The CBD market is exploding as consumers increasingly turn to CBD seeking relief from a variety of symptoms and conditions such as chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and more. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD was legalized at the federal level in the United States, and more consumers are incorporating CBD into their everyday health and wellness routines. That means more employees are using CBD before or during the workday than ever before. Naturally, that raises some questions for employers, such as whether their employees are using legal, licensed CBD products or if there’s a risk that using it can impair an employee’s judgement or performance.
Fortunately, CBD does not make users high, and unless an employee takes a substantial amount of CBD or uses a product that contains too-high a level of THC, it shouldn’t show up on a drug test. To learn more about what employers should know about CBD and the possibility that their employees are using CBD at work, we reached out to a panel of employers and CBD experts and asked them to answer this question:
“What should employers know about CBD?”
Meet Our Panel of Employers & CBD Experts:
Read on to learn what our experts had to say about what employers should be aware of regarding CBD.
NOTE: The information and opinions expressed below represent the opinions of the individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Incredible Edibles.
Robert Royceston is a certified family physician, IFMCP and chief advisor at Herbies Head. He is currently based in Weston, FL. He specialized in investigating the underlying factors of chronic disease. In addition to Robert’s 7-year private practice in Weston, FL, he is an AASECT certified sex therapist.
“CBD (cannabidiol) is an extract from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant…”
CBD is a component of marijuana, but it does not have any psychoactive effects, so it won’t ‘get you high.’
Is CBD legal?
Yes, purchasing CBD is legal across the United States. The only general rule is that it should not contain more than 0.3% of THC. Also, some state laws create additional restrictions. For example, in Virginia CBD is sold as POM.
Does CBD negatively impact the employee’s performance?
No, pure CBD with less than 0.3% of THC will not cause any performance issues. So, the only criterion is that the employee’s CBD should meet the CBD purity standards.
What steps should be taken by employers in terms of CBD?
Employees should clearly understand that CBD should be used as a medicine, not a legalized drug. Employers should inform workers about the possible risks of CBD usage. Workers should be informed that it is their responsibility to ensure that drugs won’t show up on a drug screen.
Calloway Cook is the President of Illuminate Labs.
“Employers should know that CBD has totally different effects from marijuana…”
Because CBD and THC are often derived from the same plant, there is often a misconception that people take CBD for fun or to get high. This isn’t the case. Most consumers primarily use CBD to aid sleep or relieve anxiety. So, employers should try to be empathetic when they see a CBD product on the desk of one of their employees. They can be assured that the product isn’t going to negatively impact the worker’s productivity.
After years of life on the farm in Northern California, Bryanna Fissori received her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business and followed up with a Juris Doctorate. She now works as the Content and Compliance Manager for Receptra Naturals CBD in Colorado, where she is happy to work in all aspects of production, from planting and harvesting to legal compliance and marketing. She is also a nationally ranked professional boxer.
“THC and CBD do not induce the same reactions in the body…”
There are over 100 identified cannabinoids naturally produced by the cannabis plant. The two most well-known are CBD and THC. They have an identical molecular structure with 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. Though the formula is the same, the way the atoms are arranged changes the interactions these cannabinoids have with receptors in the body.
THC binds directly to CB1 receptors in the brain, which causes the psychoactive response associated with the feeling of being high. CBD does not bind directly to cannabinoid receptors and instead interacts in other ways. CBD can even act as a counterpart to balance and level out strong reactions to THC. This is why marijuana strains high in CBD are less psychoactive and why the minuscule amount of THC (no more than 0.3%) in full spectrum CBD does not produce a high.
CBD may help your employees focus and stay calm in stressful situations. When taken at night it may also help regulate sleep cycles, and a well-rested employee is bound to be more productive than one who is exhausted.
Andrew Taylor is the Director of Net Lawman.
“Pure CBD should present with trace amounts of the mind-altering THC, so…”
You shouldn’t have much of an issue with your employees using the substance in theory.
