Does CBD oil show up on a drug test in the military
CBD, Terpenes

Does CBD oil show up on a drug test in the military?

This article will explore the specifics of drug testing within military settings, detailing the various substances screened and their respective threshold levels. We will also delve into whether CBD is detectable in these drug tests and examine the regulations surrounding the use of CBD products in the military context.

Military Drug Testing Procedures and Regulations

Military Drug Testing Procedures and Regulations

The military mandates drug testing for all personnel, including newly recruited active members and civilian staff, to maintain a high standard within its ranks.

Multiple methods are employed to conduct drug tests in the military:

  • Random Testing: Commanders can request urine samples from all or selected unit members for drug screening.
  • Probable Cause Testing: If a commander has reasonable grounds to suspect illegal drug use, they can order a drug test for the concerned service member.
  • Mandatory Medical Testing: This is compulsory for all incoming military personnel and cannot be declined.
  • Voluntary Consent: Service members may be requested by their commander to voluntarily agree to a drug test.
  • Commander-Ordered Testing: Commanders can order a service member to undergo a drug test. However, if there’s no probable cause, the results from such tests are not admissible in administrative or court-martial proceedings.

Substances Screened in Military Drug Tests

In adherence to the Department of Defense (DOD) guidelines, all military personnel are required to provide specimens for drug testing, which are evaluated using the DOD-authorized drug panel.

The military drug tests routinely check for the following substances:

  • Amphetamines and Methamphetamines: These include common stimulants found in various drugs.
  • Designer Amphetamines: This category covers substances like MDMA, MDA, and MDEA.
  • Benzodiazepines: Drugs such as lorazepam and temazepam fall under this group.
  • Cannabinoids: This primarily includes THC, the active compound in cannabis.
  • Synthetic Cannabinoids: Examples include substances like SYCAN.
  • Cocaine: This also encompasses its metabolite, benzoylecgonine.
  • Opioids: Common opioids tested include morphine, codeine, and fentanyl.

 Each type of drug has specific cutoff levels determined in an initial screening followed by a confirmatory test if the initial results are presumptively positive.

CBD and Its Detection in Military Drug Tests

In the military context, the use of CBD is prohibited, aligning with the Department of Defense’s (DoD) ban on marijuana and its derivatives, which is applicable to all active-duty reservist guard members and DoD civilian employees.

Generally, CBD itself does not appear in the standard military or workplace drug tests. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that certain CBD products may contain small amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. The level of THC in CBD products can vary based on their origin and production method.

Although the concentration of THC in most CBD products is typically minimal (below 0.3%), using substantial quantities of CBD or products with higher levels of THC could lead to a positive THC result in a drug test. Military drug screenings primarily target THC detection, classified as a controlled substance, rather than CBD itself.

Threshold Levels for Drug Detection in Military Drug Tests

In military drug testing, particularly urinalysis, certain threshold levels are set to determine a positive result. While CBD is not directly tested, it falls under the category of marijuana metabolites as per the Biochemical Testing Advisory Committee for the Department of Defense, rendering its use prohibited for military personnel.

For common drugs screened, the initial and confirmatory test limits (measured in nanograms per milliliter ng/mL) are as follows:

  • Marijuana (THC): The initial test limit is 50 ng/mL, with a confirmatory test threshold of 15 ng/mL.
  • Cocaine: Detected at 150 ng/mL, initially confirmed at 100 ng/mL.
  • Morphine and Codeine: Both have an initial and confirmatory cutoff of 2000 ng/mL.
  • Heroin: Tested and confirmed at ten ng/mL.
  • Phencyclidine (PCP): A 25 ng/mL limit for both tests.
  • Barbiturates: Detected at 200 ng/mL in both tests.
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): An initial threshold of 0.5 ng/mL was confirmed at 0.2 ng/mL.
  • Methamphetamines and Amphetamines (including MDMA, MDA, and MDEA): Both tests have a cutoff of 500 ng/mL.

A urine sample is considered positive if the concentration of any listed drug exceeds these levels. Confirmatory tests are conducted to eliminate any false positives from the initial screening.

Consequences of Positive CBD Test Results in Military Personnel

The military enforces a stringent policy against the use of prohibited substances, including CBD. Should a service member test positive for CBD, they could face various disciplinary actions, potentially including discharge.

Initially, an administrative inquiry is conducted. The service member involved is interviewed and can present evidence to contest CBD usage. If found to have used CBD, the individual is given an opportunity to explain their actions. Participation in drug counseling or treatment programs may also be required.

The consequences of violating the military’s drug policy can range from mild to severe, depending on factors like rank, prior drug use, history, and the specifics of the incident. Potential disciplinary measures include:

  •  Official reprimand
  •  Monetary fines
  •  Reduction or demotion in rank
  •  Restricted barracks access
  •  Additional duty assignments
  •  Pay forfeiture
  •  Discharge from service

If the service member demonstrates a valid medical justification for CBD use, they might avoid disciplinary measures in certain situations.

Potential Benefits of CBD in Addressing Health Issues Among Military Personnel

CBD, particularly when derived from hemp and thus THC-free, shows promise in aiding military personnel with various health concerns.

Studies suggest that CBD could be effective in managing health issues commonly faced by military members, such as:

  • Stress and anxiety relief
  • Treatment for mental and neurological disorders
  • Alleviation of symptoms associated with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Improving insomnia and other sleep-related problems
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Managing neuropathic and chronic pain

However, it’s vital to exercise caution due to the potential interactions CBD might have with other medications, illicit substances, and alcohol. These interactions can lead to unwanted side effects like motor or psychomotor impairment, liver damage, hypertension, and tachycardia. To ensure safe usage, individuals considering CBD should consult healthcare professionals and be fully informed about possible drug interactions.


In summary, although CBD is not directly screened in military drug tests, the incidental presence of THC in some CBD products could result in positive test outcomes. Military personnel must approach the use of CBD with caution and a thorough understanding of the relevant regulations and policies. This awareness is key to avoiding any legal or professional repercussions associated with CBD usage in a military setting.

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