Will CBD Make you Fail a Drug Test?

UPDATED ON DECEMBER 20, 2018

Alternative medications and natural remedies are becoming extremely popular. CBD and THC are becoming increasingly popular due to the wide range of proven health benefits. There is a close relationship between these two compounds found both in the cannabis plant, but they are vastly different.

CBD and THC have the exact same chemical makeup and are much like twins. They come from the same plant and also are made up of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. They are not identical twins because of the arrangement of just one compound. It’s a microscopic difference but this causes a very big difference in how our body reacts to it: THC makes you high and CBD doesn’t.


The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors that interact with cannabinoids to maintain vital functions throughout our body. These include physiological and cognitive processes which include fertility, pregnancy, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory. Cannabinoids can indirectly control these receptors and alter the way they function. There are currently 85 known cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, the most prominent of which are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD).

THC

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of many compounds that is secreted by glands of the marijuana plant. THC is the active chemical in cannabis.

The human body’s Cannabinoid receptors are concentrated in certain areas of the brain associated with thinking, memory, pleasure, coordination and time perception. THC works by attaching itself to these receptors and activating them to release dopamine. This is what causes the euphoric feeling. A person’s memory, pleasure, movements, thinking, concentration, coordination, and sensory and time perception can all be affected by THC. THC can cause hallucinations, change thinking and cause delusions. All of these effects can last about two hours, and begin 10 to 30 minutes after ingestion. Psychomotor impairment may continue even after the high-feeling has stopped. Occasionally THC can cause side effects that are even less pleasant. These can include elation, anxiety, tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat), short-term memory recall issues, sedation, relaxation, pain relief and many more.

Can CBD Get You High?

CBD itself lacks the chemical compounds found in THC. Without those compounds, CBD cannot create the same effects as THC can. The majority of people experience a sense of relaxation, elevated mood, less pain, feels of peacefulness and well-being. These effects are considered analgesic or pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory responses. These will also help reduce nausea and provide relief from most pain.

CBD itself does not create make people high. Since drug screens are only searching for THC to be present in the body, CBD will not make you test positive for drug use. Many CBD products have a very small amount of THC, usually .3% or less (or three-tenths of 1%). The only way the small amount of THC buried in hemp-based CBD products might be able to shine through and trigger a false positive is if a patient was consuming upwards of 1,000 milligrams a day. To put this into perspective, most CBD users consume an average of 120-to-160 milligrams daily. For those who don’t want to take a chance at having any THC in their system, there are CBD products with no THC.

CBD Reduces the Effects of THC

Not only does CBD not make you high but it can reduce some of the effects of THC. According to Martin A. Lee, author of Smoke Signals, “CBD interacts with THC in complex ways, diminishing certain effects (the munchies, sleepiness, the high) while augmenting others. Cannabidiol balances the buzz and softens the euphoria – or, in some cases, the dysphoria – induced by THC, which, in concentrated form, can make people feel very loopy and weird. CBD is the yin of THC’s yang.” For this reason, some pot growers have developed strains of marijuana that have different levels of CBD in them to make them milder.

This is supported by researchers from the Netherlands. In research published in Frontiers in Psychology, the authors Raymond J. M. Niesink and Margriet W. van Laar concluded, “The few studies that exist on the effects of CBD show that this cannabinoid can counteract some of the negative effects of THC.” They continue, “Few or no adverse effects of CBD have been proffered, and where CBD has been found to have an effect, it is usually in a “positive” (i.e., salubrious) direction.”

Additional research published on Science Direct claim that CBD mitigates some of the undesirable effects of THC use including intoxication (being high), sedation (sleepiness), and tachycardia (abnormally rapid heartbeat) while contributing analgesic (pain-relieving), anti-emetic (prevents nausea and vomiting), and anti-carcinogenic (anti-cancer) properties. CBD does this by inhibiting THC from binding to cannabis receptors.