People use it to treat a number of disorders, such as sleep issues and anxiety, to reduce pain, or to work alone or in conjunction with other medications for things such as epilepsy or MS.
I suppose the biggest thing employers need to know is whether it is going to affect their employees’ performance levels. It may affect an employee’s performance if it is not pure, meaning it contains more than 0.3% THC.
You can check this out because employees should feel comfortable stating they are taking the substance, especially if it is prescribed. As far as your business is concerned, it’s best for your employees to take pure CBD because you need to ensure that their consciousness is not compromised, especially if working machinery is involved, etc.
Darrell Rosenstein is the Founder of The Rosenstein Group.
“From a recruitment point of view, choosing to screen job applicants for THC can impact the pool size of qualified candidates…”
A candidate testing positive for THC does not mean that they are impaired or will be impaired on the job. Instead of excluding an otherwise promising candidate from the recruitment process due to a positive THC test, it is best to speak with the individual to explain the test results. Due to more accepting attitudes and to widen the pool of qualified candidates, more and more employers are choosing not to screen job applicants for THC.
Employers should definitely consider state law and the nature of the job when evaluating the fitness of a job candidate who tests positive for THC from the use of CBD. If state medical marijuana laws permit the use of CBD oil, job applicants and employees with a positive drug test might be protected.
Although some state laws limit pre-employment testing, employers might be justified in having a zero-tolerance drug policy, especially for safety-sensitive jobs. Lastly, in addition to keeping an eye on state law, it is wise for employers to train hiring managers and others who are in charge of employees about the use of CBD and why some employees might need to use these products.
Steven Brown is the CEO and Co-founder of Nothing But Hemp. As a Marine veteran, Steven wanted to create a business that focuses on the health and wellness of the customer. He built his business with a heavy focus on providing education and quality CBD products.
“Employers should know CBD is not THC…”
It is not psychoactive, and it will not get employees high. In fact, many people say CBD oil helps to manage their anxiety. As a result, their productivity increases because they can concentrate on the task at hand.
We recently had a company place a rather large order as part of its employee wellness plan, with the goal of helping employees deal with the stress of working during this pandemic. The company strongly believes in the positive effects of CBD. Leaders there understand that even though CBD does not get employees high, it is a compound derived from a cannabis plant – the hemp plant to be specific – so it can result in a positive drug test.
Jon Vought is a Firefighter/Paramedic in south Florida and is the owner of Omnia Naturals CBD. Their Rescue 1 CBD line is made for first responders and anyone who needs to ensure they can pass a random drug test.
“As an employer, you need to understand a few things about CBD…”
- It is entirely possible to fail a drug test using CBD if your employee’s product contains detectable amounts of THC.
- CBD that contains THC (the intoxicating compound found in cannabis) won’t produce a high. A good analogy is non-alcoholic beer: There is some alcohol in it, but it will never get you drunk.
- CBD is safe for the workplace.
- You can ask to see the lab tests for your employees’ CBD products.
If an employee is responsible enough to ensure their choice in CBD products has a non-detectable level of THC in it (0.000%), then they should be passing drug tests. Standard urinalysis drug tests only search for the presence of THC, not CBD. If your employee shows you a lab test of their product, you can evaluate the THC content for yourself.
This is how first responders and others who are subject to random drug testing can safely use CBD.
It won’t impair an employee whatsoever, and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Your only real issue with employees will be discerning whether a failed drug test was caused by marijuana or CBD.
A recent breakthrough in testing allows you to solve this problem as well. It’s called a CBD/THC ratio test from LabCorp, and it’s a simple urinalysis. In a nutshell, this test will allow you to see if your employee was taking CBD or using marijuana based on the ratios of CBD to THC.
Jon Rhodes is a clinical hypnotherapist and CBD researcher.
“Employers should first know that CBD without THC does not get anyone high…”
So employees can do their work perfectly fine while taking CBD. They should also know that CBD is legal in the majority of territories around the world.
