EverythingPeople This Week!

Published on Tuesday, November 27, 2018

CBD Oil – How it Differs from Marijuana

Author: Susan Chance

As more and more states make marijuana legal, for medical or recreational purposes, or both, more questions will be raised as employers try to deal with the changing laws. One area of particular concern is drug screening.  Questions have been raised around CBD oil and how it differs from marijuana, specifically in a drug screen.CDB Oil


CBD oil, or cannabidiol, is one of the compounds extracted from the cannabis plant. CBD does not have the mind-altering component that is found in THC as marijuana does; however, it can create changes in the body. This has been found to be helpful for people who suffer from seizures and other disorders. Several states have legalized CBD oil for this purpose; however, the products themselves, and their production, are not regulated.

So, what does this mean for drug tests? CBD oil can show up on a drug test. All CBD will contain some level of THC, although the amount can be miniscule. Some states allow for up to 5% THC. Because CBD products and their production are not regulated, some may contain more than the allowed amount. If high quantities of the oil are consumed, the THC in the person’s system can cause a positive result on a drug test. This may be caused by abuse of the substance, but even someone following dosage recommendations can face this issue because dosage is not standardized.

Currently, there are 18 states with laws allowing the use of CBD oil in some capacity. Visit the National Conference of State Legislature’s site for more information on states with marijuana/CBD oil laws.


Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plant. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical THC and other similar compounds.  The passage of Proposal 1 here in Michigan which will soon make recreational use of marijuana legal has stirred interest around drug testing policies. ASE does not recommend making any changes to your current policy and our Drug Testing and Marijuana Legalization Study indicates that a majority of employers do not plan to make any changes.

Some points to consider are:

  • Marijuana is still illegal under Federal Law.
  • The new Michigan Law does not require employers to permit marijuana in the workplace.  It should be treated the same way you treat alcohol usage.
  • Some safety sensitive positions, such as truck drivers, remain under the Federal regulations, so the new State of Michigan law will not impact those requirements
  • Drug tests cannot determine the time marijuana was used or if the employee is under the influence at the time of the test.

Whether or not you make changes to your policy, this is a good time to remind your employees of your policy, and to have them acknowledge they have received and understand the information. Many employers are scheduling town hall meetings with their employees and having them sign a statement of acknowledgement regarding the policy.

If you have employees in multiple jurisdictions, make sure that you are following the requirements of that location.  And as always, check with your legal counsel regarding your policy.

Additional ASE Resources
ASE Drug Screening - As part of our Pre-Employment Services, ASE offers drug screening.  For more information contact Susan Chance.

ASE Handbook Development- If you would like your current drug testing policy reviewed, revised, or a new policy created ASE can help.  Contact Mike Burns.


Sources:  blog.employersolutions.com, disa.com, medicalnewstoday.com, ncsl.org


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