Will Taking CBD At Work Get You Fired?


 | Last revised

Oct, 2022

If you want to take CBD oil at work to manage stress, pain, or other health conditions, you might be worried about whether it will impact your job.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer that applies to every workplace.
As a result, it is important to understand your workplace policy and employee rights before talking to your employer about using medical CBD at work.

Here’s a breakdown of the legality of consuming CBD while on the job.

Is CBD Legal At Work?

Using a low-dose pure CBD oil at work is not something your employer can object to if it’s a legally prescribed medication.

This form of CBD does not cause any kind of impairment and will not show up on saliva or urine tests, as drug tests only look for THC metabolites, not CBD.

If your workplace does not drug test, and you don’t operate heavy machinery, it is permissible to use CBD at work, as long as it doesn’t cause impairment and contains minimal THC, usually up to 0.3%. [1]

However, you may run into issues if you’re consuming a full-spectrum CBD product that contains THC, even in small concentrations; while it may not cause impairment, it’s possible the metabolites will show up in a drug test.

Obviously, the same goes for any CBD product that contains higher concentrations of THC.

For some people, very high doses of full-spectrum CBD can cause mild drowsiness or fatigue, which might be a risk factor if you work with heavy machinery or in a dangerous environment.

Taking Prescribed CBD At Work

Whether medical cannabis is permitted for use depends entirely on your job and employment conditions.

Some workplaces have a zero-tolerance policy and conduct random drug tests, while other businesses don’t have a policy in place.

If you have a medical cannabis prescription, your employer should not prevent you from taking your medication or punish you for it, and this may be considered a discriminatory employment practice.

There are exceptions to this wherever THC intoxication could impair your ability to do your work or create an unsafe work environment for yourself or others.

In many cases, your employer may be able to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate your medical needs.

Whether you should be able to use CBD at work depends on your job, your medical condition, and where you live.

Talk to your doctor about whether it is an appropriate medication for you to use at work. They can provide you with paperwork that may help you make your case to your employer.

Even in workplaces with a zero-tolerance drugs policy, your employer should not be able to prevent you from taking your medication if it does not affect the quality or safety of your work.

An important step consumers can take to protect themselves is to request a Certificate of Analysis where the HPLC method has been used to determine cannabinoid ratios. This will give you transparency over the THC content, which is the real concern in this situation.

Woman taking CBD seated at a table

Do I Have To Tell My Employer I Take CBD Oil At Work?

This is a complicated question. You have a right to privacy regarding your healthcare and medications.

However, you also have a responsibility to take reasonable care for the health and safety of yourself and others at work.

This includes managing the risks of both prescribed and over-the-counter medications, which might involve discussing them with your employer.

Over-the-counter CBD products do not produce any effects or side effects that could affect workplace performance or safety for most people.

As a result, you probably do not need to tell your employer about them, and there should be no reason to have to hide them either. [2]

Prescription CBD oil usually contains a maximum of 0.2% THC, while this is still a very small amount of THC, every person metabolises this compound at different rates, which should be considered if you’re regularly consuming the product and your workplace conducts drug testing.

What About Prescribed CBD Medications Containing THC?

Some medical cannabis products contain both CBD and THC in much higher concentrations, and the chances of this being detected in a drug test are highly likely.

In theory, you cannot be fired for having a medical prescription for any drug, and employers should make reasonable adjustments to ensure you can work safely and productively. But in reality, this isn’t always the case.

Given CBD and other cannabis-derived products are a relatively new medicine in Australia, many laws and employer policies still do not take medical cannabis patients into account.

If your employer is open to the use of medical cannabis, then great, but if they haven’t caught up with the times, you might not want to disclose it if you do not need to.

When Do I Have To Disclose Use Of Medicinal CBD?

CBD products that are only available to medical patients can contain higher concentrations of THC.

These products may have intoxicating or impairing effects to a greater extent than full-spectrum CBD.

As a result, you may have to make your employer aware of your medication if it could impact your safety or someone else’s.

In other words, if you spend your workday sitting at a desk using a computer, your use of CBD and THC product is unlikely to be a risk to anyone.

Spending your work day operating heavy machinery at a factory or construction site could be an issue.

It’s also important to remember that taking a prescribed cannabis medication at home will still be in your system at work in the following days, even though you are no longer intoxicated.

That means it could still show up on a workplace drug test.

Tips for Taking CBD Oil At Work

If you are going to start taking CBD oil at work, here are some tips to help you do so discreetly and safely:

  • Start at a low dosage. When you are new to taking CBD, you can be more sensitive to side effects like slight fatigue or drowsiness. Working your way up to an effective dose helps to avoid these side effects while your body build tolerance.
  • Opt for a discreet administration method like gummies. Gummies are great for work because they look like ordinary sweets, and you can transfer them out of their original packaging if needed. Oil drops can be messy and attract questions if you use them in public areas.
  • If your workplace has a zero-tolerance policy on medical cannabis, taking a broad spectrum or CBD isolate is the next best option.

We don’t recommend these forms of CBD as they aren’t as effective as full-spectrum products due to the extraction of the THC molecule and other cannabinoids.

You May Be Able To Take CBD At Work

Taking CBD can help the immune system, ease daily or situational anxiety, help manage chronic pain symptoms, and so much more. So, for many people, taking CBD oil at work is what helps them get through the day.

If it does not present a health and safety risk, your employer should not be able to stop you from taking CBD, especially if it is a prescribed medication.

However, it is always a good idea to consult your employee policies and talk to your doctor before bringing up CBD at work.

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1. Safe Work Team, "Is CBD Oil Consumption Safe for the Workplace?".
Safe Work Laboratories.
2. Jeff Salton, "Should workers have to disclose which medications they take?".
Health and Safety Handbook.


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Disclaimer. While we strive to relay the most factual education available, this shouldn’t replace official medical or legal consultation and recommendation. This is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Happy days.

Hinterland co. Byron Bay, Australia

info@hinterlandco.com.au | hinterlandco.com.au

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