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Some CBD products may yield cannabis-positive urine drug tests

In a study of six adults, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report evidence that a single vaping episode of cannabis that is similar in chemical composition to that found in legal hemp products could possibly result in positive results on urine drug screening tests commonly used by many employers and criminal justice or school systems.

The U.S. government defines hemp as any crop of cannabis containing 0.3% THC or less in dry weight. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) is the substance in cannabis that confers a “high” and produces the subjective and cognitive effects that are typically synonymous with cannabis. The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill legalized the production and sale of hemp, and now as a result, consumer hemp products, such as oils, vaping cartridges and hemp flowers for smoking can be legally purchased in specialty stores, general retail stores and through websites across the U.S.

Hemp is now increasingly finding use in medicine and wellness markets, particularly for its component CBD, short for cannabidiol, which is one of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. According to New York-based investment bank Cowen & Co., the market for CBD last year ranged from $600 million and $2 billion in sales. Despite the size of this booming industry, it remains largely unregulated.

In a paper published Nov. 4 in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, the researchers report that two out of six study participants tested positive after vaping cannabis that contained 0.39% THC using urine testing methods that are consistent with testing frequently performed for employment-related or criminal justice-related urine drug testing programs. Though the cannabis used in this study does not currently meet the federal definition of hemp, the THC concentration of 0.39% exceeds federal regulation by just 0.09%.

“People who use legal hemp products for medical intent rarely just use them once as we did in this study, and prior studies show that THC and its metabolites may accumulate with repeated use,” says postdoctoral fellow Tory Spindle, Ph.D., a researcher in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. “What this means is that people need to be wary of single-dose or cumulative THC exposure and be aware that these now legal products may cause an unexpected positive result on a drug test.”

“Because the market for CBD products is so new and the popularity of use is growing so quickly, we want the public to be aware that a positive drug test is possible,” says Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Vandrey and his collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania previously showed in a JAMA study that 21% of CBD/hemp products sold on the Internet contained THC, even though it wasn’t listed on the product labels. “I have a hard time finding anyone who hasn’t used a CBD product at least once, but most are completely unaware of the possibility of THC exposure or a positive drug test as a result of using these newly legalized products,” says Vandrey.

trials demonstrated CBD to be an effective treatment for two rare forms of pediatric epilepsy, however, there is currently insufficient evidence to support use for any other health condition according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Despite this, CBD product suppliers and consumers claim benefits of CBD for a wide range of purposes, including everything from anxiety to insomnia to general wellness. CBD products can be swallowed in the form of an oil/tincture, eaten in a food product (e.g., gummy bears), inhaled using “vape pens” similar to electronic cigarettes, or applied topically to the skin in a cream, patch, balm or gel.

For the current study, the researchers recruited three women and three men with an average age of 31 years old. One participant self-reported as African American and the rest as white.

The batch of cannabis used in this particular study contained 10.5% CBD and 0.39% THC, a 27 to 1 ratio of CBD to THC that is similar to what is often found in legal hemp/CBD products. In the study, research volunteers vaporized a little less than 1 gram of cannabis, which contained a total dose of 100 milligrams of CBD and 3.7 milligrams of THC. To vape the cannabis, heated cannabis vapor was collected into a balloon that was then inhaled by the participant.

In addition to vaping the high CBD/low THC cannabis, study volunteers also were given pure CBD in a capsule, vaporized pure CBD and placebo (a mock CBD pill and vaporized cannabis in which CBD and THC had been removed) in three other dosing sessions, one week apart from each other. In all active drug conditions (excluding placebo), the CBD dose delivered was 100 milligrams per session.

The drug testing cut-off used to determine a “positive” result in this study was a “screening” concentration of at least 50 nanograms per milliliter of THCCOOH, a metabolite used to indicate whether someone has used cannabis, in the urine sample using an on-site “dipstick” test. A positive on that test was then “confirmed” at a 15 nanograms per milliliter cut-off of THCCOOH using a more sensitive test method.

Two of the six participants who vaped the low-THC/high-CBD cannabis tested positive for THCCOOH.

No positive urine drug test results were observed in the other test sessions (pure CBD capsules, pure CBD vape or placebo).

“These results suggest that pure CBD, used once by itself, will not cause a positive drug test,” says Vandrey. Adding to this, Spindle points out that it “does not take much THC exposure to trigger a positive test for some people.” There may be variation from person to person in drug metabolism and puffing behaviors such as inhalation depth, which might contribute to the breakdown or buildup of cannabinoids in the body, the researchers say.

The team says they plan to repeat their studies using products that fall within the current federal hemp regulations with respect to THC content, and additionally study the impact of repeated CBD/hemp exposure on drug testing outcomes.

Other authors on the study were Edward Cone and George Bigelow of Johns Hopkins, David Kuntz of Clinical Reference Laboratory, John Mitchell of RTI International and Ronald Flegel of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

This research was supported by SAMHSA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (T32DA07209).

COI: Vandrey has been a paid consultant for or received honoraria from Zynerba Pharmaceuticals, FSD Pharma and Canopy Health Innovations Inc.

