The world we live in today is very confusing when it comes to marijuana and CBD. Every state has different laws and regulations and still use drug dogs to detect marijuana. But what if you have CBD oil on you?
Is that a problem and will a drug dog be able to detect it?
How Are Drug Dogs Trained?
Before we find out if drug dogs can detect CBD, let’s talk about how they are trained to detect anything at all. Many dogs are highly intelligent animals that can do a variety of tricks and follow commands with proper training. I looked at many different companies across the world who deal with training drug-sniffing dogs to see if their methods varied at all.
While companies tend to have different methods, all of them seem to require rigorous testing for both the dog and its handler. One of the biggest companies is K9 Global Training Academy. They have been internationally recognized for excellent training methods for years.
It seems that the handler and dog applicants go through intense screening as well as demanding training courses and only get accepted if they pass these tests at the highest percentage.
Another company that has a drug dog division is ICTS UK and Ireland. They focus on security operations from personnel to canine units and they work with a K9 specialist to make sure they are trained correctly. One of their main Canine specialist named Jed Marshall let us in on some of the secrets about how drug dogs are trained.
Have you ever wondered why drug dogs mercilessly search for drugs when they are instructed? Yes, it is partially due to the following orders but they are also looking for their favorite toy. According to Jed Marshall, he claims that in training, handlers hide the K9 units toy with the specific drugs so they find it.
This is so when they are commanded to, they will search for that scent to find their toy. Honestly, it’s a pretty ingenious way to teach these dogs to get their job done. So knowing this, doesn’t that mean they could detect CBD?
Can Drug Dogs Smell CBD Oil?
Okay so the technical answer to this question is yes, they could be trained to detect it. But don’t freak out on me yet, because I said they have to be trained to detect CBD. Meaning that their handlers would have to spend long periods of time training them to detect CBD oil which isn’t likely.
It is less likely seeing as last year it was reported many drug dogs are going into retirement due to marijuana’s legal status. Basically, any of the K9 units that can detect marijuana are being retired because they cannot tell the difference between medical and recreational substances. Because of these two reasons, it is highly unlikely that a drug-sniffing dog will detect your CBD.
Seeing as CBD is legal to consume in all 50 states, you shouldn’t have any issues. The only times you need to worry about this however is if you are flying or traveling to a place where CBD is illegal. You cannot fly with CBD as it is still illegal under federal law.
The 2018 Farm Bill allows for each state to handle CBD as they see fit so you need to check with your state’s laws. But one question that remains is how can you train a dog to detect drugs or illegal items every time? The answer is you cant.
How Accurate Are Drug Dogs?
We have been taught from a very young age that drug dogs will sniff you out a mile away if you’re carrying an illegal substance. But is that really true?
It is somewhat true, but drug dogs are not always as accurate as you might think. One study proves this by testing different dog breeds against illegal substances with their handlers to see how quickly (or if at all) they can detect the substances. They used 68 Labrador Retrievers, 61 German Shepherds, 25 Terriers, and 10 English Cocker Spaniels to determine their results.
The researchers conducted 1219 tests and found some very interesting results. The study says,
“On average, hidden drug samples were indicated by dogs after 64s searching time, with 87.7% indications being correct and 5.3% being false. In 7.0% of trials, dogs failed to find the drug sample within 10min. During police examination trials the dogs made more false alerts, fewer correct indications and searching time was longer compared to the final stage of the training. The drug odor may persist at a site for at least 48h. Our experiments do not confirm the recent reports, based on drug users’ opinions, of low drug detection efficiency. The ranking of drugs from the easiest to the most difficult to detect was: marijuana, hashish, amphetamine, cocaine, heroin.”
Clearly, most of the drug-sniffing dogs were able to detect the substances quickly and efficiently. But 5.3 percent were false accusations. If that was in the real world, that would equate to approximately 64 false arrests.
When it comes to the war on drugs, thousands of people have been wrongfully convicted. How many of those do you think were arrested due to a K9 falsely detecting drugs and the officer going along with it? When you think about it that way, those 64 false findings are a serious problem.
But thankfully drug dogs are starting to retire for marijuana purposes. And seeing as CBD is nonpsychoactive the police force is not spending time and money on training dogs to search for it. So take a hit off of your CBD vape and relax!
If you’re interested in more articles like this, check out our Cannabis Blog!