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CBD and Drug tests: What this means for you

CBD and drug tests

There is a lot of information on the internet regarding drug screens and CBD. Some of this is useful; some of this is not. Some of this information is downright misleading. At Soulsome, we pride ourselves on our transparency, and in line with this, we have highlighted some of the things to be mindful of when taking CBD and know you have to take a drug screen.

What kind of CBD are you taking?

Firstly it is essential to know what form of CBD you take. CBD comes in just about every flavor, candy, chewie, lotion, cookie, and soft drink available. Still, these preparations don’t tell us anything about the actual chemistry behind the specific CBD you are using. For the most part, CBD products are created in one of three ways:

  1. Full Spectrum
  2. Broad Spectrum
  3. CBD Isolate

Let’s take a closer look at these different kinds of CBD and what this means for CBD and drug tests.

Full Spectrum CBD and drug tests

Soulsome’s CBD is what you would call “Full-spectrum.” Full-spectrum means that all of the cannabinoids are extracted from the parent plant for use in a CBD preparation. 

One report casts serious doubt upon the efficacy of these drug screens, which most employers and government agencies will accept as gospel.

All of the cannabinoids? Yes, all of them, which means that THC–the cannabinoid most commonly tested for in drug screens–is part of this mix. If you are taking a full-spectrum CBD product, the chances are fair that your drug screen will return a positive result for THC. This is important to know when selecting a CBD product as your specific testing scenario (e.g., a pre-employment screening) may provide a positive result, even though you aren’t using a THC-type product to get “high,” like a marijuana vape for example.

Soulsome’s CBD oils aren’t made from THC-heavy marijuana plants; they are made from hemp plants. Hemp and marijuana are both Cannabis Sativa plants, except hemp has been selectively bred for industrial purposes, meaning that for a Cannabis Sativa plant to qualify as “Industrial Hemp,” it must contain less than 0.3% THC in total. So, CBD produced from hemp is usually very low (0.3% or lower) in THC and high in CBD.

The Gotcha with THC

You’d think that such a negligible amount of THC wouldn’t show up on a urine drug screen, but it can. THC is not a water-soluble molecule, and it isn’t immediately eliminated from the body–it gets stored in our fat cells. Due to the lingering of THC and its slow breakdown, the THC levels in our body can build up over time, triggering a drug screen for THC, even though we’ve only been using a full-spectrum CBD product.

Knowing this, folks who use CBD and may have to take a drug screen would be advised to exercise caution as they may well test positive for THC, even though they are only using a full-spectrum CBD product.

Broad Spectrum CBD

If full-spectrum CBD is the “Full Monty” of CBD products, broad-spectrum CBD preparations tend to remove some cannabinoids when they are prepared. Broad-spectrum extraction methods are aimed at extracting CBD and other cannabinoids and (typically) removing THC in a later process.

How can I be sure that all the THC was removed? You can’t, and the CBD industry is notoriously poorly regulated on issues like this. Hence, there are no guarantees that your “Broad-spectrum” CBD product is THC-free. Even if the product has very, very low amounts of THC in it, the THC will most likely stick to the fat tissues of the body and accumulate over time–much like the example from full-spectrum CBD above. This creates a complication for anyone testing positive on a drug screening because they would have been using a product which they believed was THC-free. Another gotcha.

CBD Isolate

CBD isolate is the isolated CBD compound extracted from the Cannabis Sativa plant without any of the associated cannabinoids being present in the final preparation. This means CBD, and only CBD should be present in the CBD product. Again, regulations being what they are, there is no guarantee that this is the case.

The gotcha with CBD isolate is that it does not benefit from the entourage effect–all of the cannabinoids working together to enhance the efficacy and potency of the CBD product. Without the entourage effect, the CBD product will still be helpful, just slightly less so than a full-spectrum product might be.

How CBD and drug tests work

The standard drug screens for THC typically test whether the THC metabolite in your body is higher than an acceptable level. In sciencey terms: If the tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH) metabolite in your urine is higher than 15 nanograms per liter, you’ve probably failed your drug screen. The THC-COOH metabolite has a reasonably long half-life and is easily detectable in urine up to seven days after using cannabis once. This is compounded when use is more frequent, and this means that THC metabolites may still be in an individuals’ system for up to four weeks after their last use. 

What is essential to know is that drug tests are like any commercial product, subject to quality control issues, and are driven by a for-profit motive rather than a for-accuracy-truth-and-justice motive. One report casts serious doubt upon the efficacy of these drug screens, which most employers and government agencies will accept as gospel. It seems that false positives are more common than you would think and that CBD users–even CBD isolate users, can test positive for “THC” if using the wrong kind of test.

The tangle of CBD, THC, and drug screens is not going away any time soon; with legislation being slow to move on issues like this and a CBD marketplace already saturated with every kind of product you could think of, there will likely be more clashes between drug tests, CBD users and the law. 

Soulsome creates a full-spectrum CBD oil to provide its customers with every benefit of the “entourage effect.” With this in mind, we would caution users who may have a drug screen scheduled as there is a chance that they will test positive because Soulsome’s CBD oil contains trace amounts of THC–always less than 0.3%. Soulsomes’ CBD oils are all rigorously laboratory tested by independent labs, and our most recent batch of oils returned a 0.04% THC content–well below the 0.3% threshold. Still, we need to educate soulsome users about drug screens and the potential dangers of anyone awaiting a drug screening for THC.


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