Back in the 1960s, there were no such things as ‘drug’ tests’ as far as I am aware. Men like Don Draper drunk alcohol and smoked opium all day at work then drove home without a care in the world. Or, that’s what we are led to believe anyway.
According to drugscan.com:
In 1986, the Reagan Administration began recommending a drug testing program for employers as part of the War on Drugs program.
So drug testing, it seems, came about through government intervention and, as we all know, nothing the government does is without it’s political and financial motivations but let’s not go there right now. Drug testing continues to this day. So when it comes to CBD Oil and Drug Testing, what people are asking is, will I fail a drug test if I take CBD oil and if so, how long will it take to get out of my system?
How much THC must be present to register on a drug test?
‘Drug’ tests on relation to cannabis are specifically looking for THC. But, there isn’t a zero-tolerance policy to this (in most places). It seems THC needs to be above a certain level to trigger a positive drug test. From Healthline:
Drug tests screen for THC or one of its main metabolites, THC-COOH.
According to Mayo Clinic Proceedings from 2017, federal workplace drug testing cut-off values were established to avoid the possibility that trace amounts of THC or THC-COOH would trigger a positive test.
In other words, passing a drug test doesn’t mean that there isn’t any THC or THC-COOH present in your system.
Instead, a negative drug test indicates that the amount of THC or THC-COOH is below the cut-off value.
Different testing methods have different cut-off values and detection windows, as listed below.
Urine testing for cannabis is common, especially in the workplace.
In urine, THC-COOH must be present at a concentration of 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) to trigger a positive test. (A nanogram is approximately one-billionth of a gram.)
Detection windows vary a lot according to dose and frequency of use. In general, THC metabolites are detectable in urine for approximately 3 to 15 days after use.
But heavier, more frequent cannabis use can lead to longer detection windows — more than 30 days, in some cases.
Blood tests are far less common than urine tests for drug screening, so they’re unlikely to be used for workplace testing. This is because THC is quickly eliminated from the bloodstream.
It’s only detectable in plasma for up to five hours, though THC metabolites are detectable for up to seven days.
Blood tests are most often used to indicate current impairment, for instance, in cases of driving under the influence.
In states where cannabis is legal, a THC blood concentration of 1, 2, or 5 ng/mL suggests impairment. Other states have zero-tolerance policies.
Currently, saliva testing isn’t common, and there are no established cut-off limits for detecting THC in saliva.
A set of 2017 recommendations published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology suggest a cut-off value of 4 ng/mL.
THC is detectable in oral fluids for around 72 hours, but may be detectable for much longer with chronic, heavy use.
Hair testing isn’t common, and there are currently no established cut-off limits for THC metabolites in hair.
Private industry cut-offs include 1 picogram per milligram (pg/mg) of THC-COOH. (A picogram is about one-trillionth of a gram.)
THC metabolites are detectable in hair for up to 90 days.
OK, so we are talking nanograms here.
So it might as well be a zero-tolerance policy since a nanogram, as stated above, is a billionth of a gram. 50 nanograms in the urine and you are done. That’s 0.00005mg of THC. Now, let’s assume that a standard CBD oil contains 0.3% THC. A single drop of oil is 0.05ml…
Ah, forget it. Calculating this is absolute rubbish.
Let’s try a case-study. The following video profiles a man who is using CBD oil very successfully but who has recently failed a drug test even though his CBD Oil contains only 0.018%, well below the legal limit for hemp.
So you can fail a drug test by taking CBD?
It would seem that it is possible then. So what to do? If you are a person who gets drug tested regularly, you might want to consider going CBD free for the threshold before you take a drug test. Alternatively, you can try taking CBD Isolate which is generally touted as THC free. Unfortunately, in this market, it is very difficult to know what you are getting based on a label and even then, just through the laws of nature, labels can only tell you so much. Also, CBD isolate is a more highly-processed product than Full spectrum CBD oil. In my opinion, the trace amounts of THC play a vital role in the processing of CBD and vice versa. Read Ken’s article on Full Spectrum CBD Oil to learn more about this.
