Will CBD make me fail a drug test?

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Full spectrum CBD products could cause you to fail a drug test for THC. Here’s what you need to know:

Will taking CBD cause you to fail a drug test? We get this question a lot at Cornbread Hemp. The short answer is that Cornbread Hemp full spectrum extracts contain legal levels of THC (less than .3%), which is not nearly enough to get you “high.” Yet still, this is enough to build up in your system over time, which could theoretically make you test positive for a drug test that screens for THC. So why do we insist on producing full spectrum extracts that contain legal amounts of THC, and not THC-free products? It seems like a high price to pay for something so minuscule that you don’t feel it. But here’s the thing: without the micro-dose of THC, the CBD is far less effective. Every cannabinoid is important, but THC is the key that unlocks the profound effects of CBD and other cannabinoids like CBG, CBN and CBE. Over time, these cannabinoids can accumulate in your system (and that’s a good thing!), but this could put you at risk of testing positive for THC during a drug screening.

Here at Cornbread, we’re doing all we can to help move policy that allows all people, including state employees, to be able to benefit from CBD and full spectrum hemp products. But there’s a big problem. Some parts of America just aren’t ready for it.

In a lot of cases, it’s the people in those parts of America that we want to help the most. Firefighters, police officers, active duty military, hospital workers, pilots, truck drivers, government workers with a security clearance, and anyone that works for an entity that receives federal contracts — all at risk of getting fired for testing positive for THC. 

Half of all American employers drug test their employees for THC, according to SHRMThat means a lot of people who could benefit from the not-yet-FDA-approved power of CBD are afraid to try. That’s because of Reagan-era “zero tolerance” drug-testing policies. Those “zero-tolerance” policies mean that full spectrum CBD products like Cornbread can get you fired. So, be informed.

CBD drug tests: federal law vs. state law 

There’s a conflict in federal law regarding full spectrum hemp products that has not yet been resolved. To make it more confusing, a patchwork of state laws offer some protections in some places but not others. Every employer that tests for THC does so under the incorrect notion that THC remains illegal under federal law. But as the USDA recently announced, THC derived from hemp is now perfectly legal under federal law. Because drug tests cannot determine the origin of THC, whether from hemp or full-strength cannabis, they should no longer be allowed to be used as grounds for termination. But that level of understanding is still in the future, as of early summer 2019.

In protecting CBD users’ rights, some states are better than others

As of early 2019, these states provided employee protections for users of medical marijuana: Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, according to SHRM. Just recently, Nevada became the first state to ban employers from refusing job applicants based on a marijuana test. These state-level protections apply to users of full spectrum CBD products like Cornbread that have a little THC in them. 

If you would like CBD protections in your state, contact your state legislators. Tell them to pass laws like the states listed above. If West Virginia can pass a law to protect marijuana users, what excuse does your legislator have in your state? 

Are there any court cases on CBD employee rights against drug tests? 

Not yet. Judges have ruled on both sides in court cases on medical marijuana employee rights. But those rulings are trending in the right direction. It comes down to the notion of federal law pre-empting state-level protections. Employers argue that because THC remains illegal under federal law, then state law cannot protect users against employment discrimination. 

In 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of employers. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled the same way in 2015. In 2016, a federal court in New Mexico also ruled in favor of the employer, according to SHRM. But in 2017, a federal court in Connecticut ruled the other way, in favor of medical marijuana users. That same year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court and the Rhode Island Supreme Court followed suit. This conflict in U.S. District Court opinions could result in a future case before the U.S. Supreme Court. But that doesn’t help us today. 

Can you sue a CBD company when you fail a drug test? 

Please do not do this. Two women are suing a CBD company because they claim that company’s products caused them to fail drug tests. In another case, a New York man is suing another CBD company for failing a drug test that cost him his job, according to Consumer Reports. 

Cornbread Hemp is telling you: our products contain a legal dose of THC. And that legal dose of THC can get you fired because employers don’t yet understand that federal law has changed. If you get fired for using Cornbread, that’s not right — but it’s not our fault. We told you here first. 

Can the Americans with Disabilities Act protect your use of CBD? 

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that employers must make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. If your doctor recommends that you take CBD for a certain condition and then you test positive for THC, then what? 

So far, this theory has only been tested against claims related to medical marijuana, not against CBD products with hemp-derived THC. Because the USDA declared that hemp-derived THC is legal under federal law, this issue has become ripe for a court case. But as of early summer 2019, no such court case has emerged. 

What can you do to ensure you pass your drug test? 

If you are using Cornbread products, you are consuming a legal dose of THC that can accumulate in your body enough to trigger a positive test for THC. If that worries you, consider taking these steps: 

  • Track your own THC levels with an at-home drug test.
  • Ask for a re-test. If you fail a test, chances are you will pass the next one in a few weeks.
  • Stop using CBD products two to three weeks before a known test date.
  • Talk to your HR department or union steward to proactively change your company’s testing policies. This is not impossible. The firefighters of Pittsburgh are the only city employees allowed to use medical marijuana because their union went to bat for them.
  • Contact your representatives in state and federal government to tell them to protect full spectrum hemp CBD users.

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