Cases of CBD oil users failing drug tests are on the rise. Learn more about why this happens and how to avoid it. How much THC contained in CBD oil ultimately depends on where the CBD oil comes from — the marijuana plant or the hemp plant — the two different varieties of the cannabis plant. What are THC and CBD? Or the difference between a CBD oil and THC oil? Discover all about cannabis oils and discover which is best for you!
Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?
Sherry Christiansen is a medical writer with a healthcare background. She has worked in the hospital setting and collaborated on Alzheimer’s research.
Verywell Health articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and healthcare professionals. These medical reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.
Femi Aremu, PharmD, is a professional pharmacist with experience in clinical and community pharmacy. He currently practices in Chicago, Illinois.
Despite the fact that cannabidiol (CBD) is derived from cannabis—the same type of plant that marijuana comes from—CBD should not show up on a drug test. That said, it is possible.
Drug tests check for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) because that is the cannabis compound that makes people feel high. CBD products are typically THC-free.
However, CBD products can contain 0.3% of THC by law. In some people, that may be enough to yield a positive drug test result.
This article explains why CBD products may show up on a drug test as THC. It also details what to look for in CBD products so you can prevent a positive drug test.
Does CBD Oil Contain THC?
The active chemical in marijuana that gets detected in a positive drug test screening is THC. Most people are under the impression that CBD oil is THC-free, which is generally true. But not always.
As it turns out, depending on the source of the cannabis that is used to produce the CBD oil, some products do contain traces of THC. This includes low-quality isolates and many full-spectrum tinctures. A full spectrum oil contains other active plant compounds in addition to CBD.
Cannabis is the umbrella term describing hemp and marijuana plants—two different varieties of the Cannabis genus. Both marijuana and hemp can be described as cannabis, but they are two different plants.
CBD is one of many active chemical compounds in cannabis plants. One reason it’s becoming more popular is that it’s said to lack THC.
The primary difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp is nearly void of THC. In fact, a cannabis strain must contain less than 0.3% THC to be classified as hemp. This is why hemp can be legally sold in various products.
Most CBD products are made from hemp, not marijuana.
There are many distinctions between marijuana and hemp that relate to CBD oil. Marijuana contains both THC (the “high”-inducing element) and CBD. Hemp contains CBD and only trace amounts of THC.
Hemp also contains many cannabinoids, which is a name for the compounds found in cannabis. CBD is only one example.
There are several techniques for extracting CBD oil from the cannabis plant. The extraction method determines whether the CBD oil is an “isolate” or a “full-spectrum oil.”
A CBD isolate is a pure compound with no other active compounds or cannabinoids. The full-spectrum compounds may include other active chemicals, such as cannabinol and cannabis terpenes (the part of the plant that gives the plant its aroma).
Study of CBD Oil
While some CBD oils claim to be isolates, they may be full-spectrum oils and actually contain more cannabinoids (such as THC) than they claim.
A study conducted at the internationally known Lautenberg Center For Immunology and Cancer found that CBD was more effective at treating inflammation and pain when used with other cannabis plant compounds.
These compounds were derived from a full-spectrum product rather than a CBD isolate product alone. This is one reason that full-spectrum products (those containing THC) are popular.
However, the distinction between full-spectrum oils and isolates makes all the difference if you are being tested for drug use.
Reasons for Failing a CBD Drug Test
There are several common reasons a person can test positive for THC after taking CBD.
Using Product With THC
The most common reason for a failed CBD drug test is that a person is using a CBD oil product that contains THC. This may be a full-spectrum product. Sometimes, though, it could be a low-quality isolate product that contains a small amount of THC.
Although most manufacturers claim their products do not contain THC, this is not always the case.
Cross-Contamination of THC
Very small amounts of THC present in the material that CBD is extracted from can get into the CBD oil in high enough amounts to result in a positive drug test. This scenario may be more likely to occur when CBD oil is purchased from cannabis dispensaries in places where cannabis is legal.
Mislabeling of Products
CBD oil extracted from hemp is not supposed to contain more than 0.3% THC. However, it’s not uncommon for sellers to mislabel their products as THC-free hemp when, in reality, it’s a low-quality oil extracted from marijuana. And marijuana does contain THC.
In fact, one study discovered that almost 70% of the CBD products sold online were mislabeled. This caused “potential serious harm to its consumers.” The reason for this widespread mislabeling is that CBD products are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Secondhand Exposure to THC
Inadvertent exposure to marijuana (via secondhand smoke) is unlikely to be enough for a person to get a positive drug test result. But it is possible. Being in a room with heavy pot smokers for several hours may cause the inhalation of enough THC-containing smoke to result in a positive test result.
