Published On: Tue, Mar 31st, 2020

Can You Be Fired For Using CBD?

Everywhere you look, there are products infused with CBD oil, also known as cannabidiol. These products are extremely common in health and wellness products, such as pain-relieving lotions or edibles and drinks that promote less stress and anxiety.

If you’re like most people, you may be interested in learning how CBD products can benefit you. One of the biggest reasons why people stay away from CBD is the fact that some of these products do contain THC and other cannabinoids. So, this begs the question, can you be fired for using CBD?

The answer is fuzzy, and the best response is “maybe.” Here’s what you need to know.

The History of CBD

Before we get too deep into answering the question, it’s important to understand CBD, including the legality behind it and where it comes from.

CBD is a naturally occurring substance that is found in the cannabis sativa plant. This plant has two main species, hemp and marijuana. CBD can be extracted from both of these plants and then infused into all sorts of products.

In 2018, the Farm Bill was passed, which legalized hemp cultivation and allowed for hemp-derived products to be legally transferred across state lines. According to the bill, hemp is defined as plants that contain less than 0.3% of THC. Any product that contains more than 0.3% of THC is considered to be an illegal controlled substance.

The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill greatly influenced the popularity and availability of CBD products.

CBD vs. THC

Both CBD and THC are cannabinoids, which means that they interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The biggest difference between these two compounds is the side effects. CBD won’t make you feel high, while THC will. When taking CBD, you won’t feel altered in any way, so you can stay productive and focused.

In the medical world, CBD is most commonly used to treat pain, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and other health conditions.

Not All CBD Products Have Been Legalized

One of the biggest misunderstandings about the 2018 Farm Bill is that it completely legalized CBD. But, the bill specifies that hemp-derived CBD is legal, and that is if and only if the hemp is produced in a way that is consistent with the Farm Bill, federal regulations, state regulations, and by a licensed grower.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), CBD cannot be added to a food or labeled as a dietary supplement. So while you may have read that CBD may be effective at relieving pain, you won’t find any (legal) CBD products on that market that are specifically labeled as a pain reliever. This is to minimize the risk of products being marketed with unproven medical claims, which can put the health and safety of consumers at risk.

It’s worth noting that the FDA has only approved one CBD product, Epidiolex, which is used to treat two rare forms of epilepsy. As more studies and research are conducted into the side effects of CBD, the FDA will continue to update the public on its safety.

The CBD Industry Lacks Regulation

As of 2020, much of the CBD industry is largely unregulated. This means that while products may be marketed as being legal, they may in fact contain higher levels of THC than what is federally allowed. These products may also have more or less CBD than advertised, along with possible harmful ingredients such as pesticides, solvents, and even heavy metals.

The FDA has warned several companies that have put new, unapproved drugs on the market that are marketed to allegedly contain CBD. But, many of these projects were tested and were found to not contain the levels of CBD that were advertised.

The risk of improperly labeled products is a huge risk for consumers. In fact, consumers have filed various class action lawsuits against two well-known CBD companies for false advertising as well as misleading claims about the products’ effectiveness and ingredients.

How to Protect Yourself

Because the CBD industry isn’t regulated, there is always a risk when you consume a CBD product. If you’re worried about being fired for using CBD, there are some things you can do to minimize your risk, but the fact remains that there will always be a risk that you’re consuming a product that contains detectable levels of THC.

Read the COA

When buying CBD products, you only want to buy from manufacturers that can provide a Certificate of Analysis (COA) for their CBD products. A COA is a document that shows the test results for a certain product. These third party lab tests are used to check products for THC, CBD, and different contaminants such as pesticides. In most states, except for Utah and Indiana, testing is voluntary.

If a manufacturer doesn’t have a COA posted for the product you’re interested in buying, you’ll want to choose another brand.

Read the Labels

Another detail to pay attention to when buying CBD products is where the CBD is derived from. CBD that comes from the hemp plant naturally has higher levels of CBD and lower levels of THC. This means that products that contain marijuana-derived CBD may have a higher risk of containing more than 0.3% of THC.

But again, since these products aren’t regulated, there’s no real way for you to know exactly what you’re buying. In fact, a 2017 study found that seven out of ten CBD products contained different concentrations of CBD than what was advertised, and one out of five contained THC.

Isolate vs. Full Spectrum

Aside from the source of the CBD, you’ll also want to determine if the CBD used is isolate or full-spectrum. CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD and contains no other cannabinoids, flavonoids, or terpenes. CBD isolate is created through an extraction process that removes all of the other cannabinoids from the hemp plant.

On the other hand, full-spectrum CBD products contain all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids. When extracted from the plant, the entire extract is turned into a consumable product. This means that products that contain full-spectrum CBD are likely to contain THC. While trace amounts, these small levels can build up and could cause you to fail a drug test.

Use Caution When Buying

At the end of the day, if you decide to take a CBD-infused product, there’s always the risk that you may test positive for THC. This means that there’s a very real chance of being fired for using CBD.

Drug tests are used to screen for THC and the byproducts that exist when THC has been metabolized within the body, which often indicates the usage of marijuana. There is currently no way for employers to test for the metabolite of CBD.

As the CBD industry matures and the use of CBD becomes more common, we can expect that there will one day be a test that can differentiate between CBD usage and THC usage. Until then, if there’s a no drug policy set forth by your employer, it may be best to steer clear of CBD products, since there is no way to know if the product you’re consuming contains traceable amounts of THC or not.

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