It would also be helpful for employers to read some of the scientific research that has been undertaken related to CBD. Then they would understand that CBD is relatively safe and can help with many issues, such as anxiety, sleep, and stress.
Once an employer is aware of all this, they may then see that CBD is nothing to fear. On the contrary, it may help their employees to be healthier in mind and body. As a result, it could make them more fit for work and more productive.
Karina Karasev is the COO of RCU (Responsible Cannabis Use). RCU is a cannabis education company that brings awareness to cannabis facts, laws, regulations, and research. Through its products – Cann I Know and CannEd, an e-learning course for employers and employees – RCU aims to educate citizens about responsible cannabis use.
“Cannabis education in the workplace is not only about safety but also about inclusivity…”
Employers have a responsibility to educate their employees on cannabis in the workplace (and a vested interest in doing so).
Employers and employees need to understand the following about CBD and cannabis in the workplace:
- Does the employee have a duty to disclose their cannabis use to the employer?
- Does the employer have a duty to inquire about their employees’ cannabis use?
- Does the employer have a duty to accommodate medical cannabis patients? If yes, to what extent?
- Can the employer perform drug testing at work? If yes, which form of testing is best? Urine, oral fluid, blood?
- Can CBD or THC be detected in a drug test?
- Canadian employers must understand that if their benefit plans offer Health Spending Accounts, their employees can claim medical cannabis, including CBD, through the benefits.
- Unregulated CBD products may contain THC, resulting in a positive drug test. (This is especially relevant to department of transportation employees.)
The answers to these questions are complicated and region-specific based on a number of laws, but employers must no longer ignore this problem and assume that simply adding the word cannabis to their substance management policy will be sufficient. Unlike alcohol, the truth is most people don’t understand CBD, the various consumption methods, and its effects. A growing number of consumers are now using cannabis for medicinal purposes; therefore, education on cannabis – including CBD – is no longer just a concern for safety-sensitive industries, but for companies in all industries that want to ensure they have inclusive policies.
Dr. Maria N.Vila, DO is a family medicine specialist in Morristown, New Jersey and is a medical advisor for eMediHealth. She has been practicing for over 16 years.
“CBD is fast being adopted as a form of alternative medicine (something that Indian Ayurveda has always known)…”
It is used to treat nausea, weight gain, glaucoma, seizures, muscle spasms, anxiety attacks, post traumatic stress disorders, mental depression, Alzheimer’s disease, leprosy, tuberculosis, HIV, and even to help people deal with the negative effects of chemotherapy. A cannabis derivative called isobutane hash oil is also used to treat cancer in children. Marijuana is a miracle plant that has been unfairly demonized. We just have to know how to use it appropriately in order to reap its medical and health benefits.
Consuming weed habitually for a prolonged period of time can cause serious lack of motivation, hallucination, erectile dysfunction, bloodshot eyes, chronic cough, etc. It is also said to cause impaired perception and adversely affects cognitive ability, reflexes, and judgement.
Moreover, if the person is under the age of 18, research says that marijuana affects the development of the brain in the long term (however, this does not apply to adults). This is where the ‘weed kills your brain cells’ myth comes from.
Marijuana, being high in CBD (cannabidiol), calms your body down while helping you with anxiety attacks and panic attacks and also inducing a state of happiness. But when your happiness becomes dependent on an external substance, it is always a bad situation to be in.
Mike DeVincent is the founder of MrComputerScience.com, a marketing blog for business and tech enthusiasts.
“Employers should know that most CBD products don’t contain THC…”
THC is the substance in cannabis that many employers frown upon and ban. Employers should also remember that their employees likely use CBD as a natural remedy for anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders. Most of all, CBD use doesn’t mean that they are bad employees!
Shannon works for MMJ Doctors. At MMJ Doctors, their mission is to provide access to medical marijuana evaluations to all qualified patients and to discover if a patient can benefit from medical cannabis.
