Eric Malis

The question I am getting most frequently these days is whether CBD oil and other CBD products can cause a positive result on the THC panel. Let’s dig in a little to see what CBD is supposed to be, and what it often is.


What is CBD?


CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive Cannabinoid – a substance that acts on the Cannabinoid receptors (the endocannabinoid system) in animals – one of more than 100 such Cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant.  While medical research into CBD is still in its infancy, promising studies are being undertaken to see if it can be used to treat a myriad of ailments, including anxiety, chronic pain, autoimmune disease, and epilepsy, among others. The FDA has even approved a CBD-based medication called Epidiolex for epilepsy.


Regulation and Availability


CBD is “legal” in some states if it is derived from the hemp plant, which by definition may not contain more than 0.3% THC (the psychoactive substance in Cannabis); I use quotation marks because Federally, the DEA has stated “Just because we haven’t taken any enforcement action, doesn’t mean it’s okay.” Basically, the status of CBD is sort of in limbo, although it has already been excluded as both a dietary and food supplement. In the meantime, it is becoming ubiquitous – being sold everywhere from vitamin and health-food stores, to head shops and convenience stores; and in products from vaping oils and topical lotions, to tinctures and even snacks and soft drinks; there is even a huge market aimed at CBD products for pets! And because of the lax enforcement, it often is coming from less-than-reputable sources, its quality and ingredients list vary wildly. Reputable CBD producers will have their products verified by an external laboratory, and the contents clearly marked on the packaging.


Why Does This Matter to Us?


Getting back to the big question for us; will these products cause a positive on the THC panel on the instant test? The short answer is no: CBD use will not cause a positive result on a THC test; the THC panel is designed to react solely with THC and its metabolites. However, because of the laissez faire attitude by both enforcement authorities, and especially unscrupulous producers, many CBD products available “on the street” these days contain more than the allowable amount of THC. So, even in the best circumstances, many CBD products will contain trace amounts of THC (as allowable), but again, the lack of regulation and oversight means we are seeing too many products that contain unacceptable amounts of THC, which can be the cause of many THC test positives where the user claims to have only used CBD. Reputable CBD producers will have their products verified from an independent laboratory, and the contents clearly marked on the packaging.