The Complex Issue of Using CBD Oils and Employer Drug Testing
The use of CBD oils has been steadily increasing among many working adults. From anxiety and pain management to weight loss, CBD oils are considered to have many healthful benefits. However, this can pose a bit of a challenge for employers who are unsure how to enforce anti-drug use policies in the workplace. Depending on how they are processed and from what source, some CBD oils contain trace amounts of the mind-altering chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can create a positive drug test result.
An article in The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) indicates that employers are experiencing more cases of positive drug tests. The problem is actually two-fold. Human resource managers need to become educated about the different types of CBD oil products that are available for consumer purchase, and how a positive test result can happen. Additionally, in states where all hemp-based products are legal, employers need to know how they can actually require employees to abstain from those including higher levels of THC, except as approved by a medical professional.
CBD oil products forecasted to increase
There are literally thousands of CBD oil products on the market presently, and this is just getting started. According to Reuters, the global CBD oil market is projected to reach $3.86 Billion by 2025. Many of these products are found in the pharmaceutical industry, but there are now more in the food and beverage markets, cosmetics, and even household products. Keep in mind that CBD oil is only one of eighty-five chemicals that can be derived from the cannabis plant.
The most often used products include CBD oil tinctures, lotions, and food-based products that help people deal with chronic illnesses, anxiety, insomnia, focus, and more. These are non-addictive and very rarely impact a person’s ability to perform work tasks. Even if the products contain less than the legal limit (generally .03 percent) of THC, they can show trace amounts on a drug test. If they are harvested from a non-THC source, CBD oils should not create a positive drug test for an employee.
Medical THC is an approved dose of the chemical appropriate for the type of health issue that a person has. They can come in tinctures, but are most often in oils or dry, to be smoked, vaped, or taken in pill form. In this case, they must be under physician care and have a chronic health condition that is controlled with THC. This is most often seen with cancer patients, those with HIV, epilepsy patients, or severe chronic pain patients. These levels can cause sleepiness, slowed reaction time, and other side effects, so normally they are not recommended during work hours or while operating machinery or driving. This will also cause a positive drug test result.
The real issue is that HR cannot always determine if the drug test results are coming from recreational use or due to a chronic health condition -- unless the employee submits medical notification. A positive test for THC does not indicate that a person is impaired, but rather that there is the presence of a trace amount of THC in their system even weeks after use. Attorney Jennifer Mora told SHRM,”If someone tests positive for THC, the employer might have a conversation with the person to see if he or she can explain the test result, which could give the individual the chance to request a reasonable accommodation.”
When it comes to drug-free workplaces, employers still have the final say. Employers do have the right to deny employment to any candidate who tests positive for an illegal drug, including THC. They can also restrict the use of THC in environments that are safety-sensitive, such as the use of dangerous equipment, working with patients in healthcare settings, or when using vehicles for example. The employer must clearly state in writing their policy and make sure all employees understand it and agree to it.
As the CBD oil market grows in size, more regulations will ensure that products are standardized so there is less confusion. Right now, labeling can be inaccurate, and therefore it will take further testing from the FDA and other agencies to control this process better.
For more information on how to keep your workplace compliant, contact Worklogic HR today.