can you test for cbd oil

Will CBD Oil Make You Fail a Drug Test?

The use of cannabidiol oil (CBD oil) went through a dramatic increase over the last few years. In fact, 14% of U.S. adults (Brenan, 2020) now say they use CBD products. While the accessibility of CBD oil is prevalent, the Department of Transportation has issued a notice regarding CBD products and usage. Will CBD oil make you fail a DOT drug test? If so, what can you do to get your job back? We’ll answer these questions and more in this helpful guide from American Substance Abuse Professionals.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound that is extracted from a cannabis plant. Cannabis plants can be classified into two categories: hemp and marijuana. CBD comes from both types. CBD products that come from hemp plants typically have a much lower concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the chemical that gives marijuana most of its psychological effects. CBD products from marijuana plants contain higher concentrations of THC, sometimes as high as 30%.

Non-psychoactive CBD oil is often used to treat anxiety, inflammation, arthritis, epilepsy, and a range of other conditions. In many states, a prescription is not necessary to purchase CBD oil. However, the Department of Transportation has their own notice regarding CBD use, as outlined below.

Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

The production of CBD products remains unregulated. The Food and Drug Administration does not verify THC concentrations in CBD products. As a result, products labeled “THC-free” or “Low THC” may still contain more than the legal concentration limit of 0.3%. This means that no matter what type of CBD oil you purchase, you run the risk of failing a DOT drug test.

Will CBD Oil Make You Fail a DOT Drug Test?

According to the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, any CBD products that contain more than a 0.3% concentration of THC are classified as marijuana. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I substance. Despite state laws permitting the use of recreational and medical marijuana, the Department of Transportation prohibits safety-sensitive workers from using marijuana.

The DEA recently added a limited exception for CBD products containing less than 0.1% THC. These products fall into the Schedule V category of the Controlled Substances Act. However, there is only one medication available currently that complies with those stipulations. It is call EPIDIOLEX®, and it is prescribed for two rare epilepsy disorders.

CBD products with a THC concentration above 0.3% will yield a positive DOT test result for marijuana. Even if you have never used marijuana before, the CBD could result in a failed DOT drug test. As a result, the DOT says, “Safety-sensitive employees should exercise caution when considering whether to use CBD products.”

CBD products are largely unregulated and may contain other compounds due to processing. This means that regardless of what the label says, or, what you’ve read on the Internet, the CBD product you purchase could potentially cause you to test positive. This poses a real risk to safety-sensitive workers that must pass a DOT drug test.

What to Do If You’ve Failed a DOT Drug Test

If you have failed a DOT Drug and Alcohol Test, there are programs available to help you return to duty. You will be required to complete a Return-to-Duty process outlined by a DOT Qualified Substance Abuse Professional. ASAP has a network of over 5,000 DOT SAPs throughout the country. Enroll now to get matched with a SAP in your area, and find out what your options are.

I Take CBD Oil. Will I Pass a Drug Test?

So, you want to know if you are going to fail a random drug test if you try CBD. It’s a good question. The answer is yes and no. It would be a definitive NO with the exception of a few details that we will cover. The inherent danger for consumers is the lack of regulatory oversight and unscrupulous companies that jump into the CBD industry looking for a quick cash grab. Other concerns have to do with outdated company policies and a handful of states that are still being stubborn about hemp.

We will start from the top with the legality of hemp CBD oils on the federal level, then discuss states, and finally what sort of drug screens employers use to discriminate against employees and applicants.

Is CBD Legal in All 50 States?


On the federal level, CBD oil derived from hemp plants with a THC content of 0.3 percent or less, on a dry weight basis, is legal. Provisions from the Hemp Farming Act were included in the 2018 Farm Bill, making industrial hemp and hemp derived products federally legal after nearly 80 years of prohibition. But before you run off and start measuring out doses of CBD, that does not necessarily mean you won’t be taking a big risk. It’s tricky.