Hemp is now increasingly finding use in medicine and wellness markets, particularly for its component CBD, short for cannabidiol, which is one of the more than 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. According to New York-based investment bank Cowen & Co., the market for CBD last year ranged from $600 million and $2 billion in sales. Despite the size of this booming industry, it remains largely unregulated.

In a paper published Nov. 4 in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, the researchers report that two out of six study participants tested positive after vaping cannabis that contained 0.39% THC using urine testing methods that are consistent with testing frequently performed for employment-related or criminal justice-related urine drug testing programs. Though the cannabis used in this study does not currently meet the federal definition of hemp, the THC concentration of 0.39% exceeds federal regulation by just 0.09%.

“People who use legal hemp products for medical intent rarely just use them once as we did in this study, and prior studies show that THC and its metabolites may accumulate with repeated use,” says postdoctoral fellow Tory Spindle, Ph.D., a researcher in the Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. “What this means is that people need to be wary of single-dose or cumulative THC exposure and be aware that these now legal products may cause an unexpected positive result on a drug test.”

“Because the market for CBD products is so new and the popularity of use is growing so quickly, we want the public to be aware that a positive drug test is possible,” says Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Vandrey and his collaborators at the University of Pennsylvania previously showed in a JAMA study that 21% of CBD/hemp products sold on the Internet contained THC, even though it wasn’t listed on the product labels. “I have a hard time finding anyone who hasn’t used a CBD product at least once, but most are completely unaware of the possibility of THC exposure or a positive drug test as a result of using these newly legalized products,” says Vandrey.

Trials demonstrated CBD to be an effective treatment for two rare forms of pediatric epilepsy, however, there is currently insufficient evidence to support use for any other health condition according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Despite this, CBD product suppliers and consumers claim benefits of CBD for a wide range of purposes, including everything from anxiety to insomnia to general wellness. CBD products can be swallowed in the form of an oil/tincture, eaten in a food product (e.g., gummy bears), inhaled using “vape pens” similar to electronic cigarettes, or applied topically to the skin in a cream, patch, balm or gel.

For the current study, the researchers recruited three women and three men with an average age of 31 years old. One participant self-reported as African American and the rest as white.

The batch of cannabis used in this particular study contained 10.5% CBD and 0.39% THC, a 27 to 1 ratio of CBD to THC that is similar to what is often found in legal hemp/CBD products. In the study, research volunteers vaporized a little less than 1 gram of cannabis, which contained a total dose of 100 milligrams of CBD and 3.7 milligrams of THC. To vape the cannabis, heated cannabis vapor was collected into a balloon that was then inhaled by the participant.

In addition to vaping the high CBD/low THC cannabis, study volunteers also were given pure CBD in a capsule, vaporized pure CBD and placebo (a mock CBD pill and vaporized cannabis in which CBD and THC had been removed) in three other dosing sessions, one week apart from each other. In all active drug conditions (excluding placebo), the CBD dose delivered was 100 milligrams per session.

The drug testing cut-off used to determine a “positive” result in this study was a “screening” concentration of at least 50 nanograms per milliliter of THCCOOH, a metabolite used to indicate whether someone has used cannabis, in the urine sample using an on-site “dipstick” test. A positive on that test was then “confirmed” at a 15 nanograms per milliliter cut-off of THCCOOH using a more sensitive test method.

Two of the six participants who vaped the low-THC/high-CBD cannabis tested positive for THCCOOH.

No positive urine drug test results were observed in the other test sessions (pure CBD capsules, pure CBD vape or placebo).

“These results suggest that pure CBD, used once by itself, will not cause a positive drug test,” says Vandrey. Adding to this, Spindle points out that it “does not take much THC exposure to trigger a positive test for some people.” There may be variation from person to person in drug metabolism and puffing behaviors such as inhalation depth, which might contribute to the breakdown or buildup of cannabinoids in the body, the researchers say.

The team says they plan to repeat their studies using products that fall within the current federal hemp regulations with respect to THC content, and additionally study the impact of repeated CBD/hemp exposure on drug testing outcomes.

Other authors on the study were Edward Cone and George Bigelow of Johns Hopkins, David Kuntz of Clinical Reference Laboratory, John Mitchell of RTI International and Ronald Flegel of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

This research was supported by SAMHSA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (T32DA07209).

A small study concludes that caution is warranted for users of ‘high CBD, low THC’ cannabis products.

Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

Smoking or vaping CBD flower is one of the best ways to enjoy hemp-derived CBD. Many people who are new to CBD products, however, wonder about how these cannabis-related substance figures into drug testing. Rest assured that drug tests are not calibrated for CBD, and Secret Nature products contain less than 0.3% THC. In this guide, we’ll cover all your CBD drug testing questions, and we’ll finish by telling you what to expect from CBD drug screening in the near future.

Can you fail a drug test for CBD?

There are a couple of important elements of this question we’ll need to pick apart as we continue:

Is there a drug test for CBD?

No, drug screenings do not test for CBD. At present, we know of no drug tests designed specifically to test for the presence of CBD. The only cannabis-related drug tests check for the presence of THC, not CBD.

Can using CBD make you fail a drug test?

