WORK RELATED CANNABIS DRUG TESTING

Many of us have been following the news story of the quadriplegic man in Colorado who lost his job because he tested positive for Cannabis – even though Cannabis is pretty much as legal as alcohol.

To all Californians, the same rules apply here. Specifically, an employer can fire us for testing positive for Cannabis.

Anyone using cannabis on pretty much any regular schedule will test positive in their urine for Cannabis break down products. THC is metabolized pretty quickly and it is primarily break down products that can remain in body fat for up to 2 or 3 months. The drug test has zero predictive value with regard to any current intoxication. In the vast majority of people who use cannabis at night, perhaps other than edibles, their THC serum level in the AM will be zero or very close; i.e. they are not intoxicated while their “positive” test argues differently.

Now, let’s talk about alcohol. When we are tested for alcohol, a breath test is used which for certain shows the CURRENT status of alcohol in one’s expired breath which closely correlates to their very recent use of alcohol. There is a urine test for a chemical called Ethyl Glucuronide. This is an alcohol breakdown product that can show up in the urine for up to 6 days. Why don’t we do this test??

I think in most work environments drug testing just must be accompanied by a work evaluation and issues or lack of issues on the job. A positive cannabis test that just shows that the employee used cannabis in the prior month or two is just useless.

So, why not at least be fair? Test for Ethyl Glucuronide in the urine if you are going to test for THC breakdown products. So, anyone who had a drink in the prior 5 days will test positive as well as the cannabis users.

Can you imagine the outrage if we started testing for Ethyl Glucuronide on every drug test? Anyone who has one or two drinks per WEEK will show up positive.

Let’s stop this silliness or at least be fair. We can test for cannabis breakdown products and other drug breakdown products. That will put an end to this very quickly.

Author
Allan Frankel, MD Dr Allan Frankel is one of the few physicians in the US who truly understands Cannabis as a medicine. All treatments suggested have been well studied. Every patient seen by Dr Frankel is given a personally created Treatment Plan created with the patient's specific issues defined. Plant medicine requires "tuning" of the dosing. Dr Frankel works with his patients thru a messaging portal. The use of this portal, allows quick and simple follow up contact with Dr Frankel. Patients are not charged for these messages, as this is how Dr Frankel has learned what he has learned. Follow up appointments in person or by phone/video are also available when needed

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