Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?

Back to blog
Posted by: David Garcia March 09, 2024

In order to maintain both a productive and safe working environment, we encourage employers to make use of pre-employment and employment drug screenings. Why? This can uncover the presence of illicit drugs, protecting the workspace and the broader team at large. Though we also offer other background services to help you choose your next best employee, we highly recommend our drug screenings for a number of reasons. These tests ultimately promote productivity, prevent poor turnover rates, and prevent unwanted incidents and accidents. They also lower risk to your team and business, accurately pinpointing any problematic team members before anything serious happens.

Let’s get into the key differences between CBD and THC to understand better CBD on drug tests for potential and current employees.

What are the Key Differences Between CBD and THC?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, while THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. These are two of the most well-known components of the cannabis plant, a complex and well-researched plant. So, what’s the difference? CBD doesn’t produce the “high” that’s associated with cannabis. Instead, it alleviates issues such as aches, inflammation, anxiety, or poor sleep quality, as it’s derived from hemp (and usually further diluted with hemp oil for CBD oil) and typically used medicinally. THC is the component that brings the “high” that’s associated with cannabis, affecting perception, mood, and cognitive changes.

Interestingly, the legality of both substances varies worldwide. For example, the FDA approved CBD products that had 0.3% or less of THC in the products in 2018 with the US Farm Bill.

Let’s get into the types of CBD and THC.

Types of CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) is a type of cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. There are many different variations of CBD and different ways to ingest it. For example, some of the most popular ways to ingest CBD involve CBD oil (oral), pet-specific CBD oil (oral or inhaled through a diffuser), edibles (oral), and CBD-based vape products (inhaled, such as e-liquids and disposable vapes). 

Types of THC

Likewise, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a type of cannabinoid with varying strains and impacts. Since THC is the psychoactive component most easily recognized in marijuana, it can be ingested in a number of ways, from smoking (oral and inhalation) to edibles and beyond. 

Does CBD Oil Contain THC?

Yes, CBD oil can contain trace amounts of THC, depending on the oil and the way it was produced. Usually, the safest thing to do is check the product label. Another option is to find a product that’s listed as “CBD isolate”, meaning it will only have CBD and not any THC, thereby posing no risk of THC being in your system for a test.

Will CBD Show Up on a Drug Test?

Pure CBD isolate products shouldn’t appear on a drug test, as these products only contain CBD without any traces of THC. The screening services that we offer are comprehensive and reliable, and they’ll catch cannabinoids such as CBD – especially when combined with THC. As THC is the psychoactive component of a cannabinoid, it will show up on a drug test. 

How Much THC Needs To Be Present To Cause a Positive Test Result?

The threshold for detectable THC in tests can vary based on the type of test used and the frequency of use by the individual undertaking the test, as well as the individual’s metabolism or overall health. However, urine tests typically operate with a “cut-off” level for THC at around 50 nanograms per milliliter. This means that any result higher than this amount will give a positive result. For saliva tests, the cut-off is around 25 nanograms per milliliter.

How Long Is THC Detectable in Your System?

THC is detectable in a variety of different ways, depending on your desired time frame for a test. The detection window can vary based on the test type and the frequency of use by the person undertaking the test. There are also different sample types for drug screening, with varying result times and retention depending on the chosen method. 

Urine tests are the most common type of drug tests undertaken, as they are covered by federal guidelines. For cannabinoids, urine tests can detect the substance for up to thirty days since last use. Urine tests offer a detection window of roughly one to four days, covering most drugs, and are one of the more cost-effective options. There are other advantages to using a urine sample for your drug test. These include a standardized process to administer and collect tests, nationwide collection site coverage, and the option between lab and instant test options. However, urine tests do suffer from skewed results since they’re often not supervised.

Saliva tests are also relatively common for drug testing. These kinds of tests offer a detection window of up to 48 hours after initial drug usage. This is especially important for cannabinoids, as they are often taken orally, making saliva tests more accurate than a urine sample. The nature of a saliva test is relatively convenient and not time-consuming, as well as being cost-effective and suitable for high volumes of samples for testing. They also easily allow for collection observation and, therefore, minimize fraudulent attempts. However, saliva tests tend to have a shorter detection window and may work better for random but prompt testing – rather than high-volume “long form” testing.

Hair follicles offer a much larger detection window of up to 90 days. However, choosing to test with hair can lead to more difficulties. For example, those with very little hair or without hair entirely cannot undertake a test accurately.

What Are the Reasons for Failing a CBD Drug Test?

There are many reasons for an individual to fail a CBD drug test. Some of these reasons include:

Using a THC Product

Using a product that includes THC is the most obvious way that one could fail a CBD drug test.

Second-Hand Exposure

Second-hand exposure could come from being in the vicinity of another individual using a THC product, especially if they were using it via inhalation.


The metabolism of the individual undertaking the test is worth considering. Those with a naturally faster metabolism will “go through” the drug faster, whereas those with a slower metabolism might be more likely to have their usage detected.

Mislabeling or Misunderstanding

Using a product listed as CBD isolate should not show up on a drug test. However, using a product with trace amounts of THC (especially if used frequently or in large amounts) will likely trigger a positive result.

What Happens if a CBD Drug Test Comes Back Positive?

The consequences of a positive CBD test can vary depending on the workplace. Usually, an individual will have to offer further explanation of their usage, undergo more testing, or face consequences at their employer’s discretion based on the laws of that area or, if they have one, a company tolerance policy.

How To Avoid a Positive CBD Drug Test

  • As an employee, know your products and be aware of what you’re consuming
  • Keep aware of any second-hand exposure
  • Understand your body and its metabolism, allowing time for your system to clear any substances
  • As an employer, implementing a drug testing policy as a deterrent for any current employees
  • Implementing pre-employment testing to keep your working environment safe

Final Thoughts

Drug testing is a worthwhile endeavor for keeping your work environment and your team safe while on the job. At ScoutLogic, our services cover many drugs to best keep employees and employers safe and at their most productive levels.

Latest blog posts
April 10, 2024
Will a DUI Show Up on a Background Check?
If you've found yourself in the unfortunate position of receiving a DUI, there are a lot of scenarios running through your head. How is this going to impact your future? Who will this...
April 08, 2024
What Is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act?
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, also known as GINA, is a federal statute that prevents employers and health insurance companies from discriminating against...
April 05, 2024
6 Justified Reasons for Employee Termination
Terminating an employee should not be taken lightly. While it's always essential to adhere to legal rules and ethical standards that most of us can agree to, there does come a time...
April 02, 2024
What Is an Exit Interview?
Employment comes and goes. While it may have been a case of 40-year careers with the same organization not too long ago, times have changed, and we now see more movement than ever....
March 29, 2024
What Are the Different Types of Termination of Employment? 
There are several different ways an employer can terminate an employee’s contract. Termination of employment is often the last step in a long process; this could be for a staff...
Looking for a better background check company? Start by preparing with this free guide.

Download this free guide to go into the searching process prepared. This guide includes actionable steps to:

  • Gather your requirements
  • Determine vendors
  • Check references
  • Determine success metrics
get a free e-book

Get a free e-book