CBD, a compound derived from cannabis plants, doesn’t get you high. Properly processed, it contains only a fraction of a percent of THC, which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis. CBD can be derived from marijuana or hemp plants, with hemp creating a naturally low-THC product. CBD derived from marijuana must be specially processed to remove the THC content.
Either way, CBD only has a claim to legality if it contains no more than 0.3% THC. As for whether it is actually legal or not, that’s a bit of an open question. Last year, the federal government legalized hemp and hemp products, so CBD derived from hemp is likely legal under federal law – as long as it contains virtually no THC.
Here in Pennsylvania, we also have legalized hemp, so hemp-derived CBD is probably legal here, as well. However, we have not actively legalized CBD for any purpose, including medical. Ultimately, the chances are greater that your CBD product is legal the lower the level of THC.
In any case, CBD oils, tinctures, lotions and other products are widely available online and even in some brick-and-mortar retail stores. Many people have argued that CBD offers wellness benefits, and there is even some evidence that it could have medicinal properties in the case of certain illnesses.
According to Consumer Reports, a whole lot of people have tried CBD in the past two years: an estimated 64 million.
But would it show up in a drug test for marijuana? Unfortunately, the answer is that it very well could.
Most drug tests aren’t looking for CBD, but not all CBD is THC-free
Consumer Reports discussed the issue with the senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics, the nation’s largest administrator of drug tests. He said the urine test most commonly used wouldn’t come up positive if someone was using CBD with very minimal levels of THC. The test instead looks for a compound that is created by the body when THC is metabolized.
“There isn’t going to be a laboratory analytical false positive confusing CBD with a THC metabolite,” he said.
However, CBD is not well regulated yet, and many CBD products contain more THC than is advertised on the label. Moreover, it’s possible that the small amounts of THC in low-THC CBD products could build up in your system and eventually result in a positive drug test.
Part of the problem with determining the THC content of a particular CBD product is that the rules vary from state to state. Some allow the whole plant to be sampled, for example, while others require samples to be taken only from the top six inches of the plant, which contains the flower – and the most THC. That means the amount of THC found in a plant sample could vary from state to state.
Furthermore, only a couple of states require finished CBD products to be tested for their THC content. And, state agriculture departments lack the jurisdiction to regulate the products for safety.
Finally, some medical CBD products from other states contain more than 0.3% THC. For example, Georgia and Virginia allow medical CBD to contain 5% THC – and that’s enough to impair you.
If you’re using CBD, finding a trustworthy manufacturer is crucial. Don’t buy from companies that can’t provide a certificate of analysis that lists the product’s THC content. These usually aren’t confirmed by independent experts, but they’re the best information available.
If you’re arrested for DUI because you were using CBD, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away and explain your situation.