CBD: Legal Status, Drug Testing and Traveling with CBD

CBD and Drug Testing

You nailed your application letter, aced the exam, and bested the rest of the job seekers during the interview. Now, all that is left to get the job is to pass a compulsory drug screening. Will those CBD gummies you have been consuming cause you to fail the test?

What Is CBD, and Is It Legal?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most active naturally occurring chemical compounds of cannabis plants. It has seen mounting demand in recent years because of research that suggests it could help manage pain, anxiety, insomnia, and even epilepsy syndromes. 

All 50 U.S. states have established laws to regulate the use of CBD. While the federal government still views the compound in the same family as marijuana, it does not prohibit the use of CBD entirely. The government’s stance is quite obscure and partly depends on where the compound originated. If a CBD product comes from hemp (a cannabis plant that has low tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, levels and has no psychoactive effects), it is legal. However, if a CBD product is derived from marijuana (a cannabis plant that contains high THC levels and has psychoactive effects), then it is federally illegal. 

If a CBD product indeed comes from a hemp plant, there is no guarantee that it will not contain THC. This is the chemical in cannabis that has a strong effect on cognitive activity and is responsible for users getting high. 

How CBD Might Make You Test Positive After Urine Drug Testing

While some studies have suggested that drug screening could become a thing of the past, this is not the case in some areas. Even in parts of the U.S. that made marijuana legal, some entities can test for THC. These include many businesses, systems offering child protective services, institutions handling criminal justice and addiction treatment proceedings, and public housing authorities.

Standard drug screening methods for cannabis generally test for an inactive THC metabolite called THC-COOH. This is officially known as 11-nor-9-carboxy-Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is created in the body after consuming cannabis. While the THC itself leaves your system usually within a few hours, THC-COOH can remain traceable for weeks following your last hit. It is important to note that hemp-derived CBD products can legally contain up to 0.3 percent THC. This is low, but it can still impact your drug testing results. 

A recent study conducted by a team from Johns Hopkins Medicine discovered that even significantly minimal amounts of THC in a CBD product derived from hemp can result in a person testing positive for cannabis. Traditional drug tests are unable to detect whether the THC found in a person’s system came from hemp or marijuana. This can become potentially problematic for those who are using hemp-derived CBD products regularly for its potential therapeutic benefits. With repeated use, THC can accumulate in your system, increasing your chances of failing a drug test.


Nevertheless, there have been continuous advancements in processing cannabis and how it’s consumed. For instance, concentrated products, like CBD oil, have led to the increasing popularity of new ingestion methods. According to a federal database of clinical studies worldwide, there are a total of 130 ongoing trials going on to test CBD as a potential treatment for different health conditions. Although scientific observation takes time, this progress by the research community helps provide a more detailed perspective of CBD’s potential.

TSA Regulations for Medical Marijuana and CBD

Carry On Bags: Yes (Special Instructions)

Checked Bags: Yes (Special Instructions)

Marijuana and certain cannabis infused products, including some Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, remain illegal under federal law except for products that contain no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis or that are approved by FDA. (See the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334.)  TSA officers are required to report any suspected violations of law to local, state or federal authorities. 

TSA’s screening procedures are focused on security and are designed to detect potential threats to aviation and passengers. Accordingly, TSA security officers do not search for marijuana or other illegal drugs, but if any illegal substance is discovered during security screening, TSA will refer the matter to a law enforcement officer.For more prohibited items, please go to the ‘What Can I Bring?’ page.

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