Can you fail drug testing while taking medicinal cannabis?

Can you fail drug testing while taking medicinal cannabis. Credit R+R Medicinals

Medicinal cannabis is regularly in the news and while debate rages over its effectiveness as a medicinal product, there are other important questions that needs answering. That is, can you drive and work while taking medicinal cannabis? Can you fail drug testing?

What is medicinal cannabis?

Firstly, let’s take a closer look what medicinal cannabis is.

Medicinal cannabis is a cannabis product that is prescribed by your doctor for a medical condition. For example, if you have chronic pain, if you suffer from epilepsy or multiple sclerosis, have cancer, or are in palliative care. Although they are derived from cannabis plants, they are produced to strict quality standards and contain known doses and concentrations. Essentially, they are high quality medicines that are legal if prescribed by your doctor.

There are more than 100 different medicinal cannabis products available for Australians, approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

What are the components of medicinal cannabis?

There are two main components of all cannabis, including medicinal cannabis.

The first is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, while the second is cannabidiol or CBD. Some of the 100 plus products available contain mainly THC, some contain mainly CBD, while some contain both. What you will be prescribed will depend on your condition.

Will you fail drug testing if you take medicinal cannabis?

The last paragraph is important because if your medicinal cannabis contains only CBD you will likely be okay to drive and work without being impaired, and you likely won’t risk failing drug testing.

However, if your medicinal cannabis contains THC you are likely to be impaired and are unlikely to be able to drive or work. And if you are drug tested, you will likely fail. That’s because drug testing detects THC for an important reason – THC is psychoactive, while CBD is non-psychoactive.

So, how do you know if your medicinal cannabis contains THC or whether you should or shouldn’t drive or work while taking the product?

Talk to your health professional. The relationship between THC and impairment is complex and will depend on a range of factors (some the product – dose, type of product – some individual – genetics, metabolism, tolerance to THC), so it’s always worth talking about the risks with your doctor, as you should with any drug.

Changes to drug driving laws coming?

There is a proposal by Drive Change to change drug driving laws in relation to medicinal cannabis. Essentially, the change would allow for a complete defense when THC is detected in the fluid or blood of a driver with a valid doctor’s prescription for the medicine containing THC.

However, even Drive Change adds a qualification to this. That is, the defense only applies providing a person is not involved in dangerous or reckless driving and a police officer can’t establish impairment.

Source: Alcohol and Drug Foundation.


Can you fail drug testing while taking medicinal cannabis. Credit R+R Medicinals

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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