There is a growing number of cannabidiol (CBD) products that can be purchased in forms such as oils, extracts, vape and e-liquids.  

What is CBD? 

CBD has a different chemical structure to 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive cannabis compound that illicit drug users use to get “high”. CBD does not have this effect. CBD is completely legal and safe to use in the UK, provided products meet the specific government standards to be bought and sold here. Legal CBD products must contain no more than 0.2% THC, otherwise they will be classed as a prohibited substance. 

Will CBD show up on a drugs test? 

CBD originates from the hemp plant, which contains the whole spectrum of cannabinoids, including THC. Due to this, it is always possible for CBD oil to result in a positive test if the product you consume contains THC too. While the CBD compound is not usually screened for, THC is traceable during drug testing. 

CBD is unlikely to show up if you have purchased CBD products from a regulated seller as these will contain extremely low amounts of THC, or none. It is therefore unlikely, but still possible, that your drug test will be positive if you have carefully considered where you buy your CBD oil from. 

What about the use of CBD products in sport? 

The UK Anti-Doping Agency says “The use of any CBD product is at the athlete’s own risk. As a result, CBD products should be considered in the same way as all other dietary supplements. That being, if an athlete did use a CBD Product that led to an Adverse Analytical Finding for THC (or any other prohibited substance), their use of this product would not mitigate their fault.” 

Athletes must seriously consider the risk of inadvertently ingesting a CBD product that either has a higher THC concentration than expected or contains another cannabinoid that is prohibited in sport. This may occur if: 

  1. a product becomes contaminated with a varied species of plant that has a high-THC concentration; or
  2. the wrong part of the cannabis plant is used during the manufacturing process (due to misidentification). 

Does third-party batch testing make CBD safer? 

Most CBD companies ensure the purity of products through third-party lab testing. The label should identify which plant it originates from and what kind of CBD it contains. However, the reliability of these in-house testing programmes is unknown. Additionally, third-party laboratories who do screen CBD products for THC may not screen products for the presence of other prohibited substances. Negligence might play a role too. Some suppliers will cut corners by using cheaper extraction methods that do not remove all the THC. As there is not any regulatory standard for extractions processes, the risk of THC being present in your CBD products increases as a result. 

Can I avoid testing positive? 

It is always possible for CBD to show up on a drug test. You can only minimise the possibility of testing positive checking how reputable and trustworthy the brand in question is. All forms of CBD carry a certain level of risk. 

Racoo Screening works with organisations of all sizes to help implement effective workplace drug and alcohol testing policies that comply with national and, where relevant, international regulations. We also offer a complete drug and alcohol testing service, e-learning packages, and staff training. To find out more, contact us here.