In December of 2018, The Farm Bill was signed into effect, legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp, which is used to make CBD products. CBD, or cannabidiol, contains only trace amounts of THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, and is non-psychotropic. According to the Hemp and CBD Industry Factbook, 2019 retail sales in the U.S. are likely to surpass $1 billion, increasing sales from 2018 by 133%.
Those who consume CBD products do so for a number of reasons. Our bodies contain a system called the endocannabinoid system, which regulates sleep, appetite, pain and immune system responses. When CBD is ingested into the system, it binds with endocannabinoids, and can work together to reduce chronic pain and symptom relief, inflammation, anxiety, and depression.
With continued increase in CBD consumption, many workplaces have been concerned about its effect on employees and the workplace. While pure CBD contains hardly traceable amounts of THC, the Food and Drug Administration has only approved one CBD product called Epidiolex. This means that other CBD products might contain substances that have the potential of showing up on a drug test, even if the employee doesn’t feel the effects of psychotropic ingredients, like THC.
Recommended Steps for the Workplace
Update drug-testing policies
As CBD usage continues to enter the workplace, employers are recommended to update their existing drug-testing policies to ensure policies around CBD consumption are present. Some employers who are not required by federal or state laws have chosen to eliminate marijuana from their drug tests entirely. Others, who can’t alter their drug policies due to federal and state regulations might consider reviewing their medication policy and make changes to address CBD use while working on company property and how to administer it.
Set clear expectations for workplace use of CBD
Generally, CBD creams, oils, and cosmetics that contain THC aren’t likely to show up positive on a drug test. However, it’s important to educate employees that a positive test due to consuming CBD is possible when consuming products that aren’t FDA approved. As you update your drug-testing policies, they should be explained to employees to ensure workplace expectations are understood.
Provide explanations for drug testing
It’s an employer’s duty to evaluate each situation of CBD that presents itself. You might talk with your testing provider to discuss the possibility of CBD showing up under the drug panel test. Also consider educating your employees on your rights to drug test when needed.
As CBD consumption becomes more popular, its users can prepare to see more workplace regulations and education seminars. While restrictions and regulations aren’t yet commonplace, employers must educate their employees on practices and expectations concerning CBD usage.