Have you been in the weeds when it comes to marijuana? Join the crowd – especially if you’re a Human Resources professional responsible for pre-employment background screening requirements. Changing marijuana laws have resulted in increased marijuana usage, making it challenging to hire and retain drug-free employees. As of February, eleven states have legalized recreational marijuana, and 35 states have approved marijuana for medical use. There are multiple drug tests or panels that either include or exclude marijuana, so companies can pick and choose what makes the most sense for their specific needs. There is a growing trend of customizing pre-employment drug tests by removing marijuana in the drug panels and instead including more dangerous substances like heroin and methamphetamines.
Add the astronomical growth in cannabidiol, better known as CBD, products, and the issue gets more complicated. CBD is found in hemp and typically doesn’t contain THC, the psychoactive chemical generally associated with the “high” from marijuana. Research and testing are in process to determine for a ratio of CBD to THC, but it’s too early to say if this will be beneficial for employment drug screening purposes.
CBD has become a popular option with the general public and is widely used in a non-prescription form to treat anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and inflammation, among other ailments. Many health advocates are moving toward CBD as an alternative treatment to reduce the number of opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions. Currently, there is one cannabis-derived medication approved by the FDA, Epidiolex.
With the increase of CBD usage, HR professionals should remember that employment drug screening tests for marijuana, not CBD. The FDA does not regulate CBD products, so labels may not be accurate. Some products may include levels of THC that can trigger a positive drug test. Education is essential so that employers and staff know the risks of using CBD products in a drug-free workplace. If your company is considering removing marijuana from its drug testing panel, consider a FOCUS panel that targets other prevalent drugs of abuse without testing for the presence of THC.
For more than 25 years, Employment Screening Services has been helping companies hire and retain safe and productive workforces. To learn more about ESS’s customizable drug testing solutions, contact one of our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.