CBD Products and Impact on Drug Test Results

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 changed the working definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act, declaring that hemp-derived products containing no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, are not considered controlled substances. This new designation led to a flurry of unregulated CBD products hitting markets nationwide, which in turn affects drug testing that could impact your business. Because marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, DOT employees, and many non-DOT safety-sensitive employees, are still prohibited from testing positive for marijuana.

Photo of lab testing tubes
CBD Products are not regulated by the FDA.

CBD Myths

A common misconception is that CBD use will not result in a positive drug test for marijuana. CBD is a compound extracted from hemp and marijuana. Because CBD products are not approved by the FDA, there is no guarantee that the products don’t include THC, even if the label says ‘THC-free.’ Almost all CBD products can register traceable THC results. It is more likely that consumption of CBD oil or other CBD-derived products will screen trace amounts of THC through drug tests, yielding a positive result.

Many safety-sensitive employees that test positive for marijuana are at-risk of unemployment. CBD products, inherently due to their almost exclusively unregulated status, may cause positive drug test results for marijuana. There is no discernable difference in what end-product may lead to a spike in THC levels on a drug test, so all safety-sensitive employees should use caution if considering CBD products.

Safety-Sensitive Positions Impacted

Safety-sensitive positions include tasks or duties that the employer reasonably believes could affect the safety and health of the employee performing the task or others. Examples of such jobs include motor vehicle operators, utility or infrastructure operation and maintenance, hazard material handling and operation of manufacturing equipment or machinery.

According to the Department of Transportation CBD notices, employers and safety-sensitive employees are asked to be fully aware of the following:

  1. DOT requires testing for marijuana and not CBD.
  2. The FDA does not currently certify the levels of THC in CBD products, so there is no Federal oversight to ensure that the labels are accurate.
  3. CBD use is not a legitimate explanation for a marijuana positive result. Therefore, Medical Review Officers will verify such a drug test as positive, even if an employee claims they only used a CBD product.

Decreased Drug Testing

As we recently relayed, data shows increased positivity rates for high-risk and dangerous drugs during COVID. Moreover, while substance use increased during the pandemic, there was a significant decrease in clinical drug testing during stay-at-home orders and remote work. As research shows, continued drug and alcohol testing during these times is extremely important to maintain safety in impacted fields.

Drug Testing Solutions

Employers need to maintain a drug and alcohol-free workplace to ensure the safety of their employees and the public. TEAM Professional Services shares this goal and partners with employers to achieve this through consultation, custom solutions, and ongoing maintenance of full-service drug and alcohol testing programs.