Can You Get Fired For Using CBD?

CBD is a natural compound in the Cannabis plant with two basic variations, i.e., marijuana and hemp. CBD comes from the hemp plant, a healthier, safer, and beneficial version of marijuana. However, major controversy arises due to the uncanny similarities between the two plants. 

Moreover, only an extensive chemical analysis can reveal the major difference. Hemp contains a negligible amount of THC, the psychoactive compound that causes the intense high associated with marijuana. Although CBD is widely legal throughout the US, many employers are skeptical about its use due to THC. So yes, you can get fired for using CBD, but there are exceptions.

It Is Legal, Then Why Should I Be Concerned?

The legality of CBD is not as simple as one may think. Many conditions and restrictions in play decide whether a CBD product is legal. Here are a few reasons that explain why CBD products are questionable in a working environment

All CBD Products Are Not Legal

CBDMany people are unaware that CBD’s legal status is conditional and not impartial. According to the Farm Bill 2018, CBD is permitted if and only if: “that hemp is produced in a manner consistent with the Farm Bill, associated federal regulations, association state regulations, and by a licensed grower.” Moreover, as per the US Food and Drug Administration, “It is illegal to market CBD by “adding it to a food or labeling it as a dietary supplement .”Experts at the FDA state that they are working with limited CBD data and have reason to believe its use should be regulated.

The FDA has approved Epidiolex as a solution for epilepsy and seizures, a cannabinoid-infused drug. Nonetheless, doctors can prescribe epidiolex as a last resort only if all non-cannabinoid other medicines fail. 

Lack of Regulations

Unfortunately, CBD products are not well-regulated. Many companies market and sell products that do not comply with FDA rules; hence, the user of such products can knowingly or unknowingly get in trouble at work. Unregulated products can contain more than the acceptable level of THC (<0.3%). The FDA has issued warning letters to many companies that supply CBD drugs without seeking FDA approval. The ever-increasing demand for CBD drugs makes it hard for the FDA to keep up with all the products, and many slips from their grasp, ending up in the open market. Such unregulated CBD products can cause trouble for you at work.  

Widespread Use Doesn’t Make It Okay for Working Environments

CBD has been in the spotlight for quite some time now. Its beneficial aspects are gaining attention, and customer interest is continuously rising. Thus, many manufacturers and retailers resort to producing, marketing, and distributing CBD-containing products to the mainstream market. A Consumer Reports survey found more than 1/4th of the US population (mostly people in their 20’s) has tried CBD, and 15% of people 60 years old or older have also tried it. 

Nonetheless, just because many people use it doesn’t mean it’s okay, or your employer will allow it. Whether you are safe or not also depends on the nature of your job, and the jobs that rely on federal funding may be more restrictive than those of the private department. Moreover, in a security or transportation job, many also question the use of CBD and its effect on performance. 

According to federal law, employers can adopt drug-free workplace policies and make decisions regarding the recreational use of marijuana. They can also refuse to hire people who fail to pass a drug test for any reason. If the employee needs CBD products for medical reasons, its THC content will determine if the employee can hold their job or not. 

Watch Out for These Scenarios

Understanding CBD and why it is questionable will help you understand why you must be cautious. Moreover, the following are some scenarios you should be aware of to know if the situation can work in your favor.

Situation# 1: Testing Positive for THC

Will he be hired if the employee tests positive for a drug test before employment? The answer is yes if he is in New York or Nevada. These states are most friendly toward marijuana and THC. Thus, if anyone applies for a job in 2022, the employee cannot refuse to hire the employee based on a positive drug test for THC or CBD unless the employee is applying for a safety-sensitive position. However, the situation may not be as simple in other states where regulations are stricter.

 Situation# 2: Lawful Use of CBD

If the employee uses a CBD product from a legit source containing no more than 0.3% of THC, then it is likely that they will pass the drug test. The drug test screens for a certain amount of THC (more than 0.3%) and does not allow screen against CBD. Hence, a lawful product should not give you any problems. In such cases, the employee does not have any responsibility to inform the employer of his CBD uses. Thus, you won’t experience any employment issues, to begin with.

Situation# 3: Testing Positive for CBD

If the employee admits to the use of CBD and the employers’ test, specifically against CBD, then the test results will be positive. Can the employer refuse to hire an employee? According to the 2018 Farm Bill, industrial hemp is legal. The bill separates marijuana and hemp products and declares non-psychoactive CBD from hemp legal in all states. However, hemp extract should not contain more than 0.3% THC. Hence, if the employee uses a legal CBD product and abides by all FDA rules, the employer cannot fire the employee. In fact, in many states, laws bars employers from refusing to hire or fire an employee for using CBD outside working hours. However, if the employer does so, the employee has the right to file a wrongful termination suit against the employer. 

Situation# 4: Testing Positive for CBD in a Safety-Sensitive Job

Since the employee is in a safety-sensitive position, the employer can fire them for possibly jeopardizing the job. For instance, if the employee is a truck driver, the employer can argue that the potential side-effect of CBD, i.e., drowsiness, can cause the driver to fall asleep while driving. 

However, the employee can also argue that the employer needs to state conditions prohibiting the use of any substance pre-employment. The employee may also say that many medically approved substances other than CBD cause drowsiness. Lastly, the CBD products do not have any warning or label stating that one should avoid their use in safety-sensitive situations. 

Thus, until the FDA takes strict actions for CBD use, the product labeling, and warnings, both the employer and employee can put forth valid arguments, and the situation can go in favor of either.  

Final Thoughts

CBD is a legal compound with many health benefits. However, its source is essential. Employers question the use of CBD due to its association with marijuana and its unregulated market. Hence they are not entirely wrong. However, if you do your homework, you should be safe. Understand the legal standing of CBD in your state and buy FDA-approved products from reliable companies; you shouldn’t worry about your employment.

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