“CBD, the shortened name for cannabidiol, is an extract from cannabis, the plant that produces marijuana…”
It can also be obtained from the hemp plant, another form of cannabis that has extremely low levels of THC, the substance that instills a high. Hemp became legal to grow commercially in every U.S. state in 2018.
However, how an employer treats job applicants or employees using CBD will vary by state. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, while twelve states have legalized recreational marijuana.
Courts in several of these states have held that an employer may be obligated to accommodate employees who use medical marijuana.
Employers may also have a duty to accommodate the underlying medical condition prompting the employee’s CBD or marijuana use. Employers should carefully examine the cannabis laws in their jurisdiction and consult with counsel before deciding whether to permit employees’ use of CBD products or marijuana.
Dr. Nikola Djordjevic, MD, is a board-certified family physician, co-founder, and project manager of LoudCloudHealth.com. He also serves as a medical advisor at Whatasleep.
“The most important thing employers need to know is that…”
First and foremost, it’s not THC, so your employees won’t be high while they work. CBD products are verified to contain no more than 0.3% THC and are perfectly safe to consume during the daily work routine. As the effect is not psychoactive, it won’t affect the performance of your employees, as the effects are more relaxing and help reduce stress levels. Some may take CBD for muscular pains and for anxiety, which can help them get through a full day of work at the office. Also, keep in mind that CBD can be distinguished from THC in modern drug tests, so your employees aren’t doing anything illegal provided CBD is tolerated in your state and not on the controlled substance list.
Dr. Jim Collins is the Founder and CEO of Sapphire Essentials.
“CBD’s popularity continues to grow, and with it is an increase in…”
More positive tests for tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the component of cannabis that produces a high. Since this can lead to a number of problems in the workplace, employers need to know as much as possible about CBD products, what they’re used for, and if they contain any THC.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a molecule extracted from either cannabis (marijuana) or hemp. If it comes from the cannabis plant, it usually contains some percentage of THC. In many states, 0.3% is the legal amount of THC allowed in many CBD products. If the CBD comes from hemp, there is generally no THC whatsoever.
Employees may be using CBD for many physical, emotional, mental, or even neurological health conditions and may experience good results. Most people take CBD for pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, or sleep problems. Others take it to relieve muscle spasms associated with multiple sclerosis or reduce seizures associated with epilepsy. In fact, two FDA-approved CBD-based medications are Epidiolex for seizures and Sativex for MS. Marinol is another FDA-approved drug for nausea due to chemotherapy as well as the eating disorder, anorexia. Sativex and Marilnol contain THC and CBD, while Epidiolex contains only CBD.
Problems for employers arise when a positive test is caused by CBD containing traces of THC or the real thing – marijuana. Another problem is that a positive test doesn’t necessarily mean the employee is impaired, because THC can remain in the system for several weeks. Employers may choose to test new hires, employees who appear to be impaired, or just to enforce drug-free policies.
What happens when an employee tests positive for THC? The employer must have a conversation with the employee and offer them a chance to explain why the test turned out positive. If an employee is using a CBD product that contains as little as 0.3% (the legal limit), they can still test positive for THC.
It should be made clear to employees through training and education that they can take CBD, but at their own risk. There simply is no way to know exactly how much CBD or THC is in a product unless it is laboratory tested. Let them know that even if they let the employer know they are using CBD and they are not impaired, if they test positive there will be consequences.
Rhiannon works with Evopure CBD.
“CBD will not impair the ability to work, as long as it is pure and THC levels are low…”
CBD has bad connotations because of ‘stoner culture,’ but CBD itself has a wide range of benefits, and it could actually help employees work. Benefits that may help workers include encouraging better sleep and reducing stress. Both of these things are likely to increase productivity, which employers will love to see. However, there are currently no regulatory boards that make it mandatory to check the purity of CBD, so despite the laws regarding THC levels, there could be CBD products out there that contain higher levels of THC and could, therefore, reduce productivity.
