safest option? Purchase CBD oils that use an isolate, like ours at Balance CBD. Broad-spectrum products are just too risky because they can contain unknown quantities of THC.
Not only are our CBD consumables THC-free, but they’re full of organic ingredients, too. We have product lists dedicated to specific needs. Check them out and begin your journey towards a balanced state of mind today.