The United States federal government has legalized all hemp and hemp derived products that have .3 percent or less THC content on a dry weight basis (Image courtesy of Sugar & Kush)

The FDA has labeled CBD as a drug instead of a supplement. Last year they approved Epidiolex, a cannabis derived pharmaceutical drug to treat certain types of epilepsy. By doing so, they really confused our military branches and other government divisions.

Here’s what the site says:

“If a substance (such as THC or CBD) is an active ingredient in a drug product that has been approved… then products containing that substance are outside the definition of a dietary supplement.”

Due to this technicality, CBD oils remains a banned substance for a number of government jobs and some military branches, so if you work or contract for the government, make sure you are up to date on the alcohol and drug policies.


Many states have permissive medical marijuana programs, but that is not really the concern here. What matters is whether your existing employer will fire you, or potential employer will pass on hiring you if you don’t pass a drug test. In fact, Nevada is the only state where law has been enacted that prevents most employers from discriminating against people that have failed a test for THC. If you take a CBD product that contains even a trace amount of THC, and a test comes up positive, you could lose your job or not get hired in the first place. Blood, hair tests and urine tests are almost always looking for THC. So, here is the big questions. Is there THC in your CBD oil?

Is There THC in CBD Oil?

There very well might be some THC in your CBD oil. You might think, “Well, so what?” It’s true that a trace amount of THC will not get you high, but it could still result in a positive drug test. The federal government has deemed hemp plants with a THC level of .3% or less, on a dry weight basis, are legal. They obviously accept that small amounts of THC are ok, but that does not mean that your employer does. It is essential that when you shop for CBD oil, you look for signs that there may be THC present in the oil. Beware of any oil labeled full spectrum CBD oil.

Does CBD Get You High?

No, CBD alone does not get you high. It can help you focus and destress, which in a way is mind-altering. But high? Nope, not CBD. THC is the cannabinoid that gets you high and while both cannabinoids come from the same plants, they are actually quite different.

THC mimics the endocannabinoids our bodies produce naturally by means of binding to CB1 receptors in our endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS). CBD doesn’t even bind to CB receptors. It actually spends most of its time preventing other molecules from binding to CB receptors, including THC, which can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC depending on CBD:THC ratios.

Does it work?

Not only are there countless testimonials about CBD reducing seizures, helping veterans struggling with PTSD, and a laundry list of other ailments that it helps, there are also many official studies out about its medicinal value. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, or NCBI, has produced many articles summarizing studies that have been conducted on the effects of CBD. There are even studies about how it may treat schizophrenia and autism.

Is There a CBD Oil Drug Test?

No, there is not a CBD oil drug test. An employer could have a CBD oil test created if they really wanted to, but it is highly unlikely. It is a biological molecule and there are certainly ways to detect its presence, but for most employers testing for CBD could be a giant waste of time. Most drug screens are looking for THC though, not CBD. That does not necessarily mean that your employer does not ban the use of CBD. You can always look at your employer’s Drug Testing Policy Statement and if they don’t have one available, just ask to ensure you are covered.

Will Taking CBD Make Me Fail a Drug Test?

Yes, because some CBD oil products may have a little THC in them, especially full spectrum products. If you check the labels on CBD products, they should tell you if there is any THC. Beyond that, there are definitely shady companies that are not being honest about the contents of their CBD oil. Keep reading about some of the shady tactics we have identified by some CBD companies.

Shady Companies

Here are the 5 top ways CBD companies falsify information to get your business.

Our CBD is lab tested for purity

Third party testing is a critical component for keeping manufacturers from falsifying label information and if you stumble across a CBD brand that doesn’t have a testing certificate available for you to view from a reputable CBD testing company, then head for the hills. Some companies will photoshop lab test results and even fake the ingredients, because there is no regulatory body that can police CBD product potency.

