The Difference Between THC & CBD for Drug Testing
THC and CBD are two of the compounds produced by the cannabis plant. While most cannabis flower contains both cannabinoids, some products contain either only THC or only CBD. THC and CBD work very differently in your brain and body, but they may both result in a positive drug test.
Before you use any cannabis product, you should know the difference between THC and CBD. Here's what you need to know about these two cannabinoids and how they interact with drug tests.
What Is THC?
THC is the compound in cannabis that gets you high. It’s present in cannabis flower, as well as edibles, vapes, and concentrates. If you’re enjoying the psychoactive component of marijuana, you’re consuming THC.
Your body has two endocannabinoid receptors; CB1 and CB2. Your body also produces its own cannabinoids, which are largely responsible for regulating your metabolism, pain sensations, and stress levels.
THC binds to your CB1 and CB2 receptors. When you smoke cannabis or enjoy another product with THC, your body halts its production of neurotransmitters. This gives the THC an entrance into your brain, which produces the psychoactive effects in cannabis.
When you use THC, you may feel euphoric, creative, active, sleepy, or relaxed. You may feel sensations both in your body (like warmth or tingling) and in your brain (like your thoughts racing or euphoria). What you feel each time you use THC depends largely on the cannabis strain, terpenes, and other cannabinoids.
What Is CBD?
CBD is the second-most prevalent cannabinoid in marijuana. It’s generally derived from the hemp plant. CBD is often sold in tinctures or gummies, but more options are emerging all the time.
CBD is legal in many places where cannabis and other THC products are not. This is because it doesn’t get you high. When you use CBD, you won’t notice the same dramatic shift in your body or mind as you would when taking a dose of THC. However, you may find yourself feeling relaxed, sleepy, less anxious, and in less pain.
Scientists are still learning how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system. What they do know is that it doesn’t actually bind to either the CB1 or CB2 receptors. Experts theorize CBD may prevent cannabinoids from being broken down in your body, which makes them more effective. CBD may also bind to a different endocannabinoid receptors we haven’t discovered yet.
Drug Testing for THC & CBD
If you’re being drug tested for cannabis, they’re looking for THC, not CBD. There is no standard timeframe for when you’ll test negative for THC after using it. In general, THC can stay in the system for 2-90+ days.
The length at which THC stays in the system is dependent on how frequently the drug was used, the amount used, and the potency/concentration of the drug. Also, every individual metabolizes THC differently (i.e. height, weight, overall health, etc.).
The amount of time it takes to test negative is also dependent on your metabolism. Some factors that might impact your metabolism include:
- Overall health
- Medical history
- Physical activity level
- Hormonal imbalances
If you’re taking pure CBD, you should not test positive for THC. However, CBD products are allowed to have a THC level of up to 0.3%. In general, this small amount won’t be enough to make you test positive. Due to CBD products not being regulated nor any guarantee that they have been lab certified, there is a chance that if you are using a CBD product, it could have higher levels of THC than what the label states.
Need help determining which test is right for you? We are happy to help!
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