One of the most common questions we receive from new and experienced users alike is, “Does CBD show up on a drug test?” As we’ve covered before, the answer is no: CBD will not show up on a drug test. But a more nuanced variation of that question involves the hair follicle drug test (or “hair tests”), which are renowned for their sensitivity and long detection window. So, does CBD show up on a hair follicle test?
In general, you shouldn’t worry about CBD showing up on a hair follicle drug test. However, there are some things to keep in mind if you want to be completely confident while going into your next round of drug testing.
How are Hair Follicle Drug Tests Different From Other Types of Drug Tests
While blood, urine, and hair tests are all looking for the same thing, they have a few key differences.
The most obvious is that each type of test examines a different part of the examinee’s body. Predictably, hair follicle drug tests examine the hair follicle: the portion of a strand of hair located within the outer layer of skin.
Less obviously, each method of testing has a different “detection window”. The longer the detection window, the further back a test will be able to detect the examinee’s drug use.
Hair follicle tests have a much longer detection window than other types of drug tests. Substances, once used, enter the bloodstream. From there, they are actually absorbed into the hair follicle, where they can be detected for an extended period of time. Where urine tests might only detect a given substance for up to 3 days after use, hair follicle tests can detect that same substance for up to 90 days!
Given this extreme sensitivity, it’s understandable that CBD users might be concerned about hair tests specifically. As we’ll cover below, some CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC, one of the most commonly tested substances. Over time, could that THC build up enough to trigger a positive on a hair follicle test? Read on to find out.
Hair Follicle Tests are NOT Looking For CBD
Let’s get straight to it: typical drug tests are not looking for CBD. That’s because CBD is non-intoxicating and 100% legal in all 50 states.
Hair follicle drug tests don’t magically detect everything in your body. Rather, the tests have to selectively look for a specific list of substances, determined before the test begins. Each substance they add to that list increases the cost of conducting the test. Because CBD is near-universally accepted, virtually no drug test will be looking for it.
So, does CBD show up on a hair follicle test? Almost certainly not, although a test COULD be designed to look specifically for CBD. However, even were that the case, CBD is perfectly legal, non-intoxicating, and widely accepted throughout most corners of the US. Even if a hair follicle test DID look for CBD, it’s unlikely to cause problems for you.
However, it’s not quite that simple. Due to CBD’s relationship with cannabis, there are a few other things to consider.
What ARE Hair Follicle Tests Looking For?
Under federal workplace drug testing guidelines, the most commonly screened substances are as follows:
- Marijuana (particularly THC)
Although CBD does NOT come from marijuana, that last one causes some potential complications for CBD users with an upcoming drug test.
CBD comes from hemp. Like its more infamous cousin, marijuana, hemp is a type of cannabis plant. All cannabis plants naturally produce some amount of THC, the intoxicating (and federally illegal) cannabinoid.
That’s right: hemp, from which all legal CBD products are derived, does contain some amount of THC. And THC, in turn, is one of the most frequently screened substances on workplace drug tests.
Does that mean that your CBD products will cause you to fail a drug test? Absolutely not.
Why You Shouldn’t Worry About CBD Products Triggering a Positive on a Hair Follicle Test
Does CBD show up on a hair follicle test? As we covered earlier, the answer is no (and no one would care, even if it did). However, the THC contained in some CBD products could, in theory, show up on such a test!
However, it’s really not something you need to worry about — as long as you’re buying from a reputable CBD vendor. Ready for some facts and figures to explain why? Read on! If not, just skip to the final section for a sure-fire way to put your worried mind to rest, 100% guaranteed.
Warning: Facts and Math to Follow
THC drug tests, on average, can detect THC levels as small as 4 to 50 nanograms of THC. Although that number is truly tiny, the amount in a legal CBD product is far, far smaller.
Under the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products cannot legally contain any more than 0.3% THC content. That means that a 30ml CBD tincture, regardless of CBD potency, will contain at most 0.00036 nanograms of THC.
To break that down for you: To reach the 4 nanograms of THC at the LOW-END of drug tests’ detection window, you’d need to consume 11,111 times the THC contained in ANY legal 30ml CBD tincture.
That’s right: over ELEVEN THOUSAND times more THC than is contained in a 30ml tincture.
While yes, hair follicle drug tests do have a longer detection window than other tests, it would be virtually impossible to consume that much CBD oil before the detection window closed.
Important Caveat: Note that the discussion above referenced legal CBD oil. That’s an absolutely critical distinction. Unfortunately, not all vendors are above-board; certain shady dealers have been known to sell lower-quality “CBD” products that have much higher levels of THC, are illegal, and could easily cause users to fail a drug test. This is yet another reason that it’s vital to buy only from reputable CBD vendors who prove the THC content of all their products through comprehensive, third-party testing.
For more on the facts and figures covered here, see our Learn Center article on CBD and Drug Testing.
Still Worried? The Single Easiest Way to Put Your Mind at Ease
Does CBD show up on a hair follicle test? No. Does THC? Yes.
As we covered above, some CBD products do contain trace amounts of THC, but it would be virtually impossible for these amounts to trigger a positive drug test result. Still, some users want to eliminate all possibilities, remote as they might be.
The solution is simple: don’t buy Full Spectrum CBD products, as these are the only CBD products that contain THC.
If you’re worried about the remote possibility of a positive drug test result, instead buy THC-free CBD products. These fall into two categories:
- Broad Spectrum CBD: These products are identical to full spectrum products but have had all traces of THC carefully removed. They still contain all of hemp’s other natural compounds, including the other non-intoxicating cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. These products are cherished for their ability to create the “entourage effect.”
- CBD Isolate Products: These products contain no traces of any hemp compound other than CBD. They are made with a chemically-isolated, 99.99% pure form of CBD. They will not contribute to the entourage effect. Products of this sort are cherished by users who are sensitive to hemp’s other compounds or who do not believe the entourage effect enhances hemp’s therapeutic potential.