Cbd oil for pain management drugs testing

Cbd oil for pain management drugs testing

As most of you likely know, our country is experiencing an opioid epidemic the likes of which we’ve never seen. What’s different about this drug crisis is that it stems from the often legitimate use of legally prescribed opioids to deal with pain that is both chronic and acute. We know opioids come with many side effects, including a potential for addiction. As a result, various entities around the country and within individual states are taking steps to reduce the number of opioids being prescribed. However, this doesn’t change the fact that many people are still suffering from pain and want a way to get some level of relief.

In my role at the LHSFNA, I address issues related to workplace substance use and abuse. As the Director of Health Promotion, I’m often asked to speak at conferences and meetings about the opioid crisis and related workplace issues. After my formal presentation ends, there is usually a group of people waiting to talk to me. This is where the conversations get real – people often talk about their own addiction or a family member’s and the losses they have experienced due to opioids. Lately, the conversation often involves pain relief alternatives to opioids, including medical marijuana and more recently, CBD oil.

What Is CBD Oil?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, one of more than 85 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids are the primary chemical compounds in all cannabis plants. The two you’ve probably heard of are CBD and THC. CBD is found in hemp (legal in all 50 states) and marijuana (legal use varies by state). CBD oil is made from the flowers, leaves and stalks of hemp and not from its seeds like hemp oil.

CBD oil has been used for thousands of years to treat various types of pain, but it’s only recently begun getting attention from the medical community. One thing that makes CBD oil distinct from marijuana is that CBD oil does not cause users to experience a “high” like marijuana does due to its lack of THC.

CBD oil has been used to treat the following:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain, inflammation and overall discomfort related to a variety of health conditions
  • Anxiety, depression, seizures and neurodegenerative disorders
  • Epilepsy

While many people use CBD oil to relieve pain, more research is needed to be certain it can be used safely.

Legality & Implications for Drug Testing

Based on what we know so far, it seems that CBD oil had some promise as an alternative to manage pain. However, there is concern about the impact it could have on a worker’s ability to pass a workplace drug test. Any cannabis-based product has the potential to trigger a positive drug test for marijuana. Although the risk of a positive test may be low, as a result of this possibility, CBD oil may not be suitable as a pain management strategy for LIUNA members.

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If Marijuana Seems Beneficial for Pain Management, What’s the Holdup?

Since the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers marijuana to be a Schedule I drug (the same as heroin, LSD and ecstasy), researchers need a special license to study it. This has made it difficult to study the potential medicinal benefits of marijuana on a large scale. In addition, because marijuana is still illegal federally, the Food & Drug Administration has not been able to regulate it.

While many states have legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, any product that contains THC, even in small amounts, is considered marijuana and is illegal under federal law. Like marijuana, federal and state laws also differ widely on the legality of CBD oil. While it’s legal in many states, the DEA still views CBD oil as illegal, although they acknowledge that prosecuting this offense is not a priority.

“It would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped. Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not,” says DEA spokesperson Rusty Payne.

Regardless of the legality within a given state, employers generally have the legal right to require a workplace be free from drugs, that workers not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and that workers are able to pass a drug test.

Bottom Line

As promising and effective as CBD oil may be for some people as an alternative pain management treatment, its use cannot be endorsed by Laborers. It is a requirement on most job sites that workers be able to pass a drug test. Because there is no guarantee that CBD oil use will not result in a positive workplace drug test, its use must be questioned at this time.

[Jamie Becker is the LHSFNA’s Director of Health Promotion.]

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Should You Take CBD for Pain?

People looking for a safer pain reliever are turning to cannabis-derived CBD. Michigan Medicine experts weigh in on what’s currently known about the trendy supplement.

Want to learn more on this topic? Listen to this podcast from the Rogel Cancer Center on Medical Marijuana for Cancer Patients.

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is undergoing a surge in popularity as the hot new supplement, with a promise to treat a variety of conditions including pain, anxiety, and insomnia, just to name a few. It’s also available in all manner of forms, from lotions and oils to CBD-infused food and drink. But does it work?

CBD is one of the compounds in the cannabis plant, better known as marijuana. Unlike the famous cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD doesn’t cause the psychological effects typical of being “high”. Both CBD and THC act on the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in many processes including appetite, pain and memory.

The scientific evidence around CBD use is thin, a fact that is mainly due to politics. “Cannabis has been a Schedule 1 drug for a long time, which has limited the type of research needed to figure out how best to use it therapeutically,” says Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., research investigator in the department of anesthesiology and the Michigan Medicine Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. Under the U.S. Federal Controlled Substances Act, Schedule 1 drugs are defined as having no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Yet marijuana has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years, he notes. In fact, one of the first recorded uses of cannabis was for rheumatism, also known as arthritis. Cannabis products were widely used as medicines in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and were listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia before the onset of Federal restriction in 1937 under the Marijuana Tax Act.

Much of the research literature around CBD in particular supports its use as a treatment for childhood epilepsy. Indeed, in 2018 the FDA approved the CBD-based drug Epidiolex as a drug for childhood epileptic conditions. In a substantial policy shift, Epidiolex was designated as Schedule V, which is the least restrictive drug schedule and indicates little potential for abuse.

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While there aren’t any published clinical trials on CBD in pain, Boehnke notes that ongoing preclinical studies in animals have demonstrated that CBD reduces pain and inflammation, and studies of CBD in humans show that it is well-tolerated and has few negative side effects. “There are also observational studies that ask why people use CBD and if it’s effective, and results tend to be quite positive. People report using CBD for anxiety, pain, sleep — all things that go hand-in-hand with chronic pain,” he says. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp-derived CBD (

So many people are turning to CBD as an alternative pain reliever, especially in light of the opioid crisis, that in a commentary published in Annals of Internal Medicine, Boehnke and Daniel Clauw, M.D., director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, provided advice for clinicians on how to counsel their patients about CBD and cannabis use.

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They also provided guidance for the Arthritis Foundation, who recently surveyed 2,600 people with arthritis and found that 29% currently use CBD to treat arthritis symptoms.

Boehnke and Clauw recommend that people with chronic pain talk to their doctor about adding CBD to their treatment plan, and continue to use their prescribed medication. They offer the following advice for people wanting to try CBD:

Don’t smoke or vape. Bottom line is smoking anything harms the lungs. Vaping has been associated with a recent epidemic of lung disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

Purchase from reputable sources. Like vitamins and other supplements, CBD products aren’t regulated or FDA approved to treat disease, so buyer beware. Look for products that have been tested by an independent third party lab “so you don’t end up with a product that has THC in it or a product contaminated with heavy metals or pesticides,” says Boehnke.

Route of administration matters. CBD is best taken in pill or capsule form for slow extended release or as an oral tincture (infused oil that contains CBD) for faster effect onset.

Start low, go slow. Take a small amount and slowly increase your dosage until you start to get symptom relief over a matter of weeks. Track your symptoms to get a sense of whether or not CBD is a helpful part of your treatment plan.

Check your state laws. While medical marijuana is legal in many states, it’s still illegal at the Federal level, putting CBD in a legal gray zone in many areas.