In our clinic, we have the privilege of being able to spend a little more time with people than your typical medical practice would allow. That allows us to have real fruitful conversations with our patients and retail customers and it allows us to give them very well developed responses to their questions. Over the years we’ve found that people tend to have similar questions and concerns. We’ve taken those and built our FAQ’s page which can be found here (you should check it out). Sometimes, topics require a little bit more fleshing out than a few sentences and we write blogs on those which you can find in our news section (check that out too). One of the most common questions we get involves drug testing. GIven the draconian nature of marijuana laws over the years, people are rightfully very concerned about how consuming Cannabis/ marijuana/CBD/ THC can affect them legally.
Better Safe than Sorry
The first thing that we like to tell our patients and customers is that they should always err on the side of caution. We enjoy the opportunity to help people find solutions to their problems but we’d never want them to do anything that would potentially put them at risk of losing their employment or their freedom. If your company drug tests, and you are considering using CBD or marijuana, the first thing you should do is inquire about your company's drug testing policy specifically as it pertains to THC and CBD. This information should be available through human resources, employee health services or similar offices. If you are concerned about anonymity, many organizations have privacy protected emails (or you can use your burner email).
It’s important to have this information because it will eliminate any potential confusion. For example, some companies drug test upon hire but do not test after- the testing was simply a condition of employment. Other companies may test randomly after employment and some others may test only if there is suspicion of impairment while on the job. Some companies may have a zero tolerance policy, while others may allow positive THC tests as long as there is appropriate medical need and/or a physician's letter. Even if you are in a state that has legalized marijuana, you may still be subject to penalty for testing positive for marijuana (THC) because of its legal standing federally as a schedule I drug (no medicinal or research value). What does that mean? Well, many federal employees are not allowed to have THC in their system because of this. Many sports teams do not allow THC (although that is changing) and if your job has federal contracts you may be subject to penalties/ dismissal if you test positive on a THC test because of language in the drug free workplace act of 1998. For those of you who’ve had the unfortunate experience of being incarcerated you should definitely check with your parole officer before consuming THC or CBD products because there could be some repercussions for testing positive even with a medical reason in a legal state. For example, federal paroles cannot test positive for THC because it’s illegal federally. See United States V. Cameron Cannon.
Full Spectrum V. Broad Spectrum V. Isolates
If you’ve noticed, I’ve made a point to continually mention testing positive for THC and NOT CBD. This is because CBD derived from hemp is completely legal as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill. There is no testing for CBD as it is not a controlled substance and has no psychoactive or addictive properties. But that does not mean it’s all good. Let's dive a bit deeper.
When it comes to navigating the world of CBD products, understanding the legal THC limits is the best place to start. In the United States, the standard legal threshold for THC in CBD products is typically set at 0.3%. This number serves as the line of distinction between hemp-derived CBD and marijuana. Legally, hemp is defined as containing less than 0.3% THC, while marijuana can have considerably higher THC content, sometimes up to 40%, which is inappropriate for most of us but can be beneficial for chronic pain, cancer patients and people with other debilitating conditions (and maybe Snoop Dogg).
CBD products regardless of constitution (tincture, gummies, capsules, pre rolls, intimate oils) come in three THC level specific formulations: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate products. Full-spectrum CBD is basically everything found in the hemp plant, encompassing all its naturally occurring compounds, including THC, albeit in tiny amounts. On the flip side, broad-spectrum CBD is designed to retain multiple cannabinoids and terpenes while deliberately eliminating THC, making it a safer choice for those who want to avoid positive drug tests. CBD isolate, the purest form of CBD, contains no other compounds except for CBD itself. While full-spectrum products present the potential benefits of the entourage effect (teamwork makes the dream work), it's essential to note that full spectrum CBD products can trigger positive drug tests due to the presence of THC, even in minute quantities.