Our CBD products are derived from the hemp plant

While putting that the CBD is hemp derived on the label might be enough to ship according to the 2018 Farm Bill, it doesn’t mean that producers listen. There has been an overproduction of cannabis across the United States and rather than destroying valuable marijuana, some producers will extract CBD from cannabis plants versus hemp plants to save money. If they are willing to cut that corner, then what other corners are they cutting? Maybe they are leaving a little THC in the bottle.

100% all-natural ingredients

While CBD derived from hemp may be all-natural, most companies neglect to mention that preservatives, flavorings and fillers may not be all-natural. If there are any additives in the CBD oil that you are taking, then there is a good chance it is no longer all-natural.

USP Certified (U.S. Pharmacopeia)

USP Certification is a paid regulatory agency that certifies ingredients are of the highest quality for consumption, the product is made in a good manufacturing environment and that what is on the label is indeed inside the bottle. Unfortunately, there is no easy way for a consumer to tell if the CBD company has paid for the verification or just slapped the logo on the bottle.

1000 mg of CBD in each bottle

Unfortunately, some producers are skimping on the amount of CBD in their bottles. There have been media exposes that uncovered an alarming number of manufacturers who either put a small amount of CBD in their formulations or none at all. Check for the third party lab’s certificate of analysis to ensure there is a CBD 1000mg dose in the bottle.

The FDA and FTC sent out letters to the three biggest manufacturers of CBD products warning them about making claims concerning the benefits of CBD and what they can say. But, that is only 3 out of what is estimated to be more than 11,000 CBD brands.

Unfortunately there are way more dubious CBD producers that are looking to capitalize on the CBD wave, versus producing a quality hemp based CBD oil. Until there is regulation, research and reading CBD oil reviews are the only real way to find a brand that works well for you.

Feeling “Something” vs “Placebo”

Imagine you have been taking a CBD oil for a week and telling all of your friends how great it is making you feel. You are getting a great night’s sleep, you feel stress free and your back pain is not bothering you as much. Then you read an article about a CBD company that has been shutdown because it turned out that they were actually selling hemp seed oil, but telling everyone it was CBD oil.

You continue reading and discover there is no CBD in hemp seeds. You look over at your bottle of CBD oil and see that it is from the same company. You haven’t actually put any CBD in your body for the last week as it turns out. You have been duped by the placebo effect and the shady company.

The only way to really know if CBD is working is to continue taking it. Over time your aches, anxiety and insomnia will creep their way back into your life after the mental block begins to fail.

How much CBD Should I Take?

How many mgs of CBD should you take? Do I take a CBD edible? How many 25mg CBD gummies should I take? Well that very much depends on your weight and the condition you are trying to treat. While some medical professionals, like Dr. Daniel Clauw from the University of Michigan, have begun to voice their opinions on dosing for CBD, but the information is thin at best.

The key is to start slowly and increase your dosages overtime until you find that perfect balance. To optimize its health effects you may need to vary doses, but the most important thing to know first is how to measure the mgs of CBD you are taking. Here is a handy dosage calculator that we created, but we aren’t doctors or pharmacists, so this isn’t a prescription, but it’s what worked for us.

MG to ML

While CBD is measured in milligrams (mgs), CBD oil will come in a bottle which is measured by volume or milliliters (mls). The key is to know how many mgs of CBD is in 1 ml of CBD oil, which is the capacity of most droppers when full. Then you can know how many mgs you are taking in one full dropper. By dividing it by 2 you can know how many mgs are in half of a dropper full.

How many mgs in a dropper?

The certificate of analysis for a CBD oil product should clearly tell you how many mgs of CBD are in each bottle. So, if it tells you that there are 513 mgs of CBD in a 30 ml solution, then 1 full dropper of CBD oil with 1 ml of solution will contain approximately 17mgs of CBD. The equation is:

Total Mgs of CBD in bottle ÷ 30 mls = mgs of CBD per 1 ml or one dropperful

If you fill the dropper half way, divide the answer by 2. Confirm the volume of the dropper bottle of oil and the dropper itself to make sure you are measuring out the appropriate CBD dosage. The equation remains the same; total mgs of CBD divided by the total mls of oil in the bottle. Adjust measurements accordingly if you discover your dropper holds more or less than 1 ml.