How Long Does CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
The Jerusalem Post says:
CBD oil typically stays in your system for around a week, which means that if you know you have a drug test coming up within the next 7-10 days, it’s a good idea to avoid taking CBD products. Part of the reason for this is that even though CBD products are specifically designed to include as little THC as possible, there’s currently no way to reduce the THC concentration to 0%.
Well, that’s certainly one way to look at it if you want to reduce the situation down to an overly-simplified and slightly inaccurate conclusion. Drug tests are not testing for ‘CBD oil’. They are also not testing for CBD. You can’t say that CBD ‘oil’ stays in your system for a certain time because the oils and other compounds are all treated differently by the body. Cannabidiol itself may stay in your system for a week. But, from a drug-testing-perspective, this shouldn’t matter, since CBD is not psychoactive; nor is it for tested for in drug tests and why should it be?
Drug testing is looking for THC plain and simple. So how long does THC stay in your system? According to Medical News Today:
Tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in marijuana that makes people feel “high,” can stay in the body for several days or even weeks.
This seems to be one of the more generic answers since it covers all the base, but any details?
Research on the amount of time a test can detect marijuana shows a wide range of averages. Research from 2017 estimates a detection window for a single marijuana cigarette of about 3 days.
The same study emphasizes that detection windows vary and depend on how often a person smokes.
- For someone smoking marijuana for the first time, tests may detect it for about 3 days.
- In someone who smokes marijuana three or four times per week, the detection window is 5–7 days.
- For people who smoke marijuana once a day or more, tests may detect it in their system for 30 days or longer.
Detection windows also depend on the kind of test a person undertakes. General estimates for various marijuana tests are as follows:
- Urine tests can detect marijuana in the urine for approximately 3–30 days after use.
- Saliva tests can detect marijuana for approximately 24 hours after use. Some saliva tests have detected marijuana for up to 72 hours.
- Hair tests are the most sensitive tests, detecting THC for up to 90 days after use. However, these tests are testing the oil in skin that transfers to hair, and so they may occasionally show a false positive. A person who comes into contact with a THC user could, theoretically, test positive on a hair test.
- Blood tests can only detect THC for 3–4 hours.
The fact that they refer to a joint as a ‘Marijuana cigarette’ nearly put me off. But, essentially it is saying that:
The more frequently you use weed, the longer it can be detected in your system ranging from 3-30 days.
So, bear in mind that this is talking about detecting THC in weed. So how much THC is in a ‘Marijuana cigarette?’ High Times states:
A pinner (one person joint) with 0.4 grams of weed should deliver roughly 36 mg of THC, while a gram joint will dish out 90 mg of THC.
Let’s also bear in mind that this is based on having a THC level of 18%. So for someone who takes a few drops of CBD oil each day with a THC concentration of 0.03% or less, surely it’s not going to last as long in the system. Or is it?
Keith, our man in the video, tested positive for 35ng of THC. That’s 35 nanograms or 0.000035mg. The actual cutoff is 50 nanograms and also in Keith’s test, there is something called screening cutoff versus confirmation cutoff which is explained here if you have the patience. I don’t. But:
In a single person joint there is 36mg of THC, aka 36,000,000 nanograms and Keith tested positive for 0.000035mg or 35 nanograms.
Let me repeat: 36,000,000ng in a joint; Keith tested positive for 35ng, about a millionth of the THC in a small joint.
When you are walking down the street and you smell weed and you say to your friend ‘Do you smell weed?’ I reckon by the time you have finished asking the question, you probably have more THC in your blood than Keith.
So why the hell are they testing for THC levels so low?
Also, Since Keith had 35ng and the cutoff is 50ng, why did he fail the test?
Surely things have to change?
I think it is becoming clear what a ridiculous situation it is. It’s not just that things have to change, things will change. But, not before the mountains of complexity and political red-tape are worked out. In the meantime, since there is really no way to monitor your THC levels and yet CBD oil is legal and acceptable, you might just have to pull off some real MacGyver shit to work this out.
This article is a collection of ideas by the author. It does not constitute facts or advice in any form. Please consult a medical professional and check the legality in your area before purchasing or taking CBD products.
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