Can taking CBD products cause you to fail a drug test?

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Now that CBD products are on the shelves in many states, it’s only natural that people might wonder: Can using CBD get me fired?

The short answer is “yes.” Stories have already surfaced in the short time since CBD products began hitting the shelf about people losing jobs or failing drug test screenings that are part of the hiring process at some companies.

The results depend on the type of product you are using and the level of THC it contains. Unlike CBD, THC is the chemical ingredient in marijuana that gets people high. But without checking the packaging, some people might not realize how much THC is in their CBD product. It could be enough to fail a drug test, as multiple cases have shown.

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Examples around the country.

It’s a bigger issue than many might realize. Recently, in Missouri, school worker Lorraine Jeffries said she got fired from her job as a school bus monitor after failing a drug test. The drug in question, according to Jeffries, is a CBD oil her doctor had recommended she take for joint pain.

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She said a school official told her, “You must have been smoking marijuana,” Jeffries told WTKP News. “I said, ‘No, ma’am, I don’t even know where to get marijuana at.’ I love my job. They took it away from me.”

In another case, a video producer in Reno, Nevada, told Consumer Reports he lost the chance for a job because the drug test he took as part of the pre-work screening came back positive for marijuana. Like the school employee in Missouri, he said he had not used marijuana.

In Pennsylvania, a woman has sued a CBD products maker after losing her job over a failed drug test.

There’s also the issue of the test itself. In Alabama, a police department recently dropped a field test it was using to check for marijuana use. They made the move after they experimented with the test and found it registered a positive result for CBD-infused bottled water that contained no THC.

All of this has happened in a relatively short time. Congress just made hemp-derived CBD products legal late in 2018.

Related: Is There Actually Any CBD in That CBD Oil You Bought?

Reading the Labels

If you are using CBD products, the best step to take is to thoroughly read the label. Companies are required to list what is in the product, including the levels (if any) of THC, which is usually just a trace amount (far less than 1%).

However, you may also be rolling the dice, because apparently not every company is doing this accurately.

In a case involving truck driver Douglas Horn in New York City, a lawsuit has been filed alleging that the CBD product the driver took for pain had a higher level of THC than what was on the label, according to a lawsuit Horn filed.

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For entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry, this is an increasingly important topic. Lawsuits such as Horn’s are likely to become more frequent, especially since many consumers might be unaware there is even a possibility of THC in the CBD products they buy.

However, the answer might involve improvements made to testing equipment and changes in government regulations. That latter issue is one that is coming up frequently.

“If you aren’t regulated and you don’t manufacture under strict standards for testing, we are seeing that there are people coming out with a lot more marijuana THC in it than what people thought,” University of Illinois at Chicago toxicology expert Frank Paloucek told the ABC affiliate in Chicago.

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