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CBD Might Not Cause You To Fail a Drug Test, But CBN Might

Although most Americans have not yet heard of CBN, some reports indicate the cannabis component is on its way to becoming the next  rockstar cannabinoid of the legal weed movement.

There have been several reports over the past year or so suggesting that people all over the country who use hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products are failing drug tests. This is apparently happening as the lack of FDA regulations has allowed cannabis companies to be inconsistent in their manufacturing process. So, while these products are only supposed to contain no more than 0.3% THC (not enough to get you high or cause a failed drug screen), some have more. But a new study suggests that CBD users really don’t have much to worry about when it comes to the possibility of failing a drug screen. However, if they are using another emerging, cannabis-derivative known as cannabinol (CBN), they might be putting themselves at risk. 

Researchers at the University of Utah Health Science Center say that CBN users could have a difficult time passing a drug test. It seems that while examining a handful of cannabinoids to determine which of them, if any, might react with immunoassays, the most common type of drug test available, they found that CBN was more likely to cause a false positive for marijuana than other cannabinoids like CBD or cannabichromene (CBC) and cannabigerol (CBG). 

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Specifically, the study shows that the Beckman Coulter Emit II Plus Cannabinoid test can register a positive for pot with as little as 100 ng/ml CBN. 

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Researchers say drug testing pros should keep this in mind.

“These findings will help with interpreting drug screening immunoassay results,” said lead researcher Grace Kroner, Ph.D.“If physicians and laboratorians know a patient is taking CBN, they can consider that if they get a positive from an immunoassay. On the flip side, providers can also be more certain when they get a positive marijuana result that it’s not due to pure CBD oil alone. These results are always assay dependent, though, so the field needs to keep this in mind.”

Although most Americans have not yet heard of CBN, some reports indicate the cannabis component is on its way to becoming the next singled out rockstar cannabinoid of the legal weed movement. Anecdotal studies have shown that it may have just as many therapeutic properties as our old friend CBD. It is presently being marketed as a sleep aid, even though there is apparently little evidence to prove its efficacy. But lack of proof has not stopped CBD from becoming one of the hottest crazes to sweep the United States since The Beatles. Why should CBN be any different?

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Unlike CBD, the cannabis plant doesn’t produce a lot of the CBN compound on its own. It is more prevalent through the breakdown of THC. Without getting overly scientific, CBN is created when THC is heated (flame or sunlight) and becomes exposed to oxygen. Interestingly, CBN manifests naturally, the older the cannabis gets. This means the weed you found underneath your couch the other day that, by your best assessment, has been there since 1994, probably contains more CBN than THC. And just like CBD, CBN is also found in hemp, which is now legal nationwide. This is one of the reasons that some predict the CBN compound is on the verge of breaking onto the scene in significant ways. 

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Still, for those who decide to use this product to help combat insomnia, the warning is you might find yourself in an unsavory situation due to a failed drug test. However, it is safe to say that more research is needed before we have a grip on the pros and cons of this or any other cannabinoid. 

Consumers, though, should be leery of both CBD and CBN products currently finding their way to market. A recent report from Forbes shows that some of these products are sometimes being manufactured using dangerous chemicals, including synthetic marijuana.

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