The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that concentration levels vary by state, with most state statutes requiring the THC concentration to be less than 0.3%.
Research is continuing to find that cannabidiol, or CBD as it is more commonly known, offers users benefits for numerous health-related issues.
That said, the three medical conditions most likely to prompt patients to engage in CBD use are pain, anxiety and depression, according to one 2018 study published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.
This study also reports that 36 percent of CBD product users feel that this particular cannabinoid works “very well by itself” when it comes to treating these types of physical and mental health issues. Only 4.3 percent of those surveyed indicated that this cannabis plant extract worked “not very well” toward treating their conditions.
Despite promising findings such as these, many people are still leery of taking CBD products out of fear that they will show up on a drug test. How valid is this concern?
Drug testing laws and trends
When answering this question, it helps to first understand that there are certain individuals who are subjected to mandatory drug testing.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that these include federal contractors with contracts in the amount of $100,000 or more, individuals receiving federal grants of any size, and those who are employed in certain safety and security positions within the Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Transit Administration, and other similar federal agencies.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse adds that schools, hospitals and other places of employment may also mandate drug testing for purposes of:
- Pre-employment screening
- Proving or disproving drug use suspicion while on the job
- Determining whether drug use was a factor in an on-the-job accident
While it is up to most all other employers as to whether or not they choose to test their employees, the number of businesses that are looking for marijuana specifically are on the decline, says the Society for Human Resource Management, especially in states where marijuana use is now legal.
CBD and drug test results
What can you do if your patient is in a job role that requires drug testing, or if they are just concerned with showing a positive test result even though they do not do drugs and only take CBD? What should you tell them?
According to Quest Diagnostics, the answer lies, in part, in whether the CBD product contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychoactive compound of the marijuana plant and the one compound that many drug tests are designed to show.
“If the CBD product contains THC at a sufficiently high concentration, it is possible, depending on usage patterns, that the use of these products could cause a positive urine drug test result for marijuana metabolites,” says Quest.
In other words, a drug test could show positive for marijuana if the CBD product contains a higher level of THC or if the product is used often enough for the smaller amounts of THC to compound, resulting in growing to a higher amount within the body.
Proper CBD use begins with patient education
Because of this, helping patients use CBD products in a way that doesn’t potentially damage their employment opportunities while trying to improve their health begins with educating them about how to properly choose and use this category of wellness supplements.
For instance, CBD products derived from hemp — which is the stalk of the cannabis plant — can only contain a small concentration of THC in order to be classified as hemp. The National Conference of State Legislatures indicates that these concentration levels do vary by state, with most state statutes requiring the THC concentration to be less than 0.3%.
However, some states, like West Virginia, have a more stringent definition of hemp, mandating that the THC concentration be less than 1%. Thus, choosing a CBD product derived from hemp means that it has lower levels of the one compound that can show positive for marijuana on most standard drug tests.
Proper education also involves helping patients understand the importance of using CBD products as indicated on their labels. This can keep the THC from accumulating in their bodies in high enough levels to create a positive result on a drug test.
Project CBD adds that it also helps to only purchase CBD products with hemp that is grown within the U.S. as the standards for American manufacturers are more strict than those in foreign countries. Thus, patients have a higher level of confidence that the products they are taking are within the proper THC limits.