Lauded as a health elixir for its potential to relieve everything from anxiety to inflammation, cannabidiol (or CBD) is growing rapidly in popularity—but will it show up on a drug test? The short answer: it depends. Unlike the other famous compound in cannabis, THC, CBD will not make a user feel “high.” It lacks the psychotropic effects of THC, but that doesn’t necessarily make it undetectable. If you’re an avid CBD user with an upcoming pre-employment drug test, here’s what you need to know to prepare.
What You Need to Know About Drug Tests and CBD
According to TONIC, it’s “unlikely” that CBD will show up on a drug test, not because it’s undetectable, but because most drug tests aren’t looking for CBD. The average drug test is looking for the presence of THC or THC metabolites.
CBD is chemically distinct from THC, so it is doubtful that pure CBD would be detected in these types of drug tests. A company would have to obtain a separate test designed specifically to pick up CBD, and most companies aren’t willing to shell out more money if they don’t have to.
Different CBD Products Mean Different Test Results
Keep in mind that not all CBD products consist of pure CBD. If your CBD product is hemp-based, it may contain trace amounts of THC. Products deemed “whole plant” or “full spectrum” benefit users by containing more than CBD, including terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids, which are believed to work synergistically with CBD. While its health advantages are high, these types of products may lead to a positive drug test. Generally, if your CBD oil has less than 0.3 percent THC in it, it shouldn’t show up on a hair test, although it may appear in a urine or saliva test.
How Long Does CBD Stay in Your System?
There is not much reliable data to confirm how long CBD stays in a user’s system, though a 2014 publication in the scientific journal Epilepsy Currents reported “one to two days” for a single oral dose. If you’re taking full-spectrum oil, it’s probably best to look into how long THC stays in your system, which is usually detectable in body fluids for one to 30 days after last use.
Isn’t CBD Legal?
There’s an ongoing national debate about the federal legality of CBD. Unless it is extracted from hemp cultivated under the 2014 Farm Bill, the DEA maintains that CBD is illegal. While it won’t stop the compound from continuing to be widely available anytime soon, this grey area causes some confusion in courts, especially in states where cannabis is available for medical or recreational purposes. Legal or not, many companies call the shots on whether or not drug testing is necessary. Luckily, there seems to be a shift in dropping marijuana from testing protocol all the way to the White House. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said in 2018, “We have all these Americans that are looking to work,” Acosta said. “Are we aligning our … drug testing policies with what’s right for the workforce?” As CBD rises in popularity, it seems the national conversation is evolving at an equally rapid rate.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in Time, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, The Telegraph and Vice. She lives in Los Angeles.
The cannabidiol (CBD) industry is expected to hit $22 billion by 2022 as the cannabis compound makes its way into everything from bath bombs and makeup to dog treats and pharmaceuticals. Choosing a CBD product from the vast array of available products may seem daunting, especially when it comes to its most popular form: oil.
But it’s critical that consumers choose high-quality CBD oil, as low quality CBD may not offer the same health benefits, and can even contain toxins. To ensure you’re getting high-quality CBD oil, here are some things to look for across labeling, production standards and product descriptions.
CBD Labels: Words Matter
Words matter when it comes to CBD product labels. Luckily, a few descriptions are common among top-quality products. Products deemed “whole plant” or “full spectrum” are different from CBD isolate, or what is often referred to as “pure CBD.” Percentages for CBD isolate are typically 99 percent or higher, but have been refined to exclude other molecules from the cannabis plant. These include terpenes, flavonoids and other cannabinoids, which are believed to work synergistically with CBD, making the benefits exceptionally higher than CBD alone.
Another important factor to consider is whether the label reads “hemp oil” or “hemp seed oil,” which indicates a separate product from CBD oil. Hemp oil is made from hemp seeds, meaning there is little to no CBD content, whereas CBD oil is made from the leaves, flowers and stalks of the hemp plant—the only parts of the plant where cannabidiol is found.
Production: How Was the CBD Extracted?
