Can CBD make you fail a drug test? It’s a question on a lot of people’s minds. Today, one-in-five adults aged 18-29 report using CBD regularly and for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with getting high.

Some people use CBD to alleviate stress and reduce anxiety, while others use it to help with seizures or ease Cancer-related illnesses. Regardless of usage, CBD is considered a safe, non-psychoactive alternative to THC-heavy marijuana. 

However, CBD is not without its downfalls. 

Although CBD is legal in Texas (as long as it contains a percentage less than 0.3 THC, more on that later), it can still result in a failed drug test. Let’s talk about why this happens and what you can do if you fail a drug test.

What is CBD: Pure Isolate vs. Broad/Full Spectrum

Before we can articulately explain why and how CBD can make you fail a drug test, let’s establish what CBD is and is not, as well as some of the definitions that are helpful to know if you’re worried about failing a drug test.

CBD is short for cannabidiol, the second most prevalent chemical compound in Cannabis Sativa, more commonly known as marijuana or hemp. Unlike the other major compound in cannabis, THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and will not get you high.

However, not all CBD is created equally. There are three main kinds of CBD: CBD isolate, full-spectrum CBD, and broad-spectrum CBD, and one type of CBD carries a higher risk of causing you to fail a drug test than the others.

  • CBD Isolate: Also known as pure CBD, CBD isolate is cannabidiol in its purest available form, free of any other cannabis compounds, including THC. CBD isolate has virtually no taste or odor and is highly unlikely to result in a failed drug test.
  • Full-spectrum CBD: Full-spectrum CBD contains at least some of all the compounds present in the cannabis plant, including trace amounts of THC. Under Texas law, full-spectrum CBD composition must be less than 0.3 THC. Additionally, because full-spectrum CBD contains more compounds of the cannabis plant, its effects are often stronger. While full-spectrum CBD is unlikely to cause a false positive on your drug test, the presence of THC can potentially cause you to fail.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD: Similar to full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD contains all chemical compounds from the cannabis plant except THC. Broad-spectrum CBD should not result in a false positive for THC on a drug screening. 

Why can CBD make you fail a drug test?

When it comes to run-of-the-mill drug tests, full-spectrum CBD can be problematic for a variety of reasons, but let’s address the top three concerns.

THC may build up over time in your body

Recent studies have shown that THC can build up in your body over time when consumed frequently, even if it is only present in low volumes as with full-spectrum CBD. People who use CBD for medical purposes daily may be at additional risk of THC buildup, potentially resulting in a failed drug test.

More specifically, researchers at John Hopkins have found “studies show that THC and its metabolites may accumulate with repeated use” which, over time, could result in a positive drug test.

Facilities have difficulty with accurate drug testing

Current lab testing equipment does not differentiate between various levels of THC. This means that the equipment would yield a positive result whether there were trace amounts of THC or extremely high levels of THC.

Since laws have changed, facilities are scrambling to adjust their equipment and testing procedures. Many labs, including both equipment and testing personnel, are still not adequately prepared to differentiate between legal and illegal levels of THC. This includes both the equipment and the personnel responsible for testing.

There is also the potential that specific testing equipment can completely misidentify CBD as THC, and using any additional medication can cross-react with CBD, resulting in false positives. 

It’s also important to take into consideration law enforcement. Many police officers also aren’t equipped to differentiate between legal and illegal CBD. If they catch you with a bag of CBD gummies — whether they’re illegal or not — they may still arrest you and charge you with possession. And remember, this would come down to the full bag of gummies — not just serving size. So if your gummies do end up having more than .3% THC (even if it is just by a little bit), they’ll charge you with possession for the entire bag. This is no different than being caught with weed.

Packing and labeling may not be entirely accurate

Just because the label says it contains less than .3% THC, doesn’t mean 100% accuracy. Packaging becomes even more of an issue when dealing with smaller storefronts and individuals selling CBD oil out of their homes. 

Even though HB 1325 outlines specific safeguards meant to avoid issues with production and packaging, this is still relatively new to Texas as a whole, and there are bound to be problems. Many studies show that CBD products often contain more THC than the packaging claims it contains (even if it claims to have 0% THC).

It’s also important to keep in mind that states have different regulations on marijuana as a whole. If you bring in CBD from another state, this could be problematic for you in Texas (even if it is considered legal in the state you purchased it in). 

On top of this, different cities handle testing and charges differently. If you live in Houston, read our article, “Is weed legal in Houston?

How to fight a failed drug test for CBD

Even though the issues surrounding CBD testing in Texas sound troubling, they could still work in your favor. Similar to beating a DWI in Texas, you can use the nuances associated with lab testing to fight for your innocence if you are accused of driving under the influence of marijuana or are fighting against a probation violation due to a false positive result from CBD. 

To do this, it’s important to work with a Board Certified defense lawyer, such as Mark Thiessen, who understands how, when, and why lab testing yields inaccurate results. 

Mark Thiessen is a lawyer-scientist who is directly responsible for over a hundred not guilty verdicts and thousands of dismissals. To learn more about how Mark can help you, contact the firm for a free consultation today

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.