As cannabidiol, referred to as CBD, continues to gain popularity for medicinal purposes, it’s essential that employers are educated on the drug, and the impact employee use may have on their drug and alcohol program.
What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?
CBD is one of the 400 compounds found in the cannabis plant, which is the same plant that produces the psychoactive compound, THC. Unlike THC, research shows that CBD does not bond directly with CB1 receptors (regions of the brain responsible for mental and physiological processes) and, therefore, CBD is commonly marked as non-psychoactive.
Preliminary research indicates that CBD may provide health benefits without inducing psychoactive effects (the “high”) associated with THC. Medical and therapeutic issues that may benefit from CBD include:
- Mood disorders (including PTSD)
Is CBD Legal?
In the everchanging world of legality surrounding medical marijuana, employers must understand the laws in the states they operate in.
Many states have legalized cannabis and its constitutes including THC and CBD for medical and, in some states, recreational use. The laws vary greatly amongst states, with a large factor being whether the CBD is derived from hemp or marijuana. Hemp, a plant in the cannabis genus, produces less than .3% THC, whereas marijuana can produce up to 30% THC, causing mind-alerting effects.
As of 2019, there are:
- 10 states where cannabis from THC and hemp is legal for recreational and medicinal use.
- These states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
- 47 states where marijuana-derived CBD is legal for medicinal use (all states except Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota).
- Regulations vary from state-to-state with some allowing medicinal use for a broad range of conditions and others setting specific requirements for approved use (specific condition, etc.).
- These states require patients to obtain a medical card in order to legally consume marijuana-derived CBD.
- 3 states where marijuana-derived CBD is illegal.
- These states are Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota
Will CBD Cause a Positive Drug Test?
CBD itself will not result in a positive drug test. Most employment tests are looking for THC, not CBD; However, products are often mislabeled and contain more THC than advertised, which could lead to a positive test for marijuana metabolite. Since most CBD products have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), companies may not be completing proper testing and quality controls. This makes using CBD products extremely risky for employees.
It’s important that DOT employers and employees know that for federally-mandated drug tests, the use of CBD or “medical marijuana” is not considered an explanation for a positive drug test.
Employers must stay informed and keep their employees educated on the risks of using CBD. Additionally, employers should ensure their drug and alcohol policy includes verbiage on marijuana and its derivatives. Contact TEAM today for a free substance abuse policy.