A new drug test is aiming to tell the difference between marijuana and CBD

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If you haven’t noticed, the marijuana industry is booming. In the US alone, the industry is worth billions of dollars and the industry has seen an increase in jobs by 76% in 2018. The industry is full of a wide variety of different products falling under the categories of plants, oils, waxes, edibles, and topicals.

Out of everything cannabis-related, you may have heard of CBD the most in recent months. The chemical compound seems to be everywhere. It is being touted as a catch-all for a myriad of health issues. With this popular new trend even appearing on The Today Show, it’s safe to say that CBD isn’t going away any time soon. 

Many claims of health benefits have been made about CBD. While it may not do everything you see the internet claiming it does, it does offer a few proven benefits such as pain relief and depression mitigation. People should be wary of the more out-there claims and the well-documented side-effects. 

CBD is different from the more well-known THC. While both chemical compounds are from the cannabis plant, THC has mind-altering effects and CBD only imparts a feeling much like meditation. It’s meant to calm the user while offering the before-mentioned health benefits and has no psychoactive impact.

People are using the chemical compound in oils which can be smoked from something like a CBD Cartridge or baked into foods such as brownies. The oil can even be mixed into topical products such as lotions.

This has brought up concerns because using CBD is very different than using THC. People using CBD aren’t getting high but drug tests are treating it the same as using THC.

Even though marijuana is legal recreationally in countries like Canada and medically in many others, there are still countries where it is completely illegal. It’s still illegal in countries like India and in large portions of the United States. Because of that, drug testing is still being improved and iterated on. 

Marijuana is illegal federally in the United States. There are some grey areas at the state level, which is a whole other issue, but federally it is illegal.

This isn’t exactly straightforward though.

In the US, CBD is actually legal federally. THC is not legal federally. Until recently, most people couldn’t point out the difference between THC and CBD. This has given rise to a number of issues with people who have been using CBD and not been using THC.

Police officers are using drug field tests that can’t distinguish between THC and CBD. The Duquenois–Levine reagent drug tests most commonly used in the United States only test for cannabinoids and don’t distinguish between the different types. THC and CBD are both cannabinoids and since there is no distinguishing, there isn’t a way for drug-testers to let CBD users off the hook. 

People are getting in trouble for abusing THC when all they were doing was using a legal chemical compound. This is an issue that a few communities are looking to change.

Forensic chemists in Switzerland are now developing a test to ensure that field drug tests can tell the difference between someone who has used CBD and someone who has used THC.

These tests haven’t been widely used in the United States but a few police departments are testing them out. Virginia is currently looking at the Swiss tests as a viable supplement to the drug tests police officers are currently using. 

The U.S. distributor of the Swiss-made drug test kits, John Waldheim, has received initial interest from Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Tennessee as well. He is beginning to explore opening up a new distribution center. 

The new drug tests won’t fully replace the Duquenois-Levine reagent tests as they aren’t fully proven yet as a full drug test. The new test will offer police officers more peace of mind when it comes to telling the difference between a CBD user and a THC user. 

The new tests may not even be necessary for the long-run as full legalization of marijuana is certainly possible in the future. In 2018, 62% of Americans thought marijuana should be legalized in its entirety.

As of now, 11 states and the District of Colombia have legalized marijuana. Every election, more states bring up the issue of legalizing marijuana. There will most likely be a tipping point in the near future where the substance is completely legalized.

That might make any marijuana and cannabinoid drug test unnecessary but for now, a new drug test may start helping multiple states.

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