Marijuana Madness: This Is How CBD Oil Can Cause A Failed Drug Test
Cannabidiol, otherwise referred to as CBD is considered by a growing number of Americans to be the best thing since sliced bread. Not only does this non-intoxicating component of the cannabis plant provide people with relief from conditions ranging from anxiety to chronic pain, but it’s also mostly overlooked by law enforcement, in spite of its outlaw status in the eyes of the federal government.
But people are being told that they can consume CBD on a daily basis and never have to worry about failing a drug test. Unfortunately, this claim isn’t entirely valid. It turns out there is still a minute risk of failing a drug test when using CBD products. Sadly, it is impossible to know whether an individual is susceptible to this result until it is too late. There are many variables to consider.
Earlier this month, a woman from Atlanta, Georgia claims she lost a job opportunity because a pre-employment drug screen discovered THC metabolites coursing through her veins. But how could this be? She didn’t have a history of marijuana use. The only thing even remotely close to marijuana she consumed before the test was the CBD oil her doctor recommended as a way for her to combat anxiety and pain.
A report from WSB-TV 2 indicates that the woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, used CBD oil for two weeks before she was invited to submit a drug test for a new job. She thought she had nothing to worry about, up until human resources called to tell her she had been disqualified from the applicant pool due to a failed result.
“They expressed that I have a positive THC test,” the woman said. “I have never consumed marijuana in my life.”
Although the CBD compound itself will not lead to a failed drug test, Anthony Laborde of Discount Nutrition, which sells a variety of hemp-based CBD products, including the brand the woman reportedly used, says “it is one thing we warn our customers about, there’s a possibility.”
Because CBD products do contain a trace amount of THC (no more than 0.3 percent), he said, “there is always a possibility you could fail” a drug screen.
It is due to the inconsistencies associated with the manufacturing of CBD products that makes it impossible for the consumer to know what they are getting their hands on. Since none of the CBD products sold over the counter have been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is relatively easy for pseudo cannabis companies to skimp on testing and other important quality controls.
In some cases, these products are not CBD at all.
Over the summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report showing that phony CBD merchandise was responsible for poisoning more than 50 people in Utah. A laboratory test showed they were not CBD, but rather “synthetic marijuana, often referred to as Spice and K2. Other reports from around the country surfaced later showing this was not an isolated incident.
“Having no idea of what’s in the product is absolutely unacceptable,” the woman said.
It is not common for CBD users to turn out a positive drug test for THC. Yet, sometimes when patients are consuming in upwards of 1,000 milligrams per day, it can trigger a false positive. The average CBD user typically only consumes between 120 to 160 milligrams daily. Still, Consumerlab president Tod Cooperman, whose company tests natural supplements like hemp-based CBD, says around 10 percent of those people who use CBD can test positive for THC. So, “it can happen, he said.
“It also depends on not just the product, but some people metabolize CBD differently,” he added.
When it comes to CBD it is always best to purchase these products from a reputable dealer. Due to their popularity, CBD products can now be found in convenience stores and trucks stops all over the country. While we are not saying that these products cannot be trusted, it is likely a better move to procure them from anywhere other than a 7-Eleven. Just saying. This may not better your chances of passing a drug test, but it could prevent any number of undesirable occurrences.
Be careful out there folks!
Mike Adams is a contributing writer for Forbes, Cannabis Now and BroBible. His work has also appeared in High Times. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
CBD Won’t Get You High, But It Could Mean You Fail a Drug Test
When you buy a CBD product — let’s say CBD oil tincture — that’s marketed as “THC free,” as many CBD products are, the last thing you’re probably worried about is failing a drug test.
After all, drug tests look for marijuana use, not CBD. Right? Well, it’s actually not so simple.
Despite its legality, non-intoxicating cannabidiol (CBD) products — even those marketed as “THC free” — can actually cause consumers to fail drug tests. False-positive drug screen results have serious consequences for the tens of millions of Americans who must pass drug tests in the workplace, in the military, for accessing unemployment benefits or even competing in athletic events.
False positives are also a problem for the employers who do testing: disqualifying candidates who may have hard to find skills; bad PR and even a lawsuit.
Thanks to the federal legalization of hemp, CBD products are widely available at mainstream retailers such as CVS, Kroger, Walgreens and others. An estimated 25% of Americans have given CBD a try, and approximately 1 in 7 adults said they use CBD products regularly.
It’s time we re-examine the common practice of drug testing that can penalize someone so severely for using a federally legal substance.
Testing can be imprecise
There is no comprehensive federal law that regulates drug testing in the private sector. As a result, testing methods and state requirements vary widely. Different types of drug tests have different detection thresholds; over-the-counter medications, supplements and even foods or beverages can cause someone to fail a drug test. Some estimates indicate 5% to 10% of all drug tests produce a false-positive result.
Urinalysis, the most common method of drug testing, is also considered the least accurate method. Urine drug tests are usually done via immunoassay (also known as “office collection,” where the analysis is performed on-site). Immunoassays are less sophisticated than sending samples to a laboratory for testing, but are widely used because they’re fast, cheap and easy to administer. A Mayo Clinic guide for clinicians acknowledged that “the main disadvantage of immunoassays is obtaining false-positive results.”
There’s no reliable data for CBD false-positives, though Forbes quoted a testing lab executive estimating 10% of regular CBD users can test positive for THC.
Fired for CBD use
Drug tests are not designed to detect CBD, but CBD products can trigger false positive results because of the way drug tests work. Urine tests don’t actually detect drugs in the system. They detect metabolites, the compounds the body creates as it processes a substance. Urine tests typically screen for the metabolites of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive and federally illegal cannabinoid found in cannabis and, to a lesser degree, in hemp plants.
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So while hemp-derived CBD in and of itself is legal, full-spectrum CBD products often contain trace amounts of THC — up to 0.3% by weight is legal. Unfortunately, many of these products are marketed as “THC-free,” which is misleading. Many consumers don’t realize that over a period of use, the small amounts of THC can accumulate. The human body eliminates heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine metabolites in just a few days, but THC metabolites can remain detectable for weeks.
False positives can have very real results. A recent Consumer Reports article documented three instances of CBD product consumers who were fired after failing drug tests — and that’s indicative of a much larger problem. Just this past September, a 72-year-old Washington man who was taking CBD oil for glaucoma and arthritis tested positive for THC and lost his job. NASA has warned its employees that using CBD products could get them fired. And The New York Times in October explained how a common drug testing method easily can return false-positives.
What to do
Some argue that anyone who’s regularly drug tested must avoid CBD altogether. But what if your CBD medicine is prescribed by a doctor (as is required in states like Texas and many others) for serious conditions like epilepsy or multiple sclerosis? An Arizona woman who was fired after a false positive was taking it for seizures and migraines. Anecdotes abound, but the truth is that the vast majority of those who use CBD take it for pain.
As a veteran, I know active-duty service members who could benefit from having CBD as an option to address chronic pain, PTSD or addiction issues, but because of drug testing, their options are pretty much limited to prescription opioids and benzodiazepines — or nothing at all.
Some states and zero-tolerance companies are stepping up and revising their policies. Others say that in the wake of widespread cannabis and hemp legalization, we should stop testing for cannabinoids altogether. One thing remains clear: Testing that could result in serious consequences — from losing a job to losing parental rights – should not be this unreliable.
HR professionals and employers need to ensure that the lab they use for their drug testing is aware of the potential false-positives CBD can produce and that the testing method can recognize the difference. Even then, employers will still need to account for their employees and candidates who use CBD to treat medical conditions and may inadvertently have used a THC-free product that wasn’t