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It’s a given that no worker should consume any substance that could impair them while on the job. The safety of that employee and every other employee depends on everyone being fully alert and focused on the task at hand. But what about CBD in the workplace?
CBD, which is short for Cannabidiol, has been growing in popularity in recent years. It’s found in a variety of products that some people may use regularly. That begs the question of whether it’s appropriate to consume CBD in the workplace. How should employers approach the issue? Is it safe for employees to use CBD in the workplace? Should companies forbid the use of CBD in the workplace? Let’s try to find some answers to these important questions.
First of all, we should be clear about CBD and what it is. CBD is one of over 100 chemical compounds found in cannabis. Of course, cannabis plants are often used as a recreational drug. However, it’s important to point out that CBD is not one of the psychoactive ingredients in cannabis that contributes to getting high or changing a person’s mental state.
Instead, CBD oil is extracted from cannabis plants and used as a supplement. Nowadays, CBD can be found in food, beverages, skin care products, and other entities. There is also a CBD oil called Epidiolex that has been approved by the FDA to treat two types of epilepsy with a valid prescription. That is the only example of CBD products being used to treat a medical condition. There are some studies and anecdotal evidence that suggest CBD oil can help to relieve pain, anxiety, depression, and several other ailments.
Perhaps the biggest challenge with CBD products nowadays is they are legal but not regulated. Outside of Epidiolex, there is no product containing CBD oil that is approved by the FDA. Therefore, supplements containing CBD are not a formal way of addressing pain, anxiety, or any other medical condition. Of course, those who take CBD products to find relief from those conditions will say differently.
The other problem is that without FDA regulation, there is no way to be sure of other substances that could be included in a CBD supplement. Specifically, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the part of the cannabis plant that alters one’s mental state, could be found in CBD products, even in trace amounts. This is why CBD in the workplace is a potential problem for employers. Unless an employee has a prescription for Epidiolex, any CBD product they use could include THC, potentially impairing their job performance.
However, there are THC-free CBD oil sold by various suppliers. It's a good practice to research CBD companies that regularly undergo quality checks of their products.
The best thing a company can do to address CBD in the workplace could be simply educating their employees. Let them know that there is no guarantee that a CBD product won’t contain THC, unless it has been thoroughly tested by a verified third-party laboratory. Emphasize that they should extensively research different brands to ensure they are safe to consume, and that there are no traces of stimulants.
When it comes to CBD in the workplace, it’s always to think safety first. For more workplace health and safety tips, visit the EHS Insight Blog.
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