If that doesn’t work, try your company’s HR department. If your employer resists, you may be able to seek protection through the Americans with Disabilities Act and state disability laws. Those laws allows people with documented needs to get exceptions, or “reasonable accommodations,” to account for their medical situation. While the ADA does not apply to marijuana—because it remains illegal on the federal level, even for medical use—it’s still worth asking your company’s HR department, says James Reidy, an attorney at Sheehan Phinney Bass & Green who focuses on drug policy issues with employers. That’s because CBD from hemp is now legal on a federal level.
Many legitimate CBD products contain small amounts of THC. And when taken regularly over as little as four to six days, that THC can accumulate in the body, according to several studies.
Adding to the confusion is that each state can determine how it samples and tests hemp plants for THC content, says Aline DeLucia, senior policy analyst for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. When sampling the hemp plant, “the closer you get to the flower, the higher the THC content. So some states collect the top 6 inches of the plant, while others do it differently,” DeLucia says. But “everybody is onboard that we need some kind of uniformity.”
Small Amounts of THC Can Build Up
“I thought I was in the clear,” J.C. says. “From everything that I had heard, CBD oil wasn’t supposed to show up on drug tests.”
Sample, at Quest Diagnostics, says that chronic, heavy users of marijuana could test positive even a month after they stop using it.
And those elevated levels might also be high enough to cause you not to pass a drug test.
Talk with your employer. That’s what worked for J.C., in Nevada, after he tested positive for marijuana use. Armed with documentation from his doctor that he was taking CBD to treat anxiety and insomnia, he met with company co-founder Matt Ross, chief operating officer of the Slumber Yard—a website that tracks user experiences with buying and using mattresses—and explained why he was taking it. He even took the bottle in for his employer to see.
But last December, the Farm Bill legalized hemp — cannabis that contains less than 0.3 percent THC. With that, CBD became legal. It can now be found at stores across the country, in everything from tinctures and massage oils to coffee and makeup. Mr. Pennington, who lives in Colorado, where growing hemp for CBD has been legal since 2014 , worked for Colorado Hemp Honey, a company that sells CBD-infused raw honey across the country.
In every court case in which Mr. Conrad has explained the problem with this specific drug testing method, prosecutors have dropped the charges. “Anyone who’s on probation getting a random urine test — if this happens to them and they’re taking CBD oil, they’re going back to jail,” Mr. Conrad said.
Elizabeth has been in touch with Mr. Conrad, but he is not serving as a witness in her case.
It is also difficult to estimate how many people in a year have suffered negative consequences, such as the loss of a job or parental rights, after testing positive for THC, because most drug testing data is private. Even data that is public can be difficult to parse. For instance, in many locales, official statistics around “drugged driving” do not distinguish between drivers who test positive for THC and those who test positive for other drugs, such as cocaine or methamphetamine.
“Prior to opening up this whole industry, there was really no research done on these compounds, because it was illegal to do the research,” said Rodger Voelker, an analytical chemist in Oregon who helped develop the state’s regulations for the types and amounts of pesticides that can be applied to cannabis crops, as well as how to test for their presence in consumer marijuana products. “These compounds have been around for a long time, but people did not know much about the chemistries. Regulatory agencies are the slowest to move. It’s always reactionary.”