Whether you agree with it or not, drug testing is still mandatory for many jobs. And despite the fact that cannabis is legal in many states, it’s still one of the most common substances that appears on the drug screenings of potential candidates.
In the scenarios where drug testing is actually required, employers generally follow the standards set forth by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which puts them on solid legal ground should a lawsuit ever arise. The SAMHSA guidelines provides a list of accepted cutoff levels for various drugs and drug metabolites found in the body. For cannabis – THC specifically – the immunoassay cutoff is 50 ng/mL in the urine. Should this come back positive, a second test called the Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), is performed to confirm the results. The cutoff level for the GC/MS is 15 ng/mL.
Now, let’s circle back to the specific cannabinoids that are tested for. Since tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for cerebral effects, a standard drug screen will test for only that and 11-nor-delta9-caboxy-THC (THC-COOH), cannabis’ dominant metabolite. Cross-reactivity between THC/THC-COOH and other cannabinoids such as CBD, CBD, and CBN, is very uncommon with urine tests. If high-quality CBD contains 0.3% THC or less (up to 1/300th the amount of THC found in cannabis), someone would have to consume 1500 to 2000 mg of CBD per day to build up the amount of THC that would be needed to fail a drug screen.
To simplify, if you’re only using CBD, you probably won’t test positive for anything at work. Keep in mind that false positives do happen occasionally, but that likely has nothing to due with the presence of other cannabinoids. Ultimately, consumers need to be up date on their employer’s specific regulations regarding drug testing and they should only buy CBD products from reputable sources.
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