The laws surrounding the use and legality of THC and CBD in the United States are an ever-changing landscape. Over the past decade, states have wrestled with the question of legalizing marijuana, and many have allowed their citizens to decide by putting the issue up for a vote. As of the writing of this article in 2020, 10 states have fully legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational usage, while an additional 33 states have legalized its use for medical purposes only. Conversely, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that CBD is legal on both the federal and state level throughout the entire country. And even though that is a relief, employers are sometimes left wondering how all of this affects their business and their policies surrounding usage by their employees. So what, exactly, do employers need to know about their employees’ usage of CBD?
CBD As Opposed to Marijuana
First, let’s clarify what CBD is and the difference between it and marijuana. While these two plants are both in the cannabis family, there are many differences between them.
CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol and is one of the many cannabinoids found in both the hemp and marijuana plant. In 2018, The Farm Bill was passed that made CBD federally legal in the United States as long as:
- The CBD was derived from the hemp plant only, and
- The CBD contained no more than .3% THC by weight.
Marijuana, on the other hand, remains federally illegal – although, as discussed before, many states have legalized its use either recreationally, medically, or both.
Influence Over Employees
THC (tetrahydrochloride) is the substance that affects the human body’s endocannabinoid system and binds to its CB1 and CB2 receptors, thus giving the user the feeling of being “high.” This psychoactive effect could potentially influence an employee’s performance on the job, particularly if that job is mentally or physically taxing. Marijuana, and products derived from marijuana, are likely to contain large amounts of THC. However, CBD derived from hemp is federally required to contain .3% or less THC. This trace amount has very little effect on the endocannabinoid system’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, and therefore, should not affect an employee’s job performance. As a matter of fact, some studies have shown that CBD may actually lessen THC’s psychoactive effects.
CBD is known to be a safe, holistic supplement that has no side-effects that would impair an employee’s ability to do their job according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In addition, because it is an all-natural wellness enhancer, CBD is not addictive. Therefore, your employees will not build up a tolerance to it and require greater amounts to get the same results in the way that many pharmaceutical products do.
Drug testing is where we get into a bit of a sticky wicket when it comes to CBD. Many industries and employers require drug testing for their employees for a wide variety of reasons. Sometimes it is a safety concern like with the medical profession or construction industry. Other times it is because an employee’s clear head and thinking skills are critical aspects of their job – as in the case of lawyers, judges, accountants, and the like. Employers choose to drug test their employees for many reasons, but in light of current developments, these companies may wish to reexamine their testing policies.
Some of the problems stem from inconsistent results. Different labs test differently. The sensitivity of a test from Lab A may be far greater than that of Lab B, which means that, if an employee only has a trace amount of THC in their system, that trace amount may show up in Lab A’s test, but not be detected on Lab B’s test. When it comes to CBD usage, that means that the .3% of THC which is allowed by both state and federal law, may actually show up in Lab A’s test – due to the test’s sensitivity and accuracy.
So what does this mean to the employer? Well, the presence of even a trace amount of THC can and usually does throw up a red flag, but it could just as easily come from CBD that is both legal, safe, and does not negatively impact your employee’s job performance – instead of indicating marijuana usage.
Handle with care. The main point here is that drug testing for the presence of THC is simply not as cut and dried as it used to be. Because marijuana itself is legal for medical use in so many states now, trying to determine whether or not your employee is using this substance illegally, or in a way that could negatively affect their job performance, can be next to impossible. Add to that the fact that much CBD that is offered contains the legal .3% THC that is allowed by law and that can be detected by labs, and it can be very difficult for an employer to determine if THC is a problem for a specific employee or not.
Not to make matters even more complex, but CBD is not well-regulated yet, either. That means that inferior CBD manufacturers may allow for greater amounts of THC to slip into their products. Quality CBD manufacturers make sure that their products are third-party lab tested and make these test results publicly available online. So if you are an employer whose employee tests positive for THC, but they can show you their CBD bottle and the online testing results that less than .3% THC is in their product, you may want to take that into consideration before taking any drastic action.
The Hemp Doctor – Giving Your Employees Options!
There are many CBD products on the market today, and all are categorized as either full-spectrum or broad-spectrum. While both categories carry numerous health benefits to the user, broad-spectrum CBD contains no traces of THC. Therefore, any of your valuable employees, who want to continue using CBD without the THC, can be directed to a premier quality CBD distributor like The Hemp Doctor! This course of action allows your employees to continue to benefit from this amazing product without causing you unnecessary drug testing dilemmas.
At The Hemp Doctor, America’s Premier Hemp & CBD Dispensary, we carry an extensive inventory of both full and broad-spectrum CBD in a wide variety of products. With The Hemp Doctor, you can always be assured that you are getting the highest quality, third-party lab tested, CBD products available.