Last updated: September 14, 2020
It’s time to get our facts and figures sorted out where THC and CBD are concerned. Both marijuana and hemp come from the cannabis sativa plant. Marijuana contains higher amounts of THC and lower amounts of CBD. Hemp is vice versa.
Marijuana legalization is not just a trending “here today gone tomorrow” topic of conversation. This is the stuff history is made of as states all across the country continue to legalize marijuana to varying degrees.
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive element in marijuana that produces the “high.” It releases dopamine in the brain causing a sense of euphoria.
CBD (cannabidiol), on the other hand, is not a psychoactive element of marijuana but has been proven to have medical benefits. The oil is most often extracted from the hemp plant, but marijuana is also used.
Whether it be for medicinal purposes or recreational use, our nation’s view of the cannabis plant is changing. And for the moment, blazing this new frontier has left some business owners unsure which way to go.
Should medical marijuana in any form be tolerated in the workplace?
Many employers stand with a firm no and don’t plan to make changes in their marijuana drug testing policies no matter that medical marijuana is now legal in their own state. Some business owners are waiting to make a final decision, not yet sure where they will stand.
A major contributing factor in deciding to leave things well enough alone is that employee marijuana use is a huge company risk. THC is psychoactive so users are impaired. Statistics pertaining to marijuana use by employees show an increase in injury accidents in the workplace. The use of the drug is also linked with an increased rate of employee absenteeism.
But, there are others who, obviously, believe there is a medicinal benefit to be found. USA Today published some survey results. It was taken by 500 small business owners and, of those, 19% stated they would allow employees to use medical marijuana if prescribed by a physician.
CBD is not mind-altering, with no psychoactive components, so surely, it is a go for those who seek relief for their conditions using cannabis products, right?
Even though CBD oil is mainly produced from the hemp plant, it, too, contains THC to some degree. Also, CBD oil derived from the marijuana plant has a much higher concentration of CBD than that of the hemp plant. However, if not processed correctly when extracting the CBD oil, the level of THC may be high enough to cause positive drug test results. In other words, consuming CBD products can cause impairment and can lead to a failed marijuana drug test.
Why are THC and CBD prescribed?
Both are used to treat a range of conditions, including severe pain, muscle spasms, severe nausea, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But, advocates of medical marijuana, specifically, believe the two components working together have more benefit. There is research in the works and time is sure to tell. There is, also, specific research underway pertaining to CBD use as a treatment for epilepsy.
Medical marijuana can be:
- Eaten or brewed into tea
- Used by placing a few drops of oil under your tongue
All of these would afford the user any benefit of THC and CBD working together.
CBD extracts are consumed by:
- Topical products
Depending on extraction methods, there are varying degrees of THC in the products ranging from trace amounts to those high enough to force a positive result on a user’s drug test. Naturally, CBD products derived from marijuana will carry even more of a chance that is the case.
It is important to do the research and purchase from a reputable source.
CBD is marketed as a medicine. It can be obtained infused in gummies, but other than that is sold in oils, additives (tinctures) and topical products that are applied to the skin to relieve pain. There are national standards in place for product distribution.
In addition to buying marijuana in its original form for smoking, marijuana products can be obtained in the form of oils and edibles. Though not yet approved by the Federal government to have any medicinal value, THC products are marketed as such. They are often distributed by untrained personnel.
And, sorry, but with product names like “Cherry Bombs” candies and medicinal sponge cakes that kick it up a notch with a “magical creamy filling,” don’t you get the feeling these treatments should come with an exaggerated wink on the side?
Consumers should remember that individual products can contain a very wide range of THC levels as there are no set standards in place. Packaging must note the “expected” levels of THC found within. And, this would probably be a good place to mention that it is extremely important to keep edibles out of the reach of children.
Signs and symptoms
The odds are ever increasing that someone on your workforce will be on the job while under the influence of marijuana. It could even be a shock to them if they are using CBD oils to treat a medical condition because these products are often thought to be completely THC free. There are a few reputable THC free sources, but, again, do the research!
Physical signs that someone may be impaired by marijuana use:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Increased heart rate
- Lack of coordination
- Increased craving for snacks
In addition, you may notice:
- Confusion or lack of focus
- Unusually talkative
- Misjudging time
There is a lot to keep up within the ever-changing realm of marijuana legalization. Many employers choose to abide by the DOT drug testing policy of zero tolerance, but if you have your own policies and procedures in place, they don’t have to change unless you want them changed.
Marijuana is still classed as a Schedule 1 drug with a high potential for abuse by the US government. It is deemed to have no medicinal purposes and as having no way to regulate a dosing standard.
As an employer, you have every right to keep marijuana on your drug testing panel in an effort to maintain a drug-free workplace.