November 12, 2021

Failed drug test, No drug use. What next?

I just failed a drug test for the presence of marijuana metabolites, but I don’t use marijuana. What happens now?

First, you should know that you are not alone. Failing a drug test when you know you do not use drugs can be a scary and disorienting experience. People who have known you for years may suddenly be skeptical. You may have paid out of pocket to have a sample retested, only to have it come back positive again.

If you find yourself in this position, we recommend you take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Request a copy of your test results. If the test was ordered by a third party, like an employer, testing facilities will sometimes be reluctant to release these results directly to you. However, your employer (or whoever ordered the test) will ordinarily provide you with a copy upon request. Do this now, so that if you find yourself facing adverse consequences (for example, if you are fired from your job), you will have a record of that test.
  • Ask about retesting options. In most cases, you are entitled to request a retest. However, most drug testing protocols require the lab to retest the same sample. While this is helpful in situations where there was contamination, the better option is to provide an entirely new sample, if that is allowed. You will usually have to pay out of pocket for this second test, whether you submit a new sample or have your original sample retested.
  • Submit a new sample for testing on your own. Contact a local testing facility and arrange to have a sample taken as soon as possible. Since THC is detectable in urine for up to a month (but usually no more than one to two weeks), and in hair for up to three months, it can help your situation immensely if you can show that a second sample taken near the same time as the first sample tested negative. While some employers may not allow you to use a new sample for their own testing procedures, some employers may be more lenient with you if you can produce a negative drug test that suggests the positive result may have been a mistake.
  • If adverse action is taken against you, ask for confirmation in writing. You may find yourself suspended, terminated, losing a job offer, kicked out of a program, or facing some other negative consequence. Most companies will provide you with something in writing that documents this. However, sometimes you may need to follow up to request this. Be sure the written document reflects that this action is being taken as a result of your drug test result, and not due to any performance issues. If they won’t send you something in writing, you should send them an email that summarizes the action being taken against you and why. A written record can be helpful later if you end up bringing a claim against a third party.
  • If you are a member of a union, contact a rep right away. Your union representative can often help you navigate your options, including any appeal rights. If you aren’t a member of a union, check the applicable handbook to see if there is any process for disputing a test result.

Taking these steps now can help protect any future claim you might bring, and helps make sure you don’t accidentally waive any of your appeal rights.

What caused me to fail this drug test?

While there are many factors that could cause you to fail a drug test, one likely culprit is CBD. Cannabidiol, or “CBD,” is a naturally occurring chemical compound most commonly seen in hemp-derived products. Although CBD by itself will not cause you to fail a drug test, products containing CBD usually have trace amounts of hemp, unless the manufacturer undertakes a special process to extract the THC from the product. The federal government legalized CBD products containing up to 0.3% THC by dry weight back in 2018. If you were taking a product that contains CBD, you were most likely consuming small amounts of THC without realizing it.

THC is fat-soluble, which means that it will stay in your system and accumulate there. Over a period of weeks, even minuscule amounts of THC can accumulate to a level that will cause you to fail a drug test. And, since you wouldn’t necessarily experience any physical symptoms caused by the THC, you probably had no idea that there was any THC in your system at all until you failed the drug test!

Some people claim that you can safely use “broad spectrum” hemp products, but this is not necessarily true. While some broad-spectrum products are THC-free, not all of them are. “Broad-spectrum” hemp is simply hemp that has had some naturally occurring derivatives extracted. It is not a guarantee that the product is THC-free. You should therefore be cautious even when using products containing broad-spectrum hemp.

The exception to this is when a manufacturer specifically advertises a product as being THC-free, having no THC, or having zero THC. It is possible to remove all THC from a product using specific extraction methods, and there are many products on the market that have undergone this procedure. Such products should not cause you to fail a drug test, because drug tests only test for the presence of THC, not for CBD.

In some situations, though, someone might test positive for THC after exclusively using CBD products that were supposed to be THC-free. When this happens, it usually means that a product has been mislabeled, falsely advertised, or defectively produced. That can be extremely frustrating, especially when someone has taken steps to make sure they were only consuming products labeled as THC-free.

What should I do if I suspect a “THC-Free” CBD product caused me to fail a drug test?

If you have any more of the product on hand, stop using it immediately, and store it in a cool, dry place. This will ensure that you can have the product tested later on, so that you can establish whether any THC was present. If you have any packaging or marketing materials that show the product was advertised as being THC-free, you should keep those as well.

Next, you should reach out to an attorney to explore whether you have a potential case against the manufacturer. Our firm is experienced in this area. We have helped dozens of people obtain compensation for damages they suffered after consuming THC-laden CBD products that were mislabeled as containing no THC. We work with experts who can help quantify your economic damages, and we have labs with highly sensitive equipment that can test your product to see whether it contains measurable quantities of THC.

Most importantly, we believe you. When you contact us, we start with the assumption that you are telling the truth, and work backwards from there to help you figure out what went wrong. If we’re able to isolate the product, we can represent you in claims against the manufacturer.

How much does this cost?

Lawsuits can be expensive, but we know that’s the last thing you want to be worrying about right now. Our firm recognizes that failing a drug test can mean the loss of your livelihood, health insurance benefits, and other important sources of income. If we take your case, we will represent you on a contingent basis, meaning that our fee will be a percentage of the recovery we obtain on your behalf. We won’t charge you by the hour, and you won’t receive a monthly bill.

Our firm will also advance any litigation costs on your behalf. That means that we will pay for expert reports, lab tests, and more, and you will reimburse us once the case resolves.

If you are interested in discussing this with us further, please fill out the form below, and someone from our firm will be in touch soon.

This entry was posted on Friday, November 12, 2021 and is filed under Resources & Self-Education, Internet Law News.

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