Cannabidiol (CBD) has become hugely popular in the United States and many other countries in the world, but there is still a lot of misunderstandings when it comes to how CBD is regulated and whether or not you can get in trouble with your job for using it -especially when it comes to various drug tests, like a hair test. In all fairness, a lot of this confusion is justified. Much of our drug testing and policies have not been updated in quite some time, and there is always a chance for mistakes and false positives to be made.
But what is the current reality with CBD and drug tests, specifically the ever-important follicle (hair) test that many companies employ? We are going to delve into this subject and explain exactly what you need to know if you have, or may have, an upcoming hair test and are a CBD user.
CBD and Drug Tests
Before we get too deep into this topic, there are a few basics we need to cover, such as exactly what CBD is and what our modern drug tests are looking for. CBD is one of over 100 cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, but unlike THC (another cannabinoid), CBD does not contain the psychoactive or mind-altering ingredients that make you feel high. This is recognized by current federal law, which breaks down Cannabis into two separate groups -marijuana and hemp.
Marijuana plants, and products derived from them, contain over.3% THC and are still banned by federal law -though state regulations generally take precedence. Meanwhile, the Hemp plant is defined as Cannabis with less than .3% THC and is allowed under federal law thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. Almost all CBD comes from the Hemp plant and is thus fully legal.
Now when it comes to drug testing, there are quite a few variations, though none of them are looking for CBD since it is legal. What a typical drug test looks for are:
- Marijuana (particularly THC)
The fact remains that THC will cause a positive on a drug test, and this might still be a concern for some CBD users. But CBD is not THC, so why would this happen?
Will Any Hair Tests Find CBD?
As we stated, even the hemp plant still has a small percentage of THC inside of it. While the CBD extraction process and subsequent product testing it supposed to ensure total product purity, many brands are not as careful as they pretend to be. This issue is typically worse with full-spectrum CBD oils as there are numerous compounds purposefully left in.
Poor manufacturing techniques and faulty product testing have actually caused certain individuals to lose their job due to trace amounts of THC being found inside their systems. According to Consumer Reports, there have been multiple reported incidents of this happening, and while it is rare, it is still possible. There is also the theory that using large amounts of relatively pure CBD oil may cause the THC to build up over time.
There is no hair test for Cannabidiol. CBD will not cause you to fail a drug test, but poorly made CBD products may have traces of other compounds that will. It is estimated that roughly 1 in 5 CBD companies are releasing products with THC levels that are above what they claim.
You need to be sure you are buying from a company that has a good track record. Look for those that offer a Certificate of Analysis (COA). As there is no standard for testing procedures on the federal level, a COA is the best that you will be able to get in most states.
How is a Hair Follicle Drug Test Different From Other Types of Drug Testing?
While all drug tests are looking for the same compounds, the hair follicle test specifically looks at the strands of your hair to determine what compounds you have been ingesting. A follicle test has a larger “detection window” than other forms of tests. A urine test, for example, may only find some compounds within three days of use, while a hair sample will give proof of use back as far as ninety days.
Since hair samples are much more sensitive, they are generally of more significant concern to CBD users. This is especially true given the idea that THC can build up over time and cause a false positive. It is possible that THC metabolites can stay within a hair follicle for up to three months.
CBD will not show up on a hair follicle test, there is no hair test for cannabidiol, but taking large amounts of impure CBD oils may cause THC to show up, and could cause you to ‘fail’ the test.
Choose Your CBD Carefully
If a CBD oil-producing company does everything by the book and uses hemp that was grown to exacting standards, it will be nearly impossible for you to fail a drug test. Make sure you are using brands that are transparent about the chemical makeup of their products. In the best cases, you will also be able to see results from 3rd-party lab testing.
If you fail a drug test due to poorly made CBD, you will still have options available to you. Make sure to speak to your employer and explain your situation. Employees have been able to fight and win under such circumstances in the past. Contact your HR department and go to your doctor for documentation justifying your use of CBD. Make sure to ask for a retest as well and disclose your CBD usage. If your company refuses to work with you, seek legal help.
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