CBD users beware: THC content can yield positive drug test

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Local purveyors of CBD products have a warning for anyone using the hemp derivative.

Sativa Health Products owner Cynthia Groff wants CBD users to pay close attention to what is in the products they use. She said failing to do so could cost them their jobs.

"It's not like buying vitamin C," Groff said. "You don't just walk into a store and pick up a bottle of CBD, and take it home and start taking it. There has to be some education involved in it."

Groff said many people don't realize there are some CBD products that contain THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that produces euphoria. Even though the legal amount of THC in South Carolina is only 0.3 percent (or 0.9 percent for epilepsy patients with certified letters from their doctors) and not enough to create a high, it is enough to show up on a drug test.

Groff has recently heard from three different people who have failed drug tests because of the CBD products they were using. She said none of them were her customers.

Groff said one person had purchased CBD on Amazon without realizing it contained THC. The father of two young children ended up losing his job because he failed a drug test.

April Lewis of The Herb Room Organic Apothecary on Hilton Head Island recently heard a similar story from someone who had purchased CBD elsewhere. Lewis sells products containing THC, but she said she always makes customers aware they could fail a drug test if they use it.

The Juice Hive and Health Emporium owner Leslie Rohland said she had not heard of anyone taking CBD who had failed a drug test. However, she encourages users to know what's in the products they buy and consume.

"Do your research and buy products that have only CBD in them, or within the range that's legal in South Carolina, which is 0.3%," Rohland said. "But if you have to take drug tests, you probably shouldn't take products that have any THC in them."

That's the first thing Groff tells anyone who wants to buy a full spectrum product, which generally contains up to the legal limit of THC.

Groff said isolate CBD products, which is 100 percent CBD without any of the psychoactive component, include broad spectrum CBD, in which the CBD is isolated, the THC is removed, and terpenes, flavonoids and other good parts of a hemp plant are added.

Groff recommends that consumers who want to purchase CBD products online look for a Certificate of Analysis, or COA, and make sure the report says the product is THC free. She said it could be written as "THC ND (non-detected)," "Delta (9) THC ND" or "0.0 THC."

Groff said she knows of local retailers who are selling products that contain more than the legally allowed limit. She discovered that by reading their Certificates of Analysis online.

"If you have a firefighter or a healthcare worker or someone that's going to be drug tested," Groff said, "they can't have a full-spectrum product period."

Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.

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