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Leafly does not know of any at-home CBD drug testing kits, or why you’d take one. If you’re worried about failing a workplace drug test, you could take an at-home THC-COOH test, though accuracy varies among these products.

“Any time THC enters the body, you have the possibility of having it stored in the fat cells and slowly released,” said Sample.

Furthermore, if you consume enough CBD—on the order of 1,000 milligrams a day of CBD—just the residual THC could put your test results in the danger zone. This is a big deal because a failed drug test can result in the denial of loss of both job and income, and can also lead individuals to lose access to important resources like education and welfare benefits, child custody, and prescriptions for pain medication.

At-home CBD drug testing kits

So CBD from “federally legal” hemp can still consist of up to 0.3% THC. If you ingest very high doses of CBD—in the thousands of milligrams per day—from federally legal hemp oil, that means you may also be ingesting at least 1 mg of THC as well.

There’s also the potential that an older, not uncommon type of analytical method falsely identifies THC in a sample that only contains CBD. That method is gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry with the derivatization agent trifluoroacetic anhydride (TFAA). Tens of thousands of false positives might stem from the error annually, reporter Amanda Chicago-Lewis estimates, but at least there is some recourse—CBD users have successfully challenged a failed drug test for THC if the lab used this specific method, which can result in a false report of CBD as THC.

One key guideline is drug-testing rules for federal employees. A federal worker will fail a drug test if their urine tests positive for any more than a trace amount of the THC metabolite (THC-COOH). And by “trace,” we mean just 50 billionths of a gram per milliliter of urine (50 ng/ml).

A pure “isolate” of just the CBD molecule, which is commercially available, should not contain any THC. However, these isolates are extracted from hemp oil, and are of varying quality. By law, federally legal hemp oil can have up to 0.3% THC in it. Sometimes that number is higher, because of variations in test results.

Let’s take a closer look at the different ways you can take CBD and how your body processes it. Then we’ll walk through how long it will stay in different systems of your body.

Generally, THC is only detectable in your plasma for about five hours after you take it. However, THC metabolites and, therefore, CBD can be present for up to a week.

How Long Does CBD Stay In Lab Tests?

Similar to hair, saliva tests for CBD or THC are incredibly rare for employment or legal reasons. However, the drug components could be detected within minutes after you take it and could last for up to 36 hours, depending on the dosage and frequency of use.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, has grown in popularity over the past couple of years, particularly as a supplement. However, because it contains trace amounts of THC, it’s still possible that it is detectable in drug tests or screenings.

But does the duration of its effects influence how long it stays in your system for?

Nonetheless, a drug test that identifies CBD as THC could have serious consequences. Even in states that have legalized marijuana, it remains legal for employers, child protective services, public housing authorities and other entities to test for THC. And in a survey conducted earlier this year by the investment bank Cowen, 7 percent of adults in the U.S. — 17 million people — reported using CBD.

The drug testing method in question involves a common chemical analysis device called a gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry, or GC-MS, machine. Most such devices require the drug testing lab to add a chemical to a sample in order to identify trace amounts of illicit compounds, in a process called derivatization. Labs can perform derivatization using a variety of chemical agents, but one of the most common is called trifluoroacetic anhydride, or TFAA.

By Amanda Chicago Lewis

Bruce Houlihan, director of the Orange County, Calif., crime lab and chair of the emerging drugs and opioids committee for the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, expressed concern. “If any labs are using this method, they’ll have to be careful,” Mr . Houlihan said. He added that there was no way to estimate how many drug testing labs might be accidentally mistaking CBD for THC, because forensic labs generally determine their methodology in house.

“Most labs using GC-MS toxicology, you have to derivatize,” Mr. Houlihan said. “TFAA is a common derivatizing agent.”

“I can’t even estimate how many people this is going to screw over,” said Mr. Conrad, who has worked on a handful of cases similar to Mr. Pennington’s. (He is not working with Mr. Pennington on the lawsuit against the lab.) In one case Mr. Conrad consulted on, a couple in Florida was charged with marijuana possession after a CBD-infused gummy bear tested positive for THC. Another client was arrested for violating his parole after testing positive for THC, when he claimed he had only used CBD.

Barry Sample, the senior director of science and technology at Quest Diagnostics, the biggest purveyor of drug tests in the country, said he was familiar with the problem outlined in the 2012 paper, but said Quest Diagnostics did not use that methodology. “We use a different analytical procedure,” Dr. Sample said.