A more likely secondhand exposure scenario is a positive marijuana hair test. This results from direct contact with marijuana paraphernalia or from another person having THC on their hands.
For instance, say that someone who had direct contact with marijuana then touched your hair. You could feasibly receive a false positive on a drug screening that tests your hair.
CBD Oil Breakdown in the Digestive System
Some sources report that in rare cases, false positive test results have come from CBD oil that breaks down into very small amounts of THC in the stomach. Other studies, however, have refuted this finding.
The conclusion is that it’s still theoretically possible for traces of THC to be present in stomach acid when “less-purified CBD productions” are ingested.
How to Avoid a Positive CBD Drug Test
If you take CBD oil, you can take steps to try to prevent failing a drug test:
- Do thorough research to ensure the CBD product you’re using is pure and that the company is legitimate.
- Look for manufacturers that have been accredited by the Better Business Bureau.
- Ensure that the CBD oil is an isolate product extracted from a viable industrial hemp supply. It should not be a low-quality tincture.
- Ask questions about product processing techniques and the possibility of cross-contamination.
- Avoid secondhand exposure to marijuana use via pot smoking or hair contact from THC users.
CBD oil is usually marketed as THC-free, but that’s not always the case. Full-spectrum CBD oils contain other cannabinoids, which may include THC. Isolate products may be contaminated with THC, as well.
You have to be proactive to avoid failing a drug test if you’re taking CBD oil. Most important: Ensure that you’re using a pure product made by a reputable company.
A Word From Verywell
In theory, getting a false positive on a drug test from CBD oil should be relatively impossible from pure CBD oil containing less than 0.3% THC. However, because CBD oil is not well regulated, there is no guarantee that a product contains pure CBD oil or that its concentration is safe or effective.
Use the utmost caution and do your research when purchasing a quality CBD oil product to ensure its purity, especially if you need to undergo a drug screening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Drug tests look for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the element in marijuana that causes a high. CBD oils can have trace amounts of THC even if they’re labeled “THC-free.”
Yes. If the products contain THC, you could test positive. If you know you’ll need to take a drug test, avoid full-spectrum CBD products that may contain small amounts of THC. Be sure you purchase products from a reliable source. And be wary of online retailers; researchers have found that 21% of online CBD and hemp products were mislabeled.
Drug tests do not typically measure CBD. Most tests check for THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana. Depending on the frequency of use, THC can be picked up on a test anywhere from a few days for a single use or over a month for heavy daily pot smokers.
CBD edibles take about 30 to 60 minutes to start to take effect. They last five to six hours, depending on your metabolism and dose. A CBD edible may show up on a drug test as THC metabolites for three days. However, if you frequently take CBD edibles, it can take up to 15 days to have a clean urine test.
The FDA strongly advises against taking CBD or THC products while nursing. Cannabis products can be excreted through breastmilk and are not safe for the baby. Cannabinoids can stay in your milk for up to six days, so “pumping and dumping” may not be a good option.
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Huestis MA. Human cannabinoid pharmacokinetics. Chem Biodivers. 2007;4(8):1770-804. doi:10.1002/cbdv.200790152
Nahler G, Grotenhermen F, Zuardi AW, Crippa JAS. A conversion of oral cannabidiol to Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol seems not to occur in humans. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):81-86. doi:10.1089/can.2017.0009
Bonn-Miller MO, Loflin MJE, Thomas BF, Marcu JP, Hyke T, Vandrey R. Labeling accuracy of cannabidiol extracts sold online. JAMA. 2017;318(17):1708. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.11909
Crippa JA, Guimarães FS, Campos AC, Zuardi AW. Translational investigation of the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD): Toward a new age. Front Immunol. 2018;9:2009. Published 2018 Sep 21. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2018.02009
By Sherry Christiansen
Sherry Christiansen is a medical writer with a healthcare background. She has worked in the hospital setting and collaborated on Alzheimer’s research.
How Much THC is in CBD Oil?
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp and other cannabis derivatives low in THC were removed from the definition of marijuana in accordance with the Controlled Substance Act. This change made cannabinoids widely available, causing their popularity to soar. However, they remain unregulated by the FDA, leading many consumers to wonder just what exactly they’re getting when they purchase CBD oil and, more specifically, how much THC is in CBD oil.
