Q: I was denied employment due to CBD oil usage for insomnia. The product label DID NOT state the possibility of THC.

I was using CBD oil from a large retail store (Vitamin Shoppe) for insomnia. The label on the bottle or packaging DID NOT state the possibility of positive THC in drug tests, thus made me think I was safe in using the product. My drug test came back positive for THC and was denied employment even with documentation from my Health Care Provider.

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: CBD oil and other hemp-based products are not yet regulated by the FDA, and the 50 states all have 50 different regulatory schemes for this product. In short, there is little legal requirements regarding listing ingredients and THC concentrations. Legal hemp, as opposed to illegal or regulated marijuana, is defined as any hemp-based product having less than 0.3% THC. Most hemp grown in the US and elsewhere has THC of some level, even trace amounts.

Products labeled as CBD oil could be one of the following:

Raw CBD oil: Pure CBD distillate that contains only CBD and no other compounds.

CBD hemp oil: High-CBD oil extracted from hemp, which in the U.S. is legally defined as having less than 0.3% THC.

Full-spectrum extract: Oil extracted from hemp or cannabis that contains the full spectrum of cannabinoids, including THC. Full-spectrum extract from hemp may be called “full spectrum CBD oil.”

In short, whether CBD oil contains THC depends on how it is made. Raw CBD oil is an isolate, so it won't have any trace amounts of any other cannabis compounds, including THC. CBD oil extracted from hemp may have trace amounts, and there are high-CBD/low-THC concentrates, oils, and tinctures available in legal cannabis markets. If you want to avoid THC, look closely at the labels on CBD products you're thinking of buying, and read all information relating to dosages and methods of extraction. If specific THC content is not identified, then the method of extraction should provide you with your answer. Since there is no legal duty to put THC percentages or any potential ingredient listing that is a naturally occurring compound in the sourced product (e.g., it is not artificially added), then there can be no basis to sue the manufacturer of the product. The only way legal liability could be based is if the product contained 0.3% or more THC, because at that level it would be illegal to sell in states that have not legalized marijuana, or which require additional labeling regarding THC content.

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