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The Impact CBD Has on Corporate America

In our technological society, it makes sense that scientists are constantly working to find new ways to make the world a better place. One of the most important discoveries in recent years has been CBD, an important substance that can be used to treat chronic pain, anxiety and several other medical disorders.


However, CBD has had a complicated history filled with taboo associations and misinformation. There is also a lot of confusion on how the presence of CBD in the United States has affected the corporate culture.

What is CBD?

Commonly known as CBD, cannabidiol is a compound that can be extracted from cannabis plants. Though the word cannabis is loaded in American culture due to its association with marijuana, it’s important to clarify that marijuana is only one type of cannabis plant. CBD can also be sourced from hemp, a type of cannabis plant that has less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


CBD is a non-psychoactive compound, meaning that it does not affect the activity of your brain. This compound can also be isolated in several ways, with popular incarnations involving pills, edible candies, and vaporizer oil.


In recent years, CBD has been popularized as a way to treat a number of physical and mental conditions. In states where it has become legal, CBD is now a go-to medication for individuals looking to treat anxiety or inflammatory illnesses. Due to the compound’s pain-reducing benefits, many people are also able to use it to treat chronic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis.


Although it is a recent phenomenon, something important to understand about CBD is that it has been around for a long time. Instead of being treated like a medication, it has a long history of being vilified for its association with marijuana. However, as scientists have conducted further research on the compound, many misconceptions have been broken down.


This recent surge in research is one of the reasons why each state has different laws regarding the compound. Though many states are beginning to legalize all cannabis products, certain areas of the country are holding out until certain provisions are passed. The scientific evidence is still fairly recent, making further research on the compound necessary.


CBD has a molecular structure of 30 hydrogen atoms, 21 carbon atoms, and 2 oxygen atoms. Due to CBD’s status as a compound itself, it is currently impossible to go any deeper into what it contains. However, it’s worth noting that CBD is an entirely different compound than THC.


When CBD is consumed, it enters the body and is absorbed by the cannabinoid receptors. Because endocannabinoids are natural compounds in the human body, this isn’t much different than processes that humans already deal with. However, CBD can overload cannabinoid receptors to produce more intense and longer results.

The Differences Between CBD and THC

Though CBD and THC might seem similar on a surface level, they are entirely different compounds. They share the same molecular structure, but the atoms are ordered differently. This difference in order drastically changes their effects on the body. Other differences between CBD and THC include the following:

  • CBD is not Psychoactive: CBD is not psychoactive while THC is. This is often the biggest misinterpretation that people have regarding CBD as they assume that it is psychoactive due to its presence in the cannabis plant.
  • Legality: Due to THC’s psychoactive status, it is not legal in most U.S. states. However, states like California, Washington, and Oregon have begun to pave the way for THC legalization in the country, passing new laws that make the compound accessible. There are still a variety of states where hemp (a cannabis plant that technically contains THC) is permitted, but the percentage of THC in each plant is small enough that it has little to no effect on consumers. On the other hand, CBD is legal in many states, being so common that it is even sold at gas stations. However, the legality greatly varies based on region and in no situation covers crossing state lines, so we recommend that you read up on CBD laws to determine its local legality.
  • Medical Benefits: Though CBD and THC share some medical benefits (anti-inflammation, nausea), CBD is well-known for not having the same euphoric effect that THC has. For this reason, doctors are more likely to prescribe CBD to treat physical and mental conditions. CBD is also very useful for treating anxiety and conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBS), something that is not as commonly treated with THC.

How is it Commonly Used?

There are a few ways to use CBD with each one having different benefits and detriments depending on what you are treating with it:

  • Vaporizer Liquid: This is the most common way for people to use CBD. By placing vaporizer oil into a device and then vaping it, users can easily inhale the compound. This allows the compound to reach the body quickest due to it being absorbed by the lungs. On top of this, it is also possible to mix the CBD oil with other types of vaporizer oil that contain nicotine. Vaporizer liquid is typically used by people who want to feel near-immediate effects with their CBD.
  • Oil Tincture: If you are looking to treat chronic pain or insomnia, using an oil tincture is the best way to go. Though it takes a while (around 30-40 minutes) to be truly absorbed by the body and kick in, this method lasts the longest and is best for particularly intense conditions.
  • Edibles: Edibles can take a variety of forms, but most often represent gummy bears. The effects of edible products are similar to oil tinctures but are created for those who prefer the taste of sweeter foods.
  • Topical Cream: This method of using CBD is helpful for those who are treating chronic pain in specific bodily areas. For example, if you are having trouble with pain in your heel, you can simply rub the topical cream on the place where you have pain. This will allow it to be absorbed quicker into the area that you need the relief!

Does CBD Impair Employees?

It depends on the situation. Though CBD is not meant to impair anybody at prescribed doses, taking an excess of the compound can lead to excessive drowsiness. However, it’s worth noting that it is not on the level of psychoactive substances that have intense effects on the brain.


