MONROE — Though the health benefits of Canabidiol (CBD) are touted among those interested in homeopathic remedies, some users may not realize they can lose their jobs if a random drug test is positive.

Dr. Larry Raymond serves as a medical director of occupational and environmental medicine for Atrium Health Employer Solutions. Last Tuesday (Feb. 11), he gave a presentation on CBD in the workplace at the Union County Chamber of Commerce office.

Hemp-based CBD is non-psychoactive — it doesn’t get the user high.

CBD users claim it helps alleviate pain, anxiety and/or sleep insomnia. None of those claims have been scientifically proven.

The negative effects of CBD, Raymond explained are: less coordination, decrease in muscle strength, feeling lethargic, poor concentration time, slowed reaction time.

Users may take CBD to ease an ailment or anxiety, but most workplace drug tests cannot differentiate hemp CBD from recreational marijuana. Depending on the employer’s drug policy, a positive drug test could mean an expulsion.

When a CBD user chooses to disclose their consumption with a potential employer, Raymond said the employer “could subconsciously discriminate against that habit.”

Raymond said CBD with too much THC is the only way a drug test would come back positive for CBD users.

Per a study published by Gallup in August of 2019, 14% of Americans report using a form of CBD.

In North Carolina industrial hemp production is legal, but recreational marijuana use is illegal. Farming hemp has been legal in the state since 2015. Hemp growers must obtain a license from the NC Department of Agriculture, which requires growers to list at least one research topic for proposed hemp growth. Those topics can be anything within economics, investment-related or environmental. Harvested Hemp cannot contain more than 0.3% of THC, per the North Carolina Bar Association blog.

When asked how someone could purchase a CBD product when marijuana is illegal in North Carolina, Raymond said “enforcement” is the issue. He said enforcement is “very lax” and hemp farmers would like to keep it that way.

“CBD oil is being pushed because it is a money maker,” Raymond said. Because it’s “so unregulated” and there are few studies on it, he compared it to the “wild west.”

Another issue with hemp based CBD is that it is an over-the-counter product that is not closely regulated; therefore, it doesn’t have a composition makeup that has been tried and tested. Over-the-counter CBD could have too much THC or it could be contaminated, Raymond said.

Epidiolex is the only FDA (Federal Drug Administration) approved form of CBD for medical treatment. Epidiolex treats severe forms of epilepsy. It was approved by the FDA in June of 2018 as an oral solution.

The FDA website states that the agency is “concerned” about the large number of CBD products advertised for their therapeutic or medical uses despite being approved by the FDA.

CBD can be a safety issue within workplace environments like manufacturing and construction, where operating machinery is required.

Raymond said he’s neither in favor nor against CBD, but would like to see more peer-reviewed research conducted on the subject.