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When it comes to drug testing, CBD may not be A-OK

Arizona poison centers warn of risk of testing positive for THC while using CBD

Arizona’s poison centers are cautioning users about the potentially unknown risk of testing positive for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, when using cannabidiol, or CBD. Reports in Arizona and across the country are coming from people claiming they failed a drug test when they’ve only used CBD. Urine drug tests that screen for marijuana look for a unique metabolite of THC that is separate from CBD.

“CBD itself will not cause a false positive drug test but people can still test positive for marijuana because there could actually be small amounts of THC in these products, especially if they’re made from hemp,” says Steve Dudley, director of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center.

Hemp is defined as any part of a cannabis plant that contains no more than 0.3% THC. CBD products made from hemp could have small amounts of THC in them even if the label doesn’t say so. This means that people using CBD regularly could build up high enough THC levels in their body to test positive. 

“The FDA has issued written warnings to companies that are illegally selling unapproved CBD products due to the increase in exposures,” added Maureen Roland, RN director of the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. “There has also been an increase in delta-8 THC products which can be derived from the CBD hemp in concentrated amounts and does have psychoactive effects.”

Another issue has to do with the product quality. “We’ve seen multiple reports from the FDA and independent labs that show CBD products containing way more THC than would be explained from legal hemp sources,” Dr. Dudley says. “It can really be the wild west depending on where you purchase your products.”

The consequences of a failed drug test can be severe, including losing a job which could have far reaching financial implications. Patients and providers should be aware of these risks before starting these therapies. “There are drug tests that measure the CBD to THC ratio in patients which could help prove that a patient is telling the truth, however, employers still may choose to stick with their decision regarding discipline which can be unfortunate,” he advises. 

The poison centers encourage patients who are thinking about taking CBD products to talk to their healthcare providers first. Healthcare providers are encouraged to call their poison center if they have questions regarding CBD use in their patients. 

Call 1-(800)-222-1222 24/7/365 with questions regarding this or any other poison, drug, or chemical exposure.


About the Arizona Poison and Drug Information System

The poison and drug information centers at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy in Tucson and at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, provide free and confidential poison and drug information to the public and health care professionals. The hotlines operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The two centers serve all of Arizona and are part of 55 centers across the nation that are accredited by American Association of Poison Control Centers. Call (800)-222-1222 from any location to reach the poison center nearest you.


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