What is CBD?

What is CBD? CBD is the abbreviation of Cannibidiol which is derived from cannabis plant flowers or leaves which can be found in pharmacies or grocery stores, and which may also be recommended by doctors to address a myriad of ailments.  Both hemp and marijuana are cannabis and CBD can be derived from either plant.  CBD is quite different from marijuana as it contains a majority of Cannibidiol and significantly less THC, the psychoactive ingredient that makes people feel “high.” 

CBD is Legal in Kentucky

In 2017, Kentucky House Bill 333 accorded statewide legal status to the consumption and retail sale of CBD products. The extract should only contain 0.3% or less THC content and must be derived from industrial hemp. The question of whether drug testing for marijuana can result in a false positive for an employee who only uses legal and prescribed CBD products is hotly debated.  There is, however, a significant amount of scientific research that suggests that false positives can occur. 

In some cases, this can happen when the CBD product is not tested properly by the manufacturer. Since CBD and THC both come from the same plant, the CBD must be extracted and the result must then be tested. THC can therefore be present in different amounts depending upon the extraction technique. The label on the CBD product may reflect the testing honestly; however, if testing is poorly done, or the labeling is inaccurate, the reported contents may show almost zero THC, and the “CBD” product may in fact contain significant amounts of THC. 


Even if the amount is tiny, the testing method, especially with urine, can be a “blunt test.” It may not be able to tell the difference between THC and CBD, and may show the presence of either or both as failing for marijuana being present. Other tests, including more sensitive ones, can generate “false positive” results for users of products that contain no more than 0.3% THC. A result showing THC in the blood screen of a person being tested would need to be compared to the results from an admitted THC user to compare and determine if the person’s THC concentrations are due to illegal use of marijuana or lawful use of hemp-derived CBD products.

There are some “outlier” experiments suggesting that THC can be produced from CBD and stomach acid; however, that result is not generally accepted. Avoiding edibles, and relying on salves seems to minimize that risk, if it exists at all.

Employers and/or employees who have what they believe to be a false positive testing result should discuss the type of testing being used to determine whether false positives might arise from an employee’s use of CBD – which can in certain circumstances be a physician recommended medication used to address a diagnosed medical condition. 


Currently the FDA does not regulate CBD or products containing CBD. Much like vitamins and supplements it is important to research the products you purchase and the companies you buy from in order to determine the quality and purity of the products you use. The claims on the label and product in the packaging may differ and it is often best to find a reputable company with a long history of satisfied clients.

RELATED: Cannabis In The Workplace – It’s Complicated


  • Jessica Winters, Managing Member


This post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from The Winters Law Group LLC, or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.


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