Will CBD Show Up On A Saliva Drug Test?
Across the United States, drug testing has become a normal protocol for employment purposes. Sometimes these tests are federally required, like in government employment, and other times they are willfully integrated by companies.
Due to these routine drug tests, many individuals are concerned about consuming CBD oil, because of its closeness to marijuana and the potential risks that CBD may trigger a positive test result. This is for good reason. Individuals should take drug tests very seriously, especially when they pertain to one’s livelihood or freedom.
Routine drug tests generally include urine, hair follicle, saliva, and blood tests. In this article we will be reviewing the chances for CBD to show up on a saliva drug test.
The chances of testing positive for CBD on this test are low. This is because the vast majority of saliva drug tests look for THCa, and by law, CBD products need to contain less than 0.3% THC. However there are some important details you should be aware of.
To begin, let’s talk about what a saliva drug test is.
What is a Saliva Drug Test?
Saliva drug tests are also known as an oral fluid test or mouth swab drug tests. These tests generally use saliva from the mouth, however they can also use other fluids such as from the lungs, throat or nasal passages.
Once ingested, drugs will enter the bloodstream and end up in all of these fluids, regardless of how the drugs are ingested, and therefore any of them can be used for the test. However, logistically saliva is the best and most commonly used candidate (try getting lung fluid – that’s no easy task!).
Most Saliva Drug Tests follow the SAMHSA guidelines and cutoff limits (effective October 1, 2020), and they look for the most commonly used drugs, including:
|Drug||Cutoff Level||Approx. Detection Time in Oral Fluid|
|Marijuana (THC/THCa)||50 ng/mL||24-72 Hours|
|Opiates – Codeine/Morphine||2,000 ng/mL||24-36 Hours|
|Amphetamine||500 ng/mL||1-5 Days|
|Methamphetamine||500 ng/mL||1-4 Days|
Saliva Test “Pros”:
- No bathroom is needed, so can be done in more locations than urine.
- Adulteration of tests is difficult, because it is collected under supervision.
- Has a narrow and immediate detection window, making it effective for short term drug use results.
- Scientific and lab-based testing shows oral fluids tests are similar in accuracy to urine tests.
- Less expensive than other tests
Saliva Test “Cons”:
- Poor at testing drug use beyond 48 hours prior to test.
- Does not measure the frequency of drug use.
- Limited as to which drugs are tested.
How Accurate Is The Test?
Saliva drug tests are very accurate for all drugs, including THC and marijuana. However they are limited in their accuracy because they can only test in about a 48 hour window.
Urine tests are the industry standard for drug testing, and a review of data from 4.5 million salvia tests showed that positive rates were comparable to urine tests.
Generally, drugs will show up a test about 30-60 minutes after ingestion. Some over-the-counter medications can flag false positives, however most labs will confirm positive results with a more comprehensive test (this is good news for CBD users! More on that later…).
Generally, it is difficult to “trick” oral tests because the test is generally done face-to-face with a colleague or hired professionally. Dilution tactics, like those used in urine tests, are not effective in saliva testing. These tests are hard to “beat”.
Ok, enough of the boring stuff. Let’s talk about CBD and saliva drug tests.
So… Will CBD Show Up On A Saliva Drug Test?
Similar to CBD and other drug tests, the answer is most likely no. However, there is always a risk that the answer could be yes. So let’s talk about the risks of CBD and saliva tests…
Most CBD products contain trace amounts of THC. The legal limit is 0.3% THC, which is nowhere near enough to get you high. It is like drinking a non-alcoholic beer. The vast majority of saliva drug tests look for THCa (the “mother” compound of THC).
Even though there are such small amounts of THC in CBD, there is still a chance this could flag a positive result. Especially in the context of saliva, so if you are taking large amounts of CBD leading up to the test (72 hours beforehand), then it could mean trouble.
Right now, CBD is also unregulated. What this means is that there are no regulatory bodies monitoring CBD companies to ensure quality (yet…).
The result? Some CBD products contain more than 0.3% THC, increasing your risk for a positive oral fluid test result. These products are federally illegal, and classified as “Marijuana”.
Make sure to buy from a reputable brand, that has certified lab reports on all of their products.
Zero THC CBD And Saliva Drug Tests
This study found that those consuming CBD products with less than 0.3% THC consistently flagged false positives on their urine tests. Whereas those consuming Zero THC CBD were clear 99.5% of the time (only 1 out of 218 urine samples were positive). Scientists surmised that this one positive result could be due to error.
Further research needs to be done, however this is a landmark study pointing us in the proper direction.
The researchers concluded that:
“These data indicate that acute dosing of pure CBD will not result in a positive urine drug test using current federal workplace drug testing guidelines,” the researchers wrote. “However, CBD products that also contain ∆9-THC may produce positive urine results for” THC metabolites.
An important note is that this study was done on CBD and urine tests, not CBD and saliva tests.
The Verdict On CBD and Saliva Drug Tests
Saliva drug tests look for THC / THCa. Many CBD products contain >0.3% THC, which could flag a false positive.
More research needs to be done on THC-free and THC containing CBD in relation to saliva drug tests. However it seems clear that if you are expecting a test, avoid CBD products with THC at all costs.
Consider taking Zero THC CBD products, or take a break from CBD all together for 3 days leading up to your oral fluid test. Better safe than sorry.
What To Do If Your CBD Triggers a Positive Saliva Test Result
In the invent you flag a false positive on an oral fluid test, here are some important things to keep in mind.
First, don’t panic! Many employers are looking for harder drugs, like opiates, cocaine and amphetamines, not marijuana.
If marijuana is a problem, you can request a more comprehensive test, like a blood or urine test. You will want to stop taking CBD altogether once you make this request.
Try talking to your employer. Bring in your CBD, and print off an article that outlines what CBD is (and what it is not). Once your employer is educated on the qualities of CBD, and that it is non-psychoactive, it is possible they will give you a second chance.
An Important Note On Zero THC CBD
Not all Zero THC CBD products are created equal. Many are made only with CBD isolate, which means you’re missing out on the entourage effect. This effect occurs when the various plant compounds naturally found in hemp work together to bring a more complete oil. Just like nature intended.
That’s why we have created our broad spectrum Zero THC CBD spray tincture. We have specially formulated this tincture, removing all the THC, but ensuring all the other precious cannabinoids and plant compounds are still intact, so you can enjoy all the benefits of hemp and CBD without the risks of testing positive for THC.