What You Need to Know About CBD and the Workplace

Article by Globe and Mail

What you need to know about CBD and the workplace

Any medication, supplement or vitamin might have negative side effects. Cannabidiol (CBD) products, which are derived from the cannabis plant, are no different. Employees who have safety-sensitive duties should be cautious when considering using products containing CBD, despite it being dubbed the non-impairing cannabinoid.


The cannabis plant contains over 100 different phytocannabinoids (plant-based active constituents of cannabis), with the two best known being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD. While CBD is considered the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, it’s more accurate to say it doesn’t result in a high.

CBD oils and products purchased outside the legal markets in Canada are unregulated, with no quality control or oversight. Why does this matter? CBD oil purchased from unregulated sources often contains more than what’s stated on the label, according to research funded by the Institute for Research on Cannabinoids, based in Colorado Springs, Co.

Nearly 70 per cent of the samples tested in a recent study had either less or more CBD than the label claimed. Most concerning was that THC – the cannabinoid that does cause psychoactive effects and impairment – was detected in about 20 per cent of samples, despite many of these products being labelled “THC free.”

These products need regulation and quality control so people can be sure of what they are purchasing. Without these controls, people using what they believe to be pure CBD oil as a medicine may be unknowingly consuming small amounts of THC. This is a problem for employees working in safety-sensitive roles, especially if their workplace conducts alcohol and drug testing.

There is also concern that CBD may have other impairing effects that could affect safety in the workplace. One example is Epidiolex, a new CBD-based drug for types of epilepsy, primarily in children, that are difficult to treat. One of the main side effects of this prescription is drowsiness. Although it may not make people high, any medication that causes sleepiness is a concern in safety-sensitive work and could make someone unfit for duty.


Legally purchased CBD products contain small amounts of THC and other parts of the cannabis plant that can cause impairment.

Although advocates of CBD products speak about it as a benign product without any risks, it could interact with other medications. Some of these interactions may lead to side effects that could be risky in safety-sensitive workplaces.

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