It’s impossible to miss the latest health trend: CBD oil. Cosmetic and wellness companies are infusing the oil in easily accessible products, ranging from vitamin supplements to lotion and candles. You can now find Cannabidiol (CBD) oil almost anywhere.
As discussed previously on the ESS blog, cannabidiol is extracted from the flower buds of the hemp plant and should contain little to no THC. Though the 2018 Farm Bill allows for the production of hemp, the legality of CBD, is not as clear. The Washington Post’s Laura Reiley explains, “This is largely because CBD can be derived from hemp or cannabis, but if a hemp plant contains more than 0.3 percent THC (the active “high” ingredient in marijuana) it is then technically a ‘marijuana’ plant.” Reiley also mentions that these products are not currently regulated by the FDA, noting that the drafting and implementation of regulations could take years.
How employers should address the use of CBD oil in the workplace seems to be even more vague, but as its popularity increases, more questions are being raised.
The FDA & CBD
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency within the Department of Health & Human Services that protects and advances public health. It is in their department description to regulate tobacco products, but the FDA does not yet regulate the production and distribution of CBD products.
In June 2019, the department released its official statement on cannabis-derived compounds. Simply summarized, the FDA still has ample amounts of research to do. According to Dr. Amy Abernethy, Principal Deputy Commissioner, “There are many unanswered questions about the science, safety, and quality of many of these products. As we approach these questions, we do so as a science-based regulatory agency committed to our mission of protecting and promoting public health.”
What does this mean?
Though the Farm Bill removed hemp from the definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act and the FDA has yet to announce their official stance, their website states that “CBD products are still subject to the same laws and requirements as FDA-regulated products that contain any other substance.”
However, there are no regulations currently in place, and yet products are still be produced and sold. In fact, there is only one cannabidiol-derived drug approved for use by the FDA: Epidiolex, which treats two epilepsy conditions.
Will CBD products cause positive drug tests?
In theory, users will not produce a positive for THC after using CBD oil or similar products. But, as is evident by recent news headlines, people are being fired after consuming CBD and failing their drug tests. West Virginia University’s James Berry explains, “It is possible to test positive for THC if THC is in that particular batch of CBD oil. That’s where I warn people, buyer beware, despite what the label on that bottle says you don’t know exactly what is in there. There could be THC, or there could be any other product that could be harmful to you.”
Do employers have specific obligations?
How employers approach CBD is entirely up to their policies and the laws of their jurisdiction. Some states have added strict regulations around all types of marijuana, including CBD. In the 33 states with legal medical marijuana, the situation becomes gray for employers, as some legislation offers protection for users. Employers should review all state laws before taking adverse action on a positive drug test result, especially if the donor claims use of CBD oil use.
There is no exact way to tell if the CBD oil you’ve purchased from your local shop is genuinely within the legal limit of 0.3 percent THC. As an employer, it’s best to develop a sound workplace drug use policy based on the specific laws of each hiring jurisdiction. Are you concerned about marijuana and CBD oil in the workplace? Contact one of our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about your drug testing options.