© Leonard Frieling, 2018 Lafayette Colorado
Can a drug test be failed by using CBD? The answer is Definitely Maybe. Here’s how it’s failed.
First, the CBD product may not be tested properly by the manufacturer. Since CBD (a primary medical cannabinoid from the cannabis plant) and THC (the cannabinoid found in the same plant)that is primarily responsible for getting you high) both come from the same plant, the CBD must be extracted.
The result must then be tested. So THC can be present in different amounts depending upon the extraction technique and the quality of the extraction. The label on the CBD product may reflect the testing honestly. If the testing is poorly done, or the labeling inaccurate, the reported contents may show almost zero THC, and the “CBD” product may in fact contain significant amounts of THC.
You, the potential hire or fire or probationer, are then drug-tested for marijuana. There are a number of ways that the testing can be failed. I’ve already mentioned that the CBD may actually contain significant amounts of THC without us knowing it.
Even if the amount is tiny, the testing method, especially urine, can be a “blunt test.” It may not be able to tell the difference between THC and CBD, and may show the presence of either or both as failing. The crude testing shows positive for marijuana, whether it is CBD, THC, or both. In my criminal defense cases I have begun to see a state lab testing blood for THC (old news) and for CBD (new news).
There are some arguably outlier experiments suggesting that THC can be produced from CBD with stomach acid. That result is not generally accepted.
The “blunt testing,” used by many probation departments and many employers for drug testing is urine testing. That cannot be relied upon to distinguish between CBD and THC. A “fail” may be reported even though there is virtually no or even zero THC present. This may well be the primary cause of false positives in job and court testing.
Once Cannabis is completely legalized and testing refined, those using CBD for the medical benefits, with no accompanying “high,” will no longer be at risk for the possible dire consequences of appearing to test positive for THC. Merely testing positive for CBD could lead to legal and job consequences. The situation is changing almost hourly.
Does using CBD alone violate a court order directing “no marijuana use?” Good question. Technically perhaps yes, since it comes from the same plant. I would want clarification before failing a drug test in many situations. What the court orders should really say, if required, is “no use of intoxicating substances.” CBD is universally considered a non-intoxicating substance.