By now, everyone knows that hemp is legal. The talk of the town since 2018, the hemp flower has irreversibly changed the natural wellness industry in the United States. But despite major changes in its legality and availability, some people still remain cautious of the popular commodity.
The reason? Hemp’s close relationship to marijuana. It’s no secret that hemp and marijuana come from the same plant. So some people can’t help but wonder if hemp can cause the same mind-altering effects and if it might cause users to fail a drug test.
Hemp vs Marijuana: What’s the Difference?
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First, it’s important to address the root of the issue. Obviously, marijuana casts shadows on hemp’s reputation because they come from the same plant. In fact, this mutual origin is what lawmakers used as their basis for outlawing hemp alongside marijuana in the first place.
In fact, back in those days, hemp and marijuana were used as interchangeable terms. Researchers however proved that they are in fact different products. The sole and major distinction between these two is their tetrahydrocannabinol content.
A member of the cannabinoid family of organic compounds, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC has earned notoriety for its mind-altering effects. The sole compound responsible for marijuana’s high exists in very, very low concentrations in hemp.
How low you ask? While marijuana contains between 20-40% THC, hemp’s THC concentrations reach just around 0.3%. And because of this marked difference in THC concentrations, lawmakers had to amend the law and remove hemp from the list of the country’s controlled substances.
Can Hemp Make You High?
Since it still has trace amounts of THC, can hemp make you high? The short answer is no, it can’t. The reason why lawmakers thought it fit to legalize hemp is that with its low, almost negligible THC content, it can’t cause any mind-altering effects.
Even a megadose of hemp flower or CBD products would simply render you unconscious for a few hours, or not, depending on your tolerance. But it pays to keep in mind that not all hemp follows the legal limit for THC.
Today’s hemp farming industry remains largely unregulated. And while the authorities and the FDA might crack down on the occasional violators, there isn’t enough machinery in place to detect all of them.
So what happens is that unscrupulous vendors with shady partner farmers slip through the cracks and manage to offer their products without any quality control. Buyers looking for cheap deals and discounted prices often fall into these traps and end up buying hemp products that exceed this THC limit.
In this case, it becomes possible to get high off of the product because it wasn’t hemp, to begin with. Remember according to the law, any part of the Cannabis sativa L. plant containing more than 0.3% THC qualifies as marijuana.
Can Hemp Cause You to Fail a Drug Test?
Here’s where things get a little hairy. So hemp might not make you feel high, and it doesn’t contain enough THC to get categorized as a controlled substance. But even then, it might cause a failed drug test.
There are lots of different kinds of drug tests and they differ based on the number of substances they detect. For instance, a 5-panel drug test looks for five different illicit substances in your system. A 14-panel drug test on the other hand may detect up to 14 different drugs.
All of these tests — from the narrowest to the most extensive — have a provision for THC testing. That said, it doesn’t really matter what drug test you take. They all test for THC use.
So where does that leave hemp users? Remember that even legal, quality hemp contains some THC. Can drug tests detect this small amount and cause you to fail? The surprising answer is yes.
For the record, hemp users won’t trigger a false positive 100% of the time. But even then, the slightest chance of getting a positive on a drug test can cause worry for anyone, especially in states, cities, and counties where marijuana use gets heavily penalized.
Here are some reasons why your hemp use might cause a false positive:
- The hemp product you used contains more THC than what’s listed on the label.
- Chronic hemp use can cause THC to build up in the body thus increasing your chances of getting a positive.
- Some tests are developed to be especially sensitive, able to pick up on THC presence even in very small amounts.
- Interestingly, studies have found that CBD might play a role in THC metabolism. That’s why THC stays longer in the bodies of people who take both CBD and THC versus those who use only THC.
Tips for Hemp Use Before a Drug Test
No one wants to get in trouble for using marijuana’s legal hemp cousin. So to avoid triggering a false positive on a drug test because of your hemp use, consider following these tips:
- Go on hemp cleanse – Hemp chemistry can stay in your system for a week or three, depending on how much and how often you take your doses. Going on hemp cleanse before your scheduled drug test can help eliminate THC from your system so you won’t have to worry about failing the test.
For long-term users, it’s recommended that you take at least three weeks off of your hemp use to guarantee a full cleanse. This way, you can have a little more confidence that the THC levels in your system would be completely wiped out or simply too low to be detected.
- Discuss your situation – If your employer requires drug tests, then you can be upfront about your hemp use. Explaining that you use hemp for whatever purpose you do can help eliminate suspicions and clarify a potential positive test result.
You can also bring along proof of your hemp use such as receipts, certificates of analysis, and the product itself. If you have a prescription from your doctor to use hemp, CBD, and similar products, then that should get you in the clear.
- Opt for broad-spectrum products or isolates – Remember, drug tests only detect THC. No one really cares to test for CBD and other cannabinoids because they don’t cause a high. Therefore using products that don’t contain THC altogether guarantees a negative drug test result.
Broad spectrum CBD products provide whole hemp plant chemistry minus THC. If you want to go all the way, you can opt for CBD isolate products that only contain CBD.
Stay In the Clear
Yes, hemp is legal and it won’t get you high but you could still fail a drug test on that stuff. Containing trace amounts of THC, it’s possible to get a positive on a drug test if you use hemp regularly and in large amounts.
Fortunately, you can reduce your chances by trying out these trusty tips. For a long-term guarantee, try switching to broad-spectrum or isolates instead.