Erin is the chief marketing officer of Key to Cannabis, a cannabis and CBD education site aimed at equipping everyone – athletes, scholars, and even your grandparents – with the knowledge and tools to achieve total-body, plant-powered wellness.
“Employers should be well-versed in the three sub-groups of CBD: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and CBD isolate…”
If employees use full-spectrum CBD, employers should be aware that trace amounts of THC can show up on a drug test.
If employees use broad-spectrum or CBD isolate, all trace amounts of THC are removed and shouldn’t show up on a drug test. If you are an employer who regularly drug tests your employees, it is wise to establish a standard on CBD use, whether restricting full-spectrum CBD or understanding trace amounts of THC will show up if an employee uses full-spectrum CBD.
Vipin Chahal is the Founder of Return Policy Guide. He is a budding entrepreneur and has been in the corporate sector for the last 7-8 years. In this process, he has sold two businesses and aspires to build a bigger, innovative project in the future. He is currently engaged in a logistic startup.
“Unlike THC, CBD does not get you stoned but combats effects like insomnia and anxiety…”
It is increasingly being used in the workplace these days, and there are a few things both employers and employees should know:
- The use of CBD is legalized in most places, acknowledging the important and beneficial uses it serves.
- CBD drug tests are not carried out. Researchers suggest that the lack of implementation of standard tests makes it inconvenient to differentiate between CBD and THC. However, it is legally permitted to consume it.
- CBD is non-psychoactive. Unlike THC, it does not render you high. It has shown instances in which it has enhanced work performance and not deteriorated it.
- Follow CBD policies if mandated by your employer. Most companies might not allow the use of it, despite it being legal and legitimate.
- CBD oil may cause positive tests for marijuana. Establish proof via other symptoms not supporting its use.
Laura Mogen is a CBD expert and editor at AllBestCbdOil.com, a CBD-related digital journal who has been researching different CBD brands and products.
“There’s one major point that employers should know about CBD…”
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized CBD oil that’s derived from hemp – an agricultural product that contains less than 0.3% THC, at the federal level.
While hemp-derived CBD oil that contains less than 0.3% THC is considered to be non-psychoactive and shouldn’t show up on a drug test, not all brands are transparent. That being said, if the CBD products employees use are not tested in third-party labs, there’s a chance that their THC levels do not meet the requirements, and could show up on a drug test when significant amounts are used.
Sam Watson is the founder and Chairman of Breathe International Ltd, a biomedical wellness company that distributes cannabis products under the Dr Watson™️ brand.
“Employers should be made aware that CBD in itself shouldn’t cause any physical or mental impairment…”
That is, as long as it’s 100% pure (containing less than 0.3% THC). At those levels, it is safe to use in the workplace, and even to operate machinery!
The issue is knowing what type of CBD oil your employees are using. There is no law stating that you have to accommodate its usage in the workplace. However, if a worker has chronic pain and CBD oil helps alleviate their symptoms, wouldn’t you rather have a happier, more productive member of your workforce?
Employers should know that CBD can show up on a drug test, but that there is no test specific to CBD, as of yet. The best practices to follow would be to educate yourself and your employees about CBD and to develop a nuanced policy for your workplace before an issue arises.
Dr. Giuseppe Aragona
Dr. Giuseppe Aragona M.D. is a General Practitioner at Prescription Doctor.
“The difference CBD can make on an employee’s work is dependent on whether the CBD is considered pure…”
Which is defined by containing less than 0.3% THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). Less than this amount should ensure there is no difference or impact on an employee’s abilities or productivity. Not all CBD is pure though, so it is acceptable to ask for a medical note from employees’ doctors stating the amount of THC the CBD contains and confirming whether this could affect their performance. Alternatively, employers could require employees to work on alternative tasks temporarily (such as avoid driving machinery if working in a warehouse).