Clearing Up Confusions – What is CBD and How Will it Impact Companies?

Clearing Up Confusions – What is CBD and How Will it Impact Companies?

There’s been a lot of confusion throughout Indiana over the last year or so about products that contain CBD (cannabidiol), a medicinal chemical that’s derived from marijuana and hemp plants. For a time, even the state’s lawmakers weren’t sure if it was legal or not, but that all changed in late March when Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill that officially made CBD legal for sale and consumption here in Indiana.

At the time, the governor said, “Indiana lawmakers delivered a bill that ensures Hoosiers who benefit from CBD oil can access it. The bill provides much needed clarity, with labeling requirements and a 0.3% THC limit on CBD products. I’m grateful for the General Assembly’s hard work to bring me a bill to address the needs expressed by our citizens.”

So, now that Hoosiers are allowed to use CBD, what kind of issues does that make for employers? To begin, it’s best to have a clear understanding of what the chemical does and why state lawmakers determined it was beneficial enough to approve for use.

No, it doesn’t get you high.

The notion that CBD is an intoxicant is probably the most common misconception about the product. Given its association with marijuana, which is indeed still illegal in Indiana currently, it’s easy to see why.

CBD doesn’t get people high, stoned, blazed, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. There’s a completely different chemical called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) that does that. THC is still very illegal under federal and Indiana state regulations, as it’s the key component of marijuana that intoxicates users.

Nationally, CBD use has been helping people with a whole host of ailments. Almost every state, even ones that have yet to legalize marijuana for medical use, have approved varying versions of laws allowing people to purchase and use CBD products for medical or therapeutic reasons.

How will this impact the workplace?

Legally speaking, CBD products can be used in the workplace as commonly as anyone could use an over-the-counter medication for a headache. There is even recent data that suggests its use could enhance productivity, mostly due to the way it alleviates symptoms that would otherwise get in the way of work.

Because of the way in which CBD fights pain, anxiety, stress, and doesn’t cause intoxication, it’s use in the workplace seems fairly practical and potentially beneficial.

On the subject of drug testing, employers aren’t expected to encounter too many issues. THC, which can still have a small trace presence in CBD products, is usually one of the illicit drugs targeted by testing, but its presence here is extremely small.

Most experts concur that the average CBD user would have to ingest a seriously high amount of the product on a daily basis to test positive for THC, and is therefore unlikely to cause false positives. But still, problems may arise among individuals who aim to contest their positive results by claiming they were generated by CBD use.

Faegre Baker Daniels, a law firm with several locations throughout Indiana, writes, “With the legalization of CBD oil in Indiana, drug testing employers will likely receive thorny questions about the interplay between CBD oil usage and drug testing. As a preliminary matter, employers should take care to ensure that any professionals handling drug testing questions are up to date and prepared with consistent talking points.”

“Additionally,” the firm continued, “As prior to CBD’s legalization, if an applicant or employee tests positive for marijuana on a drug test, use of CBD oil would not be an acceptable defense, and the consequences of failing a drug test under the employer’s particular policy would apply.”

What are some CBD’s medical benefits?

Quite possibly the most significant benefit documented about CBD is the way in which it helps individuals with conditions like epilepsy and other events involving seizures. While the World Health Organization (WHO) does not officially recommend CBD for medical use, primarily due to their stance that more research should be conducted, the organization did report that “initial evidence from animal and human studies shows that use of CBD could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions.”

Going much further into other benefits, the WHO reported that “The range of conditions for which CBD has been assessed is diverse, consistent with its neuroprotective, antiepileptic, hypoxia-ischemia, anxiolytic, antipsychotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-asthmatic, and antitumor properties.” That’s a massive spectrum of medical conditions that could experience some relief from CBD.

No problems for employers expected.

So, the bottom line is, CBD use is not expected to create problems for employers. It doesn’t intoxicate people; it likely helps people with various medical ailments; and, perhaps best of all, it is not expected to mess with drug testing results and compliance standards. In the end, CBD use is not expected to negatively impact the workplace in any major ways.


WHO’s List of Diseases for which CBD may have Therapeutic Benefits

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Hypoxia-ischemia injury
  • Pain
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Nausea
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infection
  • Inflammatory bowel and Chron’s diseases
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Diabetic complications

Source: World Health Organization (WHO), Pisanti, et al.


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