How Long Does CBD Stay in the System?

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Center’s site, CBD has a half-life of about 18-32 hours. That means it takes roughly a week to leave your system.

How Do I Choose a Reputable CBD Company?

Enough with the CBD madness! We decided to do a focus study group over a period of 30 days to see if the CBD was working for us.

Our team here at High Times are lab rats, so we tested a bunch of CBD products just for you (Image courtesy of Sugar & Kush)

We bought 1000mg CBD oil from a grocery store, 1000mg of chronic flavor from a smoke shop, 1000mg natural from a cannabis dispensary, 1000mg of “Focus” CBD from a local gas station and a Vanilla CBD oil online to test on our staff (we are lab rats). The results were all over the place, as we expected. The only product that had a third party lab testing certificate of analysis was the Vanilla CBD we found online. Everyone seemed to agree that they like it the most too.

Here is a quick recap:

  • CBD from the gas station was the worst performer from a taste and efficacy standpoint. The fact that it was called Focus and it actually did the exact opposite, we won’t be buying anymore from the guy around the corner.
  • The Whole Foods had some nice looking CBD products, but that’s about where it ended for us. It was overpriced and there was no discernable difference in how it made some us seasoned vets feel.
  • The dispensary CBD was good. Really good. However, it is Full Spectrum and derived from cannabis, so it is a big no-no for those who might have to take a drug test.
  • The Sugar and Kush CBD tincture 1000mg not only worked, but it tasted delicious. This one is a hemp derived CBD, with the lab report on their website, so no risk of failing a drug test with this product.

How Can I Pass A CBD Oil Drug Test, Guaranteed?

Your employer, or potential employer, should provide you with a Drug Testing Policy Statement that should include a Scope of Testing section. There you should learn what drugs they are actually testing you for, and cannabidiol (CBD) probably is not one of them. If it isn’t, then you want to make sure your CBD is made from a pure CBD isolate which would then ensure there is no THC.

Instead of a full spectrum CBD oil since it may have THC, look for a pure CBD isolate oil. The Sugar & Kush CBD product labels clearly shows cannabidiol is the only cannabinoid present (Image courtesy of Sugar & Kush)

But the most guaranteed way to make sure you don’t test positive on your drug test…

Can You Fail a Drug Test Due to CBD?

As the medical marijuana industry continues to leave its footprint on the field of medicine, science — and the general population — are exploring new ways of experiencing it. Cannabidiol, or CBD, has stepped into the spotlight as a highly-regarded form of alternative medicine and has gained much traction in the medical marijuana industry. Furthermore, its list of benefits is no longer purely hypothetical. A growing body of research is finding that CBD could be highly beneficial to treat certain medical conditions. That doesn’t mean it’s workplace-friendly, though, which leads to the question: Can you fail a drug test due to CBD?

What is CBD?

CBD is a cannabis compound that many claim has medical benefits but without the feeling of being high — something that happens as a result of the THC in marijuana. However, in typical CBD products, there is no THC.

In fact, CBD can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. This makes it an appealing alternative for treating issues such as:

  • Inflammation.
  • Anxiety.
  • Seizures.
  • Arthritis.
  • PTSD.
  • Epilepsy.

It’s a suitable option for people who want to take advantage of its healing properties without getting “stoned” or resorting to traditional pain medication. It’s a welcome alternative, considering our country’s current opioid epidemic.

It’s even being explored for its anti-cancer properties — although to be clear, this research is still very much in progress.

