When it comes to cannabis use, one of the biggest worries among users is the potential for a positive drug test result. This is especially concerning for those who are subject to workplace drug testing or other forms of regular testing. So what about terpenes, the aromatic compounds found in Cannabis plants? Could they potentially cause you to fail a drug test? Let’s take a closer look.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are powerful aromatic compounds naturally produced by many plants, including cannabis. These fragrant oils help give each strain its distinct smell and flavor. They also interact with cannabinoids such as THC, producing a variety of effects that range from relaxation to energizing.
Can Terpenes Cause a Positive Drug Test Result?
The short answer is no. While terpenes may be present in trace amounts in cannabis products, they will not show up on standard drug tests. The reason is that these tests are designed to detect THC metabolites rather than terpenes, which are simply not detectable by this type of test.
What About Secondhand Smoke?
It is possible to fail a drug test due to secondhand cannabis smoke, but the chances of this happening are very low. A 2015 study showed that exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke can result in a positive test, but only if the exposure took place in an unventilated room with several people smoking at once. In other words, it’s highly unlikely that you would fail a drug test due to secondhand smoke exposure alone.
Testing Methods & Detection Windows
There are several different types of drug tests used to detect cannabis use. Hair tests have a long detection window, up to 90 days after cessation, while urine tests measure levels of metabolite THC-COOH instead of THC and most have a cutoff concentration of 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).
Detection windows vary depending on cannabis use and individual biology, so it’s important to be aware of the testing method being used and familiarize yourself with the detection windows for different drugs if you’re concerned about failing a drug test due to cannabis use.
False Positives & Confirmatory Testing
In some cases, a false positive on a drug test can occur due to trace amounts of terpenes present in cannabis products. If a person tests positive for THC, a confirmatory test can be administered to measure THC-COOH levels in the urine sample. This helps to ensure that the results are accurate and that any false positives caused by trace amounts of terpenes are ruled out.
Although it’s highly unlikely that a person would fail a drug test due to terpenes or secondhand smoke exposure, there are still certain risk factors that could increase the chance of a positive result. Frequency of use, potency of the product, and individual biology can all play a role in whether or not a person will test positive for THC on a drug test.
More About Cannabis Drug Tests
Drug tests are one of the most common ways to detect cannabis use in the workplace. But what exactly are they testing for, and how reliable are the results?
Types of Drug Tests
There are several types of drug tests that can be used to determine if someone has recently consumed cannabis. Biological material such as urine, hair, blood, saliva, breath, sweat and fingernails can all be tested. Urine tests are the most common form used in workplaces due to their relatively low cost and high accuracy rate. Hair tests have a much longer detection window (up to 90 days after last use) and can also be used to detect cannabis usage.
What Do Drug Tests Look For?
Most drug tests are looking for THC, CBD, and their metabolites. These compounds accumulate in fat reserves throughout the body and can be detected through various laboratory tests. For example, urine screens do not measure THC directly but rather its metabolite THC-COOH. The most common cutoff for a positive result is 50 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml), although this threshold can range from 15 ng/ml to 100 ng/ml depending on the testing method used.
Chromatography for Cannabis Testing
Chromatography is an essential tool for cannabis testing laboratories. It helps separate cannabinoids and terpenoids present in cannabis samples so that accurate potency measurements can be made. Gas and liquid chromatography are the two most popular forms of chromatography used by labs today. In addition, chromatography is also used to screen for pathogenic fungi, bacteria and pesticide residues in cannabis samples.
How Accurate Are Drug Tests?
The accuracy of drug tests depends on many factors such as patterns of usage and individual biology. Because these variables vary widely among individuals, it’s difficult to accurately calculate a detection window for cannabis usage. That said, high-quality chromatography performed by laboratories that have passed ISO 17025 certification should result in reliable testing results.
CBD & Hemp Oil Usage
Consumption of CBD or CBD hemp oil has very little risk of testing positive on a drug test since these products contain very small amounts of THC. However, initial urine screens are susceptible to cross contamination from other cannabinoids which could result in a false positive result. This would not hold up to more rigorous second round of confirmatory testing that specifically measures THC-COOH levels in the urine sample.
In conclusion, there is no risk of losing one’s job or facing legal consequences due to a positive drug test result caused by terpenes. Standard urine testing only analyzes metabolites of THC and those who consume CBD or CBD hemp oil have very little risk of testing positive as these products contain very small amounts of THC.
Additionally, any false positives caused by trace amounts of terpenes would not hold up under more rigorous confirmatory testing which specifically measures THC-COOH levels in urine samples. It is important to be aware of the testing method being used and familiarize yourself with the detection windows for different drugs if you’re concerned about failing a drug test due to cannabis use.