While it may take some digging to uncover, finding out how your CBD oil was manufactured can tell you a lot about its quality. Some companies, especially those who sell their products for a significantly low price, may employ questionable methods when extracting CBD oil, such as using toxic solvents like propane, hexane, pentane or butane. Safer methods of extracting CBD include using organic, pharmaceutical-grade ethanol or supercritical CO2 extraction, which involves using carbon dioxide under high pressure in an extremely cold environment.
Something else to consider is where the product originated. If the plant from which the CBD was extracted grew in rich soil, the resulting product will have absorbed nutrients from that soil. But if the plant grew in soil containing heavy metals, like mercury and lead, the CBD may be high in toxins. If possible, try to locate CBD extracted from U.S.-grown plants, since U.S. farmers must be certified by state departments of agriculture.
What to Ask the CBD Seller
To find out how your CBD was produced, simply browse a company’s website or consider calling a customer representative if you can’t find the information you’re looking for. You may also want to inquire about lab results of product testing and whether or not the company adds extra ingredients to its oil (and why). A company that lacks transparency is a good indicator that you should look for your CBD elsewhere.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.
You are likely aware of the 11 major organ systems in the human body: circulatory, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, lymphatic and digestive systems. Combined, these systems do everything from circulating blood and filtering oxygen, to allowing you to lift weights and run on the treadmill.
However, there is also the endocannabinoid system (ECS). While it is less well-known than the other major organ systems in the body, the ECS is deeply involved in establishing and maintaining human health in various ways.
The ECS was first discovered in the 1990s by Dr. L.A. Matsuda. Dr. Matsuda was the first to describe the structure and functional expression of the cannabinoid receptor, CB-1. At the time, scientists were trying to understand how THC—the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana—affected the body. What they discovered was a remarkably complex network of cannabinoid receptors (CBr) expressed in cells of both the central and peripheral nervous system.
Since then, other cannabinoid receptors have been identified as well, including cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB-2). CB-2 is found primarily in the immune system, digestive system and many of the body’s major organs.
The discovery of CB-1 and CB-2 changed everything. It prompted a hunt for the body’s own cannabinoid-like chemicals that naturally interact with these receptors. Over time, doctors, researchers and scientists have unveiled the endocannabinoid system as a whole. The ECS has three parts: endocannabinoids (cannabis-like substances that naturally occur inside the body), receptors in the nervous system and around your body (that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with) and enzymes (that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids).
While the size and scope of the endocannabinoid system is still being discovered, the ECS is crucial for homeostasis. The body naturally wants to keep its internal environment stable, regardless of the circumstances in the outside world. In order for homeostasis to occur, the body activates ECS to help correct it.
For example, when you’re feeling exhausted and can’t keep your eyes open, that’s ECS reminding you it’s time for sleep. When your body is perspiring at the gym, that’s ECS helping you cool down. In other words, when your temperature is too hot or too cold, your heart is beating too fast or your hormones are unbalanced, ECS steps in.
The ECS and Cannabinoid Receptors
When something is operating out of range in the body, the ECS uses cannabinoid receptors found in select tissues to initiate homeostasis. As mentioned earlier, humans have at least two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB-1 and CB-2. CB-1 is in the central nervous system (brain and nerves of the spinal cord), and CB-2 is in the peripheral nervous system (nerves in your extremities), as well as the digestive system and specialized cells in the immune system.
Through these receptors, the ECS assists in regulating a variety of important functions, such as appetite, digestion, immune function, inflammation, mood, sleep, reproduction, memory and pain. By stimulating the endocannabinoid system, CBD promotes homeostasis, reduces pain sensation and decreases inflammation.
CBD Oil as Pain Relief
Because cannabis products can stimulate activity within the ECS, they’re used to target issues like insomnia, anxiety, pain and more. In terms of pain specifically, CBD oil is known to relieve discomfort caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, cancer, back spasms, migraines and muscle soreness. Instead of using over-the-counter prescriptions, using an alternative—like CBD oil—can provide an all-natural solution to chronic pain.
In essence, while the ECS responds to the endocannabinoids produced in the body, it also responds to external cannabinoids, like CBD. Introducing CBD to the body can help reduce the symptoms of a wide range of illnesses, and doses vary from person to person.
See below for our recommended daily dose, but please consult with your physician before incorporating CBD into your wellness routine.