Further adding to its trustworthiness is the fact that science has suggested CBD can safely be consumed even at high doses. People are giving it to their dogs and taking it for common needs like hair, skin, and nail health. More and more, CBD is becoming as common in people’s pantries as their daily multivitamin.

The Popular Consumption of CBD

CBD can be sourced from marijuana or hemp. In many cases, the oil is extracted to be consumed as a liquid, made into pills, or mixed directly into food. Some people prefer to consume it through vaporizer pens, which — because you’re inhaling it — offers a more or less immediate reaction. (Important to note, though, is that vaporizer pens can carry their own downsides.)

Others prefer to use it topically — for example, with CBD salves or creams that are applied directly to the body. This is a particularly interesting approach because since dermal absorption can’t produce psychoactive side effects, even if there is any THC present in the CBD, you still won’t feel high.

Can You Fail a Drug Test Due to CBD?

What does all of this mean for drug testing in the age of legal marijuana? Managing a drug-free workplace is becoming increasingly challenging for employers. Individual states are legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal and sometimes even recreational purposes. However, it’s still up to employers what they will and will not tolerate in the workplace. It can understandably be confusing trying to understand your rights as an employer along with your employees’ rights.

Where does CBD fit into all of this? As it turns out, it’s a much more simple and straightforward answer than marijuana.

Again, it points back to the fact that CBD doesn’t get you high. According to Quest Diagnostics Director of Science and Technology, Barry Sample, CBD likely won’t show up on a drug test: “If the product contains only CBD and has had the THC removed, then an individual being tested would not be expected to test positive for marijuana or marijuana metabolite.” In other words, marijuana drug tests screen for THC, not CBD.

This is an important point, because CBD is still widely taboo, as people assume it’s the same as marijuana. However, because it doesn’t bring that kind of high, people who use it aren’t actually impaired. Thus, the risks that drug use brings simply aren’t there.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the recommended cutoff level of THC is 50 ng/mL to pass a drug test. Most employers and legal services prefer to use SAMHSA-certified labs as the standard since it’s more likely to hold up in court.

Most hemp oil or CBD products are usually sold with much lower levels of THC (compared to marijuana), so most CBD consumers won’t have trouble passing a drug test. For those using extremely high levels of CBD or hemp oil (over 2,000 mg per day), it’s possible, though unlikely, that this could produce a “false positive” result on a drug test. Even then, a follow-up test can provide more conclusive results.

While research has shown that it’s unlikely that CBD products alone would lead to a positive result on a drug test, it’s important to note that CBD was found to interact with the body’s metabolism of certain compounds. What this means is that CBD users who also use marijuana may actually show higher levels of THC for a longer period of time than when using marijuana alone.

So, it would seem that CBD alone is not enough to raise any red flags on a drug test; although, if you’d prefer to err on the safe side, refraining from taking even CBD if you’re expecting a drug test is likeliest the best approach.

Understanding federal and local laws and trying to protect your workplace without infringing on your employees’ rights can be a big undertaking. We can help. Maintaining a drug-free workplace all starts with having a bulletproof drug-free workplace policy. Whether you don’t have one at all or have one that could be improved upon, working with US Drug Test Centers can help protect you and your team.

We’ll help you address tricky questions such as:

  • If someone was prescribed marijuana by their doctor, can they come to work with it in their system?
  • Similarly, can they carry it on them on the business’s property?
  • If recreational marijuana is legal in your state, what does this mean for employees who fail a drug test?
  • If you allow a minimal amount of THC in employees’ systems, how much?

We can also help you manage all aspects of your drug-free workplace using our cloud-based software. Plus, with more than 20,000 locations nationwide, you’ll never have to drive more than a few miles before you find us. Drug testing has never been this convenient.

US Drug Test Centers is an industry leader in providing nationwide drug testing solutions for individuals and employers alike. To learn more about drug testing services, specialty drug testing, or to find a drug testing center near you, contact us at 866-566-0261 or order a test online.