CBD, a non-psychoactive derivative of the cannabis plant, is widely available online and even in some retail stores. Nevertheless, it may not be fully legal and you should take care when using it. In Iowa, we only allow people with state-qualifying conditions to use medical CBD with a doctor's prescription, as long as the CBD contains very little THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.
Many people believe that CBD has health benefits beyond the medicinal uses for which it is approved. According to Consumer Reports, approximately 64 million people have tried CBD in the past two years.
If you're using CBD, could it show up on a drug test for OWI? Although it doesn't seem like it should, there is at least some possibility that it would.
There are two reasons for this. First, many CBD products don't contain what their labels claim -- and some contain noticeable amounts of THC or other drugs. Second, there is a possibility that longer-term use of low-THC CBD products could allow even these minimal amounts of CBD to build up in your system.
Some CBD products do contain THC
According to a spokesperson for Quest Diagnostics, America's largest drug test administrator, most drug tests aren't set up to detect CBD. Instead, they test for marijuana by looking for a compound your body creates when metabolizing THC.
However, a 2017 study by researchers from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine found that over two-thirds of CBD products purchased online were mislabeled. Some contained less CBD than advertised, some more, and some none at all.
Meanwhile, some products contained far more THC than was listed on the label, and some contained other adulterants. All in all, of 84 CBD products, 18 contained enough THC to cause impairment.
When buying CBD, it's "buyer beware." Research manufacturers and only accept products from manufacturers who can provide a certificate of analysis. This is a document that shows the manufacturer's analysis of how much CBD, THC and certain contaminants were found in a test batch. It may not be definitive, but it's the best information available at the moment.
If you are charged with OWI after using a CBD product, don't panic. Discuss your situation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.