Over the past decade several states have passed laws permitting the use of cannabis and cannabis-based products to varying degrees. As the laws governing the use of these products change, questions surrounding the impacts of these new laws on pre-employment drug screenings are on the rise.
One of the areas that particularly muddles the waters is a relatively new product on the market: Cannabidiol (CBD).
Before we get into why CBD products are causing so many headaches for jobseekers and businesses alike, we have to talk about THC.
THC is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana's psychotropic or euphoric effects –also known as the “high”– one experiences as a result of consuming the marijuana drug.
As of December 2019 the DEA lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance.
Pre-employment drug screening is a common practice for many employers as part of their on-boarding and new hire process. Drug tests are typically administered through a urine, hair or saliva sample to determine if someone is abusing illegal and/or controlled substances. Generally, these tests test for marijuana use by determining whether Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is present in one’s system.
Not fully knowing what you’re putting on and/or in your body could mean a completely innocent, but nonetheless, positive drug test result.
The 2018 Farm Bill
On December 20, 2018 the US government passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which effectively removed “hemp— defined as cannabis and cannabis derivatives with very low concentrations (no more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis) of THC — from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act”2
There is a common misconception that CBD products don’t contain THC and are safe to use. What many users of CBD products don’t realize is that not all CBD is made equally, and many CBD products on the market today aren’t regulated by the FDA.3
And for CBD users, not fully knowing what you’re putting on and/or in your body could mean a completely innocent, but nonetheless, positive drug test result.
Types of CBD Products
There are three major types of CBD:4
- CBD isolate: pure CBD, with no other cannabinoids or THC
- Broad-spectrum CBD: contains most cannabinoids, but it generally doesn’t include THC
- Full-spectrum CBD: contains all of the plant’s cannabinoids, including THC
The bigger issue with CBD use comes from the lack of regulation; even though there is delineation between CBD products with THC and those without, the items within are not standardized the way most individuals think they are.
A 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly 7 of 10 CBD products didn't contain the amount of marijuana extract promised on the label. Nearly 43 percent of the products contained too little CBD, while about 26 percent contained too much, Bonn-Miller said. Worse, about 1 in 5 CBD products contained the intoxicating pot chemical THC.
- “[P]roducts asserting to contain CBD that are marketed for therapeutic or medical uses …have not been approved by FDA. Often such products are sold online and are therefore available throughout the country.
- Unlike drugs approved by FDA, products that have not been subject to FDA review as part of the drug approval process have not been evaluated as to whether they work, what the proper dosage may be if they do work, how they could interact with other drugs, or whether they have dangerous side effects or other safety concerns.”
What many users of CBD products don’t realize is that not all CBD is made equally, and many CBD products on the market today aren’t regulated by the FDA.
The Bottom Line
The use of an unregulated product can have serious consequences outside of a positive pre-employment drug test. There are serious health and safety risks an individual takes when deciding to use CBD or any other unregulated product.
At the end of the day, the best way to pass a drug test is abstaining from using any illegal drug, abusing a controlled substance, and avoiding the use of unregulated products and goods. However, if you choose to use CBD knowing the risks– know your product:
- Do your research about the company who manufacturers the product.
The FDA has sent warning letters to various firms for misrepresenting their CBD products.
- Understand their processing technique so that cross contamination with THC is avoided.
- Look for a CBD isolate that is 100% pure and if it is from a viable hemp supply.
- Understand your state laws as well as your (potential) employer’s policies
Permissible THC use varies from state to state. If there are any questions, it’s always best to speak with an expert on the laws pertaining to your specific situation.
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