Recommended Daily MG Dose
*High is very chronic pain + severe epilepsy. Low is everyday wellness.
Edie Horstman is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, wellness blogger, and freelance writer. She works with health-focused brands, co-creating content in the digital marketing space. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
There are several methods for using CBD oil and reaping its benefits. As you’re likely aware, it can be ingested through vaping, pill form or used topically as a cream, among other means. But, depending on what you’re using CBD for, the method can really matter.
For instance, when using CBD for pain management, topical oils could be an easy, effective option for physical relief. Here’s what you should know about using topical CBD oil for pain.
Topical CBD Oil: Ideal for Fighting Pain
Various research shows that topical CBD oil can be an effective method to combat chronic pain. From arthritis to general inflammation, studies have found that topical CBD oil can be very efficient for pain management. Another study shows that THC and CBD can relieve pain associated with multiple sclerosis. There’s also research finding that CBD can help with more minor forms of discomfort like cramps and headaches. However, since some of these studies have been performed on animals, further research is needed to confirm CBD oil’s pain-fighting effects on humans.
Topical CBD Oil: How It Works
There are two key ways that topical CBD oil works to fight pain. First, the oil contains what are called endocannabinoids, or body signals that help you notice and manage various functions, including pain. CBD naturally raises the endocannabinoids in your body, helping to relieve discomfort.
Second, CBD helps limit your body’s inflammatory response when you have muscle soreness due to exercising or lifting weights. By working with the natural functions in your body, CBD eases a variety of pain types and helps make you more comfortable, whether you’re dealing with a chronic condition or just have temporary aches and soreness.
Topical CBD Oil: How to Use It
Topical CBD can come in a number of forms, like an oil, salve, lotion or even a patch. There are even CBD-infused bath salts and soaks to give you full-body relief. When you have an area of the body that’s in pain, you can use topical CBD the way you would a lotion to help combat the discomfort. The great thing about topical CBD oil is that it doesn’t enter the bloodstream when you apply it—meaning that it really targets just the area where you slather it on.
And, just to give you a heads up: You need to apply it liberally. Skin is designed to keep anything put on it from entering the body. Choosing a product with a high concentration of CBD and making sure that you apply enough to get into your skin’s pores will give you the best results. If you’re using it in the bath, follow the product instructions for how long you should soak, to really reap the benefits.
Using CBD Inside and Out
Depending on the ailment you’re hoping to ease with CBD, you should use the most efficient method for relief. For instance, if you’re using CBD oil for anxiety, vaping is considered the fastest, most effective means since ingesting in this way can send the CBD and its healing properties straight to your brain. Topicals, by contrast, can take a bit longer to be effective. (And, as mentioned, concentration matters!)
Trying a sample on a sore muscle before you make a purchase can be helpful—you may feel the effects right away, depending on the formulation.
Natasha Burton has written for Women’s Health, Livestrong, MSN.com, Cosmopolitan.com and WomansDay.com, among other print and online publications. She’s also the author of five books, including “101 Quizzes for Couples” and “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.”
You may know about CBD oil’s various health and wellness benefits, but most of us are a little less informed about the substance’s production and what we should know before choosing a product to use. Whether ingested or used topically, CBD oil is made using a few different processes. To boot, it can even be different colors and contain contaminants, depending on how the cannabis plants used to make it are grown.
As you can imagine, these are all important considerations before making a purchase. Here’s what to know about how CBD oil is made and what to consider when assessing CBD products.
CBD Whole-Plant Extract Method
When looking at how is CBD oil made, one method is known as “whole plant extract” (and it’s also known as “full spectrum”). This means that, when the oil is made, it contains not only CBD but also some levels of THC, as well as other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, and terpenes, which are the anti-inflammatory agents within the plant. Typically, whole-plant is the more popular option. Research shows that full spectrum CBD oil can be more effective than isolate CBD oil—more on this in a moment—for treating inflammatory conditions.
Comparatively, the isolate method means that the CBD oil extracted contains only CBD (that means no terpenes, fatty acids or other cannabinoids). Some people may prefer this method for one simple reason: Because it doesn’t have any level of THC, isolate method-produced CBD oil can be considered a less risky option for anyone who doesn’t want THC in their system. (The chances of this are low, but for those very cautious people, isolate can be a good option.)
