Can CBD Oil Affect Employee Drug Test Results?
In many workplaces, drug tests are used to prevent employees from using substances with effects that are considered problematic or dangerous in the workplace. One substance frequently tested for is tetra-hydrocanabinol (THC), the mind-altering compound that can cause feelings of relaxation, heightened senses, changed time perception, hallucinations, and anxiety or panic attacks in marijuana users. While these symptoms are considered undesirable in many workplaces, another marijuana compound has recently received much attention for its possible medical benefits, without the “high” caused by THC. However, its use may still be problematic for individuals subjected to drug tests.
Preliminary medical research hints that this compound, known as cannabidiol or CBD oil, could help with a wide range of medical conditions. Pain, anxiety, bipolar disorder, dystonia, seizures, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and schizophrenia are just a few of the conditions that patients have turned to CBD oil to treat.
Unlike THC, cannabidiol is not mind-altering, and thus does not produce the “high” that can create problematic behaviors and safety hazards in the workplace. Therefore, employees are not required to undergo testing for CBD oil. Unfortunately, using CBD oil can still result in a positive drug test.
The issue lies in the purity of the oil. When CBD oil is extracted from marijuana flowers, THC is also present. Purity varies by state and manufacturer, but trace amounts of THC could be present in any CBD oil product. While such small amounts of THC do not induce a high, there is no guarantee that an employee using CBD oil will not test positive for THC.
This may, at first, seem a hard approach to take. After all, CBD oil is thought by many to have medical benefits, and medical marijuana use is now legal in most states. Some states have even legalized recreational marijuana use. However, the medical benefits of the plant do not change the fact that THC causes mind-altering effects that could prove dangerous in certain situations. For employees subject to the regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, users of CBD oil or medical marijuana are not exempt from these rules.
Because there is no way to prove that an employee testing positive for THC was only using CBD oil, all positive tests must be treated equally. Doing otherwise would render the test useless. Avoiding the inevitable complications that arise from a positive employee drug test requires a policy that addresses the use of CBD oil.