Performance-enhancing substances pose a problem in many sports and activities, and as the popularity of CBD as an athletic supplement increases, this raises the question – will CBD oil show up on a sports drug test?
The short answer is no, CBD will not show up on an athlete drug test. However, while drug tests do not screen for cannabidiol (CBD) specifically, some circumstances could lead to a CBD product user testing positive. Let’s dig a little deeper into hemp-derived CBD oil and athlete drug testing.
Can CBD Oil Show Up on an Athlete Drug Test?
Doping control can occur at any time and any place for athletes. Testing usually comes as a surprise and is designed to check for banned performance-enhancing drugs and to ensure that competitors are playing fairly.
CBD offers several potential fitness benefits for athletes. If you have used CBD oil prior to sports participation, cannabidiol should not show up on an athlete drug test. However, CBD is a derivative of the hemp plant which contains additional cannabinoids including THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Drug tests don’t screen for CBD but they do screen for THC, which is a psychoactive compound of cannabis. As a result, it is possible that CBD oil results in a positive drug test, but only if your product contains THC too.
If you have purchased your CBD oil from a reputable seller, it will contain trace amounts of THC or none at all, so you don’t need to worry about this. It is highly unlikely that a legal CBD product from a reputable brand will result in a positive athletic drug test.
How Does CBD Show Up On a Drug Test?
Some CBD brands claim to have THC-free products but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and some CBD users have been caught out on a drug test. This can be avoided, however, as a reputable brand will be able to provide independent third-party lab analysis reports to prove THC concentration for its product.
The process of separating the cannabinoids CBD and THC from each other during extraction from the hemp plant is sophisticated and can be expensive. Extraction processes that are carried out cheaply could also mean that some THC remains in the product. Extraction methods are largely unregulated and so your product may be contaminated.
Ultimately, CBD doesn't show up on drug tests. But your CBD product could result in a positive test if THC concentration exceeds the legal limit.
False positives are also a possibility, which can occur as a result of other drugs or medication, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, being present in the system.
Which Type of CBD Products Contain THC?
So which type of CBD-infused products contain THC? The presence of THC within a CBD product could be a result of a lack of third-party lab analyses, cross-contamination during production, unclear cultivation sources or an error in product labelling. In the UK, CBD-infused products can be sold legally with a concentration of up to 0.2% THC, so it’s possible for some legal products to also contain very small amounts of THC. This usually depends on the type of CBD infused into the product.
The Different Types of CBD
CBD is usually extracted and used in three different forms, each of which contains different concentrations of THC and additional cannabinoids.
Full Spectrum CBD
Full-spectrum CBD is cannabidiol in a form that is closest to its natural state in the cannabis plant. This type of CBD contains additional naturally occurring compounds of the plant, such as cannabinoids including THC, flavonoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant is likely to contain very small amounts of THC (less than 1mg) but there is a chance it could still provide a positive result on a drug test.
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD also contains additional compounds of the cannabis plant including terpenes and cannabinoids, including THC. However, broad-spectrum CBD has nearly all THC content removed, so while it may identify on a drug test, it is unlikely.
Pure Isolate CBD
As the name suggests, isolate CBD is pure and contains nothing other than cannabidiol. It is highly unlikely to give a positive test for THC on an athlete drug test, even at higher doses.
How To Avoid Testing Positive When Using CBD
To avoid a positive drug test result when using CBD, it is crucial to check the brand you are purchasing your product from first and foremost. Research the brand; is it reputable? Does it have lots of good online reviews from buyers? Request a copy of their third-party lab test result which should be readily provided and can confirm the purity of the products. Read the product information also; this should tell you the type of CBD infused and the plant it is extracted from. Choosing a product that contains pure isolate CBD gives you the best chance of avoiding a positive sports drug test. Some brands offer CBD-infused products specifically engineered for sports that guarantee 0% THC, such as Mission C's Pre-Workout + Pro CBD Oil, which provides complete peace of mind.
Banned Substances in Athletics
CBD is not banned in sports because it only enhances the functioning of our natural endocannabinoid system which regulates mood, stress, sleep, appetite and so on. While CBD can be beneficial to athletes, a prohibited performance-enhancing drug (PED), usually a stimulant, steroid or another type of drug, can radically enhance performance during sport. Furthermore, PEDs can be harmful to health.
CBD was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned substances list in 2018. Examples of substances that remain on the prohibited substances in sports list include:
- Stimulants e.g. caffeine and amphetamines
- Human growth hormone
What Happens During a Drug Test in Sports?
During a urine sample drug test in sports, an athlete is first selected for doping control. Athletes competing at any level within sports can be tested at any time, anywhere and without notice. The athlete is then chaperoned and observed while a sample is collected within a Doping Control Station. Athletes are required to provide a minimum of 90ml urine, which is then analysed in a lab to check if it is within concentration range. If the sample is not within range, the athlete may have to provide another sample. If THC or other prohibited substances are detected, a positive result will be received.
There is no limit to how many times an athlete can be tested each year.
Athlete drug tests do not screen for CBD, and if you have purchased legal CBD-based products from a reputable brand, you should have no concerns when it comes to doping control. However, drug tests do screen for THC, and some CBD products may contain THC. To avoid a positive drug test, purchase from a trusted brand and request a copy of their third-party lab report to verify the purity.