How The Tests Work
This leads us to a critical question: how do THC tests operate, and what can you do to minimize the risk of testing positive? THC tests primarily aim to detect the presence of THC or its metabolites in various bodily fluids—most notably urine, saliva, or hair. Urine tests, being the most prevalent, typically screen for the metabolite THC-COOH, which has remarkable staying power in the body, hanging out in your system for weeks after consumption. In contrast, saliva tests are geared towards detecting recent use and may not register THC as effectively as urine tests. Hair tests, with their extensive detection windows, can cover a whopping 90-day period! To further decrease the odds of testing positive while engaging in regular CBD consumption, you should opt for broad-spectrum or CBD isolate products, which are THC-free, provided they are from trustworthy brands that accurately label and test their products.
Can You “Beat” the Test?
On the topic of reducing THC levels in the body, it's worth highlighting two natural strategies: exercise and proper hydration. Engaging in regular physical activity can indeed help metabolize and flush out THC and its metabolites more efficiently, as the process of fat burning releases stored THC from fat cells into the bloodstream, making it available for elimination. Hydration, too, plays a crucial role in this detoxification process. Adequate water intake supports the body's natural detox mechanisms and can expedite the removal of THC and its byproducts through urine. The best advice if you know a test is coming up is to abstain- “just say no” until you secure the bag 🙂
For some of y'all the idea of exercising and drinking water sounds like too much work, and you may have heard from your cousins’ boyfriend's sister that she beat the test for her new job by buying some tea from a website. A lot of people seek “unconventional” methods to try to beat these tests, from using supplements to ingesting various herbs to using “different” urine. However, it's important to debunk these myths and emphasize that these tactics are often unreliable and may even lead to undesirable consequences. Synthetic urine, for instance, is not a foolproof method and can result in severe penalties if discovered. Relying on supplements or herbal remedies to "mask" THC in your system is a gamble, as they often lack scientific backing and can pose health risks. If you find yourself buying a fake penis to beat a drug test, you may have bigger problems than you want to admit.
Take Home Points
This may seem like a lot of information so here’s what you should keep in mind:
Absolutely, here are some key take-home points that readers should remember after reading this article:
1. **Know the Legal THC Limits**: Understand that the legal limit for THC in CBD products in the United States is generally set at 0.3%. Compliance with this threshold is crucial to differentiate between legal hemp-derived CBD and federally illegal psychoactive marijuana.
2. **CBD Product Varieties**: Be aware of the distinctions between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate products. Full-spectrum products contain a range of natural compounds, including trace amounts of THC. Broad-spectrum and CBD isolate options are THC-free and may be safer for those concerned about drug testing.
3. **How THC Tests Work**: Recognize that THC tests detect the presence of THC or its metabolites in bodily fluids, such as urine, saliva, or hair. Different tests have varying detection windows, so understanding their mechanisms is vital.
4. **Reducing THC Levels Naturally**: Consider natural strategies for lowering THC levels in the body, such as regular exercise and proper hydration. Exercise can help metabolize and eliminate THC more efficiently, while staying hydrated supports the body's natural detox processes.
5. **Beware of Test Detection Myths**: Don't fall for urban legends/ myths about defeating THC tests. Synthetic urine and unverified supplements or herbs can be unreliable and may lead to legal consequences you're already trying to avoid. It's essential to rely on proven methods and make informed choices.
6. **Choose Reputable CBD Brands**: When selecting CBD products, prioritize trustworthy brands that accurately label their products. This ensures you are getting what you expect in terms of THC content.
7. **Stay Informed About Local Regulations**: Keep yourself updated on the legal status of CBD and THC products in your region, as THC limits and regulations can vary from place to place.
8. **Prioritize Safety and Compliance**: Ultimately, prioritize safety and compliance when using CBD products. Err on the side of caution, especially if you are subject to drug testing, and opt for THC-free options if necessary.
By keeping these key points in mind, you can make informed decisions about using CBD products, minimize the risk of testing positive for THC, and navigate the evolving landscape of CBD and THC regulations effectively.
World Anti-Doping Agency: https://www.wada-ama.org/
National Collegiate Athletic Association: https://www.ncaa.org/news/2022/2/25/media-center-committee-adjusts-thc-test-threshold.aspx
National Football League: https://www.nfl.com/
National Basketball Association: https://www.nba.com/
Major League Baseball: https://www.mlb.com/
National Hockey League: https://www.nhl.com/
Major League Soccer: https://www.mls.com/
Union of European Football Associations: https://www.uefa.com/