There’s a classic Seinfeld episode where Elaine Benes is excluded from a business trip after testing positive for opium. As the silly, Seinfeld-esque story unravels, Elaine realizes that the poppy seeds in her favorite muffin contain trace amounts of opiates (yes, really) and hilarity ensues. Not to date myself too much, but for my generation, this episode of Must-See TV was a cautionary tale in being aware of what you ate and drank on the job.
Seinfeld has been in reruns for more than 20 years now, and some of the humor has lost its relevance and punch. But as a recruiter, the episode comes to mind every time I hear of a candidate missing out on a dream job, because they failed a drug test after taking or using a CBD product.
What exactly is CBD?
Cannabidiol (shorthanded as CBD) is derived from hemp that contains less than 0.3 percent THC, and the legality of CBD has changed dramatically by state in the last five years.
People claim CBD can provide relief from anything from Crohn’s Disease to anxiety, and with the availability of online shopping, almost anyone can get access to CBD-based products. Everything from CBD drops you can ingest to CBD topical lotions seem to be available at your local health food store.
If there’s no THC in CBD, what does it matter?
It’s true that your potential employers drugs test will likely screen for THC—not CBD—but despite how popular and readily available CBD may be, it’s important to remember that regulations on CBD are still catching up with the statutes. In fact, the FDA is still trying to decide how and when to step into moderate it. Which means that you’re not always guaranteed to get a THC-free CBD product.
And when it comes to drug testing, employers usually follow the federal law—not the state law. So if you test positive for THC—even if marijuana is legal in your state—your job offer could be rescinded.
What if I have a prescription for CBD oil or medical marijuana?
There are some states that allow the legal use of marijuana with a prescription. If you’re asked to complete a drug test in one of these states, be prepared to show your prescription.
If you fail your drug test because you’re taking any kind of drug that requires a prescription, in fact, you can expect to hear from a Medical Review Officer—an independent third-party responsible for reviewing your results. They will want to see your current prescription. If there are any discrepancies between when the prescription was written and when you failed your drug test, this could also result in the job offer being rescinded.
(They’ll also be checking to make sure the name on the prescription matches your legal name, so be prepared to answer these questions, too.)
Know what you’re ingesting, especially when you’re job searching
I don’t know much about CBD from a scientific standpoint, and it seems new information is coming out all the time. I’m not trying to spark a debate about legal vs. illegal drugs. But I hate to hear that someone lost their dream job because they didn’t know what they were ingesting or they weren’t clear on the federal laws and regulations of what they were taking.
As CBD availability and laws evolve, remember to research the latest state and federal regulations, and think twice about what might be expected of you in the interview process. Typically, roles in public service, companies contracted with or by the government, manufacturing companies, healthcare companies and companies with a large national presence can all be expected to require a drug test.
If we’ve learned anything from Seinfeld and the poppy seeds, it’s that you can’t be too careful when it comes to being informed about what you’re eating.