Can CBD Products Make You Fail a Pre-Employment Drug test?
If you recently started consuming CBD products, you may be wondering whether they can make you fail a pre-employment drug test. In recent years, millions of people have discovered what research argues are the benefits of taking cannabidiol, or CBD. It’s a great way to support your wellness. But, as CBD is derived from cannabis, it’s important to consider whether taking CBD will make you fail a pre-employment drug test.
How Do Pre-Employment Drug Tests Work?
The most well-known compound in cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. It’s actually not present in high amounts in raw cannabis. THC is produced by the decarboxylation of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, or THCa, through smoking, vaping, edible production or simple degradation over time.
When people use cannabis to get high, THCa converts to THC and is then metabolized by the body. This process creates metabolites, new compounds that are detectable in a sample of a person’s urine, saliva, hair or blood.
Pre-employment drug tests can screen any of these bodily products, mixing your sample with a chemical reagent or an antibody to determine whether these metabolites are present and at what levels they appear.
The majority of employers use urine testing, and they generally derive their testing standards from those used by the US federal government when it’s screening potential employees. The government, in turn, determines their drug testing standards by using the guidelines from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.
The immunoassay urine test is the one most generally used for an initial test. It works by mixing antibodies—specifically crafted versions of the types of proteins that the body produces as part of its immune response—with a urine sample, and looking for antibody-antigen reactions with the metabolites of well-known drugs. The most widely available immunoassay urine tests screen for the metabolites of methamphetamine, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, cocaine, narcotics and THC.
Generally, immunoassay urine tests are used by doctors, addiction services, probation officers and even families as a tool to help detect the use of illegal drugs. They’re also used as an initial pre-employment drug test, as they are fast-acting, inexpensive and easy to administer. They detect the presence of drug metabolites as well as the amount of metabolites present, so the evaluative standards for immunoassay also include a cutoff—a level of metabolites present below which the test will not be considered a positive. It’s important to note that while these tests are prevalent, they do sometimes show false positives for drug metabolites.
Employers are well aware of this problem. That’s why, if someone’s sample unexpectedly shows positive for drugs, the organization can choose to request a second sample and undertake a confirmatory test using different methods, such as liquid or gas mass spectrometry or mass chromatography. The pre-employment drug test works by mixing the sample with a gas or liquid carrier medium, which is designed to separate out drug metabolites by how they react with the medium. Then this mixture is fed into a mass spectrometer, which ionizes the compounds and allows them to be detected based on their molecular fingerprints. These methods involve lots of precise lab work and are more costly for the employer and more time-consuming for the testing lab, but are less likely to show a false positive.
The Difference Between THC and CBD
People have used cannabis for thousands of years. This is no surprise, because humans naturally produce compounds within the body called endocannabinoids, which are chemically quite similar to compounds found within the cannabis plant. Endocannabinoid receptors are found in the brain, nervous system, gut and many other parts of the body. The endocannabinoid system is still under study, but investigation by researchers is finding that it may play a role in the smooth operation of our bodies.
Research indicates that THC, widely understood to be the compound in cannabis that produces the characteristic euphoria, or “high,” causes this effect by interacting with particular receptors in the human endocannabinoid system and causing the release of neurotransmitters. Other compounds found within cannabis, such as CBD, are not generally understood to produce a high, but recent studies argue that CBD, and other cannabinoids found in cannabis, have their own interactions with the endocannabinoid system and could be useful in supporting well-being by reducing pain, increasing appetite and regulating sleep.
The Risk of THC Presence in CBD Products
Both THC and CBD come from cannabis plants, although CBD, which is generally legal in the US, is made from strains of legal hemp, which have less than 0.3 percent THCa and THC. The 2018 Hemp Farming Act legalized growing these strains as a regular agricultural commodity. This has caused a boom in domestic production of CBD products, which are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration but are illegal if they have more than this trace amount of THC. This is of great benefit to people interested in CBD as a wellness supplement, but it’s important to consider the risks of even trace amounts of THC in the CBD products that you choose to buy.
THC metabolites are stored in your fat cells as well as other areas of the body, and are released slowly. This means that if you are a regular consumer of significant amounts of CBD products containing even trace amounts of THC, a urine immunoassay screen or a liquid or gas mass spectrometry test might show a positive for THC metabolites. This could also happen with less common tests such as blood, hair and saliva tests.
CBD products are now widely available. Because CBD products aren’t nationally regulated, it’s important, as a consumer, to carefully consider the risks of using products that don’t eliminate all THC during processing. Fortunately, Zen Garden Organics CBD products are processed in a way that ensures that even trace amounts of THC are eliminated during processing, and the products are lab tested to provide assurance that THC is absent.
Removing THC From CBD Products
Zen Garden Organics uses a seven-step process to ensure products are pure and THC-free, while effectively determining the amount of CBD and related compounds, and making sure they are able to be easily processed and absorbed by our bodies. Starting with high-quality farming, careful curing and storage, and expert milling according to top industry standards, our suppliers apply proprietary technology, including the use of supercritical CO2, to produce pure hemp extract. A proprietary separation process removes chlorophyll, wax, undesirable flavors and—most importantly—THC from the extract. What remains are CBD and other beneficial compounds such as phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.
Research claims that, together with CBD, these compounds can create an entourage effect, maximizing the potential benefit of CBD. You can read more about all the steps on our process page—and our team is happy to answer questions to help you find the CBD products that are right for you.
Lab Testing CBD Products
In order to offer the highest levels of assurance to our customers, we send samples of each batch of our products to an independent testing laboratory that confirms both a consistent level of CBD dosing and an absence of THC. On our lab results page, you can check the batch number of your product and click for a link to the test results. As well as being tested as THC-free and for CBD and other potentially beneficial cannabinoids, our products are screened for compliance with strict safety guidelines regulating pesticides, harmful microbes and heavy metals.
Ready to Get Started with CBD?
At Zen Garden Organics, our products are crafted with the highest standards of quality, and our caring and knowledgeable team offers them to you with love and care. We are very happy to answer your questions and to support you on your CBD journey. To get started, browse our product page.
By: Lior Shapiro