THC vs. CBD
Before we get into the THC content of CBD oil, let’s go over a few cannabis basics.
What Are Cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are any of the over 120 biologically active, naturally occurring chemicals contained in hemp or cannabis. Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) , which is in charge of regulating critical bodily functions such as sleep, inflammation, immune responses, pain control, cognition, and memory.
Out of all of these cannabinoids, two of them garner the most attention — THC and CBD. That’s no surprise considering that these two cannabinoids exist in much higher quantities in the cannabis plant compared to the other minor cannabinoids (such as CBC, CBG, and CBN).
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive cannabinoid which is responsible for the “high” feeling experienced with marijuana use.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non psychoactive cannabinoid which is known for its analgesic (pain-killing) and anti-inflammatory properties, among others.
THC Content of Marijuana vs. Hemp
How much THC contained in CBD oil ultimately depends on where the CBD oil comes from — the marijuana plant or the hemp plant.
What’s the difference? Marijuana and hemp are two different varieties of the cannabis sativa plant. The primary difference between these two subspecies is their THC and CBD content. Marijuana plants contain high levels of THC and low levels of CBD. Conversely, hemp plants are high in CBD and low in THC. Basically, for a cannabis plant to qualify as hemp, it must contain no more than 0.3% THC *, otherwise it’s classified as marijuana according to the 2018 Farm Bill. So, is there THC in CBD oil? The answer is yes — typically just a little — as long as it comes from hemp.
It’s important to note that while cannabis can contain both THC and CBD in high amounts, the plant’s genetics typically predispose it toward one or the other. In other words, cannabis plants that are bred specifically for THC potency will naturally have much lower CBD content, and vice versa. For this reason, most CBD products are derived from hemp.
So, Just How Much THC Is in CBD Oil?
The amount of THC in a particular CBD oil is going to depend on a variety of factors, including the genetics of the source, the type of product, and where it’s intended to be sold.
Products derived from marijuana plants (or containing more than 0.3% THC) must be purchased from a medical or recreational dispensary. In addition to other stipulations, they can only be consumed within the state they were purchased.
Any product legally sold online and across state lines, like NuLeaf Naturals Full Spectrum CBD Oil , must be produced from hemp plants. The final product must also contain no more than 0.3% THC to be considered federally legal.
Let’s take a look at three types of CBD oil:
is a CBD preparation that contains the majority of cannabis plant compounds, including some THC.
- Whole plant CBD oil is less refined than full spectrum CBD oil. It contains the whole cannabis plant — fats, waxes, and other fibrous plant material — and yes, some THC. Whole plant CBD oil can be bitter and have a less pleasing taste compared to full spectrum CBD.
- Broad spectrum CBD oil is very similar to the full spectrum variety. While it still includes various cannabinoids, there are only trace amounts of THC present.
How Long Does THC from CBD Oil Stay in Your System?
The higher the dose, the longer THC will be detectable in your system. THC is stored by various organs and tissues in the body, gets broken down primarily by the liver, and is ultimately released through the urine. Your tissues continue to release the stored THC into your bloodstream until it’s cleared from your system.
Exactly how long the THC remains in your system varies depending on several factors, including:
- Frequency of use
- Body fat levels
Choosing the Best CBD Oil
When purchasing CBD oil, capsules, or topical applications, always remember to do your research and choose a reputable source with a track record of satisfied customers .
NuLeaf Naturals produces to international standards of less than 0.2% THC. We do this to remain accessible to consumers both in and outside of the United States. All our products are independently verified by third-party labs to ensure a safe, consistent, and effective product. And we make these lab results available on our website .
Our Expert Team is here to help via phone, email, or online chat:
Telephone: +1 (720) 372-4842
Email: [email protected]
Online chat: nuleafnaturals.com
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm MT.
CBD oil & THC oil: What’s the Difference?
THC and CBD are both molecules extracted from cannabis. These molecules are known as cannabinoids, a type of compound that was first discovered in the cannabis plant that can be integrated with the human body. However, while CBD and THC are both cannabinoids, they are both used for distinct purposes and their legal status often differs.
THC Meaning and CBD
THC is used in reference to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, another compound that can be found in hemp and cannabis. The tetrahydrocannabinol part is where we get the initialism ‘THC’. There are other forms of THC, such as delta 8 THC, which is less potent that delta 9. However, THC is used as a general term, which helps keep things simple.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, an ingredient that has exploded in popularity during the last few years and is commonly used in supplements including CBD oils, balms and edibles. According to Global Market Insights, the CBD market will be worth over $1bn by 2027 because of increasing sales in major retail outlets and improving regulation.
