One of the questions Human Resources departments are beginning to get in today’s world is “If I use CBD oil, will it cause a positive drug test?” The short answer is maybe, but it is much more complicated than that.
If you are an employer facing this question in your company, let this article be a resource you can point your employees toward.
If you are an employee or job applicant, read on to make sure you understand the impact your decisions could have on your employment.
CBD vs. Marijuana (Cannabis)
First, what is CBD and how is it different from the typical marijuana products we are familiar with?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis. Most people know cannabis as marijuana.
What differentiates CBD oil from marijuana is the presence of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the component in marijuana that produces euphoria and is usually what a typical drug screen looks for.
Drug Testing for Cannabis
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) guidelines many employers follow has a set cut off level for a positive cannabis drug test of greater than 50ng/mL, or nanogram per milliliter. If an employee or job applicant has a positive test under this criterion, it may then be screened again with a GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) confirmation which has a cutoff level of 15ng/ml. This test looks specifically for the THC metabolite. This can help catch false positives on the first test.
In order for CBD or hemp oil products to produce a positive result in a drug test, an individual would have to be using unusually large amounts of the product — in the range of 1000-2000 mg daily. Therein lies the problem and confusion.
CBD oil is an unregulated product.
Because CBD oils are an unregulated drug and some can contain as much as 1/10th the THC concentration of marijuana, consuming high quantities can leave enough THC in your system to trigger a positive test result and can also cause impairment. Being unregulated means the concentrations and doses can vary from brand to brand with no standardization. CBD products for the most part, claim to contain less than .3% THC, which classifies them as hemp, but the fact that they are unregulated makes this claim by any given manufacturer unreliable.
Do the benefits of CBD oil outweigh the risks?
It can be tempting to head to your local smoke shop or to an online store and purchase CBD oil if you suffer from many of the ailments that CBD oil users claim it helps like back pain, headaches, and anxiety, just to name a few. We all want to feel better however we can.
But an important fact when considering whether to risk employment over CBD oil is this… is marijuana 100% legal in all 50 states? No. Currently, marijuana is legal in all forms in only 8 states and Virginia is not one of them. It is legal in an additional 21 states for medicinal purposes only with a prescription. Virginia is not on this list either.
There is only one CBD oil approved by the FDA and according to the FDA website, is only approved for use in patients who suffer from Dravet Syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Both of these debilitating syndromes begin in childhood and there aren’t many, if any, represented in the workforce. So if you plan to work in Virginia for a company that requires drug testing, it is best to avoid not just marijuana, but its weaker cousin CBD oil as well.