While CBD is legal in the UK, many people are still unsure about whether or not it is okay to use the products in certain situations. One scenario that many people ask about is a drugs test. Often given mandatorily at the start of a new job or before competing in a sport, drug tests can have serious implications on peoples’ lives if they fail. The question of whether or not CBD shows up on these tests – and importantly, whether it will cause the user to fail – is therefore a popular one.
If you are already using CBD oil, or thinking about starting to use it, you may be interested to find out more about the link between CBD and drugs testing in the UK. Our guide will outline everything you need to know so that you can be sure you’re making the right decision for you.
Firstly, what does a drugs test involve?
A drug test is a technical analysis of a biological specimen to determine whether a particular drug is present in a person’s system. The tests will flag the presence of both the parent drugs – for example, cocaine or marijuana – as well as the metabolite of the drug. A metabolite is essentially the substance the drug becomes in the body once it has been broken down, and so its appearance on a drug test is always indicative that the drug has been taken within the recent past.
The biological specimen used in the tests can vary, but can include urine, hair, blood, breath and sweat. Urine testing is the most common form of drug testing, and metabolites are usually present in urine for around three to four days after drug use (though this can be longer for some drugs, such as cannabis).
The rules around drug screen are different in every country and industry. Where you live and what job you do will have an impact on whether or not you ever have to take part in a screening.
One place that drug testing is common – if not mandatory – is in the workplace. More employees than ever are being subjected to drug screening, especially if they’re in industries where being under the influence could seriously injure themselves or members of the public, such as construction or transportation. In many cases, having to take a test is a common condition that people have to agree to even before initial employment has taken place.
Similarly, it is mandatory for many athletes to pass a drugs test before entering competitions. From MMA and boxing to athletics and swimming, screening is something that crosses many disciplines.
CBD and drug testing
Drug tests are concerned primarily with drugs that are illegal, or in the case of athletes, ones that are banned by sporting bodies. It is important to note that CBD does not fall under either of these categories – due to being made from the natural, non-toxic hemp plant, CBD oil is legal to own, sell and use in the UK. Similarly, all bans on the substance were lifted by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) in recent years. In fact, an increasing number of athletes are now coming out in support of using CBD.
What this means is that drug tests are not looking for any traces of CBD. What they are looking for, however, are traces of THC, and this is where it can get slightly complicated. THC is another compound found in cannabis alongside cannabidiol (or CBD). However, it is a psychoactive compound, and is the one that causes people who use cannabis to feel ‘high’ and have their mindset altered. The problem is that some CBD oils in the marketplace do include tiny amounts of THC. In theory, this could cause you to fail a drugs test if excessive amounts of CBD oil is ingested.
In the UK, CBD oil is legal as long as the trace levels of THC are less than 0.2%. This means that if a person were to consume anywhere from 1000 to 2000mg of CBD in a day, it may be enough to result in a positive for cannabis on a drug test. This would be a false positive, as the screening would detect the minimum amounts of THC (less than 0.2%) and various other cannabinoids. However the risk is there – and while it’s minimal, it’s enough to make some people not want to consume CBD oil at all in case they end up with a false positive.
What can you do?
Luckily, the low chances of CBD oil causing THC to appear in a drugs test do not mean you have to stop using CBD products. One thing you can do is ensure you’re buying good quality products that adhere to the standards set. There are now more fully extracted, CBD-only products on the market, which are designed to keep various cannabinoids other than CBD out of your system – even beyond the reach of specialised drug tests.
To put our customers minds at rest regarding CBD and drug screening, we can safely say that our CBD products are as low in THC and other non-CBD cannabinoids as we can make them. We are confident that unless excessive amounts of our CBD oil or other products were consumed, our customers would be very unlikely to fail a drugs test.
To put it into context, our soft gel capsules contain only 10mg of CBD per capsule. To consume the minimal limit of 1000mg that may cause a user to fail a drug test, 100 capsules would need to be ingested (which we of course would never advise). Similarly, our highest strength e-liquid is 1000mg and we would never recommend a customer to use all of this bottle in one day. Using our CBD products and taking the recommended dosages would therefore keep most people with only miniscule amounts of THC in their system, and would make failing a drug test very unlikely.
If someone is asked to take a drug’s test – whether for work, sports events of some kind of legal issue – there is usually little need to worry if they have taken CBD products. These tests are not designed to look for cannabidiol, because the compound is both legal within the UK and also allowed by the major sporting bodies of the world.
While minimal, the risk of consuming so much CBD oil that more than the accepted levels of THC appear on a test is there. Because of this, some people may choose to avoid CBD products altogether. This is of course an individual choice, and one that is completely understandable, especially when employment is concerned. However, many people are able to enjoy the wide array of CBD oil products available on the market and face no problem with drug testing at all.
For more information on the law surrounding CBD, take a look at our FAQs.