Study: Legal CBD use is likely to lead to failed drug testing by employers

A new study published this week in the journal  found that vaping cannabis in legal CBD products can result in positive drug tests used often by employers, criminal justice agencies, and school systems, as well as others.

After passage of the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill in December 2018, Congress gave the green light to the marketing of goods that contain hemp and CBD, both of which are contained in the cannabis plant.

Many of them such as foods, oils, shampoos, and lotions are purported to provide various health benefits, though they have yet to be proven in large clinical trials.

But as more and more states allow the sale and use of CBD products, there is increasing concern that Americans who do may be unwittingly putting their employment at risk because public and private employers still have the right to drug-test their workers and prospective workers.

And positive results could mean a person either doesn’t get a job or is dismissed from one.

The findings of the new study, albeit small, are significant. They come as researchers at the University of Pittsburgh announced in August they were in the process of developing a test device that is similar to the Breathalyzer used to detect levels of alcohol intoxication, for THC, the element in cannabis that gets people high.

That said, the question of false positives for people using CBD products, not THC, have major implications.

In addition to harming employees, instances of children testing positive for marijuana after using CBD products have been reported as well. These test findings have influenced court decisions in custody cases.

“With the legalization of hemp products, with larger retailers stocking these products and the hub-bub about how great and beneficial these products are for you, there’s a lot of public interest in these products, but not enough concern about the safety of these products,” Ryan Vandrey, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told UPI.

“Our study sheds light on the complexities of drug testing and the impact of the legalization of these products on existing drug policies,” Vandrey added. “As an individual, if you are subject to drug testing, you should be aware using CBD- or hemp-based products may result in a positive drug test.

“That needs to be discussed with your employer prior to use, or you really need to weigh the risks and benefits of using these products.”

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