This extraction method is the most common. Basically, ethanol is used as a solvent to remove CBD from the cannabis plant. The upside to this is that it’s fast, it’s less power intensive than the CO2 method and it requires inexpensive equipment. The downside? Ethanol is super-flammable so the process requires certain precautions.
In addition to how CBD oil is made, there’s some variance in color, depending on the oil type. Filtered oil is yellow or gold and is considered the highest quality (meaning it may also be more expensive). Decarboxylated oil is heated to “activate” CBD’s healing properties and is known for being extremely potent. It’s typically more of an amber or brown color. Raw oil is usually dark or green-tinged, since it doesn’t get filtered and still contains plant fibers and chlorophyll.
What to Consider Before You Buy
The most important factor when choosing a CBD oil is not necessarily how it’s made and what process is used. What matters most is how the cannabis plants are grown and what contaminants, if any, they contain. While several states have legalized CBD, there is a still little regulation to protect consumers. Learning about whether topical or ingested is right for you, how much THC and CBD are in a product, and what testing was performed on the final product are some of the key things you should be sure to find out before choosing a CBD oil.
Natasha Burton has written for Women’s Health, Livestrong, MSN, Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Day, among other print and online publications. She’s also the author of five books, including “101 Quizzes for Couples” and “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.”
CBD is rapidly rising in popularity for health benefits that include relief from anxiety, pain, inflammation and sleep issues. While you may be familiar with these uses, did you know there are two distinct types of CBD products on the market? Learn everything you need to know about CBD isolate vs. full spectrum CBD oil, including the potency of each, recommended uses and how to decide between the two.
What Is Full Spectrum CBD?
The cannabis plant is home to hundreds of phytochemicals, which include cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds. Full spectrum CBD refers to products that contain more than CBD, such as other plant molecules like THC and healthy fatty acids. This version of CBD oil is minimally refined, so that most of the cannabinoids and terpenes remain intact. Full spectrum CBD oil is often called “whole plant” oil because the full plant extract is included.
What Is CBD Isolate?
CBD isolate is often labeled as “pure CBD” or 99 to 100 percent CBD. As you may have guessed from the name, these products have been refined to isolate only the CBD compound with no extra cannabinoids or terpenes. Its CBD potency is usually higher than full spectrum, meaning a small dose is recommended.
How to Use CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD
Full spectrum CBD is often preferable to CBD isolate because research shows that cannabinoids and terpenes occur in nature together and interact in useful ways. This synergy is referred to as the entourage effect and is thought to give CBD a wider reach as far as health benefits.
One study by Ethan Russo, M.D., illustrated the benefits of terpenes in full spectrum CBD, showing promising results for a variety of conditions. For example, the combination of terpenes pinene, myrcene and caryophyllene help to unravel anxiety, while combining terpenes linalool and limonene with cannabigerol (a lesser-known cannabinoid) shows promise in treating MRSA. Even terpenes linalool and limonene synergized with CBD make for a potent anti-acne treatment. This shows that full spectrum CBD is more of a full-body experience.
Another Israeli study on the potency of CBD isolate versus full spectrum CBD showed that full spectrum CBD was more suitable in clinical settings for such conditions as inflammation and anxiety. Pure CBD resulted in a “bell-shaped dose response,” which means that, when the amount of CBD exceeded a certain point, its therapeutic impact declined dramatically.
However, this doesn’t indicate that CBD isolate is never useful. Some users who are particularly sensitive to THC turn to CBD isolate to benefit from the cannabis plant without any of the psychoactive side effects. CBD isolates also allow users to track how much CBD they’re getting from each dose.
How to Decide Between the Two
Whether you choose CBD isolate or full spectrum CBD, you will likely experience the health benefits of the cannabis plant. With emerging studies, researchers are learning more every day about the difference between the two types of products. Further, for those living in states where full spectrum CBD remains unavailable, pure CBD often delivers a positive and legal solution. After all, CBD alone is better than no CBD at all.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.