The fight for legitimacy and normalization of CBD use continues for proponents and users in the latest high-profile dispute raised by the often-confusing legal status of the cannabis compound.
The woman, 48-year-old Melanie Farr, worked as a drug counselor for a Texas company. She reported in a recent lawsuit that she filed that her supervisor was aware that she took CBD to ease the pain and improve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, a medical condition that many CBD users find relief from. Nonetheless, Farr was fired after she failed a company-issued urine test.
She has filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act that requires employees to make reasonable accommodations in cases of workers’ disabilities – an obligation she said the company, Management & Training Corp., failed to meet.
What exactly constitutes “reasonable accommodations” has been contentious since the law was written, but Farr’s lawyers believe they have a case.
Farr’s case re-raises important regulatory, moral, social, and legal questions about CBD use in America.
CBD is a Legitimate Treatment for MS
The scientific literature is clear: CBD can substantially reduce the severity of symptoms in people and improve quality of life in people like Farr who are fighting MS. Not only is CBD often more effective than conventional prescription drugs, it is also much safer in terms of fewer side effects. No other medical treatment for MS is treated with derision and dismissal in the same way that CBD is because of the complex legal history of cannabis and the decades of propaganda campaigns targeted at its demonization.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, became federal law in 1990. The purpose was to prohibit discrimination against disabled people in all aspects of public life – including, importantly for Farr’s lawsuit, in employment. One of the legal standards set by the law is that an employer must provide “reasonable accommodation” to support employees with disabilities. MS, a chronic condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the coating on nerve cells and eventually damages the nervous system, is considered a disability for legal purposes. Therefore, Farr’s legal team will argue, all treatments for the condition, including CBD, must be accommodated by her employer, Management & Training Corp., per the 1990 act.
However, the legal situation is complicated by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act that classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 was reserved as the most dangerous category. The substances in Schedule 1, including marijuana, serve no medical purpose and carry substantial risks, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Management & Training Corp. claims that testing for Schedule 1 drugs and punishing employees who violate their drug policies is legitimate business practice.
Ultimately, the judicial system will turn out this important ruling that will carry the legal weight of precedent – meaning that it will likely affect the outcome of similar cases in the future.
How Often Does CBD Trigger a Failed Drug Test?
Farr’s lawsuit highlights another often-overlooked discussion of CBD: how much THC does it contain and how much THC can trigger a positive urine test? This question could mean the difference between landing an important job or not, or even staying free or going to jail, so this is an important consideration for users.
Most CBD extracts are less than .3% THC – not high enough content to fail a drug test even in larger dosages. However, because some companies take shortcuts and the industry remains unregulated, manufacturers often ship out products that contain significantly higher percentages of THC. These THC-rich CBD products can absolutely trigger a positive on a drug test.
You can avoid these consistency issues by purchasing your CBD from a respected, reliable, established company that uses a standardized extraction procedure for each CBD batch.