Potentially. Why? Because all CBD products contain trace amounts of THC. Whether it’s full-spectrum CBD with up to 0.3% THC or purified CBD isolate with just a few THC molecules kicking around, all hemp products contain some amount of THC.

From there, it’s all a matter of math. Say you have an isolate CBD product with KING 5 recently tested 12 of the most popular CBD products on shelves today. Half of the products contained less CBD than was listed, which makes you wonder about the potential of THC contamination.

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s actually no easy feat to make sure that the THC levels of your CBD products stay under 0.3%. For companies short on time, resources, or both, it’s all too tempting to cut corners and put their customers in danger. Secret Nature takes the high ground by offering verifiable, third-party lab tests for every product batch we produce. Marijuana testing at work shouldn’t make it harder for you to use CBD.

How long is CBD detectable in urine?

Like all cannabis compounds, CBD is an oil, which means that it is fat-soluble . Many substances we ingest are either fat-soluble or water-soluble, and water-soluble substances pass through your body quickly. Fat-soluble substances, however, absorb into your fatty tissues, and organs like the liver and kidneys process them out slowly.

Let’s remember that drug screenings do not test for CBD oil. If they did, however, it’s likely that they would be able to detect the presence of CBD in your system for around 30 days. That’s how long THC stays in your system as well, and approximately 30 days is the standard excretion time for fat-soluble substances.

Employers mostly check test results for the presence of hard drugs, and some tests are able to determine varying thresholds of THC use. If testing positive for THC could lose you your job, however, it’s actually possible to calculate how much of a CBD product you can use before you reach that point. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • The exact percentages of CBD and THC in the product
  • The THC detection threshold of the test
  • An appreciation that cannabis compounds have around a 30-day “half-life” in the body
  • A calculator and a notepad

You might prefer to have a college math degree before you get started, but the shortlist above proves that there’s nothing mystical or mysterious about understanding how CBD might affect a drug test. The whole system is very precise and scientific, and in general, there are only two rules you should keep in mind if you’re worried about failing your drug test due to CBD:

  1. Cannabinoids only last about 30 days in the body,
  2. CBD products that are verified to have less than 0.3% THC by an independent lab can only make you fail your drug test when you consume them in unreasonably high quantities.

Can CBD lotion make you fail a drug test?

Just as with other categories of CBD products, the potential to fail your drug test from a hemp topical is certainly there. To explain the difference between how topical and oral CBD might affect drug testing, however, it’s important to examine how widely different the oral and transdermal routes are in the first place.

What is transdermal administration?

When you ingest a substance orally, it passes through your stomach and your liver before entering your bloodstream. While this administration method provides a full-body effect, bioavailability is limited by natural liver filtration mechanisms, and pinpointing exact problem areas is hard.

Topical administration, however, addresses specific areas without providing a notable system-wide effect. CBD can be formulated into both water-based and oil-based topical products, which has resulted in an extremely diverse cannabidiol topical industry.

Generally, cannabinoids that you apply topically stay in the area they are applied to. Some of these cannabinoids, however, pass throughout your bloodstream, and they’re filtered by your organs. It’s hard to say exactly how many cannabinoids topical administration introduces into your bloodstream, but what’s certain is that topical administration deposits far fewer cannabinoids throughout your body than oral ingestion.

The hemp topical “loophole”

There’s a catch, however. Since topical products aren’t ingested orally, some CBD manufacturers don’t care as much about keeping THC levels low. While products with more than 0.3% THC are technically marijuana, the CBD topical industry is notoriously unregulated. There’s an off chance that a hemp topical you try might have more than the legal limit of THC, putting you in a potentially sticky situation.

About Secret Nature lab results

The only way to make sure your hemp product won’t make you fail your drug test is by getting your hands on independent, verified lab reports. At Secret Nature, we’re proud to work with SC Laboratories , one of the nation’s most respected cannabis labs. We have no conflict of interest with SC Laboratories, and they provide professional, independent work.

In addition to testing for each of the major cannabinoids, we also pay extra to test the terpene profile of each of our products. Why? Because terpenes are almost as important as cannabinoids, and you deserve to know exactly how much myrcene, caryophyllene, and limonene are in your vape cartridge or 1/8th of Secret Nature top-shelf hemp flower .

The future of CBD drug testing

While employers will remain able to fire workers for cannabis use for the foreseeable, state and federal marijuana laws are changing. Already, testing for marijuana is less of a priority for many employers, and workplace drug tests are focusing more on truly dangerous substances. Given the way that cannabis law is shifting, you’ll never have to worry about “testing positive” for CBD, and even marijuana is becoming less of an issue in many workplace drug tests.

It’s true that even CBD isolate contains tiny amounts of THC. As we’ve covered, however, you need to consume incredibly high concentrations of Secret Nature products to accumulate any THC buildup, and our independent, third-party lab results confirm our THC levels are under 0.3%.

Smoking or vaping CBD flower is one of the best ways to enjoy hemp-derived CBD. Many people who are new to CBD products, however, wonder about how these cannabis-related substance figures into drug testing. Rest assured that drug tests are not calibrated for CBD, and Secret Nature products contain less than 0.3% THC. I