In This Article
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
Cannabidiol, usually marketed as CBD, is an active ingredient in cannabis/marijuana. Unlike many components found in marijuana, it is not psychoactive. This means using it does not make someone feel “high.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “… CBD exhibits no effects indicative of abuse or dependence…” 1
You can ingest CBD via:
- Oils and tinctures
- Creams and lotions
Is CBD Legal?
Laws regarding CBD vary from state to state. It is readily attainable in most states and, in 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eased regulatory requirements to allow for trial studies of CBD.
What are the Effects of CBD?
CBD is marketed as effective for easing the symptoms of a variety of health conditions. This includes everything from anxiety to restless leg syndrome.
There is a lot of evidence that shows CBD is effective for treating symptoms of childhood epilepsy syndromes, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome.
These syndromes tend to respond poorly to anti-seizure medications. As a result of this evidence, the FDA approved the cannabis-containing medication Epidiolex for treating these conditions.1
CBD can produce several side effects, including:
- Increased levels of certain medications in the blood, including blood thinners
Some health professionals have expressed concern that CBD is marketed as a supplement, not as a medication.
Additionally, CBD is not regulated by the FDA. This means it’s impossible to know exactly what you’re getting when you purchase a CBD product. You won’t know how much CBD is in the product regardless of claims and you won’t know what else is in the product.
How is CBD Different from Marijuana?
CBD is just one of many different components in the marijuana plant. The primary difference between CBD and marijuana is that the former does not trigger any psychoactive responses. This means you won’t feel high after using it.
There is also no evidence of public health-related problems linked to CBD use therefore you won't find any CBD addiction therapies.
Keep in mind, there is no guarantee CBD-containing products are safe to use. But there are many concerns associated with marijuana use that are not an issue with CBD.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
The half-life of CBD varies from 18 to 32 hours. It generally stays in your body for up 2 to 5 days. However, the length of time CBD remains in a user’s system varies based on the person, how much they use, and how it’s ingested.
In some cases, CBD can stay in your body for weeks. The effects of CBD typically last about two to six hours.
Does CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?
Most CBD products will not show up on a drug test, with one exception. CBD products that also contain THC will be evident on a drug test. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana that triggers the feeling of a high.
Many CBD products contain trace amounts of THC.
If you are concerned about drug test results, you’ll want to do all you can to ensure there are no traces of THC in the CBD products you use. This is difficult to verify because there are no regulations regarding the marketing and sales of these products.
Understanding the difference between CBD products can help you make the best choice to avoid the product showing up on a drug test. For example:
- Full-spectrum CBD contains all naturally occurring compounds in the plant including THC
- Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum CBD, but this product has undergone a process to eliminate THC
- CBD isolate contains only CBD
There are both hemp-derived and marijuana-derived full-spectrum CBD products. Hemp-derived CBD products are less likely to show up on a test because they are legally required to contain less than 0.3 percent THC.
Factors that Influence CBD Detection Time
Several things affect the length of time CBD is detectable in your system after using it. This includes:
- Dosage: the higher the dose, the longer it will remain in your system.
- Frequency of use: the more you use CBD, the more likely it is to show in a test because it accumulates in your body.
- Individual makeup: everyone is different and how quickly your body processes CBD will vary based on its water content, body mass index, and metabolism.
- Food: you metabolize CBD faster on an empty stomach.
- Method of ingestion: you can ingest CBD via oils and tinctures, edibles, pills, creams and lotions, and vaping. Vaping CBD allows for the fastest elimination, while oils and tinctures, creams, and edibles remain in the bloodstream longer.
How to Take CBD and Pass a Drug Test
In most cases, the urine test used for standard drug testing doesn’t look for CBD. Instead, the test searches for a natural compound produced by the body as it metabolizes THC. Unless the CBD you used contained THC, it isn’t going to show in a drug test.
Unfortunately, many CBD products claiming to be pure or without THC might not be. And even if there are only the smallest traces of THC in the product you use, over time if used regularly, these traces build up and are detectable.
If you have concerns about drug testing, but you use CBD products, look for one that provides a “Certificate of Analysis” or “COA.” This documentation shows the results of the manufacturer’s testing for THC and other contaminants in a product.
Testing is voluntary everywhere except Indiana and Utah and there are no third-party confirmations of the tests. However, until CBD products are regulated, this is the best information available for consumers.
Your other option is to abstain from using CBD products for the days or weeks leading up to the drug test. You also have the option of sharing information about the product you’re using with the drug testing company and/or the entity that ordered your test.
Keep in mind, though, CBD is mostly legal in all 50 states, but THC is not.