THC vs. CBD
The major difference in purpose between CBD and THC is the desired effect. The easy way to think about it is THC is responsible for getting people high whereas CBD will not get you high in any dose.
People will largely use pure THC recreationally for a high that can be sustained throughout the day as an alternative to smoking cannabis.
- A “high” (euphoria or relaxation)
- Heightened or distorted senses (colours and sound etc.)
- Reduced reaction times
- Impaired coordination
- Increased heart rate
- Memory loss
Pure CBD, however, has no psychotropic properties and is never used to get high. Psychotropic simply means that the chemical affects the mind in an intoxicating way; check out our article on the difference between psychotropic and psychoactive for more information.
The side effects of THC, such as memory loss and impaired coordination do not apply to pure CBD. According to the NHS, pure CBD products “do not carry [the] unknown risks linked with THC”.
Both chemicals can be used in similar products, aside from just raw cannabis. You can find THC in products such as THC oils, THC e liquid or THC vape oils and THC capsules/pills. Many of these products are illegal, because of their intoxicating effects.
We can find CBD in similar products such as CBD oils, vape juices and tablets. These are legal in far more regions, providing their THC level is below a certain threshold.
THC Oil vs CBD Oil
THC oil is best known for inducing the effects typically associated with cannabis: the “stoned” effect, and paranoia. By contrast, CBD has been shown to not induce those effects.
CBD oil will not get you high. If you’ve done your research into CBD, then make sure you look for oils that highlight how much CBD is in each bottle. Our advice would be to avoid searching for terms like ‘cannabis oil’ or ‘hemp oil’ since it only confuses matters.
Admittedly, CBD is popular currently, so it’s likely that if someone refers to a cannabis or hemp oil, they’re talking about a CBD product. However, there’s another end of the spectrum that often comes under the banner of cannabis oil: THC oil, which most people will not be looking for.
Is THC Oil Legal in the UK?
THC oil is not legal in the UK and you won’t find it for sale legally. CBD is legal as long as retailers sell it according to MHRA regulations, which means CBD products cannot contain above a certain level of THC. Most countries limit the amount of THC in the hemp extract used for CBD oils to 0.3% (in the UK it’s 0.2%). If you’re concerned about THC content, make sure you look for CBD oils with a guarantee of 0.0% THC.
Does CBD contain THC?
Technically speaking, CBD cannot contain THC as they are completely separate molecules. CBD oils, balms and other products however may contain THC. CBD oils sold in the UK however, should not contain any THC if they are sold legally. For example, Vitality CBD guarantees 0.0% THC in all CBD products. Independent lab reports confirm this; you can even view these CBD lab reports online.
Is cannabis oil CBD or THC?
Cannabis oil or hemp oil is not necessarily the same as CBD oil or THC oil. Since cannabis and hemp oil is a blanket term for all oils derived from the cannabis plant, it could describe many byproducts. There are hemp-derived oils, marijuana-derived oils, hemp seed oils, THC oils and CBD oils.
CBD and THC: Hemp vs. marijuana
While both CBD and THC are extracted from cannabis, the type of cannabis used can help in obtaining the desired compound in greater quantities.
Cannabis itself just refers to the overall plant family. It’s a genus, in much the same way as Eucalyptus and Rhododendron, meaning it covers a large spread of different strains and species. The two primary species are sativa and indica, but the most important differentiating factor for users comes down to the individual strain.
The key difference between strains of cannabis from a user perspective is the balance of two chemicals: CBD and THC.
From a consumer perspective, this is what matters most when discussing different cannabis strains. The easiest distinction is to split strains between hemp and marijuana. Hemp covers any plants grown specifically for industrial purposes, e.g. rope, paper, clothing and biofuel.
In contrast, marijuana is the terminology used for plants grown for purely recreational purposes. Explore our article on growing hemp and cannabis for more information on cultivating this fascinating plant.
The crucial difference beyond intended use is the divide in CBD and THC levels. Since THC is the main psychotropic ingredient in cannabis, plants grown under the marijuana banner will have high THC levels. Conversely, because CBD isn’t psychotropic, you’ll find it in high levels in hemp plants, which simultaneously have low THC levels.
It makes sense then that THC oil is predominantly harvested from the recreational strains, while CBD products are largely extracted from industrial hemp. Both compounds are then subject to further processes that ensure the levels of either cannabinoid are adjusted accordingly, but you can chart the journey of each oil right back to how the plants were bred.