Medical marijuana and pre-employment drug testing

Medical marijuana has been legalized in 33 states across the US. A similar trend is following across the globe with over 30 nations that have legalized medical marijuana, with Canada taking the lead of this cannabis progressivism. But a bummer to this development is the need for employees to take pre-employment drug test that screen for marijuana. This articles explains how you can go about this tricky situation should you need to undertake a pre-employment drug test as a medical marijuana patient.

Before we begin, let’s first understand what medical marijuana contains.

What does medical marijuana contain

Medical marijuana contains a number of phytonutrients that work together to support the endocannabinoid system. Among these are cannabinoids and terpenes. The most prominent cannabinoids are THC and CBD and most medical marijuana prescriptions contain either of these two compounds or a mix of both.

Unlike CBD, THC causes euphoria which is a change in mental status.

What do drug tests screen for

Pre-employment drug tests screen for different compounds that have the potential for abuse when consumed in high doses. THC together with its metabolites is among the compounds screened for in standard pre-employment drug tests. That means that taking medical marijuana treatment that contains THC may cause you fail a drug test.

What to do to pass a drug test

In case you feel that your medical marijuana treatment may jeopardize your chances of scoring it with your new employer, there are a couple of strategies you can employ to help you pass a drug test. Here is a brief overview:

  1. Stop taking the marijuana meds a week to the test.

The half life of THC is 28h-32h, this means that it will be eliminated from your body within 5d-7days. So abstaining for seven days will keep you in the safe zone.

  1. Take plenty of fluids.

Taking plenty of fluids will help to dilute your urine so that the concentration of THC metabolites is significantly reduced. But this may still land you in trouble should the urine detect that your urine sample is too dilute. They may be able to do this by measuring the specific gravity of your urine. To avoid this you can boost your substitute water with an electrolyte solution.

Dilute urine will also have a clear color. Taking vitamin B complex may help to color your urine.

Also avoid, giving your morning urine as a sample as this sample is usually highly concentrated. You may also consider taking diuretics such as furosemide (lasix) in order to increase your urine output.

What happens if you fail the drug test

If you are a medical marijuana patient and have failed a drug test, this should not make you panic. If you reside in a country that has legalized medical marijuana there are a couple of things that you can do prove your innocence. First, you can present the lab or relevant authorities with your medical prescription for marijuana. Secondly, you can ask your medical marijuana doctor to communicate to the lab prior to taking the test. This way, the lab is aware of the results to expect. Lastly, you can request for a repeat test with the tips given above and make sure to get everything right this time round.

Being a medical marijuana patient should not be a reason to be discriminated against by a potential employer. Your HR policy should state what happens in this situation. Unfortunately in most cases the employment discretion rests with the potential employer.

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