Though it might make one individual drowsy, it can also reduce the foot pain that might otherwise impair their judgment in stressful situations. If your employees are taking products that also contain small amounts of THC, it is possible that they could become impaired due to the presence of the second compound.


Like all types of medication, CBD must be used in moderation and always with the opinion of a medical professional. It is also important to note that the manufacturing of CBD is largely unregulated, and contents of the products can vary widely.  CBD use should be addressed in an employer’s substance abuse policy.

Does CBD Show Up in Drug Testing?

In most situations, CBD does not show up in drug testing. CBD itself does not contain any ingredients that would be flagged on a drug test. However, a lot of products that contain CBD also have a variety of other compounds within them, making it possible that certain products do appear in a drug test. For example, many CBD products are sourced from hemp, the cannabis plant that also happens to have small amounts of THC in it. Depending on where you are and what the local laws are, there may even be more THC in a given hemp plant than in other parts of the country. For this reason, those who take large enough doses of a CBD product that has THC may fail a drug test.


There have been many legal discussions over how much THC should be considered to actually trigger a drug test. This is to protect those who take CBD products that happen to contain THC, requiring at least 50 nanograms per milliliter of THC-COOH for a urine test to come out negative.


However, these cutoff values will change depending on the test you are giving your employees, your company’s specific regulations, and which state you are in. Cutoff values can also change due to the drug test method. For example, blood tests have a lower cutoff value than saliva tests.


Because of the lack of regulation of CBD and the resulting variability of the products themselves, some may be more likely to create a positive drug test result.  There are several lawsuits pending against CBD manufacturers by consumers who unexpectedly tested positive on such tests.  These consumers contend that the companies mislabeled their products and caused them harm.  Ultimately, CBD choices can be confusing to consumers and cause frustration in the drug testing process.

A Legal Look at CBD in the Workplace

Legal Cases and Laws Involving CBD Usage and Employers

One of the most significant recent laws regarding hemp products and CBD is the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (AIA). This law permits hemp to be produced on a federal level, removing it from the list of Schedule I substances. However, it is worth noting that the AIA does not override any state laws that regulate hemp differently.


A new development in CBD lawsuits is suing the manufacturing companies for false and fraudulent marketing. Several manufacturers including Charlotte’s Web, CV Sciences Green Roads, and Infinite CBD are facing charges of misleading consumers and could have to repay any money generated from sales. The rulings from these legal cases will have a major impact on the CBD industry.


The effect on the corporate world has less to do with the compound of CBD and more where the product was sourced from. For example, since CBD can be sourced from any type of cannabis plant, it is also possible that the product comes from marijuana, making it not legal under the AIA. Local legislation and company policies will also apply, but companies should take extra care in states where CBD is authorized for medical use.

What Steps should I take to Protect my Company against Legal Action?

To protect your company against legal action, you should have an attorney on retainer to consult with on issues that arise and run any new procedures or policies by them. It is essential to have a written policy in place that employees at all levels abide by, and employees should have to sign a document saying they are aware of the policy. There should be a system where employees can report activity that is suspicious or negatively affects work performance, and it will be properly investigated. A person or committee should be put in charge of the procedures and regulations, and everyone involved should be able to provide fairly evaluate employee results and take action accordingly.

What Steps should I take to Educate my Employees on CBD Usage in the Workplace?

The steps you take will depend on your local jurisdiction, so it is important to educate yourself on the laws of your state. On top of this, you also need to be familiar with the different types of CBD products that you want to permit in your business (if any) with your employees, as different products can have different effects.

What Rights do Employers Have for Employees Using CBD?

Like any job, substances that impair productivity and concentration can be rightfully banned. However, the type of CBD and whether it is being used for medical purposes matters a great deal. If you have an employee that has a prescription to use CBD for their chronic pain and a medical professional says it is okay, that is a much different situation than an employee using CBD products that are sourced from marijuana for fun. The rights that your employees have will differ depending on state and regulation, so we recommend that you educate yourself on what is appropriate.


At the end of the day, CBD has had a large influence on American corporate culture. Due to the overall increase in medical and cultural acceptance of the compound, it has become more common for people to take CBD for non-recreational reasons. In fact, many CBD users in the United States do so for medical reasons.


Through its increased popularity, CBD has gotten many U.S. states to rethink their laws regarding cannabis plants. This has undoubtedly influenced the corporate culture due to new laws being developed to protect medical patients who have been prescribed CBD.


As a company, you should familiarize yourself with the different rules and regulations surrounding CBD. It is also essential that you understand situations where it may be medically required so you can promote balanced workplace regulations for your employees who struggle with certain conditions.


By educating yourself on CBD and its place in the corporate world, you can promote a safe workplace that watches out for the health of both businesses and employees.